Lexus ES Issues with 2019 Lexus ES 350 Stock Audio System

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I purchased new 2019 ES 350 in Oct., 2018. I noticed the rear seat speaker did not work. I took the car in for 5000 mi. service May 7, 2019 and reported the speaker problem to the service rep. When I picked the car up 3 hours later, the service rep explained these speakers were sub-woofers and were not supposed to put out sound.
This is the most ridiculous explanation I have heard lately. Sub-woofers do not put out sound? If Lexus does not fix this problem, this will be my last Lexus. ( I have had 3 previously.)
 
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I purchased new 2019 ES 350 in Oct., 2018. I noticed the rear seat speaker did not work. I took the car in for 5000 mi. service May 7, 2019 and reported the speaker problem to the service rep. When I picked the car up 3 hours later, the service rep explained these speakers were sub-woofers and were not supposed to put out sound.
This is the most ridiculous explanation I have heard lately. Sub-woofers do not put out sound? If Lexus does not fix this problem, this will be my last Lexus. ( I have had 3 previously.)

Definitely my last one
 
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Just purchased a brand new 2019 ES350 last week. Spending 50k on a car I didn't think to thoroughly test the sound system which is labeled as 'Premium' on the window sticker. So much regret.

This is by far the WORST sound system I have ever experienced in a car. The stock system in my '93 Camry blows this thing out of the water and that system didn't have any tweeters, woofers, center channel etc. The folks at Pioneer really **** the bed with this one. It's borderline defective. I have to set the 'surround' setting to off, then I have to push the sound to the rear about 4 clicks and to the right 2 clicks. Then it just barely starts to balance out the cabin. You'll notice that the adjustment feature despite being called 'fade' doesn't actually fade but rather, at about 5 clicks abruptly phases completely to the rear with no sound to the front. I would call this defective.

If anyone hears back about a fix to this in any way shape or form, please update the forum here. I will be the first in line to offer my car up.
 
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I, too, nearly smashed the dash into a thousand pieces when hearing this stereo at first. So horrible. So much more frustrating when things are good and then Lexus spends their R&D dollars and design choices making things worse again. I did manage to level the stereo out, so that it sounds decent: I have a Samsung S8. On the cruddy Mark Lev, I leveled the Bs, Trbl, and Mid to zero. I moved the fade one step toward the back. I turned on surround. *Then* on my phone I use the custom equalizer. Here I put a gentle "S" curve and flattened the highs. That is, from low to high frequencies: -1, 2, 3, 0, -2, -4, -2, 1, 0
I turned off Surround on the phone (but you can play with this). And I turned on Tube Amp Pro (which warms the sound). This still leaves you with the moronic design element that puts the midrange in the back door speakers behind the front seat--so those are the most prominent cymbals and egg shakers in your ear : / And the sub is not very controllable. Overall, weak AF. I, too, have been saying that it feels like there's a really expensive boom box sitting on the dash of my expensive luxury sedan. But I think the issue is not helped by the fact that the cabin space is now smaller (People who sit in the back, don't seem to think the sound is lacking). And, finally, the thing that is ticking me off the most is the speaker phone. It is now BACK to being jammed into one tweeter on the dash and is so shrill and painful (literally) that it is completely unusable. Unbelievable. A $50k + vehicle... I want my money back...
 
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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”?
I have the exact same problem with the surround audio system. When I fade to the rear speakers one can barely hear any sound. The dealer told me that Lexus is aware of the problem, I checked with a second dealer here in Phoenix and they verified it and there is nothing that they cab do. My service advisor told me that they checked out the Mark Levinsion System and had the same results. I was told thay they had " small speakers " in the rear. The rear speakers are 6x9,those ARE NOT SMALL speakers. I do not understand why the Japanese would design such a crummy sound system, it is not like them to put out such a lousy audio system. The audio on my 2017 Tacoma sound much better than the lexus one. I am looking for a local stereo shop that really knows their stuff and see what it will take to resolve this matter. One more thing am I the only one that thinks that the navigation sucks ? Garmin is years ahead of Lexus . One should be able to see " Gas Buddy ", " Sig-Alert ", Restaurants ect. on the great display. PS Mine is a 2019 ES350 Luxury.
 
