Lexus ES Issues with 2019 Lexus ES 350 Stock Audio System

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I’ve been driving my new 2019 ES 350 for a few weeks, and can’t figure out how to improve the audio, which seems only to come from the front of the cabin, above the dashboard. There doesn’t seem to be any rear speaker. The fader bar in the controls, if moved to the rear, almost completely mutes the audio.

I just turned in a 2016 ES 350 and it definitely had a better balanced audio performance.

Maybe there’s a wire not hooked up? Any other ideas?

Could this just be “the way it is”?
 

JJohn341

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This is abnormal. Can you try turning off the surround sound and see if the rear speaker work better.
 

Ian Schmidt

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That's definitely not correct, you need to run it back to the dealer ASAP.
 
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Just purchased--Lexus Silver Spring, MD--my first Lexus. I should be happy, right!?! NOT!!! We decided on the 2019 ES 350 with Panoramic Moon Roof, Blind-Spot Monitoring, and a few other options. However, we did not feel the need to purchase the Heads Up display or the Mark-Levinson Audio Package, after all, Lexus is a "Luxury" brand and as such, the stock audio package, we incorrectly presumed, would certainly deliver a sound commensurate with our now retired 2008 Toyota Sienna mini-van, or my stock 2015 Chevy Tahoe...right? Well, actually, NO! The stock audio/sound system in the 2019 Lexus ES350 is the worst audio I ever owned!! One would think that Lexus, being the luxury brand--they love to tell you they're a luxury brand and love to tout their excellent customer service--would, as a bottom line, include a basic sound system that actually sounds good. Such is not the case--listen for yourself.

Admittedly, we did not test the sound system before buying the car. However, we did not perform compression checks on the cylinders either--because when you're purchasing a Lexus, it is thought, that you're purchasing luxury through-and-through, including, yes, the audio system.

Problem: When you use the fader to increase the sound coming from the back--vs the too prominent front--speakers, the quality and volume from the back diminish greatly. And, although the salesman and service manager both agreed with us that the audio system indeed "...sounds like ****!" they did nothing for us except to inform Lexus of our discontent. Indeed the car was only three days old when they picked it up from our house to test for amplifier problems, only to discover that ALL the 2019 Lexus ES350s on their lot "...sound like ****!!"

I told them WE DID NOT want a car with such an inferior sound/audio system. They agreed!!--terrible sound system. They too could not understand why Lexus would put their name on such a sub-standard audio product.

The sales manager, Andreas Tsirikos, laid out our options: $5,000 more for a different, upgraded car, with the Mark-Levinson Audio Package (and Heads Up display and a few cameras) or keep the car with a terrible audio system. Huh? Held hostage, we buckled and laid out another $5,000 lest we be stuck with an inferior audio/sound system the dealer even admits, "...sounds terrible!!"

We feel we were swindled by Lexus and taken advantage of by the dealer. Instead of paying FULL retail on the "upgrade," we should have been given SOME discount on the upgraded vehicle. But NO!!

Instead of $5,000 for a audio system that actually sounds good, perhaps they could have charged us a little less, say $2,000 or so. After all, we did not want the Heads Up display or any of the cameras that come with the "better" (read:standard on ALL other luxury cars) audio system!! We just wanted an average audio/sound system!!

All and all, $52,500 vs the original $47,500. WTW??? Buyer beware!!

If this is how Lexus and Lexus dealers treat their customers my first Lexus will likely be my last Lexus.
 
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ssun30

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It's very unfortunate to see another complaint about the stock audio system on the new ES.
 
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I’ve been driving my new 2019 ES 350 for a few weeks, and can’t figure out how to improve the audio, which seems only to come from the front of the cabin, above the dashboard. There doesn’t seem to be any rear speaker. The fader bar in the controls, if moved to the rear, almost completely mutes the audio.

I just turned in a 2016 ES 350 and it definitely had a better balanced audio performance.

Maybe there’s a wire not hooked up? Any other ideas?

Could this just be “the way it is”?
Unfortunately, it looks like it is by design this issue exists. I don’t understand why. My old 2006 GS300 had a better audio sound than this one. I contacted the dealer and they said they will check with Lexus. Hopefully there is a solution out there.
 
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Honestly to me the front speakers sounds pretty decent. Its just the back speakers can barely be heard so the music lacks the immersive feel. The fader isnt a good option since the back seems to go from no sound to suddenly all the sound. Not gradual.
 
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I don't think I'm as upset as you, but I have to agree with the sound issues. I did get the upgraded Mark Levinson sound system on my IS350 and I'm not too impressed. Lexus seems to have gone overboard on the mids and high but did not balance it with the bass. You really have to turn up the volume before you start feeling the fullness.
Huge difference from my previous Infiniti Q50 equipped with a Bose sound system. Even at low volumes you could feel and hear the fullness of the lows. At low volumes the Mark Levinson system sounds almost tinny or similar to a Satellite station.
The other issues for me are how much you have to navigate to get to the sound settings and there's not enough difference with the surround option turned on.
Lastly, I can't understand why they didn't make the right hand knob a push button to easily access the sound settings. All the button does is seek.
 
