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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Full audio upgrade

Hi guys,

I finally had my complete audio upgrade done at a local audio shop in Maryland. Here is what I did:

- Pioneer 5200NEX headunit (it has GPS, 4-volt RCA's, CarPlay, DVD player)
- Morel Tempo Ultra 6.5" components (front) and 6.5" coaxials (rear)
- Polk MM1040D 10" subwoofer, dual voice coil
- Large good quality ported box for $99
- Alpine PDX-V9 amp (100Wx4 2/4 ohm, 500WX1 subwoofer)
- Hushmat silver butyl sound deadener and hushmat foam vibration deadener
- T-Spec OFC 4 gauge amp wiring kit
- iDatalink Maestro RR integration - allows to adjust those settings that require OBDII tool, such as auto headlight sensitivity, door lock sequence, feedback beep volume etc. It works really well, but I am not sure it's that important to have. Nice perk: it shows tire pressure/tire temperature.

Since this was a large labor-intensive install and since I did not buy a required TO1 harness to connect iDatalink Maestro, this install took 2 days about a week apart from each other. First day all speakers and sound deadening was done while no amp/no sub were connected. I used my stock Pioneer Scion headunit to power new Morel Tempo Ultra speakers. It sounded much better compared to stock speakers, but I could clearly hear how weak our headunit is and how heavily EQ'ed our sound is. Our stock headunit definitely adjusts the sound and makes it muddy. I also had exactly the same issue on my previous 2016 Honda Accord and it was the main reason why I traded it for iM: I could not replace the headunit since it was integrated with the car way too much. Therefore, I figured out that the most important part in improving sound quality is the headunit. Even if you keep stock speakers, replacing your headunit with something that puts out quality sound will provide amazing sound quality improvement.

When 5200NEX was installed and sound delay got configured with Pioneer microphone, my car now sounds wonderful :) Pioneer units provide great adjustment options, such as separate volume levels for each speakers, including subwoofer. Morel speakers are just WOW, they are very natural/easy to listen/pleasant tweeters. Once properly amplified, they sound excellent. Polk sub is absolutely sufficient for extra bass, it hits hard and deep, I don't need any extra power.

Alpine is a great little 5-channel amp. It is expensive (around $450), but it is the cheapest one that provides this much power for this price out of major audio brands. Gladen or Helix 100W per channel amps cost way more. Similar Rockford Fosgate and JL amps are also way more expensive.

Some thoughts: I would rather go with 4200NEX to get larger screen size and forget about built-in GPS. HERE maps that Pioneer is using are OK, I use HERE app on my iPhone since it allows to download entire US map and forget about using internet traffic. But Pioneer navigation takes 1-2 minutes to load (WHAAAT???), map zoom is laggy and general GPS interface is not very user friendly. I feel like I will just continue using HERE app on my phone and forget about my 5200 GPS. I may even exchange it for 4200 at this point, since swapping them should be very easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Pics.

I might some day swap out the headunit, but for now it is adequate. I added a sub and called it good for now.
I am definitely not an audiophile. But I am definitely spoiled after having 2 Acura cars with ELS premium audio. Especially 2014 TSX Tech was amazing, balanced, deep and clear sound quality.

I took a few pictures of my install.

P.S. 5200NEX will be going back. The screen is too small, GPS just sucks - it works, but slow and laggy, plastic edges are too high, so pushing some items on the screen gets complicated, especially while driving. Another issue: 5200 unit does not remember where it stopped playing your MP3 song, so it restarts playing it, this sometimes happens with shorter songs and always happens with long 1-2 hour DJ mixes (while our stock unit would play them from proper spots). I would be happy to get an Alpine unit, but INE-W957HD is the only decent one and it's $1,000. That's just way too much money. From what I read many people are not happy with Kenwood or JVC.

I will get 4200NEX or 4800BS instead. 4800 does not support iDatalink Maestro, so that may have to go as well. 4800BS is about 50% cheaper than 4200NEX. The only advantages of 4200NEX over 4800BS are: 2 USB ports, iDatalink Maestro support, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. All those things are not worth 50% price increase to me. I will continue using GPS on my phone.
 

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I am definitely not an audiophile. But I am definitely spoiled after having 2 Acura cars with ELS premium audio. Especially 2014 TSX Tech was amazing, balanced, deep and clear sound quality.

I took a few pictures of my install.