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I have the exact same problem with the surround audio system. When I fade to the rear speakers one can barely hear any sound. The dealer told me that Lexus is aware of the problem, I checked with a second dealer here in Phoenix and they verified it and there is nothing that they cab do. My service advisor told me that they checked out the Mark Levinsion System and had the same results. I was told thay they had " small speakers " in the rear. The rear speakers are 6x9,those ARE NOT SMALL speakers. I do not understand why the Japanese would design such a crummy sound system, it is not like them to put out such a lousy audio system. The audio on my 2017 Tacoma sound much better than the lexus one. I am looking for a local stereo shop that really knows their stuff and see what it will take to resolve this matter. One more thing am I the only one that thinks that the navigation sucks ? Garmin is years ahead of Lexus . One should be able to see " Gas Buddy ", " Sig-Alert ", Restaurants ect. on the great display. PS Mine is a 2019 ES350 Luxury.
I have the exact same problem with the surround audio system. When I fade to the rear speakers one can barely hear any sound. The dealer told me that Lexus is aware of the problem, I checked with a second dealer here in Phoenix and they verified it and there is nothing that they cab do. My service advisor told me that they checked out the Mark Levinsion System and had the same results. I was told thay they had " small speakers " in the rear. The rear speakers are 6x9,those ARE NOT SMALL speakers. I do not understand why the Japanese would design such a crummy sound system, it is not like them to put out such a lousy audio system. The audio on my 2017 Tacoma sound much better than the lexus one. I am looking for a local stereo shop that really knows their stuff and see what it will take to resolve this matter. One more thing am I the only one that thinks that the navigation sucks ? Garmin is years ahead of Lexus . One should be able to see " Gas Buddy ", " Sig-Alert ", Restaurants ect. on the great display. PS Mine is a 2019 ES350 Luxury.
Tmogis
I have posted my displeasure with both my dealer and the customer service people with Lexus customer relations.
Both have noted issues with the lack of full surround sound as it it sold.
My suggestion is to keep calling your dealer and customer relations at Lexus.
If you find a stereo shop and spend the money to get a fix....Lexus wins!!
Put pressure on Lexus.
Good luck!!
 
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Got the 2019 ES the other day with the 10 speaker Pioneer system. After reading all the negative reviews, I made sure to sit in the car myself for several minutes while playing a variety of songs and changing the audio source. I moved around in the car and even sat in the back seat for a minute or two to hear the audio from different perspectives. There definitely is a front bias with most of the audio only coming from the front speakers, but the quality of the audio and bass sounds great to me. I had to make a few adjustments to the treble, bass and mid from factory default settings, but it sounds better than the audio system in my 2018 ES which also had a front bias, and made the car rattle (bass set very high).

Nevertheless, I can definitely understand how people would be extremely upset expecting a "surround sound" experience in a $50k car but most of the audio is coming from the front speakers which isn't truly surround sound. My 2018 ES also had surround sound, but turning it on and off only affected the front speakers. Knowing this, I came in to the 2019 model with similar expectations which is why I was not and am not disappointed or at all surprised by the front bias.

I was told by the sales manager that Lexus designed this new audio system to be more of a concert style driver focused listening experience as others on here have already posted about, which would explain the front bias. In my opinion, Lexus should not have advertised this as a surround sound system, being that the rear speakers aren't designed to produce audio loud enough to mimic that experience.
Not that this justification will make anyone happier about their situation, but I hope this at least gives others some perspective on the situation.
 
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I have been in this car as a passenger and I actually love the "concert" effect. I recognize it's not "surround sound" and I think where Lexus failed was in their not being clear about what to expect from this system. It is a deficit in the rear speakers, but for me, it was a beautiful recreation of actually watching a live performance where the sound is in the front. I understand people being disappointed and that falls on Lexus because they should have presented their customers with more information if they changed the concept of surround sound, especially at that price point.

