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Highlander Hybrid Audio & Entertainment Questions



  • Hi, landdriver,

    Thanks for the reply and the tip to check out that other thread. I checked out the Accessories and Mods forum with a few searches before posting the message here, but didn't see any specific info about the size of the speakers in the 2006 HH model so I thought I'd ask here. I'll do a few more searches there but it looks like I'll probably have to dissect the doors myself and take some measurements in order to be sure. I'm getting the speakers directly from the manufacturer, so I'm sure they won't be too impressed if I try to return them saying they didn't fit.

    As for replacing the head unit, I'd really rather not go there. It's integrated with the touch screen, NAV, climate control and steering wheel controls. I'm convinced that a good efficient, well-designed pair of speakers will make a difference, so long as I get ones that fit!

    And your EQ approach is sound. A peak at 120 Hz is most likely caused by a poor crossover, bad EQ in the circuit already and/or interaction between the driver and its surroundings - the "cabinet" (your door) and the car interior itself. You could address this with EQ software (though I'm not sure how you're going to get EQ software into your system) or a good parametric EQ. You could also try using some absorptive material like Dynamat inside the door (behind the speaker) to see if this helps. A peak at 120 Hz could be a standing wave caused by reflections of the sound onto itself.

    Make sure your tests tone CD has tones at least as frequent as 3 per octave, and your software or parametric EQ (if simple door treatment does not help) needs to have the same degree of control. Also, you'll need to take SPL readings from multiple positions in the car as the bass frequency response can vary widely (unless you only want good sound in the driver's seat).

    As they say, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but assuming your current speakers are pretty decent, then proper EQ and treatment of the cabinet will definitely make a noticeable improvement. Maybe try the Dynamat first and see if this helps.

    Good luck!

  • The factoryinteractive Highlander XM kit looks interesting. It would be nice to integrate XM into the factory controls and display, even if the display is limited to 10 characters (no biggie, in my opinion). I contacted them to see if they were interested in sending a review sample for the site but they were not... which I find a bit troublesome.

    Does anyone know if installing this aftermarket radio would void the Toyota warranty? My dealer (Prestige Toyota in NJ) told me that they could not install an aftermarket DVD entertainment system into the Hybrid because Toyota sent out some kind of bulletin saying any electrical work on this car would void the warranty. I'm checking with them again to see if this is still the case, but has anyone heard anything similar?


  • Hi landdriver,

    What brand speakers did you use? How did the sound improve after changing?

    All this audiophile chat is getting me interested. I have a vac coming up, be perfect time to play with this.

    I find the stock system unable to handle dynamic range of orchestral pieces. Besides ambient noise, soft passages lack details.

    The bass is disconnected from the rest in that 1-notch up, it is boomy and mushy. 1-notch down and it vanishes.

    My real audhiophile buddies think it is resonance, reflection and placement of speakers. They wave their hands and tell me to give up :-).

    Thanks for the pointer to the other board.
  • Thanks for tips Boylan.

    Hope earlier attempt-to-help post did not offend you. Had a feeling you are an audiophile. Went to your reviews and enjoyed them.

    I checked with 2 local Toyota shops and got the same story:

    1. The shops will not install anything that is not factory onto the HH.

    2. If we install something onto the HH, it may not automatically void the warranty but if there is ever a problem and they trace it to the audio system, that will void the warranty.

    1 shop advises against changing anything by anyone except by a Toyota shop. The manager says when it comes to the hybrids, they have been told by Toyota to tow the official line.

    The other shop advises against changing anything "officially" but privately, the manager said changing just the speakers will likely do the least harm. He said he really won't even try to touch any wiring unless it is service, repair or warranty work. He also warned that if a non-certified shop touches the electrical, it muddles the water of "who is at fault" if there ever is a warranty problem. I take that to mean Toyota can easily claim that someone untrained touched the wiring so all bets are off.

