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Upgrading Audio: OEM Audio+ Buyer’s Remorse?

Discussion in '5th Gen 4Runners (2010-2024)' started by TCU_Frog13, Mar 27, 2023.

  1. Apr 2, 2023 at 10:07 AM
    #61
    whippersnapper02

    whippersnapper02 New Member

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    Depending on the unit, it will block some or a lot of the vents. The larger screens will usually completely block the vents but the Alpine units are bulky in any size. I went with the smaller Pioneer for this reason but the unit itself sucks.

    At this angle looks like it blocks a lot but it’s just the bottom. I want to replace it with a Sony unit from Trailgrid.

    7BD9A3F9-1116-4C85-865B-738CCDA3F833.jpg
     
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  2. Apr 5, 2023 at 4:51 PM
    #62
    Windplr

    Windplr New Member

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    I have zero experience with car audio systems, but have been involved in home audio tinkering most of my life. I'm trying to wrap my head around why the stock HU in the T4R is lousy for audio. I can understand that the stock amp likely underpowered and contains cheap components, so grab line level and route it to a better amp. But I'm guessing that it is the on-board DAC that does a lousy job of converting the digital signals into analog. So I'm wondering if it is possible to access the digital side of the HU and use that as the starting point for better sound quality.
     
  3. Apr 5, 2023 at 8:21 PM
    #63
    NorthernSailor

    NorthernSailor New Member

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    I agree, along with their signal tuning that isn't all that great.

    I ended up deciding on an 8 channel Match amp that has built in DSP. Small foot print, cleaning up signal with the DSP makes a huge difference apparently, and then I have power to run some Bonneville Labs speakers later on.

    The amp takes speaker level inputs and cleans them up, so I can keep the stock HU (I was wanting to keep it), and with some wire pulling I will have a true 6 channels of audio.

    I'll report back with how it goes, but I've done it both ways with different vehicles (speakers first and amp/DSP first), and have always had better luck with the amp/DSP as stage 1 (and generally always disappointed doing the speakers first and immediately shelling out more for amplification and signal processing)

    Different people have different needs though...and it's not the cheapest route to start.
     
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  4. Apr 6, 2023 at 7:42 AM
    #64
    jasonmcelroy

    jasonmcelroy Recovering perfectionist

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    Reasons that immediately come to mind:

    1) There is no line-level output so you need to take the signal off the speaker outputs

    2) Signal is EQ'd to work with the .35c oem speaker with magnets that might weight 2oz with a shot of tequila resting on top of them. Heavy bass and mid cuts. When you bring up with DSP/EQ it's muddy.

    3) EQ changes with HU volume so whatever DSP/EQ you setup on your post HU system only works well at single volume point. Heavy bass rolloff as HU volume increases to protect the .35c oem speakers.

    4) Speaker outputs to front and rear appear (to my ears) have some delay baked into them. If you take front signal for front and rear (to avoid the mud noted above) you have to mess with delay (I was able to overcome this)

    5) HU starts clipping on the speaker outputs right around 34 on HU volume indicator with the source I was using (direct through USB port) so you need to tune to not go past this point

    Like I said, I did go down the hole on this. I take all projects I work on (motorcycle restorations, welding, home renovations, kid projects, etc) seriously enough to want to do a good job and therefore put my time into research and execution.

    I am completely open the possibility (or even likelihood) that some people have been able to work around the above issues and get good sound out of the stock HU, but I'm done with it.

    Jason
     
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  5. Apr 6, 2023 at 9:46 AM
    #65
    2018 Limited

    2018 Limited New Member

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    I laughed out loud reading your comment. Reminds me when I was younger and made tapes. I’d have Slayer then a Harry Connick song back to back with jazz hip hop and Metallica all on the same side. I’m a musician and like nearly everything. Nearly.
     
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  6. Apr 6, 2023 at 9:47 AM
    #66
    Cardork

    Cardork New Member

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    Especially for later year 4R’s where ditching the factory h/u is a pretty tall task, going the DSP route is almost compulsory. I ended up going with the Arc Audio PS8 Pro after initially starting with amplification and speakers/subwoofers. Simply, in spite of really good quality components, all the issues nicely pointed out by Jason almost makes it a fools errand.

