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Ignorance is Bliss
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

Anyways, my dad's looking for a new car and i've been shopping with him. I've noticed that just about every new car we look at, the stock stereo on the car is NOT friendly with aftermarket compatibleness. Some cars the cd player is built in with the climate control system... Others have stereos designed by mark levison with too many speakers that makes aftermarket upgrades difficult.

So what is the future of aftermarket car stereo going to become? I think every recently newly designed car i've looked at has a barrier on stereo upgrades, other then the subarus....

Any input?
 

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There are some solutions in place from JL Audio (clean sweep) & www.soundgate.com... also from Autosound 2000.

I know most frown upon using the factory heads, but I have seen\heard results using external processing with factory HU's that where impressive...

If you are looking at drop in upgrades... some cars you might as well forget it... as it stands now... there isn't a car that I can think of that I would be happy dropping in speakers in factory locations... I always end up fabrcating stuff... its the curse of wanting good sound I guess :(
 

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Mark Levinson corporation is owned by Harman International, the same company that makes Harman Kardon computer speakers.

Sometimes a name is just that. Harman most likely just licensed the Mark Levinson name to Toyota who had their Fujitsu Ten corporation make all of the actual equipment.

Perhaps the Harman engineers even had a hand in the design, but that doesn't change that fact that it's still an OEM offering designed to be economical and please the 90% who don't know any better.
 

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Ignorance is Bliss
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, to the look of it Lexus is going with Mark Levison

and the Volkswagens are sticking with Dynaudio

I sure hope they'll sound better then the "premium bose sound system" i see on today's older cars....
 

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What you can do is put a deck in the trunk, remove the faceplate and make an adapter that connects the faceplate to the deck. Put the faceplate somewhere up front and you got yourself an aftermarket radio. That way you can even leave the factory deck installed. I know a lot of manf. are going with CD players that also display other information, like navi and AC control, so putting a deck in the trunk would let you leave the stock stuff running fine, but the audio would be entirely seperate from the stock system.

What I really wanna do is hook a MacMini up in my trunk. Optical output into a Clarion DRZ9255 which would give the signal to all the amps. Then i can rip all my CD's onto iTunes in Apple lossless format and put them on the macMini. I was also thinking about putting a screen in the dash that has a DVI input, so you can control the macMini from the dash. All you would really need is a trackball mouse to control iTunes from up front.

ok, I'm done. Thank you all for listening, cya next time.
 

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af22 said:
Well, to the look of it Lexus is going with Mark Levison

and the Volkswagens are sticking with Dynaudio

I sure hope they'll sound better then the "premium bose sound system" i see on today's older cars....
I guess you missed my first post. Just because it says Mark Levinson doesn't mean anything. Ever look at the "Rockford" head units in the Nissan trucks? They're made by Panasonic, just like all the other Nissan radios. In this day and age, a name is just a name, and with the popularity of Bose systems with old people who don't know any better, all car manufacturers are rushing to align themselves with well known audio names, and while a lot of these systems are certainly better than the standard offerings, don't think for one minute that any of that Lexus equipment in any way resembles the type of quality and design philosophy found inside of a Mark Levinson home audio amplifier, especially considering that some of those Levinson amps cost more than the entire lexus that has his name on the cd player.

Here's an example.
Front:


Back:


Notice who made it. Not Rockford.
 

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Back to the post. No the future is grim, but hey I have never owned a car that I didn't completely rewire anyway! And of course, it wouldn't be as much fun if it were easy. The grim really won't be that bad. First the factory junk will get better and if a work around is needed (and therefore a market for it) there will be one made available.

Don't buy the subaru, the rest of the boringness won't make up for the easy stereo install. Actually they generally build good cars, I just can't drive one.
 

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Jim85IROC said:
Mark Levinson corporation is owned by Harman International, the same company that makes Harman Kardon computer speakers.

Sometimes a name is just that. Harman most likely just licensed the Mark Levinson name to Toyota who had their Fujitsu Ten corporation make all of the actual equipment.

Perhaps the Harman engineers even had a hand in the design, but that doesn't change that fact that it's still an OEM offering designed to be economical and please the 90% who don't know any better.

Harman International does not make anything, they own a slew of both consumer and pro audio companies. On the pro side; JBL, Crown, Soundcraft, BSS, Studer,AKG, DBX, And Lexicon. They have an eye for companies with great, high quality products for the market arena they are shooting for. On the pro side 100% of us know better when our living depends on quality gear.

Now the consumer side... I have no idea what they own, but I doubt they mess around.

Chad
 

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Eventually the electronics will reach a point of affordability to the manufacturers where the stock HU's won't have better SQ as discernable by the ear than aftermarket equipment. This is a long way off, but it definitely will happen eventually. For instance, it used to be that you had to pay $500 a month for a cellphone the size of a shoebox that had a battery that lasted 15 minutes, and now you can buy one for $50 at the counter of a gas station. Digital electronics can only get so good with what we know about science, and what our ear is capable of hearing, after it reaches that stopping point the only direction to go is towards making it cheaper.

I don't think that stock HU's will ever have the adjustability and flexibility of aftermarket pieces, but the actual signal being read from the CD itself can only be so clean... after a certain point it's all bells and whistles. Adding products like the JL adapter to retain the stock signal unit and replace the rest of the system with outboard processing will become more and more commonplace in the future IMO.
 

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I feel today is the day.. There is NO REASON a stock deck cannot sound great. Even the cheapest Op-amps have DC-Daylight response and awesome slew and noise figures. If they concntrate on losing or firmware to lose the built in EQ for their systems I feel that they will be embraced more.

Chad
 

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As for the HK talk. They own a ton of car audio stuff, including a high percentage of the really cheap whizzer cones that go in most cars. They have bought basically any small cone manufacturer that was doing well and have amalgamated about every technology for car audio there is. Not sure what they own on the high end, but I am sure it isn't just a single company.
 

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How do the headunits of today's cars compare with aftermarket headunits? I mean in terms of sound quality, obviously they won't have digital processing. If OEM headunits have caught up already, which cars have good headunits? I'm just curious since my friends and family ask me for advice on what to buy (cars, audio, computers, etc.) and I have no idea on what's the state of the art in the OEM world.

Has anyone heard the sound system in the new Lexus LS460? The reviews all say it has an amazing sound system, but I don't quite trust the reviewers since most of them don't have nice home audio setups to compare it to. They even praise that Infiniti's BOSE sound systems, the ones used in the 350Z and G35, so I want to get a trusted opinion from you guys. So the Lexus LS has 19 (!) speakers, I'm thinking the imaging can't be too good. But who knows maybe it does sound good. Anyone know how it's set up? Does it even use a crossover, or does everything play full range? And what about those optional sound system upgrades like Mark Levinson in the case of Lexus (the other companies have their own name brand company)? Are they any good, are they even made by the brand name company?

I've heard some of the more recent middle-class cars, like the Toyota minivans and Lexus ES. They actually use tweeters now. Overall not too bad, the frequency response seems relatively flat. it's not very detailed and low bass isn't there, and neither is the top end. however midbass and midrange is decent and there isn't much to complain about.
 

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The Audi A8 B&O system is nice. It should be for that much money. Basically it´s a DSP unit, multi-channel IcePower with deasent drivers (the mids are actually variants of the TG9).

So basically a 3Sixty.2 a couple of PDX amps and some drivers... With a bit of a premium clamed for the installation...

Would love to hear the Aston Martin Linn system...
 

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The answer lies here. We all probably have OEM systems laying around. Test them! I'll try to do mine over winter "vacation"

I'll try finding a line out inside and doing a simple LOC.

Chad
 
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