P.S. 5200NEX will be going back. The screen is too small, GPS just sucks - it works, but slow and laggy, plastic edges are too high, so pushing some items on the screen gets complicated, especially while driving. Another issue: 5200 unit does not remember where it stopped playing your MP3 song, so it restarts playing it, this sometimes happens with shorter songs and always happens with long 1-2 hour DJ mixes (while our stock unit would play them from proper spots). I would be happy to get an Alpine unit, but INE-W957HD is the only decent one and it's $1,000. That's just way too much money. From what I read many people are not happy with Kenwood or JVC.

I will get 4200NEX or 4800BS instead. 4800 does not support iDatalink Maestro, so that may have to go as well. 4800BS is about 50% cheaper than 4200NEX. The only advantages of 4200NEX over 4800BS are: 2 USB ports, iDatalink Maestro support, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. All those things are not worth 50% price increase to me. I will continue using GPS on my phone.
For a stock unit, the iM's sound is pretty nice, but does not compare to some better cars. Still better than most stock systems in the 90's, and a whole lot better than the stock setup in my wife's xB. I've asked her if she wants an upgrade and she has no interest.

Bummer about the headunit not being up to snuff. Many of us are ignoring headunit GPS units in favor of the ones on our cell phones. The downside being if you ever are in a poor coverage area, the GPS can get spotty. If we take long trips I will preload the maps of our course to avoid any difficulties.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
For a stock unit, the iM's sound is pretty nice, but does not compare to some better cars. Still better than most stock systems in the 90's, and a whole lot better than the stock setup in my wife's xB. I've asked her if she wants an upgrade and she has no interest.

Bummer about the headunit not being up to snuff. Many of us are ignoring headunit GPS units in favor of the ones on our cell phones. The downside being if you ever are in a poor coverage area, the GPS can get spotty. If we take long trips I will preload the maps of our course to avoid any difficulties.
I really liked factory audio in 2005-2010 Scion tC, I think it was the best stock system out of all Scion cars. iM stock unit is not the worst, even installer told me it is very decent compared to many other stock ones out there. I like our stock unit's interface in general and its simplicity, but I wish it wasn't so muddy with its sound output. As far as the cell phone, HERE app is by far the best, since it allows you to download maps by a single state or country or region. Then you can update those maps when you are near decent wi-fi. Although HERE does not have detailed interface, like Google Maps. So I have to look up an address in google sometimes and manually type it into HERE maps (they now call it HereWeGo in the app store). So if I am taking a long trip without decent cell phone coverage, I am good to go.
 

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For a stock unit, the iM's sound is pretty nice, but does not compare to some better cars. Still better than most stock systems in the 90's, and a whole lot better than the stock setup in my wife's xB. I've asked her if she wants an upgrade and she has no interest.

Bummer about the headunit not being up to snuff. Many of us are ignoring headunit GPS units in favor of the ones on our cell phones. The downside being if you ever are in a poor coverage area, the GPS can get spotty. If we take long trips I will preload the maps of our course to avoid any difficulties.
I really liked factory audio in 2005-2010 Scion tC, I think it was the best stock system out of all Scion cars. iM stock unit is not the worst, even installer told me it is very decent compared to many other stock ones out there. I like our stock unit's interface in general and its simplicity, but I wish it wasn't so muddy with its sound output. As far as the cell phone, HERE app is by far the best, since it allows you to download maps by a single state or country or region. Then you can update those maps when you are near decent wi-fi. Although HERE does not have detailed interface, like Google Maps. So I have to look up an address in google sometimes and manually type it into HERE maps (they now call it HereWeGo in the app store). So if I am taking a long trip without decent cell phone coverage, I am good to go.

I use an App called Scout. Same thing, you can predownload a route and map areas.

The only issue I had is last year we were driving in unfamiliar territory and my phone decided to freeze up on me. Had to pull over. Reset the phone and it was fine the rest of the way.

If I did a lot of cross country driving or driving in unfamiliar areas I would want either a dedicated GPS unit or have it in the headunit. I think I still have my old Garmin around here somewhere.
 

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I'm still kind of tripping out because it your getting vehicle data streamed to the head unit. That alone is enough for me in this thread lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I'm still kind of tripping out because it your getting vehicle data streamed to the head unit. That alone is enough for me in this thread lol.
I spent hours reading about various 2-din receivers, so it would be great if my thread helps others. As far as iDatalink Maestro RR - that's another way of getting access to our OBDII system, instead of buying OBDII scanner tool and using Toyota software.

I took a few more pictures tonight to show some options that are available. However, you have to keep a harness plugged into your OBDII jack at all times. It's not a big deal, but it is visible on the bottom.