    They were both very nice but I came away a bit disappointed. Like you said though, cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
  • Hey, again,

    I wouldn't worry about speaker replacement affecting the warranty. They are not technically part of the electrical system - they have no power connection. The speakers and crossover should be passive components. There's voltage in the wires of course, but it's really low level.

    But the factoryinteractive XM radio is a little more worrisome to me. My guy from Prestige Toyota's reply about it was "As far as I am aware it would void your warranty." Unless I hear otherwise, I don't think I want to chance my warranty coverage on a radio. I can use my Pioneer Airware portable XM radio with the cassette adapter for now. It's not too unwieldy and mounts pretty conveniently to one of the vents.

    I took a closer look at my door speakers today and it looks like the woofers are around 5.5" or 6" plus there are flush mount 1" tweeters near the top of the door panel below the window. I do still plan to replace these but a free weekend isn't in the cards for a while so it might be some time. I'll report back with results when I get to it.


  • I ended up upgrading both the speakers and the amp (the JBL system has a separate power amp whereas the non-JBL sound system's speakers are driven directly by the HU). I chose some aftermarket JBLs but I wouldn't recommend them as a boomy-sounding base was the result with these particular mid-priced models ($200/pr for the front components and $100/pr for the rear coaxials). Others have upgraded to better speakers with better results; once again see Toyota Highlander Owners: Accessories & Modifications for specifics. (To do a search of that discussion, go to that discussion, on the left sidebar click "Advanced Search," enter "speakers," select "Search Within: Message Text," under "Message Text Search Options" select "Toyota Highlander Owners: Accessories & Modifications," and click "Search.") See post 289 for a detailed description of the path I took in upgrading my speakers and amp (note that in this post the location of the HH amp may be different than the location of the amp in the '01-'03 HLs).

    I came to the same conclusion as you as to the possible cause of the boomy response, that is, was thinking the modal resonance of the HL cabin (i.e. reflections relating to the shape and size of the interior) is around 120Hz -- others who upgraded their speakers complained about boomy bass as well, while others still said their new speakers sounded great; I suspect the disparity is due to the quality of the speakers. But contributing factors could also be due to vibrational resonances of sheetmetal or plastic panels, or holes in the door panel acting as untuned bass-reflex ports (though I tried covering the largest of these holes with a heavy phonebook with no marked improvement).

    That's why I started designing the pre-amp equalization filter referenced in my reply to boylan13 -- I figure instead of trying to isolate the cause of the boomy resonance I'd simply de-emphasize the frequencies of interest to flatten-out the response. Parametric equalizers will do this as well; you'll have to buy 2 stereo units at $200 ea to maintain the ability to independently control the volume of all four channels; I'm trying to design one from scratch but may just try buying better speakers first. Played with the bass and mid-range controls, as well as with a cutoff filter in my aftermarket amp, but with negligible success.

    An interesting pair of posts is from someone who was successful in upgrading his sound system; I think he dynamatted his entire HL: 210 & 237.

    Let me know how it turns out for you guys, and what speakers you get!! :)
  • katzjamrkatzjamr Posts: 146
    there are two dealers in cali owned by the Penske group doing factory installations of xm sattelite radio, with free components and no monthly charges for nine months. i dont think there will be warranty problems with a professional installation.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    A while back, several forum members posted plans to upgrade the HH speaker system.

    Has anyone done it and if you did, can you post the brands you installed?

    My wife is seriously interested in switching these speakers despite my best effort to dissuade her. She is making me install a system that integrates iPod with the HH NAV screen and she wants new speakers to go with that.

    Thanks in advance.
  • I was one of those members who was planning speaker upgrades a while back. My research at the time led me down a path that would have required what I considered major changes, including a new amp. I even went to a major car stereo outfit and they were worried about the "small 12 volt battery" being powerful enough but were still willing to WELD :surprise: an amp into the roof.