Good luck to everyone
 
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Welcome aboard! @Millaydpoet ... speaking for myself alone, I welcome your realistic appraisal and positive comments.
 
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I recently brought my 2019 ES300H in for the first maintenance check and explained the rear speakers were not functioning properly. I was told this was "normal". I then tested the audio system further to see if there was some setting adjustments I could make so it would sound better. Nothing worked. I compared to my wife's 2017 RX and my 2013 ES300H (both of which have the stock audio system) and the difference was glaring. I scheduled another service appointment to get it fixed...and was called back later saying there currently is no fix. I was told Lexus is aware of the problem and is working on a repair.
 

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Well, let me pile onto the steaming pile of poo that is the 2019 Lexus ES350 audio. I have test driven an F Sport 4 times now and although I haven't gone through with trading in my 2018, way back in January when I first drove the car, I immediately advised the sales person in the right seat there was a glaring issue with the sound system. In my opinion (9 time Lexus owner 2006 to 2018 IS and ES models), the sound seems to only come from the center of the dash and if you attempt to fade it to the back, it fades alright. As in gone.
I drove a 2019 ES350 non F Sport over the July 4th weekend as a loaner from my dealer and it too has the same issue as the F Sports.
So I guess it's safe to assume that all 2019 Lexus ES350 models suffer the same glaring audio deficiency.
I always admired the quality of the sound in the ES350 versus the weak, tinty and underpowered sound coming from my IS250 and IS250 F Sport audio systems.
Because I always lease, I never add the Mark Levinson. What's the point in padding my monthly payment for something I don't own? I do love the Matador Red Mica and Ultrasonic Blue MIca 2.0 versions of the F Sport and did try making a deal a few times, but prices haven't come down enough for me yet. And now, it's a short wait for the 2020's.
It's so sad to see how long this thread is, and how Lexus seems to not really care about alienating their most loyal customers who easily drop an average of $50,000 for all ES350's sold.
It would be interesting to spend a few hours at a stealership and perform an "Audio Test Drive" of every 2019 model from the UX to the LS and see if in fact this problematic audio exists across multiple platforms, or just the ES?
With all the testing and millions of dollars allegedly spent on R&D, how could something so basic as the sound system slip past a litany of engineers, managers, car builders, and even automobile critics who test drive and critique for a living?
I've seen lots of negative reviews about the sound system and sadly it's all true. If Lexus were truly concerned about their loyal customer's concerns, it seems a fix would be easy enough. Or, in fact, the entire sound system may be grossly underpowered and just junk?
It's very disingenuous as other posted above for Lexus to advertise this as some well thought out, state of the art sound system,
Personally, I'd say let's blame it all on Minnie Driver. Bring back James Remar! 🎧
 
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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.
Did you get what you expected from the Mark Levinson ?
 
