My ML/NAV PAC-Audio aftermarket amplifier/speaker install

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My 2007's ML speakers are blowing one by one, probably just due to age, I haven't been beating on them by any means, I mostly listen to frustrating talk radio...
In any case, when I looked at the cost of replacing the speakers with OEM, it was absolutely ridiculous, so I began researching my options considering the proprietary nature of the ML setup. I'm fortunate enough to have been a professional installer back in the heyday of car audio (the 90's) so I've got a good handle on what needs to be done and what equipment manufacturers to go to. My first thought was to look at PAC-audio who specializes in bypassing or integrating with OEM hardware. I was happy to find this:



And this:

***UPDATE*** The AP4-TY11 listed above DOES work with the ML stereo, but the APH-TY04 listed below does NOT fit the ML amplifier, only the base model's JBL system...

 
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Armed with a complete bypass of the ML amp, an unfortunate but necessary waste of otherwise good equipment for the sake of tapping into the sea of 4-ohm car audio, it was time to find speakers to fit all the locations and an amp to push it all. I have zero interest in starting a flame war with anyone regarding "Brand-X versus Brand-Z", so if you don't like my equipment choices, that's your right and I encourage you to buy and rock what you like.

For the front doors, I began with these:


Since this 2-way component set will only address four of the six front door speakers, I purchased these:


I chose the PowerBass 2.75" because they have the closest match to the sensitivity rating of the JBL components. I will ditch the included 2-way crossovers from the JBL setup and use these instead:


These crossovers will carve out a nice bandpass range for the 2.75's to handle and allow the 6x9's to focus more on their midbass role.
 
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The second row passengers will enjoy these (larger than the 5.25 OEM speakers but I know they'll fit):


And the 3rd row (removed from my truck) will get these:

 
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For a subwoofer, I wanted something efficient, versatile, and well protected from all the stuff I haul on a regular basis, so this 4th order bandpass setup from JBL was a no-brainer:


And, finally, to power it all, a 5-channel amp:


And the necessary juice to properly power it:

 
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From left to right, here is a stock 3rd row speaker, a PowerBass 2.75" (direct fit for the 3rd row if you don't want to mod the brackets), and the GTO329's:

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I will be applying copious sound deadening during the install, I've done the rear door and its plastic inner panel already (pics later). I bonded the 329's to the factory brackets using this:

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Thanks for posting this. Till I saw the PAC adapter thing, I’ve been using the summing/flattening devices (bitTen). This looks like it simplifies the process a whole bunch.
 
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Thanks for posting this. Till I saw the PAC adapter thing, I’ve been using the summing/flattening devices (bitTen). This looks like it simplifies the process a whole bunch.
The MSRP for both bits are stupid expensive, but I scored both in a package deal on eBay for $230.00, which is still stupid expensive but $170.00 less so...
 
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Had some time today between powder coating wheels to wrap up the 3rd row speaker install:

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The only negative reviews I found for these 329's is for fitment issues - between the enormous magnet and the sound ring on the face, they push the limits of a 3.5" speaker in every respect. I had to Dremel part of the ring on top and cut the center out of the Lexus grill bracket:

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If you stick with a 2.75" speaker or a reasonable 3.5", you should have none of these issues.

More sound deadening:

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I wish I still had my collection of 90’s era audio equipment.....Infinity, Zapco, Orion, PPI, and Boston Pro. I would go your route if I still had that stuff laying around, but anymore I am just happy to have some tunes even if it sounds like poo.

I am surprised the aftermarket has not picked up the ML replacement line. Just look at the replacement speakers available for the older BMW models with HK speakers and similar Euro lines that have their own proprietary components. It seems like ML would be an easy line up to tackle.
 
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I wish I still had my collection of 90’s era audio equipment.....Infinity, Zapco, Orion, PPI, and Boston Pro. I would go your route if I still had that stuff laying around
 
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Thanks for that too! I just bought it on eBay. I’m sure they’ll do it again but it said I got the last bundle. And I like your solution to the three way up front but am curious if you came across a three way set that would just drop in?
The only negative reviews I found for these 329's is for fitment issues - between the enormous magnet and the sound ring on the face, they push the limits of a 3.5" speaker in every respect. I had to Dremel part of the ring on top and cut the center out of the Lexus grill bracket:

View attachment 2110038View attachment 2110040View attachment 2110042View attachment 2110043

If you stick with a 2.75" speaker or a reasonable 3.5", you should have none of these issues.

