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Lexus ES 350 XM and Sirius



  • Anyone with XM or SIRIUS installed in an ES350 with Navigation: Is the satellite radio controlled with the LCD display and the steering wheel controls? Is the AUX adapter in the center console disabled when XM or SIRIUS is installed?

    Is the XM or SIRIUS installed in the trunk or where is it installed and is the car prewired for satellite radio?

    Please answer part or all that you know. Thanks
  • tnfantnfan Posts: 18
    Is the satellite radio controlled with the LCD display and the steering wheel controls?

    First let me say I have XM installed.

    Steering wheel controls preset station seek within the satellite presets. You can have 3 sets of 6 presets. They are referred to as SAT1, SAT2, and SAT3. With the LCD touch display you can seek/scan within a music type and also seek for specific type of music category. Unlike some of the other touch screen functions that are not accessible when the car is in drive, the satellite functions are always available via the touch screen.

    Is the AUX adapter in the center console disabled when XM or SIRIUS is installed?


    Is the XM or SIRIUS installed in the trunk or where is it installed and is the car prewired for satellite radio?

    It is prewired. The unit is installed out of sight in the trunk area behind the covering of the trunk area. I had the antenna installed on the rear deck and have had absolutely no problems with reception.

    Overall, IMHO this is a very easy to use system.

    Detailed operational instructions can be found in the navigation users manual for those that have already purchased the ES350.
  • Thanks for the information! That's exactly what I needed to know! One question I forgot to ask: If you plug in a device, such as an iPod, into the AUX adapter, is it displayed on the LCD screen as an AUX device? If so, I suppose you can only control the audio input, such as volume, bass, treble?
  • tnfantnfan Posts: 18
    That is correct. Song, album, etc. selection is done from the IPOD. You will need to set the volume appropriately on the IPOD first and then can adjust from the car's volume control.
  • I had the antenna installed on the rear deck and have had absolutely no problems with reception

    Can you please post picture of where the antenna is installed?
  • tnfantnfan Posts: 18
    Hope this works. Try the below links. If it doesn't work then go to MyCarSpace and view the pictures.


  • zekeman1zekeman1 Posts: 422
    That's where they installed my XM antenna but your pix has me wondering whether XM kits come with different antennas; mine is about half the size as yours...wonder if they package different size antennas in the kits? Out of curiosity, I'm going to call my dealer tomorrow and ask.
  • Thank you for the pictures, tnfan. Do you have a Moon Shell Mica?

    The dealer that I spoke to told me that it "HAS" to be installed externally. I don't think he knows what he was talking about. :mad:
  • tnfantnfan Posts: 18
    You are welcome.

    Color is Tungsten Pearl. Lighting was not very good when I took the pictures as the care was in the garage.

    Not sure about the antenna having to be outside. My dealer had no issue whatsoever putting it in the rear deck. I have read on other boards of the antenna also being placed on the front dash. Like I said I have had no signal problems other than under bridges, some enclosed parking garages, and downtown among the tall buildings. This is normal from what I understand regardless of where the antenna is placed.
  • Just had the XM radio installed in the ES350. The antenna used was about one-inch square and a half-inch thick. It was mounted on the lip of the trunk, in the middle. On the inside, the wire routes through a mount attach to the inside of the trunk lid, to keep the wire taught and to keep from damaging your system if someone decided to jerk your antenna off the trunk. The wire is not visible from that point to the XM Direct unit. The installation was highly professional.

    The problem I have is sound level. The volume has to be adjusted differently for the XM versus the FM. I'm going to talk to the dealer about fixing the problem. I know there is a device available to correct sound levels on add-on devices such as the XM, MP3 and CD changers, etc.

    Is anyone else experiencing the differences in sound levels and having to adjust volumes for different inputs?
  • hesstonhesston Posts: 1
    We had XMS installed on our 2007 Lexus ES350, AM, FM, sound quality is great when we switch to XM the volume immediately goes down and the quality of tone is flat. Antenna is installed outside trunk, has anyone else experienced this and if you have a solution, please let us know.
  • XM radio in an ES350: The Lexus kit is manufactured by Pioneer and consists of an XM receiver, antenna and interface cable harness to connect to the factory-installed wiring. The vehicle is pre-wired to accept the receiver. The Lexus instructions call for mounting the antenna on the right side of the trunk lid. This is simply a matter of convenience for the dealer: the XM receiver is mounted in the right, rear, wheel well. The antenna will work perfectly well in other locations. If it is mounted on the trunk lid, make sure there is a rainstop device mounted just inside the trunk lid to keep rainwater from traveling along the antenna wire. The rainstop will force water to fall into the channel that normally carries away water entering the edges around the trunk lid.

    Mounting the antenna inside the car at the back window is perfectly acceptable. If you are installing a SIRIUS radio, the reception inside the window would not be quite as reliable as XM because SIRIUS does not have ground repeaters and always needs a clear shot of the southwest sky.

    Unfortunately, the wizards that designed the ES350 headin unit and radio/amplifier set all the inputs at the same attentuation "level". This means the CD, FM, AUX, AM and XM inputs are not attenuated to account for different signal strengths. The radio and amplifier are one unit and neither it nor the Pioneer XM unit have any attentuation controls to set different sound levels. The result is that when changing from FM to XM, etc., you'll have to change the volume to achieve the same sound level.

