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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I leased a new 2014 CT200h about a week ago. My first Lexus. Starfire Pearl. Nav with Premium package. I traded in a 2011 Prius pkg 3. I like how the CT drives and handles. The Prius was a good vehicle, but boring. The CT is much more fun to drive and is much quieter than my Prius was, especially when the paved surface is rough.

begin rant...

However, the "10 Speaker Premium Audio System" is abysmally bad. I'm not expecting perfection but I expected something worthy of Lexus and the words "premium audio system".

The stock JBL system in the Prius that I traded in sounded much better and was much better balanced.

10 Speakers? The speaker in the middle of the dash area appears to just be for nav and bluetooth voice and does not seem to output any music. The sub in the back appears to do next to nothing but output booming sounds. Subs are supposed to thump, not boom. Bamboo speakers? In my opinion just a gimmick - get rid of it as it seems to do nothing for the sound quality. Tweeters in the lower A-pillar pointing at the left and right? Who was the sound engineer that made that decision? For the driver, having the tweeters placed in this way makes the high frequencies appear to come from one side - the right. The tweeter in the left A-pillar can't be heard by the driver, as it is located in such a poor position and is pointing toward the right side of the car instead of angled to point towards the driver. Anyone with a critical ear or a bit of audiophile or sound engineering background knows that mid and high frequencies make up the sound image and highs especially can be very directional. Tweeters are directional and don't radiate the same level of sound across a 180 degree radius so the tweeters in the lower A pillar contribute to a completely unbalanced sound stage for the driver and passenger. The overall balance for the stock system is so bad that for the first time ever in an automobile I have owned I have to use the balance control and set it two clicks to the left to make the system sound somewhat balanced.

I kick myself for not paying a bit more attention to the audio system during the test drive. I mistakenly assumed that since it was a Lexus that they would not "go cheap" on the "premium audio system". Sadly, I was wrong.

Knowing what I know now, I'd not purchase the CT. If they "went cheap" on the "premium audio" in what is supposed to be a luxury or high quality brand, I wonder what else they "went cheap" on?

Lexus needs to come to their senses with this audio system. There is nothing that makes the existing system in my CT a "premium audio system". The speakers need to be upgraded all around and the tweeters either need to be in the doors or preferably co-axially mounted with the left and right dash speakers. Then they need to spend a bit of time listening to the system to get it right. There is no excuse for a supposedly "premium" system to be so incredibly bad. if they insist on lower A-pillar tweeter mounts, at least change them so they point more towards the driver and passenger instead of at the opposite side of the car.

end rant...

So my big question is this: Is there anything that I can do to fix the audio system without spending a ton of dollars? Like I mentioned above, this is a lease so any changes or mods have to be invisible and 100% reversible. The head unit seems to be a non-standard size so it will probably need to stay but it seems like the rest of the system needs to go. I've already looked at the speaker replacement threads in the do it yourself section and it appears that while it can be done, all of the speakers are non-standard sizes and/or mounts requiring modifications and/or adapters. There also appears to be a crossover located behind the head unit that limits the dash speakers to output of mid and high frequencies only.

It sounds like I'm either going to have to spend a bunch of dollars to fix the audio or just trade the CT for something better. I'd appreciate any insight that anyone can offer, and thanks for listening to my rant.
 

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i have a 2012 CT in starfire pearl. stereo is the base 6 speaker system. listening to bluetooth or aux streaming audio is incredibly good. i hear elements in a song i never heard before hearing it in this car. granted, i am not an audiophile, but i am impressed with the "internet" streaming.

that being said, am/fm, cd and satelite suck!
 

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Yes the Prius JBL is a better sound system; in fact almost every other car manufacturer makes a better sound system Yes, the Premium sound system sucks both speakers and the Panasonic head unit. You can only get decent sound if you get the ML (Mark Levinson) which is not available in the USA. Prius=boring, CT200h =boring ST=fun, awesome audio , S2000=fun , top down Invidia exhaust
 

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Amen to all the comments concerning the horrible audio system in the CT200h.
 

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I don't find it that bad. I guess it comes down to what it's compared with. The Bose system in my 9-3 was pretty bad and it was the "premium" system. The HK system in my MINI is definitely worse than the CT, also premium. The Mark Levinson in the 2014 IS250 is definitely better than the CT. The CT system is better than the 2001 IS 300.
Anyway, it's a car, with all sorts of bad outside sounds, rattles and reflections. As long as it is OK and not annoying I am happy. Certainly wouldn't trade a leased car just to improve the audio. What a financial wreck that would be. Good luck with that.
My beef is that I can't get BT audio from my HTC phone to work. What's with that?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the feedback and comments. Can anyone who's actually replaced the speakers in the CT comment as to how much difference it makes?


and FWIW, financial wreck is my middle name. :)
 

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Thanks for the feedback and comments. Can anyone who's actually replaced the speakers in the CT comment as to how much difference it makes?


and FWIW, financial wreck is my middle name. :)
I replaced the front dash speakers, front tweeters, front door speakers and added an amp The sound is very good on AUX, USB and CDs. AM and FM are still muddled. Don't have XM anymore so I can't comment. The OEM head unit is a pretty cheap Panasonic. The Sony Audio in my Ford Focus
ST is far superior. I am somewhat of an audiophile and compare sound to my Home Theater system, Marantz and Definitive Technology and PRO-151FD.
 

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After much listening, thought and deliberation, I'm thinking that there is something wrong (of a this is not normal type of defect) with my audio system. I'm going to take it to the dealer and see what they can do. The balance being so off leads me to think that one or more of the speakers are in some way defective or the amp or head unit has a problem. I'll also compare it with another similar CT if possible to see if the problem is specific to my CT or just the way that they all are.

