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2nd Gen ('13) stock radio questions

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by kidsmoke, May 13, 2019.

  1. May 13, 2019 at 8:57 AM
    #1
    kidsmoke

    kidsmoke [OP] Well-Known Member

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    So I picked up the '13 SR5 4x4, low miles, not at all abused truck. Thrilled. But I haven't experienced this anemic a stock radio since my 79 Monza! The sound quality isn't horrible, but the max volume seems to be about 50% what it ought to be, particularly when using buetooth, which is how i roll 98% of the time. Literally, with the windows down It's difficult to hear the music with any decent volume.

    Much as I'd like to spring for some premium system, I've got other priorities for that kind of scratch. Are there some simple improvements available for these systems? Could simply getting a slightly upgraded head unit help? Is there a setting in a sub menu that I'm missing? Is there a setting on my iPhone that might be on that I don't know about? (used this phone in my last car....no issues, PLENTY of volume.)

    How about those speakers in the head liner? Anyone found a quality plug n' play swap?

    FYI, I did do a search on this issue and found nothing. If there's a thread that addresses this same issue, please direct me and I'll read instead of cluttering the board.

    FYI: unit is id'd as "6.1" Touch screen, AM/FM CD 6 speakers, BT USB, Aux Jack, Hands Free Phone Capable" on the Toyota window sticker.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. May 13, 2019 at 4:43 PM
    #2
    Nessmuk

    Nessmuk Well-Known Member

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    My 15 is anemic too. Nothing I have found in any settings helps. I have to pump the volume to 40+ if I crack the windows in order to hear anything.
     
  3. May 13, 2019 at 6:46 PM
    #3
    fb40dash5

    fb40dash5 Well-Known Member

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    I didn't notice the one in my '11 being that bad... but then it didn't have bluetooth, I don't use CDs anymore, so I couldn't really find anything to turn up, and I ditched the head unit about a week after buying it.

    I will say I wouldn't start with speakers, unless your problem is that you've got one just totally dead. I've never kept stock audio for long, but these speakers give me the least incentive to want to upgrade. They're amazingly not bad for factory stuff.

    I have an Alpine KTP445 mini-amp (just wires in line with the HU wiring harness, and puts out 45w) and an old but good HU I took out of my old Tacoma. You could even wire up one of those amps (there's at least one more brand doing the same thing, IIRC Kicker also makes one?) to the factory HU with both a regular and a reverse adapter harness to intercept the factory wiring without trying to splice a bundle of wires in your dash.
     
  4. May 13, 2019 at 7:03 PM
    #4
    Gonzo1982

    Gonzo1982 Well-Known Member

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    Eh, yeah it sucks. Dumped mine in my 13 for an Alpine ilx-107. I’d save up for a swap to something new. Even a cheap $50-100 unit would be better than the stock. Several folks have noticed an improvement in the stock speakers with a new head unit.
     
  5. May 13, 2019 at 7:20 PM
    #5
    Philrab

    Philrab Curator of useless knowledge

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    Bunch of Basic Taco mods.
    When using Bluetooth, make sure your device volume is set to max, and don’t assume it is. Link it up, start playing something over Bluetooth, then crank the volume on your device/phone.

    The stock head unit is a bit underpowered, but let’s start with the simple fixes. Ultimately, I’m seeing my JL320.4 ending up in this truck.
     
  6. May 14, 2019 at 4:19 AM
    #6
    kidsmoke

    kidsmoke [OP] Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the replies. couple things.
    yup, bluetooth volume maxxed. I did manage to get a tick more overall volume by completely turning off the loudness function on the phone. The sound is not optimal but it's listenable with windows down. I agree with the comment that the speakers in and of themselves seem decent. With the head unit at MAX volume, the sound quality is good. Below max, not so full. Suggest that the system itself is simply underpowered.

    I agree! I had a '11 TRD Sport and the radio was far better! Seems odd

    So you suggest just squeezing a little amp inline after the head unit will boost the signal and take advantage of the decent stock speakers and at least address the volume issue? The price is right. If I can plug and play that Alpine, that might be the ticket

    OR - adding a higher powered Head unit? Either or appeals to me. Dropping a couple hundred to gain significant improvement I'm open to. My problem is, once I get started I'll want to do a system and be looking at real money.

    Does anyone know the output rating on these 6.1" touchscreen head units?
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  7. May 14, 2019 at 2:28 PM
    #7
    Norton

    Norton Senior Member

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    I found a number of threads on this and similar topics when looking to upgrade the sound in my AC. The Audio & Video forum is a good place to start. Crutchfield is a good place to get an idea of what's available/suitable. Armed with that info, visit a (couple of) local shop(s) to listen to various combos. (In the end, it's about what sounds good to you, rather than what anyone else used.) Narrow your choices and buy from where you get the best "bang for your buck." Upgrading stock speakers is a good place to start. Combine that with a decision about whether you're replacing the head unit or just upgrading the signals coming from it. I chose the latter, and am very happy with the result.

    FWIW, I went with the following, which I think sounds great...
    - AudioControl LC2i Line Out Converter
    - JL Audio XD200/2v2 Amp
    - Focal PS165V1 Speakers
    - Sound Ordnance B-8PTD Sub
    - Hushmat & Noico Liner Sound Insulation

    I pulled most interior panels and the carpet, in addition to door panels, when I did mine...


    Unless money is burning a hole in your pocket, comparison shop! I got all my stuff for an average of 40% off MSRP.
     
  8. May 14, 2019 at 4:12 PM
    #8
    fb40dash5

    fb40dash5 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know what yours is rated at, but I remember reading somewhere that most factory units, and cheapy aftermarket ones, are usually like 7-12w RMS or so... blah.

    The cool thing with the "power pack" amps is if you've got a HU that's not easily replaced, or you just like the features it has but want to hear your music, you can stuff that in your dash and have better power output than even a good aftermarket HU. It's got compromises (line-level input is < preamp input, you're still using factory speaker wiring) but for like $150, it ain't bad.
     
  9. May 14, 2019 at 5:48 PM
    #9
    McSwine

    McSwine Well-Known Member

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    Concur, first money I spent on my '09. A few hundred for a JVC headunit with Apple Carplay/Android Auto and a few bucks for the mounting bracket. Easy install, way better sound with the stock speakers, Bluetooth, Nav, etc.
     
  10. May 15, 2019 at 5:52 AM
    #10
    kidsmoke

    kidsmoke [OP] Well-Known Member

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    @fb40dash5 did this Alpine come with the default connector already attached or is there a readily available adapter you can point me towards? I really like this idea
     
  11. May 15, 2019 at 7:39 AM
    #11
    fb40dash5

    fb40dash5 Well-Known Member

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    They make 2 versions IIRC, a -A with their connector already on the head unit end, and a -U with bare wires, either way you'd want the right adapter harness for the vehicle side. If you're keeping the factory HU, you'd also want what they call a reverse adapter harness, which has the connector to plug into it.

    You might check Crutchfield and see who else is making the same thing now, I bought mine 6 or 8 years ago and have moved both of them between 2 vehicles now, so there may be newer, better ones I don't know about. Really the only downside to the Alpine I have noticed is that they packaged it with a full harness going in one end, and the output coming out the other end. It's a little goofy when all it needs is speaker wires in and out, and a power, ground and turn-on signal in... would've been better as a T-harness kinda thing since you pretty much always want both ends within inches of each other by design, their way ends up with this rather large bundle of 30+ wires.

    But it still works, I have mine zip-tied to the passenger side dash support bar, which required trimming about 1.5" of the top left corner of the glove box down for about 6".
     

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