    This is a lousy and inexpensive setup for a luxury vehicle. If you look at the radio/amplifier and the XM receiver, they are TOYOTA parts made by Pioneer. There is a company, called VAIS ( that manufactures audio interface devices to seamlessly connect aftermarket electronic devices with factory headin units. They specialize in Toyota/Lexus and will be releasing a new product, called the SLXI SoundLinQ that will interface between a TERK XM receiver and the factory wiring harness for the ES350 and allow you to set the audio levels for each input as well as have remote control capability of your IPod. The factory XM receiver will not work with the SoundLinQ SLXI but the Terk unit only costs about $50 and the SoundLinQ will be around $300 MSRP. The dealer cost of a Lexus XM radio alone is around $590.

    The result will be that you can customize each input on the LCD screen, setting audio levels, etc., and matching volume levels between inputs, avoiding having to change volume levels when switching between inputs. In addition, you can control your IPod onscreen. Most Lexus technicians that install the Lexus XM radios are familiar with other SoundLinQ products and will be able to install the new system for you, when available.

    I wish every ES350 owner would send emails to Lexus and complain about the cheap XM audio setup (yes, even the Mark Levinson)installed in Lexus vehicles and the poor sound quality along with having to constanly change volume levels when switching between inputs, especially with the XM radio installed. Lexus will never do anything about the system until there are enough complaints to warrant a "fix". The Pioneer XM radio is a cheap unit and will only work with a Toyota/Lexus. If you ever decide to switch to another brand of vehicle, you can't take your XM radio with you. Right now, the Lexus attitutde is, concerning the XM radio (paraphrased): "that's the way we designed it, so, live with it or don't buy it".
  • psychdocpsychdoc Posts: 147
    ***If you are installing a SIRIUS radio, the reception inside the window would not be quite as reliable as XM because SIRIUS does not have ground repeaters and always needs a clear shot of the southwest sky.***

    Not true. Sirius DOES maintain ground repeaters and you can ascertain the relative contributions of the satellite and the ground repeaters on any Sirius receiver by pressing the "signal" button. It will show you a bar graph of the satellite strength and a separate bar graph for the repeater strength.

    Sirius rules!!!

    After all, where else can you hear Howard Stern?
  • scmanscman Posts: 9
    XM radio is being installed in my new ES-350 today at Lexus of Glendale (Calif). I requested an inside antenna mount and was told, "no problem" as this is the way they have been installing them.

    On a related note, I traded in a Honda Accord with XM. I just recently extended the service for a year on that radio. How does XM handle this? Will they apply my remaining "credits" to the new XM Radio. Will they waive the activation fee (they should)?

    Too bad there are variable volume problems with this unit, but I can't live without XM regardless.....I just hope I don't get blasted out of my seat when hitting the Mode button on the steering wheel.....
  • meadoelmeadoel Posts: 18
    I got an email from Lexus yesterday that said starting in October Lexus will be providing Factory Installed XM. It seemed that the LS would be first... I wonder if that will fix any of these issues.... assuming it will be available in the ES 350.
  • zekeman1zekeman1 Posts: 422
    They credit remaining time on the recently extended unit on to the ES350 my case, they also added the 3 months gratis "trial" subscription Lexus gave me, to my account also.
  • scmanscman Posts: 9
    I just had the XM radio activated. The antenna was installed on the back deck, inside the vehicle and is identical to the picture posted here by someone else.

    XM simply transferred my account over to the new radio. Nothing was mentioned regarding an additional 3 months or free trial - oh well - but they did try to sell me an additional portable XM receiver - no thanks!!

    The satellite radio performance is about what I expected. There is most definitely a volume difference between XM and FM, but I can live with that. I found the ML sound system with XM can be a little more "full" by setting the speaker balance adjustment a little more to the rear than using the default speaker balance. XM sounds not that much better than FM, but I think that is a result of the after-market approach to XM that Lexus is now doing.

    As far as the overall sound system goes, you really can't appreciate the ML sound system until you play a DVD audio or video disk. Like home systems, the audio system in this vehicle is better when using better source material. For instance, I placed a DVD of Spielberg's A.I. in the CD changer and WOW. Great depth of sound and detail (I haven't yet played a CD in the system). You might want to try this.

    Commercial video DVD's will play on the navigation screen only when the parking brake is on. If you release the parking brake, the video disappears but the audio continues to play. It's a safety feature that, I suppose, could be easily defeated, but then why chance hitting a telephone pole in your new Lexus while watching "The Lord of the Rings?".....
  • zekeman1zekeman1 Posts: 422
    Nothing was mentioned regarding an additional 3 months or free trial

    The 3 months free trial was given to me by Lexus, not XM. Sorry, the way I wrote it did sound misleading.
  • maximafanmaximafan Posts: 592
    I have been a bit curious about the sound
    quality of the current cars that have
    satellite radio integrated with the factory
    stereo system. I'm currently using an XM
    Roady portable receiver which is played
    through the cassette player on my 2002
    Maxima. It sounds as good as the CD Player
    and, in fact, the volume comes in louder than
    the CD player and much louder than the radio.

    I think I'd like to hear the actual sound of
    the satellite radio on these new cars when
    I seriously start looking for my new car.
  • thaisharkthaishark Posts: 19
    Hello Everyone!
    I just put a deposit down on a UL Es350 I'm looking to get the Smoky Granite. I have a week or so before the car gets to Port so i am debating whether to get XM or not. I have seen a number of isssues here with regards to the volume and/or sound quality Does anyone have XM with the ML system?
    Has the dealer or Lexus been able to offer any solutions regarding the voume issue? and finally for those that do have the XM are the problems making you rethin your decision to get it?

    Thanks All
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