Depending on the outcome, I'll either be much happier or will need to take the next step, which will be to replace the speakers, beginning with the front dash and doors and see what improvements may be at hand. Speaker replacement will be less expensive than trading cars for sure. :)
 

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Fwiw my 2014 Ct Advance standard system is very good in terms of upper bass, mids and treble. The sound staging is in front and centre of me when balance is set to centre position and fader as well. I aint really had to mess about with much only backed the treble down a notch. chucko I know yours is the premium so really should be better than mine so recon you may have a issue with you particular car. Hopefully its faulty and easily sorted.

Six speakers plus sub are all a car should need for audio. Like megapixels in mobile phone cameras and compacts it seems the public is taken to be clueless and only able to associate more with being better. Rant over ....for now :)
 

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audio is good?

Fwiw my 2014 Ct Advance standard system is very good in terms of upper bass, mids and treble. The sound staging is in front and centre of me when balance is set to centre position and fader as well. I aint really had to mess about with much only backed the treble down a notch. chucko I know yours is the premium so really should be better than mine so recon you may have a issue with you particular car. Hopefully its faulty and easily sorted.

Six speakers plus sub are all a car should need for audio. Like megapixels in mobile phone cameras and compacts it seems the public is taken to be clueless and only able to associate more with being better. Rant over ....for now :)
I am glad it sounds good to you. A lot of people with
h a finer ear for audio understand that the Lexus CT200h audio is not at the level one would normally expect from Lexus. However, for 2014 Lexus supposedly improved the quality of the speakers. However, speakers were not the only weak audio system components.
 

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Wow half this message board is people stating that the audio is bad. They are correct. I once had a 10K Hyundai Accent that had a better sounding system. No joke.

There are many threads on here about upgrading speakers, subwoofers, amps, and even a few have done new head units. Search and explore, then prepare to spend many hours if you want a good result.
 

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Knowing what I know now, I'd not purchase the CT. If they "went cheap" on the "premium audio" in what is supposed to be a luxury or high quality brand, I wonder what else they "went cheap" on?
If you bought the CT based soley on the "premium audio" then you never took a test drive (which should include testing the audio system) or you never checked out the forums about the audio system. Does anyone do research before they make a major purchase? I was searching the CT forums months before I actually bought my CT so I knew what to look out for and what to expect. I knew even before I bought mine it wouldn't be the greatest audio system but I wasn't buying the car because of the audio. I bought the car because of the reliability, the gas mileage, the styling, how I fit in the CT, etc...
 

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If you bought the CT based soley on the "premium audio" then you never took a test drive (which should include testing the audio system) or you never checked out the forums about the audio system. Does anyone do research before they make a major purchase? I was searching the CT forums months before I actually bought my CT so I knew what to look out for and what to expect. I knew even before I bought mine it wouldn't be the greatest audio system but I wasn't buying the car because of the audio. I bought the car because of the reliability, the gas mileage, the styling, how I fit in the CT, etc...
If you look closely at what I've said, I don't know how you could infer that I purchased the CT based on it having a "premium audio" system. That was not the case at all. As a matter of fact, I obviously did not pay enough attention during the test drive, but I then already said that. :)

The fact is that the "premium audio" system in the CT is crap, and it detracts mightily in my opinion from what is supposed to be a premium brand. I've learned my lesson. There is no such thing as a "premium brand", and the CT is nothing more than a Prius all decked out in "The Emperor's New Clothes". Just like in the story, it turns out that the "Emperor has no clothes".

If it works for you, great. It doesn't work for me. I have only myself to blame for my purchase decision. end of story.
 

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If you look closely at what I've said, I don't know how you could infer that I purchased the CT based on it having a "premium audio" system. That was not the case at all. As a matter of fact, I obviously did not pay enough attention during the test drive, but I then already said that. :)

The fact is that the "premium audio" system in the CT is crap, and it detracts mightily in my opinion from what is supposed to be a premium brand. I've learned my lesson. There is no such thing as a "premium brand", and the CT is nothing more than a Prius all decked out in "The Emperor's New Clothes". Just like in the story, it turns out that the "Emperor has no clothes".

If it works for you, great. It doesn't work for me. I have only myself to blame for my purchase decision. end of story.
Actually the Prius JBL audio is better that the CT200h premium. I am not sure I agree with the "Emperor's New Clothes " analogy. The CT200h has clothes , just not at the Lexus designer level, more like rag muffins.
 

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If you look closely at what I've said, I don't know how you could infer that I purchased the CT based on it having a "premium audio" system. That was not the case at all. As a matter of fact, I obviously did not pay enough attention during the test drive, but I then already said that. :)

The fact is that the "premium audio" system in the CT is crap, and it detracts mightily in my opinion from what is supposed to be a premium brand. I've learned my lesson. There is no such thing as a "premium brand", and the CT is nothing more than a Prius all decked out in "The Emperor's New Clothes". Just like in the story, it turns out that the "Emperor has no clothes".

If it works for you, great. It doesn't work for me. I have only myself to blame for my purchase decision. end of story.
The whole rant is about the audio system and it lacking to your standards, and you said based on knowing what you do now, you wouldn't have purchased the CT. If you would of ranted about other things (lack of power, noisy for a Lexus, rattle in doors, etc...) including the audio system then me inferring as I did would be wrong.

It sounds like you have other issues than just the audio system with the CT. That's ok, the CT is not for everyone. Hopefully you find the right car for you.
 
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