Not all Pioneer receivers are compatible with iDatalink Maestro, mostly NEX units (and they are expensive). Kenwood units, OTOH, are mostly compatible with it. Full list of supported receivers is available on their website:
http://maestro.idatalink.com/compatible-radios/
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Another good feature: Pioneer unit allows to search and select files by tags or file names, so folders are visible. This is great, since our stock unit only seemed to work with ID tags and folders were not visible.

Downside: as you can see I have long DJ mixes. Any interruption will cause the unit to restart playing current song (it mostly happens with longer non-stop mixes 1-2 hours). Such as car restart, bluetooth phone call etc. It is very annoying. If 4200NEX/4800BS will also do this, I will switch to playing music via my old iPod Touch or my iPhone.
 

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Thank you very much for this valuable information ! This is definitely on my to do list. I see there's an option for daytime running lights, are you able to switch off the daytime running light function so it doesn't turn on??
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
You are welcome. As far as I understand, yes. You can turn off daytime running lights completely. I would never do that since I love them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just to add a few more things:

- I tried to turn off my DRL via Pioneer stereo. It did work. When I drove with my headlights on "Auto" mode, DRLs were off. If I would turn on the headlights, DRLs would also turn on. So it's a bit of a useless feature. I turned them back on.

- Polk MM subwoofer is not that great. I was waiting until it actually breaks in, it probably did, but the sound is dull and shallow. So I will be definitely getting a Morel Primo 10" or Morel Ultimo 10" sub. The price difference is huge, but then RMS output is also about 2 times higher.

- Best Buy has a Pioneer 4200NEX on sale for $499 right now. It is the best deal I could find, so I grabbed one off the shelf. I will get it installed next week and return 5200NEX.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Here is yet another update:

- I did get Pioneer 4200NEX installed a few days ago. It is absolutely wonderful compared to 5200NEX. Larger screen size is great, the screen also feels more responsive to the touch, but still far away from higher-end Kenwood Excelon models.

- Pioneer receivers ABSOLUTELY have to be auto-EQ'd using a Pioneer microphone (around $20 on Amazon). I tried it in my garage, but it kept failing due to outside noise. My installer did it when he was installing a proper bypass. Keep in mind that out-of-the-box both Pioneer units that I had sounded like garbage and I could not tune them properly. So Auto-EQ is the only proper way to go, otherwise just get a Kenwood Excelon or a higher end Alpine unit.

- Besides $499 sale price at Best Buy, Pioneer also offers $100 rebate on most NEX receivers until January 2017. It can be found on their website.

Pioneer CD-MC20 Auto-EQ Microphone for Car DVD Receivers:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0038PIGDW/

- DVD video quality is great. DVD audio quality is amazing, it feels like I am in the club.

- Morel speakers are great. I am definitely a fan at this point. My sub is lacking, so as I had mentioned I will get a Morel sub.

- The only glitch I can point out: while scrolling songs on the USB flash drive the list is a bit jerky (laggy?). I can live with that.

Here is Imagine 2008 DVD playing:
 

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Here is yet another update:

- I did get Pioneer 4200NEX installed a few days ago. It is absolutely wonderful compared to 5200NEX. Larger screen size is great, the screen also feels more responsive to the touch, but still far away from higher-end Kenwood Excelon models.

- Pioneer receivers ABSOLUTELY have to be auto-EQ'd using a Pioneer microphone (around $20 on Amazon). I tried it in my garage, but it kept failing due to outside noise. My installer did it when he was installing a proper bypass. Keep in mind that out-of-the-box both Pioneer units that I had sounded like garbage and I could not tune them properly. So Auto-EQ is the only proper way to go, otherwise just get a Kenwood Excelon or a higher end Alpine unit.

- Besides $499 sale price at Best Buy, Pioneer also offers $100 rebate on most NEX receivers until January 2017. It can be found on their website.

Pioneer CD-MC20 Auto-EQ Microphone for Car DVD Receivers:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0038PIGDW/

- DVD video quality is great. DVD audio quality is amazing, it feels like I am in the club.

- Morel speakers are great. I am definitely a fan at this point. My sub is lacking, so as I had mentioned I will get a Morel sub.

- The only glitch I can point out: while scrolling songs on the USB flash drive the list is a bit jerky (laggy?). I can live with that.

Here is Imagine 2008 DVD playing:
I'm glad you are happy with the set-up. It does seem to be a pretty capable head unit and has some great features in it.

