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New Prius (2009) sound system - like JBL / upgradeable by audio shop?

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Posted by MJ on August 27, 2008, 12:56 am
Hi -
I just ordered a 2009 Prius with the standard sound system.
I wasn't really happy with the sound when I test drove the Prius and
I've subsequently learned that it imay be hard for audio shops to
upgrade the system
because the radio is built in and doesn't have much power to drive
better speakers.
Has anyone upgraded to the JBL speakers?  If so, what is your opinion
of them.
Or has anyone had a better sound system installed by an audio shop?

Posted by Was Istoben on August 27, 2008, 1:37 am

I just performed the "build your own Prius" at www.toyota.com and they are
still configuring the 2008.

Posted by David Kelly on August 27, 2008, 1:54 am
 MJ wrote:

The 7-speaker JBL system in my 2000 Avalon XLS sounded better than the
9-speaker JBL in my 2007 Prius.

It might help if the Prius 9-speaker had a subwoofer. The factory
subwoofer in the Avalon was separately powered, it was turned off when
the engine was off, even if the ignition was on. So in that way I was
aware of its positive contribution to sound quality.

Posted by DougSlug on August 27, 2008, 2:06 am
I have the upgraded JBL system in my 2006, and am quite satisfied with
it--that is, after I disconnected the front center speaker.  I am also happy
with the power level--sometimes I have to reduce bass in order for it to be
comfortable.  The 3-band EQ with a mid-range control is better than than the
usual bass/treble adjustments, giving me the ability to more precisely
tailor the sound to my liking.

While I do have a finely tuned, detail-oriented ear and am able to
critically judge audio fidelity, I am not one of these fussy audiophiles
that are never satisfied with the equipment they have.  If you are one of
those, chances are you won't like the JBL system since it is not the most
outrageously overpriced system you can buy.  However, if you recognize the
limitations and challenges associated with providing high fidelity in a
small chamber that is surrounded by glass and has all sorts of crazy
reflecting surfaces and odd acoustic properties, and you are able to make
the appropriate trade-offs in your expectations, then I would say that the
JBL system is quite satisfactory for the critical listener.  When I compare
my Prius audio with the audio in our Sienna, the Prius system is worlds
better--no competition.

 - Doug

Posted by MJ on August 28, 2008, 5:21 pm
Thanks, Doug.  Your point about providing high fidelity in a small
chamber is very true.  I volunteer stage managing bands and square
rooms like you mention above are quite a challange.
I did find a 2008 Prius last night with the JBL sound and I agree it
is quite satisfactory.  The additional of a security system (will
Priuses be stolen more if gas prices continue to escalate?) and home
link (integrates 3 remotes) and bluetooth (yeah I can use my cell like
a speakerphone) makes the
extra $,500 worth it to me.

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