    Don’t get me wrong, simply taking out the utter trash speakers is a worthy task, but they really will be constrained. The day I got my 4Runner back from the Arc install replete with a good amount of tuning done by a really good shop utterly transformed my Venture. Night and day.
     
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  7. Apr 7, 2023 at 6:09 AM
    #67
    ValK83

    ValK83 New Member

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    I replaced the front speakers and front tweeters as a cheap “get me by” upgrade. I did the 3.5” kicker tweeter replacement and added sound deadening to the doors. I did a full stereo upgrade in my Tacoma previously with kicker key amp upgrade and an alpine type s 10” sub. I think this time I’m going to upgrade the head unit first since I don’t have CarPlay and would like to upgrade sound and features. The Sony 9500es has my eye from trail grid pro because it has a DSP built in and the ability to play high quality encoded music wirelessly with LDAC. Let’s you play 3 times better quality through Bluetooth. I am hoping this will make the biggest difference in audio quality combined with high res downloads from Spotify. I just wish the screen was a bit smaller. I don’t mind the vents being blocked as I rarely use those dash vents I mainly use the windshield and feet settings. Anyone have experience with this unit from Sony?
     
  8. Apr 8, 2023 at 9:05 AM
    #68
    dolbytone

    dolbytone New Member

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    Based on all of the reading I have done it sounds like the OEM+ system is a good upgrade value. Depending on how critical of a listener you are, it may be insufficient for your tastes. I think you could get a good result for about the cost of the OEM+ but you will need to install and wire the equipment yourself to save on cost. To have something that will blow the OEM+ system away (keeping the factory radio), I think the cost of equipment will far exceed what you would spend on the OEM+ rig. I was able to get a wonderful sounding system, but at great effort and at much more cost. I rather enjoy installing stuff so I have no regrets.

    I have yet to see an aftermarket product that will replace the new large screen factory radios that isn't either built for Apps and not audio quality, or just looks grossly out of place. I am also one of those guys that is unwilling to lose ANY functionality when designing a system. For these reasons ATOTO, Dasaita or anything floating screen were unacceptable replacements to me, and why I went down the path that I did. At some point in the future it is possible that the Stinger HEIGH radios can satisfy as an aftermarket option but not yet IMO.

    In my experience, and I have installed the Audio Control DM-608, the Audison BIT, and the JL TwK-88 in my 4Runner using the factory radio as a source, for reasons that @jasonmcelroy mentioned as well as things I have verified personally, you absolutely need a JL FiX (IMO) between the radio and everything else that you install in a 2020+ 4Runner. Details are in my Integration thread posted in the A/V forum if you are interested. Essentially the JL FiX enables you to install aftermarket equipment on an unfucked signal while being a cheaper and better option than replacing the factory radio to do so, and even provides some EQ functionality as a bonus in the event you do not want to also install a DSP.
     
  9. Apr 8, 2023 at 12:22 PM
    #69
    GreatDane

    GreatDane New Member

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    I'm gonna follow this to see what you all are doing.
    Me, I'm gonna replace everything in mine, and I'm building a subwoofer box for a single 12" sub for it also. I've already disconnected the speakers in the tailgate, because I won't be needing them.
     
  10. Apr 8, 2023 at 1:53 PM
    #70
    Ripper238

    Ripper238 New Member

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    Surprised at the many who don't want speakers in the tailgate. Its one of the things i love about the 4Runner, an awesome tailgate to hang out under and listen to music.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Apr 8, 2023 at 6:06 PM
    #71
    GreatDane

    GreatDane New Member

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  12. Apr 15, 2023 at 11:40 AM
    #72
    Squ1dward

    Squ1dward New Member

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    I have the Kenwood in my 19 4R and it has the ability to hook into the TPMS... Anyone know how to wire that up or what wire i need to connect? Also, a tidbit I learned... Sometime in 18 or 19 Toyota started putting a digital JBL amp in rather than an analog...found out the hard way because the previous owner did a hack job install and it ended up blowing the front speakers and the door speakers.

    $1300 later for new speakers, wiring harness and amp for the front speakers.

    If anyone has the info on the TPMS wire, that would be great. thanks in advance.

    Squ1d
     
  13. Apr 15, 2023 at 12:21 PM
    #73
    whippersnapper02

    whippersnapper02 New Member

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    They sell plug n play interfaces for the JBL Runners. If the headunit is idatalink compatible then the TPMS is probably read through the OBD2 which would need the idatalink Maestro unit for TPMS display to work.
     