More sound deadening:

View attachment 2110045
definitely want to know how those sound. They do seem massive for that spot and I know crutchfield last time I checked basically only offered tweeters to go in the third row. Also do they just bridge into your rear amp channels? Or wire harness handles it?
 
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curious if you came across a three way set that would just drop in?
Three way sets are hella expensive. Putting my own set together was only $165.00 for the 6x9 components, the crossovers, and the 2.75" midranges. Find a 5.25" or 6.5" set to adapt in and I guarantee it'd be at least double that.

do they just bridge into your rear amp channels? Or wire harness handles it?
I'll be unplugging all ten speaker pairs at the ML amp and tapping into them right there. The 2nd and 3rd row speakers will be in parallel, but their gain will be down a bit from the fronts to maintain some modicum of staging for the front seats.
 
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Just an update about the PAC adapters I mentioned in my first post of this thread, it turns out the APH-TY04 does not fit the Mark Levinson amplifier. The AP4-TY11 "AmpPro" does fit the stereo, but apparently the amp adapter harnesses are for the premium JBL system in the 4runner, which is the base system in the GX. PAC admitted to the very confusing fitment notes and assured me they were making the necessary clarifications, and in an act of good will they emailed me very detailed schematics of the Mark Levinson stereo system, with and without NAV. They are ".pdf" files and I am uncertain of the forum policy regarding sharing such diagrams, but they were freely shared with me and I'll gladly share them here if someone can advise me on the proper way of doing so.
 
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Made a bit of progress today deciphering the amp schematics and testing a theory - I have no plans aftermarket-wise for the center channel speaker on the dash, but I thought it'd be nice to reroute the GPS voice and the hands-free phone conversation to it. The ML amp MUST remain connected for the AP4-TY11 to work (audio system shuts down if it senses a component is missing), so I figured why not keep it in use doing this task. Here's a snapshot of the schematic for the amp:

Screenshot_20191025-173538.jpg


Zooming in on step one of this operation, look all the way LEFT at the black wire on Pin 1 labeled "MUTE". Here's a closeup:

Screenshot_20191025-173607.jpg


You'll need to cut the WHT, BLK, GRN and RED wires (L-, L+, R-, R+) on Pins 2-5 to prevent music from reaching the amplifier. The PAC Audio AP4-TY11 will intercept these same four wires upstream behind the dash and decipher the digital information that accompanies the signal.

Next, you'll need to cut the speaker output pair for the Drivers door center midrange and the speaker output pair for the center channel dash speaker. A closeup:

Screenshot_20191025-173655.jpg


Here you'll need to attach FL+ (PNK pin 2) and FL- (VIO pin 6) to CTR+ (GRN pin3) and CTR- (GRN/BLK pin 9). You want the PINK and VIOLET wires coming OUT of the amplifier output plug to be connected to the already cut and disconnected GREEN and GREEN/BLK wires leading away from the amp and to the center channel.

In a nutshell, in stock form the GPS lady and your Bluetooth phone calls are piped over to the Drivers door 2.75" midrange speaker. This procedure prevents any musical audio from reaching the amp and reroutes GPS guidance and your phone calls to the otherwise unused center channel speaker (unused in my case anyway, my aftermarket install did not include the use of this speaker location). The reason for cutting the music audio wires is just so the ML amp doesn't play music through the center channel thinking it's the door speaker and ruin your sound stage with unwanted LEFT channel audio coming from the center of the dash.
 
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No hope of getting this big 5-channel JBL amp under the seat, so off came the wall so I can [hopefully] install it where the stock subwoofer resided.

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Also ordered a JL Audio MBT-RX to facilitate easy and automatic pairing for my forthcoming lossless audio player and XM radio receiver:

 
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