Levinson vs. Aftermarket upgrades

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2000 LC100... I'm interested in audio upgrade options. I searched forums and couldn't find anything about retrofitting the Levinson audio system in a 2000 LC. I don't know if it's even possible to purchase let alone install TBH. I'm trying to keep this build OEM+ in terms of aesthetic and functionality and would consider aftermarket if it looks mostly factory. Just not sure where to start, would love some input from those of you who have done audio upgrades.
 

gregnash

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Don't know that it is necessarily available unless you pick up a used one that someone is replacing.

But why? Why not go with aftermarket and take to a shop and let them know you want to keep as "OEM-like" as possible. The one caveat to that is you wont be able to with speakers/amp but likely can with the aesthetics.
 
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Don't know that it is necessarily available unless you pick up a used one that someone is replacing.

But why? Why not go with aftermarket and take to a shop and let them know you want to keep as "OEM-like" as possible. The one caveat to that is you wont be able to with speakers/amp but likely can with the aesthetics.

Because I like the idea of sticking with factory components which are tuned and matched to the vehicle. I have been truly amazed at the overall quality and ingenuity of Toyota's engineering on the 100 series and I want to ensure any mod I install maintains all factory functions (or enhances them) and that the mod is reversible should I later decide to change it. This has always been my process, and has never failed me, so the real honest answer is "why not"?

That said, I am open to aftermarket knowing the chances of locating a complete Levinson system are pretty slim. What would be a comparable driver/amp setup?
 
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gregnash

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Because I like the idea of sticking with factory components which are tuned and matched to the vehicle. I have been truly amazed at the overall quality and ingenuity of Toyota's engineering on the 100 series and I want to ensure any mod I install maintains all factory functions (or enhances them) and that the mod is reversible should I later decide to change it. This has always been my process, and has never failed me, so the real honest answer is "why not"?

That said, I am open to aftermarket knowing the chances of locating a complete Levinson system are pretty slim. What would be a comparable driver/amp setup?
Looking at @suprarx7nut and @Ayune as some of the guys that have done some stellar systems in their rigs.

Thing is that even the Levinson system is supposed to be pretty underpowered for the most part, but I get what you are putting down. Depending on how much "searching" you are willing to do you could probably piece together a system fairly quickly through eBay, Classifieds, junkyards, etc. and get what you are looking for.

For a true aftermarket system, well that really depends on your goals of the system and your budget. I mean I got what is considered a pretty decent little 400w 4-channel amp for $80 by doing research on different CarAV forums. Won't be to everyone's liking but it will suite me just fine. Past that you can look at big brands like Focal, Morel, Hertz, Steg, etc. and spend a pretty penny just on the speakers themselves.
 

ramangain

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I have all ML speakers, amp, sub, and headunit from my 01 LX collecting dust right now. They all worked when removed, and all woofers have new surrounds. I'm not removing the OEM truck wiring however, it is staying in the truck.

If you (are crazy enough to) want all of it, let me know. Personally, I wouldn't go through the trouble and just get a decent aftermarket HU, front/rear speakers, and an amp bypass kit.
 
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Looking at @suprarx7nut and @Ayune as some of the guys that have done some stellar systems in their rigs.

Thing is that even the Levinson system is supposed to be pretty underpowered for the most part, but I get what you are putting down. Depending on how much "searching" you are willing to do you could probably piece together a system fairly quickly through eBay, Classifieds, junkyards, etc. and get what you are looking for.

For a true aftermarket system, well that really depends on your goals of the system and your budget. I mean I got what is considered a pretty decent little 400w 4-channel amp for $80 by doing research on different CarAV forums. Won't be to everyone's liking but it will suite me just fine. Past that you can look at big brands like Focal, Morel, Hertz, Steg, etc. and spend a pretty penny just on the speakers themselves.
I completely removed the factory amp and routed RCA cables from my Sony head unit to the new amp. I used the OEM amp brackets to mount the new, smaller amp to the floor.
 
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I have all ML speakers, amp, sub, and headunit from my 01 LX collecting dust right now. They all worked when removed, and all woofers have new surrounds. I'm not removing the OEM truck wiring however, it is staying in the truck.

If you (are crazy enough to) want all of it, let me know. Personally, I wouldn't go through the trouble and just get a decent aftermarket HU, front/rear speakers, and an amp bypass kit.

I am that kind of crazy. PM me with some photos and let me know how much you want for it all. If for some reason I can't make it work I know someone else who might be able to use it.
 

ramangain

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Ok. I'll get pics within a week. I'm currently packing a house in FL and moving the contents to OR, taking I-10 (and maybe I-8) to I-5. An in-person sale near I-5 would be easier than shipping stuff, honestly.
 
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Looking at @suprarx7nut and @Ayune as some of the guys that have done some stellar systems in their rigs.

Thing is that even the Levinson system is supposed to be pretty underpowered for the most part, but I get what you are putting down. Depending on how much "searching" you are willing to do you could probably piece together a system fairly quickly through eBay, Classifieds, junkyards, etc. and get what you are looking for.