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Well, let me pile onto the steaming pile of poo that is the 2019 Lexus ES350 audio. I have test driven an F Sport 4 times now and although I haven't gone through with trading in my 2018, way back in January when I first drove the car, I immediately advised the sales person in the right seat there was a glaring issue with the sound system. In my opinion (9 time Lexus owner 2006 to 2018 IS and ES models), the sound seems to only come from the center of the dash and if you attempt to fade it to the back, it fades alright. As in gone.
I drove a 2019 ES350 non F Sport over the July 4th weekend as a loaner from my dealer and it too has the same issue as the F Sports.
So I guess it's safe to assume that all 2019 Lexus ES350 models suffer the same glaring audio deficiency.
I always admired the quality of the sound in the ES350 versus the weak, tinty and underpowered sound coming from my IS250 and IS250 F Sport audio systems.
Because I always lease, I never add the Mark Levinson. What's the point in padding my monthly payment for something I don't own? I do love the Matador Red Mica and Ultrasonic Blue MIca 2.0 versions of the F Sport and did try making a deal a few times, but prices haven't come down enough for me yet. And now, it's a short wait for the 2020's.
It's so sad to see how long this thread is, and how Lexus seems to not really care about alienating their most loyal customers who easily drop an average of $50,000 for all ES350's sold.
It would be interesting to spend a few hours at a stealership and perform an "Audio Test Drive" of every 2019 model from the UX to the LS and see if in fact this problematic audio exists across multiple platforms, or just the ES?
With all the testing and millions of dollars allegedly spent on R&D, how could something so basic as the sound system slip past a litany of engineers, managers, car builders, and even automobile critics who test drive and critique for a living?
I've seen lots of negative reviews about the sound system and sadly it's all true. If Lexus were truly concerned about their loyal customer's concerns, it seems a fix would be easy enough. Or, in fact, the entire sound system may be grossly underpowered and just junk?
It's very disingenuous as other posted above for Lexus to advertise this as some well thought out, state of the art sound system,
Personally, I'd say let's blame it all on Minnie Driver. Bring back James Remar! 🎧
If you are referring to my post above, you're way off lol. I don't work for Lexus, and was not paid in anyway to write my review. As I said, the sound system is definitely different, and there absolutely is a front bias in the sound which is not preferable to everyone. Lexus should not have advertised this as a "surround sound system". I myself question why they even have rear speakers in this sound system since I really don't hear anything coming out of the back. All I am saying is that I personally don't mind the audio coming mainly from the front since that is where I sit in the car 100% of the time, and I find the quality to be quite good after making adjustments to the treble, mids, and bass. My 2018 ES also had a front bias, so maybe I am just used to it by now. The new ES is selling like crazy. Doesn't mean everyone loves the sound system, but it also doesn't mean everyone thinks it is awful. With the high amount of sales across the US, I doubt Lexus will see a need to make a change based on a forum with 172 posts. They sold around 5,000 units last month according to their last sales report for June, and have sold around that same number for the past several months.
I hope you can enjoy the car as much as I am enjoying mine, even if the sound system isn't ideal. Best of luck
 
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Good afternoon
I have my ES300h for 15 days. As I said before, I was already on notice about the standard sound system, and I bought the car with the hope that it would not be so serious. I am very dissatisfied. The sound only comes from the front, especially the speaker next to the controller. There is no stereo feeling. There is no clarity in the sound, with a preponderance of medium frequencies. There are no high frequencies, mainly because the tweeters do not point to the ear but to the windshield, and rear door have not any tweeter. The "Surround" button does absolutely nothing. There's no sound in the back seats. There are also no good bass (Subwoofer? What subwoofer?). So It's like carrying a monophonic radio on the dashboard.
Future buyers: if you like to listen to music like me, do not buy this car.
If Lexus has sold 5000 in the USA with this problem ... they have 5000 potential angry customers ..
Here at Europe is the first time selling the ES... and may be will be the last one.
 
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I went to my local Lexus dealer today to buy an ES 300h. I planned to test drive it and then pay cash for it. I've spent weeks reading reviews and watching videos. I expected the sound system issue wasn't really an issue that would keep me from buying the car. It was. I didn't even take the car off the lot after listening to the ML sound system. It's muddy, dull and lifeless. The sales manager said they know it's a problem, that Lexus knows it's a problem and a fix is coming in the 2020 model. Has anyone else heard that changes will be made in the 2020 model? I'm incredibly disappointed as I love the car but will not drive a $50k car with a crappy sound system. I'm also surprised Mark-Levinson put their name on this implementation. Turns me off on them, too. Has anyone else heard changes are coming? And my sincere regrets to those who stuck with this atrocity. Again, hoping others have info as to changes coming in 2020. I REALLY want to buy this car and hope the dealer is being truthful about the 2020 model. TIA for any info anyone has.
 