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  14. Apr 15, 2023 at 2:53 PM
    #74
    Steely123

    Steely123 What's the new trend? I'll do it!

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  15. Apr 15, 2023 at 3:27 PM
    #75
    dolbytone

    dolbytone New Member

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    TPMS is handled through the OBDII.
     
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  16. Apr 15, 2023 at 6:40 PM
    #76
    GreatDane

    GreatDane New Member

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    You need an iDatalink with a Maestro RR.
     
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  17. Apr 16, 2023 at 8:10 AM
    #77
    Ripper238

    Ripper238 New Member

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    I concur with the above since i have a Kenwood DMX with Maestro in my 19 4R and my head unit reads Tire Temp and Pressure. Its awesome but you will need to add Maestro.

    [​IMG]

    I also had an issue upgrading my system due to the digital JBL amp hidden in the back, ended up redoing a ton ($2600 later the right way) but well worth it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2023
  18. Apr 19, 2023 at 12:11 PM
    #78
    Windplr

    Windplr New Member

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    Thanks for these insights and data points! #3- just thinking out loud, if anything like a "smart EQ" exists that could automagically compensate for volume changes. #5 - Is the clipping you refer to speaker dependent?
     
  19. Apr 19, 2023 at 1:44 PM
    #79
    jasonmcelroy

    jasonmcelroy Recovering perfectionist

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    I'm a software and systems person by trade, so I have definitely long pondered how dynamic EQ could be accomplished. Practically, I don't think I'll see a solution I can use. Conceptually, you could map output frequency response over the volume curve and use that to apply appropriate compensating EQ at all volume points. Seems reasonable. Don't know if there is really a market for it or someone would already have done it.

    The clipping was identified on the output speaker wire from the HU before it ever got to the speakers. In other words, speaker independent. I thought it pretty lame that the unit seriously distorts output at a point where users are reasonably likely to listen regularly. No matter what speakers you are running . . . they don't have a chance if the input signal is trash.

    Jason
     
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  20. May 24, 2023 at 11:49 AM
    #80
    Fravaflav

    Fravaflav New Member

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    Okay, I've been searching and this is part of what I was looking for. I also replaced my stock speakers (2012 sr5 premium with navigation) with the kicker bundle and overall Im much happier. I always planned on putting that little amp from Alpine in but hadn't been able to find out if I have to run a higher amp wire/fuse. Been putting it off for that reason. I wanted to stay stock, but after noticing how slong it can take to connect to boot up so I can connect to Bluetooth I started considering upgrading the HU. I've watched a lot of videos on the Dasaita and am pretty much sold on the look, features and plug and play aspects but can't find anyone who really talks about the watts and sound quality. Curious if anyone went from Factory head unit to the dasaita and didn't change the speakers at the same time? Does it sound a good bit better? Is it similar in power to other good/decent aftermarket radios like Sony or Pioneer? Better or worse?

    Thanks for any info
     
  21. May 24, 2023 at 2:22 PM
    #81
    GreatDane

    GreatDane New Member

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    Y'all can keep that Dasaita. I'll stick with my Pioneer decks.
     
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  22. May 24, 2023 at 7:51 PM
    #82
    Fravaflav

    Fravaflav New Member

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    Thanks. Lots of good info. Easy decision now.
     
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  23. May 26, 2023 at 11:21 AM
    #83
    Ripper238

    Ripper238 New Member

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    Your system is only as good as its weakest component. Upgrading the head unit will allow for better amplification that couldn't be done properly without a line level out put of a new head unit. I went with a Kenwood DMX head unit, but any major brand will do the job like Alpine and others. That said, Dasaita wouldn't be one of them but it would probably work? Ideally you will also need to rip out the stock amplifier and replace with a better one, like an Alpine..
     
  24. May 26, 2023 at 11:42 AM
    #84
    Rocko9999

    Rocko9999 New Member

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    Shocked at how many sing the Dasaita praises. I get on the surface it looks cool. But other than looks, it's a really poorly built, poorly supported device.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2023
  25. May 26, 2023 at 3:15 PM
    #85
    GreatDane

    GreatDane New Member

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    I agree.
     

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