For a true aftermarket system, well that really depends on your goals of the system and your budget. I mean I got what is considered a pretty decent little 400w 4-channel amp for $80 by doing research on different CarAV forums. Won't be to everyone's liking but it will suite me just fine. Past that you can look at big brands like Focal, Morel, Hertz, Steg, etc. and spend a pretty penny just on the speakers themselves.

Totally appreciate the suggestions... bit of backstory...When I was in my 20s (now deep into my 30s) my brother and I designed and installed custom audio systems. To recap some of the craziness, I've had dual 15"s in 8cuft ported enclosures, installed multi-way components in custom fiberglass pods, and had fiber optic processing/EQ before that was the factory standard on most German cars. Systems were worth wayyyy more than the vehicles. I'm not looking for that level of headache nor do I need that level of audio for what I'll use this vehicle for. I don't want to tear apart panels to make stuff fit or deal with hours or days of tuning and fiddling. In my research the Levinson system is a good bump in output and driver quality, and would meet my requirements. Just not sure if I can make it work with my existing wiring.
 
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Ok. I'll get pics within a week. I'm currently packing a house in FL and moving the contents to OR, taking I-10 (and maybe I-8) to I-5. An in-person sale near I-5 would be easier than shipping stuff, honestly.

That sounds great man. Let me be one of the first to welcome you to the West Coast and maybe we can kick it philosophical about our 100 series. I'm in no hurry and in fact this sounds like a better option than shipping.
 

ramangain

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Just not sure if I can make it work with my existing wiring.
Yes, especially the HU to ML amp. Almost all of the wires should be there in your rig; you'll probably need to buy some different OEM connectors and wire some new pins as needed. PITA
 
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Yes, especially the HU to ML amp. Almost all of the wires should be there in your rig; you'll probably need to buy some different OEM connectors and wire some new pins as needed. PITA

I've done re-pins on factory harnesses when I did the SAT/paddles retrofit on my BMW E61. Not too bad in my experience, just finicky.
 

ramangain

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I've done re-pins on factory harnesses when I did the SAT/paddles retrofit on my BMW E61. Not too bad in my experience, just finicky.
Dang man, I was always tempted to chase down an E61 chassis and transplant the drivetrain from my E60 M5 6mt. Sold that car recently though in move preparations. S85 motor is a god!
 
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Lexus (levinson) is three way in the front for that year too correct? Tough to recommend anything beside just keep it stock since you’re trying to use the factory wiring and stuff. Will a levinson amp over the the factory lc amp make any difference. Factoring your experience in radios, I would think location specific driver selection, Tuning and equalization Will yield better results over another factory amp
 
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Lexus (levinson) is three way in the front for that year too correct? Tough to recommend anything beside just keep it stock since you’re trying to use the factory wiring and stuff. Will a levinson amp over the the factory lc amp make any difference. Factoring your experience in radios, I would think location specific driver selection, Tuning and equalization Will yield better results over another factory amp
That would require going aftermarket wouldn’t it? The Levinson system is aligned with my OEM+ build strategy. I think it would be a nice upgrade. 😎
 
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But what is it going to upgrade besides enabling a third front speaker in a door cavity your lc doesn’t have. Even if that levinson was some sort of factory class a or b sound quality amp if likely won’t power any aftermarket decent raw drivers or components Adequately And will still be without frequency/tuning capabilities. Your effort, labor, and money Are your own so your call...but maybe something like a Dsp?
 

suprarx7nut

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I own a 99 that I took from stock to "very good aftermarket" (by my own biased rating) and now I have an 06 with factory ML system. The ML system is pretty impressive as far as range, but the clarity is garbage as of 2020. It has some thump at low volumes and the bass/mis-bass response seems to be very even. I haven't done any RTA testing, but I suspect it would be ok in the low end at low volumes. Of course, as soon as you want to crank it, the low end disappears. The high end lacks tremendously at all volumes. There's just no detail. Brand new OEM speakers might fix that, but for the same $$ investment you could buy far superior aftermarket components from Morel, Focal, Hertz, etc...

I would definitely not spend any time retrofitting an ML amp into a non-ML car. You'd need to tweak the hell out of the signal since it's setup for a 3 way speaker system. I think the sub is different as well. I suspect you'd need a DSP or at least a very basic EQ on those signals to make them as good as the factory LC system you already have.

The big letdown in the OE systems, in my experience, is speakers. You're probably better versed in this than I am, given your history, but I think the biggest bang for buck, by far, is in replacing the speaker components. That's tricky because options are limited by impedance. I think the ML system uses low impedance speakers. Size wise, the standard LC system uses a 6.5 and a normal tweeter. Replacement is cake.


My plan for the 06 is to leave it alone until I'm ready to put in an 8 channel amp/DSP and Morel components (Virtus or better) front stage and a small amp in the OEM box/location.

The OEM sound is just not very good in the 100 series. It's not terrible, but a relatively small investment in aftermarket and a weekend of labor will get you better results than any OEM system I've heard. There's no OEM 100 system that I deem worthy of a day's labor.
 

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