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Got the 2019 ES the other day with the 10 speaker Pioneer system. After reading all the negative reviews, I made sure to sit in the car myself for several minutes while playing a variety of songs and changing the audio source. I moved around in the car and even sat in the back seat for a minute or two to hear the audio from different perspectives. There definitely is a front bias with most of the audio only coming from the front speakers, but the quality of the audio and bass sounds great to me. I had to make a few adjustments to the treble, bass and mid from factory default settings, but it sounds better than the audio system in my 2018 ES which also had a front bias, and made the car rattle (bass set very high).

Nevertheless, I can definitely understand how people would be extremely upset expecting a "surround sound" experience in a $50k car but most of the audio is coming from the front speakers which isn't truly surround sound. My 2018 ES also had surround sound, but turning it on and off only affected the front speakers. Knowing this, I came in to the 2019 model with similar expectations which is why I was not and am not disappointed or at all surprised by the front bias.

I was told by the sales manager that Lexus designed this new audio system to be more of a concert style driver focused listening experience as others on here have already posted about, which would explain the front bias. In my opinion, Lexus should not have advertised this as a surround sound system, being that the rear speakers aren't designed to produce audio loud enough to mimic that experience.
Not that this justification will make anyone happier about their situation, but I hope this at least gives others some perspective on the situation.
I hate to say this, but the sound system in my 2012 Camry XLE (I think they used JBL) sounds better than the $3k Mark Levinson system in the 2019 ES 350. I'm not quite sure what went wrong at Lexus but something went very wrong. And it's not just the rear speakers. The system lacks clarity and presence, and it's simply not a premium sound system. I had a rental Cadillac CTS for a week (Bose system) and the difference is night and day. Lexus and Mark Levinson really messed up on this model.
 
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I went to my local Lexus dealer today to buy an ES 300h. I planned to test drive it and then pay cash for it. I've spent weeks reading reviews and watching videos. I expected the sound system issue wasn't really an issue that would keep me from buying the car. It was. I didn't even take the car off the lot after listening to the ML sound system. It's muddy, dull and lifeless. The sales manager said they know it's a problem, that Lexus knows it's a problem and a fix is coming in the 2020 model. Has anyone else heard that changes will be made in the 2020 model? I'm incredibly disappointed as I love the car but will not drive a $50k car with a crappy sound system. I'm also surprised Mark-Levinson put their name on this implementation. Turns me off on them, too. Has anyone else heard changes are coming? And my sincere regrets to those who stuck with this atrocity. Again, hoping others have info as to changes coming in 2020. I REALLY want to buy this car and hope the dealer is being truthful about the 2020 model. TIA for any info anyone has.
I'm in the same boat as you. In a waiting mode. Surprised that Lexus hasn't corrected this yet- hasn't it been about 12 months that the 2019 model has been out? Sounds (no pun intended) like it is a hardware issue rather than an electrical/computer issue to me. Hope Lexus also corrects the issue for current 2019 owners.

I'm also hoping that for 2020 Lexus replaces the dizzy chrome stripes in the grill on the base ES with a new filler like on the RX. That and addition of Cadmium Orange would swing the deal for me.

In summary, for me, the 2019 ES is close, but no cigar.
 
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I want to Thank all of you. I test drove an ES300h yesterday and was thrilled with the driving experience . Nice handling and comfort as well as good pickup, especially for a Hybrid. Just tested Lincoln MKZ hybrid an hour before and it had so-so pickup, but nice audio and I was seriously thinking about it, anyway, I digress. I asked the Lexus salesman all kinds of questions about the operation of the ES and he wasn't very knowledgeable and said after you buy it, our Tech Team will go over the operation of the all the "bells and whistles", HA! Why then? I did that with our current 2016 MDX, and that was a mistake. The last thing we did was turn up the audio and, as most have stated here, it was all front and reminded me of my first car with AM/FM radio only and 2 tinny speakers. So, it looks like I'll wait for 2020, thanks again for this board and I hope there's a resolution for all the current owners soon. Best.
 
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