    The HiHy practically ran away on it's own before I could get in and join it. I like upgrades, not Frankensteins (no offense intended to any Frankensteins out there). The XM radio upgrade improved sound quality tremendously. For now the OEM speakers stay.

    Good Luck!
  • myladdiemyladdie Posts: 9
    Have the HH Limited with the JBL sound. Have noticed static on the am radio band when braking. The further the station, the more the static. I assume this is being caused by the regen. system. Maybe a static supressor going bad?
    Anybody encounter this problem?

    Will have the dealer check next week when I get my 15k service.

    Great improvement in mpg since the outdoor temp is moving up. And yes I have the same surge when slowing to a stop that some of you have, though it is intermittent, of course.
  • landdriverlanddriver Posts: 607
    Also, consider driving another HH at the dealer to see whether it too exhibits the problem.
  • mgsuarezmgsuarez Posts: 5
    Are the connections for these two radio compatible?
  • mroczkamroczka Posts: 11
    I,ve read some messages about 1 disc player, and 6 disc player, I ordered the limited, and how will I know if it has the 1 disc, or 6 disc. Would the 6 disc have 6 slots, in the console? Frank
  • nomorebenznomorebenz Posts: 109
    The radios are nearly identical. Both have one slot. The six has 3 more buttons. Scan, Traf, and most importantly the Load button on the upper right hand corner.
    The Toyota website has a picture of the six.
  • ighigh Posts: 60
    Anybody have any experience with a dealer installed DVD entertainment
    system on the HH since the factory installed option is not there? I mean
    costs, choices etc. Is aftermarket installation possible without voiding
    warranty? I have 2 kids between 5 and 7 and without this it will be almost impossible to go on long trips without chaos.
  • Just wondering if the 6 disc changer system will play mp3's

  • tmunktmunk Posts: 2
    I would also like to know if the JBL system in the limited will play MP3's.

    Someone must know!!
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    Check the Owners Book. ;)
  • The 6 CD changer in 2006 HH w Navigation is apparently jammed. Get disc error but cannot get disc(s) to eject. Worked fine until it jammed while moving to next CD. I assume I can get into change to free the disc. Took knobs off radio but there isn't the traditional nuts holding radio in. How do I fix ?
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    On a 2006, it is still under warranty. Take it to the dealer, and stop playing mechanic. ;)
  • baloo28baloo28 Posts: 1
    :mad: Was this problem resolved easily? I got this error after having my 2007 HiHy for only 3 days!!!
  • joemizjoemiz Posts: 6
    Dealer replaced CD player. Old one sent to manufacturer who mailed CDs stuck in player. They included a list of potential reasons why it jammed. It included the usual and obvious plus wrong type disc (DVD vs CD), homemade disc.

    Toyota needs to improve the whole entertainment package. There needs to be ways to attach mp3 player and satellite radio. A friend had Circuit city wire a direct connect for his mp3 player. Next navigation system failed. Toyota says it was the mp3 player connect.
  • bob259bob259 Posts: 280
    Anyone have the Toyota XM or Sirius satellite Radio dealer installed upgrade in their Highlander. I have a Sirius portable one now and was thinking about adding in upgrade satellite package to my existing unit in my HH Limited.

    Any issues?
  • bob259bob259 Posts: 280
    Can andyone tell me on a 08 Highlander where the Satellite antena located is it 'On' the dash, roof or windshield.

    The dealer is telling me the XM kit is the same as Sirius now, I have a Sirius subscription and wanted to add the car one to it, but I know that the two broadcast are different. Anyone know if the new unts cover both and your install can select?
  • newsman2newsman2 Posts: 4
    I have the XM operational problems with the radio hardware itself have surfaced...the Satellite reception is very intermittent in our city but it operates flawlessly on the highway. Good Luck!
  • newsman2newsman2 Posts: 4
    On my 08 HH the antennae is placed on the dash, at the intersection of the dash and base of windshield..It sits on a metallic plate fixed to the dash...I can't help with the rest of your question.
This discussion has been closed.