In my previous car I had a DVD player which I bypassed so as to be able to view DVD's on the go. I rarely used the DVD player for several reasons.

1- It is illegal. If a cop sees it, busted. If you are in an accident and the insurance adjuster finds out you bypassed the controls that lock out the DVD player when the car is in motion you can be denied compensation. This happened to a friend of mine, so I know it to be true. I tried it a few times and was WAY tempted to focus on the movie instead of driving.

2- No BluRay capable car DVD player is available, (that I know of). A vast majority of my DVD's are BluRay, so this would be rather limiting. Are you able to play video files?

3- It is in a bad location for rear seat viewing. Again in my previous car, we played a few DVD's on a trip, but the distance from the second row, the size of the screen and sun glare all combined to make it not worth it.

4- With tablets and phones so readily available, it kind of negates the need for a central movie screen. On our last long trip in a car with four, (two adults and two kids), each passenger had their own device, a couple of books, etc.

I don't want to sound negative, just sharing my experience with having a DVD player enabled to watch on the go and the reasons I would not do it again. I hope you enjoy your setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm glad you are happy with the set-up. It does seem to be a pretty capable head unit and has some great features in it.

In my previous car I had a DVD player which I bypassed so as to be able to view DVD's on the go. I rarely used the DVD player for several reasons.

1- It is illegal. If a cop sees it, busted. If you are in an accident and the insurance adjuster finds out you bypassed the controls that lock out the DVD player when the car is in motion you can be denied compensation. This happened to a friend of mine, so I know it to be true. I tried it a few times and was WAY tempted to focus on the movie instead of driving.

2- No BluRay capable car DVD player is available, (that I know of). A vast majority of my DVD's are BluRay, so this would be rather limiting. Are you able to play video files?

3- It is in a bad location for rear seat viewing. Again in my previous car, we played a few DVD's on a trip, but the distance from the second row, the size of the screen and sun glare all combined to make it not worth it.

4- With tablets and phones so readily available, it kind of negates the need for a central movie screen. On our last long trip in a car with four, (two adults and two kids), each passenger had their own device, a couple of books, etc.

I don't want to sound negative, just sharing my experience with having a DVD player enabled to watch on the go and the reasons I would not do it again. I hope you enjoy your setup.
I agree with everything. Sun glare isn't too bad and tablets are better for movies if you have passengers. I have it primarily for playing audio from DVD's while moving. I don't watch the video while I am driving, obviously.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, I haven't been here for a long time. So here is another update:

- Polk MM 10" sub finally did break in. I am glad I waited a few months. Now it actually sounds really good, not super deep or powerful, but it adds a very good soundstage to my music.
- Pioneer head units lack BASS, TREBLE, MID tuning. You just get Equalizer and adjustment for input sources (such as +1 or -1 etc). EQ is a bit tough to figure out, but I like mine at this point.
- Make sure you use Advanced Sound Retriever, it has OFF, half and full modes. I recommend full mode. It is hiding in another menu on the bottom of your screen when your song is playing.
- Morel speakers... just great. I believe they are too good for my Pioneer head unit.
 

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Well, I haven't been here for a long time. So here is another update:

- Polk MM 10" sub finally did break in. I am glad I waited a few months. Now it actually sounds really good, not super deep or powerful, but it adds a very good soundstage to my music.
- Pioneer head units lack BASS, TREBLE, MID tuning. You just get Equalizer and adjustment for input sources (such as +1 or -1 etc). EQ is a bit tough to figure out, but I like mine at this point.
- Make sure you use Advanced Sound Retriever, it has OFF, half and full modes. I recommend full mode. It is hiding in another menu on the bottom of your screen when your song is playing.
- Morel speakers... just great. I believe they are too good for my Pioneer head unit.
Thanks for keeping us updated. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I just bought the same head unit for our 2017 iM. Can you tell me what dash kit you used for the install? Thanks!
I just checked. I bought this kit on Amazon. It was made by Metra. Here:

Metra 95-8202 Toyota DDIN Multi Dash Kit

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000K52CY2/

Take pictures when you finish your install. What speakers / amp are you getting?

By the way, I had to buy a rearview camera harness, since Maestro harness would glitch and it would not display OEM camera. The installer had no idea why it was happening. So I had rearview camera installed directly via harness and it works just fine since then.

AX-TOYCAM3 Retain Factory Back-up Camera to Aftermarket Radio for Select Toyota

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01E4B6UQS/
 
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