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My wife's recently retired 2008 Toyota Sienna mini-van, my stock 2015 Chevy Tahoe (Bose) and my daughters 2016 Toyota Camry all have better sound systems--by a long shot--than the 2019 Lexus ES350. No exaggeration. To say it's underwhelming is an indeed an understatement! Luxury?...Certainly not! Lexus has apparently gone the route of selling-out for profits over product quality! Too bad. I'll be passing this info on to all my friends, family and neighbors!
 

krew

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Admittedly, we did not test the sound system before buying the car. However, we did not perform compression checks on the cylinders either--because when you're purchasing a Lexus, it is thought, that you're purchasing luxury through-and-through, including, yes, the audio system.
The sales manager, Andreas Tsirikos, laid out our options: $5,000 more for a different, upgraded car, with the Mark-Levinson Audio Package (and Heads Up display and a few cameras) or keep the car with a terrible audio system. Huh? Held hostage, we buckled and laid out another $5,000 lest we be stuck with an inferior audio/sound system the dealer even admits, "...sounds terrible!!"

Instead of $5,000 for a audio system that actually sounds good, perhaps they could have charged us a little less, say $2,000 or so. After all, we did not want the Heads Up display or any of the cameras that come with the "better" (read:standard on ALL other luxury cars) audio system!! We just wanted an average audio/sound system!!

All and all, $52,500 vs the original $47,500. WTW??? Buyer beware!!
I feel your pain, and understand the disappointment. At the same time, the ML surround sound system is pure joy, the heads-up display is very useful. Wish you didn't have to go through the experience, but rest assured, your money was well spent.

Looking forward to your impressions after tempers have cooled. :)
 
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Will let you know how it sounds, but rest assured, tempers will only have cooled if and when Lexus makes this right by me!
 

FearTheYu

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Well, you did admit that you didn't test the sound system and compare that audio system with the Mark Levinson system. That is Caveat Emptor and maybe a bit of buyer's remorse. The sound system in the ES350 may suck for you, sorry, but many others find it just fine. Glad you're an audiophile though! It's great to be able to distinguish sounds at different levels of fidelity.
 

FearTheYu

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First, what is your audio source? Is it satellite radio, FM, AM, etc? If using iPod, Mp3, MP4, etc, consider what compression/quality of the audio data. The speaker system is designed to be like a 7.1 surround sound like a home theatre setup. I haven't had a chance to try DVD movies on the 19 ES350 because technically you can't watch a video while driving (considered unsafe/unlawful in the USA as a distraction I believe), but some of the Lexus models can play a DVD movie - In order for that to happen, the car has to be in "Park" and also the emergency/parking brake needs to be on as well. My 14' IS350 with M/L could do it. I haven't tried it on my 17' IS350 with M/L, because its not like I'm gonna watch a movie while stationary. But to illustrate my point, fading to the back is like a home theater. Try turning off surround sound in the DSP settings and let me know if that helps.
 

FearTheYu

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Well, you purchased the vehicle that comes in two options with the audio. It seems your complaint needs to be dealt with at a dealership level. If I were the sales person, I would have given you a demonstration of the sound system and the difference between to the two that way you you could have made an informed decision on choosing to opt for the M/L system instead of the standard audio system.

Objectively speaking, at the same time, a buyer should test out both of the systems and decide which one is best for your needs. I can't speak for what was said during the sales process or negotiations, but as I personally buy stuff, I do my homework.

I'm sorry you you are still tempered, if you feel that you need to voice your opinion about your dealership experience good and bad. 1-800-25-LEXUS.
 
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zeusus

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To be honest, if I bought a car expecting great audio quality and never bothered to test the audio to see if it passed by expectations or signaled a necessity to upgrade...

I'd definitely say my peace regarding the audio system itself based on the merits of performance but I would have nobody to blame but myself for making that decision.
 
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First, what is your audio source? Is it satellite radio, FM, AM, etc? If using iPod, Mp3, MP4, etc, consider what compression/quality of the audio data. The speaker system is designed to be like a 7.1 surround sound like a home theatre setup. I haven't had a chance to try DVD movies on the 19 ES350 because technically you can't watch a video while driving (considered unsafe/unlawful in the USA as a distraction I believe), but some of the Lexus models can play a DVD movie - In order for that to happen, the car has to be in "Park" and also the emergency/parking brake needs to be on as well. My 14' IS350 with M/L could do it. I haven't tried it on my 17' IS350 with M/L, because its not like I'm gonna watch a movie while stationary. But to illustrate my point, fading to the back is like a home theater. Try turning off surround sound in the DSP settings and let me know if that helps.

Unfortunately, the source and surround sound setting made no difference in how weak the back speakers are compared to the front speakers. For example when setting The vol sto 10, the sound feels like it is coming from the front speakers only. If I fade the sound to the back speakers only I have to adjust the vol to 30 or higher for the any acceptable loudness. The problem is the size and location of the back speakers. Also there is no sound from back subwoofer.
 
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JJohn341

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How many different audio system are available for 7th gen ES? I know that the 6th Gen had three Different systems- Basic non NAV Audio, Premium-Luxury Nav Audio(made by pioneer) and the top the line Mark-Levinson Audio.
 
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