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Discussion Starter #1
I recently bought a 2004 Prius with the JBL sound system. The sound quality is poor by my judgement. The base is boomy and the middle range sounds sour. Has anyone experience with changing the speakers for better sound? Are there any special constraints on the type of speakers that must be used?
 

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I agree with the assessment. The absolute easiest way to dramatically improve the sound is to disconnect the center speaker that contributes to the bad midrange. Using fingernails worked for me gently pry up the edge of the speaker cover closest to the driver, pull the whole thing up and disconnect the harness that hooks up the speaker. Drop it back in and listen. Gone is the nasal sound and the stereo spreads out a lot with more balnced sound. The tone controls become more effective without that terrible windshield reflected lo fi sound. Takes about two minutes to do and you will never look back.
 

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1a. Disconnect center speaker - free.

1b. Install a powered subwoofer. This will improve the sound 1000% - ~$170.

2. Swap out the front speakers/tweeters for an upgraded matched set. Make sure the new ones can be driven adequately by the head unit. ~$100-$200.

I've done all three. The biggest bang-for-buck was the sub.
 

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I forgot to mention - and there's been a lot of discussion about this - dial down the midrange a few notches. For whatever reason, the amp seems to emphasize the mids. It really unmuddles the sound. Then get a powered sub.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the good advice. Disconnected the center speaker and it sounds better. The speaker itself seems like a quality piece - can't understand how they failed to balance it properly.

Can I install the powered subwoofer myself?
 

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Late to the party said:
The speaker itself seems like a quality piece - can't understand how they failed to balance it properly.
The designers thought it would bring in a center stage, but the problem is that it cuts stereo separation in the process. If they could have done it where it is Exclusive L+R, (left only sounds and right only sounds never go to the center speaker) that might have worked out.

Late to the party said:
Can I install the powered subwoofer myself?
Yes. Usually it is installed in the hatch cargo area. Some have installed a sub in the hidden cargo storage.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Power and audio for a subwoofer

Since there are no speakers in the parcel shelf, where do I connect to power and the audio feed if I am installing a subwoofer myself?

On the dashboard speaker issue, I have a Saab 9-3 with one and it works fine - one thing I noticed is that its volume is a lot less compared to the other speakers...
 

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Power feed you could take from the console power outlet, as long as you don't exceed 10A with the amp and any accessories you might plug in there.
Audio can be taken from the rear speakers.
 
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