Issues with 2019 Lexus ES 350 Stock Audio System

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I understand as we had the same experience with our new 2019 LEXUS ES350 that specified to have the Mark Levinson audio system. As I explained in earlier email, we learned the issue from a Toyota employee at the Georgetown KY plant who told us of the issues Toyota/LEXUS had in acquiring the specified ML premium OEM radios such that a backlog of 'finished' production cars sat on the manufacturing plant lot for many weeks until the Georgetown KY plant management directed to take any and all available radios in stock (regardless of model) and install in the ES350's to get the units off the lot. This gentleman told me and my wife exactly what occurred, and he was actually paid overtime that weekend to be part of the team to install the non-ML radios into the ES350's. My opinion: that's why some ES350 cars have the specified ML systems, and some do not. Shame on Lexus who tells us that the audio system on our ES350 'works as designed'. CORRECT! But it's not the audio system that is specified as on the car in the window sticker.
 
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how do you finish with "any radio in inventory"? That does not exist.

Sell the car, sue the company, it is not something they can fix - they designed it like that.
Any radio in inventory means, simply, any radio in stock regardless of model. Thanks for your helpful advice on our alternates to take. Very insightful.
 
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Armed with the TSB posted on the forum, the service center replaced the old amp with the new one, and wow the difference is night and day! As Pam and MAH mentioned, the sound now actually fills in the entire car and I can hear noticeable bass coming from the rear where before there was absolutely nothing. I even sat in the backseat to test things out and the entire rear of the car was shaking and vibrating from the bass of the subwoofer lol. I also didn’t have to put my ear right up against the rear speakers to hear no more than a whisper of audio coming out like before. This now is much better, and I can confidently say that IMO, is the best audio system I have had out of my two previous Lexus vehicles. Even the sound in the front is now more evenly distributed with stronger bass and clarity. Given that there are 7 front speakers and 3 in the back by design, there still will always be somewhat of a front bias as I’ve honestly found in all my previous Lexus vehicles. Nevertheless, you can actually fade to the rear now and adjust the system more to your liking. I am no music expert, but I currently have my fader set two notches to the rear with surround and ASL ON, treble +1, Mid +2, and Bass +3. I listen to hip hop and I enjoy heavy bass. This system now sounds great. I also use Apple Car Play to listen to all my audio, so the source definitely does matter. I urge everyone to print out the TSB and get this done asap. Thank you to everyone for your persistence and for fighting for what’s right. We all paid a lot of money for this vehicle, and it’s only fair that we should finally be getting what we have deserved this entire past year. Best of luck to everyone
Thanks for posting this info. I have not been able to retrieve the TSB on this issue. Could you please post the TSB number? This site’s links do not work to retrieve the PDF. Could you please send the bulletin number and date or take a photo and post ? Thanks!
 
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The Service Bulletin number is L-SB-0020-20 dated May 8, 2020. I had my amp replaced and it does make a difference.
 
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The Service Bulletin number is L-SB-0020-20 dated May 8, 2020. I had my amp replaced and it does make a difference.
Thanks so very much for providing the information! I brought the car in today to dealer. The service advisor that’s worked there for 4 years said he’s never heard of the issue. The service manager said he is aware of the issue and will evaluate the system and if necessary will add or replace amplifier.
 
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I had the same issue with my service department, I had to demand that they replace it per the service bullet. Lexus is playing games by not recognizing that they made a huge mistake with this system, which by the way, they changed in 2020. I paid a premium price for what I was told was a luxury vehicle, what a disappointment.
 
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Thanks for helping a fellow Lexus ES owner: Question, is it a full replacement of a defective single primary amplifier or is it an additional amplifier that is a separate addition to the system?
 
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Thanks for the dedicated help. Lexus replaced the amplifier and the stereo works properly now. I saw the cost of the amp it was $1200.00 that they charge themselves however no cost to me as it was a warranty item. They also replaced the seat upholstery on the upright portion of the seat because the surface was breaking down prematurely.
 
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About whether Service Bulletin L-SB-0020-20 applies to ML systems as well as base audio: Several people have mentioned/tagged the story about the KY plant employee who said there was a time when stocks were low and in order to "finish" cars, assemblers where told just to throw in whatever was available. If this is true, were at least some allegedly ML-equipped cars "finished" this way? Wouldn't the bulletin apply to them? And, given that fix is about the amp, not the speakers, wouldn't a close look at the existing amp/radio be enough to prove whether a given ML-equipped model deserved the fix, too, no matter what the wording of the bulletin is?
2011 ES 350, Beige-on-beige, currently 52K
 
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Same here, just bought mine couple of days ago, you can't use the fader. I prefer hearing my music from the rear, why have 10 speakers if you only hear the ones on the dash?? Mine does have decent sound but you have to crank up the volume & still have the balance issue. I will turn off the surround feature hope that will help.
 
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Just got home after picking up a 2019 ES 350 and was searching for answers on this. Still within the factory warranty, hopefully calling them and scheduling appointments with this TSB info will sir for me!
 
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Wish me luck, just dropped off my 2019 ES350, gave them the bulletin see what happens. The only bad thing is they gave me a 2021 ES350 so of course I checked out the fader, it sounded about the same as mine. If this is the norm Lexus has to get their **** together. Will post what the dealer said later.
 
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Pam, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, The dealership called me and they are replacing the amplifier. I did print out and showed them the TSB, they said they were not aware of the fader problem. Guys who have this issue don't drag your feet, this warranty is in effect for 48 months or 50,000 miles. They had to order the amp, hope to have it in & installed Monday.
 
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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”?
This was a known issue and covered under the manufacturers warranty they need to replace the amplifier I literally just got it done just now for free. I forget the Lexus Service Bulletin number but if you talk to the service department they are completely aware of it (they just won't tell you on their own shame on them). Parts and labor was over 800.00 footed at their bill. Good luck I hope this helps other out there
 
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Thank you, everyone!! Just picked up a pre-owned 2019 ES300h…audio is terrible - off to make a service appt armed with the TSB. You’re all awesome.