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Same here actually. I've done some research and theres a fair bit that is upgradeable. From Bluetooth connectivity, to subwoofers, and even the amp. Seems that as long as your pockets are deep enough then anything is possible. It would be helpful to give us a rundown on what your audio situation is currently at and what direction you would like to take it in, and please include what might be faulty (e.g. my sub seems to be fine, but interestingly my tweeters are the one giving the dreaded crackle.)

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Quite a few in the US have fitted the Android screen. Most have had problems, especially w.r.t. the Climate controls.
I recommend reading the threads on the ClubLexus site before going down that route.

As for upgrading the stereo, that all depends on your budget, what you want, and what you are starting with (Mark Levinson? Pioneer?)
If you want Bluetooth, that can be done without changing the existing system.
If you want an entire system, that's a LOT of work and you will have to make some compromises as so many systems are integrated in the LS making it difficult to separate them.

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I'm sort of between a rock and a hard place with the upgrade I want v's what I can afford and what actually works. Currently I have the factory ML system and one of these.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Transmitter-Bluetooth-Handsfree-Adapter-Compatibility-Black/dp/B07T9BSZ1K

I put the little head unit on the right hand centre air vent, and ran the cable down and round to the rear seat power socket meaning its as neat as I can get it and also gives the rear seat passengers a couple of USB sockets. (it is also very easy to remove and hide should I wish to do so) I use conversion software and make sure my music goes onto the SD card at the very least in .wav format to give a reasonable sound. I also buy blank CD's and clone any downloaded FLAC or WAC files onto them as well as buy actual CD's as my factory system still works perfectly. I know what with the age of the car its only a matter of time until something gives but so far while not perfect it gives me the best value for money without getting a new android head unit that may (or may not) work properly.    

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5 hours ago, BMCWP said:

I'm sort of between a rock and a hard place with the upgrade I want v's what I can afford and what actually works. Currently I have the factory ML system and one of these.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Transmitter-Bluetooth-Handsfree-Adapter-Compatibility-Black/dp/B07T9BSZ1K

I put the little head unit on the right hand centre air vent, and ran the cable down and round to the rear seat power socket meaning its as neat as I can get it and also gives the rear seat passengers a couple of USB sockets. (it is also very easy to remove and hide should I wish to do so) I use conversion software and make sure my music goes onto the SD card at the very least in .wav format to give a reasonable sound. I also buy blank CD's and clone any downloaded FLAC or WAC files onto them as well as buy actual CD's as my factory system still works perfectly. I know what with the age of the car its only a matter of time until something gives but so far while not perfect it gives me the best value for money without getting a new android head unit that may (or may not) work properly.    

I've been using a Bluetooth adapter from a German company called Bluemusic. Installation is easy and it plugs behind the CD player. Sound quality is excellent in comparison to the FM and cassette based Bluetooth adapters. You can also move up and down the tracks using the steering wheel buttons.

 

https://www.musikimauto.de/BlueMusic-Bluetooth-Audio-Toyota-Lexus-6-6

 

If wanting to keep the CD player functionality, a 6+6 y cable will be required as shown below:

https://www.musikimauto.de/Toyota-6-6-Y-Stecker-klein 

 

You can read their reviews on the German amazon website too.

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15 hours ago, Exdee said:

I've been using a bluetooth adapter from a German company called Bluemusic. Installation is easy and it plugs behind the CD player. Sound quality is excellent in comparison to the FM and cassette based Bluetooth adapters. You can also move up and down the tracks using the steering wheel buttons.

 

https://www.musikimauto.de/BlueMusic-Bluetooth-Audio-Toyota-Lexus-6-6

 

If wanting to keep the CD player functionality, a 6+6 y cable will be required as shown below:

https://www.musikimauto.de/Toyota-6-6-Y-Stecker-klein 

 

You can read their reviews on the German amazon website too.

Thanks for that. Just ordered it and the 6+6 cable. :thumbup:
Been looking for that since I heard the difference between my CD player and my Bluetooth via FM adaptor.

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17 hours ago, Exdee said:

I've been using a bluetooth adapter from a German company called Bluemusic. Installation is easy and it plugs behind the CD player. Sound quality is excellent in comparison to the FM and cassette based Bluetooth adapters. You can also move up and down the tracks using the steering wheel buttons.

 

https://www.musikimauto.de/BlueMusic-Bluetooth-Audio-Toyota-Lexus-6-6

 

If wanting to keep the CD player functionality, a 6+6 y cable will be required as shown below:

https://www.musikimauto.de/Toyota-6-6-Y-Stecker-klein 

 

You can read their reviews on the German amazon website too.

Cheers I did think of that but my phones Bluetooth audio while good is not as good as the audio that comes from the SD card as it seems to pick up a bit of interference from somewhere. Also it would mean using my phone as the player and draining the Battery unless I plug it in and then I will end up leaving the phone in the car (again) the Chinese android head unit looks interesting though but I'm happy enough for the moment until I get the car through MOT this weekend and see if I have any money left 😄

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50 minutes ago, BMCWP said:

Cheers I did think of that but my phones Bluetooth audio while good is not as good as the audio that comes from the SD card as it seems to pick up a bit of interference from somewhere. Also it would mean using my phone as the player and draining the battery unless I plug it in and then I will end up leaving the phone in the car (again) the Chinese android head unit looks interesting though but I'm happy enough for the moment until I get the car through MOT this weekend and see if I have any money left 😄

Yeah head unit piqued my interest too. I'm all too aware that those of us who have the nav unit are reliant on a system that works and doesn't nerf the climate control among other things that are run through that nav screen. I did see someone plumb in a Grom VLine 2 into the existing nav screen, and there is a version of it for the LS430 nav on their website too, expensive at $650 though. Also I've got a consideration, I assume these kind of devices require some kind of internet connection, so that means either a datasim to connect to 4/5G internet, or using the phone as a wireless hotspot, so this will kill my Battery life more than just a straight up Bluetooth system like the xcarlink or the Bluemusic system mentioned above. I have however considered whether its worth getting a charging pad to plug into the 12V port in the centre console, then I can charge but not need to plug in and potentialy forget.

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4 hours ago, BigBoomer said:

Thanks for that. Just ordered it and the 6+6 cable. :thumbup:
Been looking for that since I heard the difference between my CD player and my Bluetooth via FM adaptor.

Excellent, will be interesting to hear your thoughts.

3 hours ago, BMCWP said:

Cheers I did think of that but my phones Bluetooth audio while good is not as good as the audio that comes from the SD card as it seems to pick up a bit of interference from somewhere. Also it would mean using my phone as the player and draining the battery unless I plug it in and then I will end up leaving the phone in the car (again) the Chinese android head unit looks interesting though but I'm happy enough for the moment until I get the car through MOT this weekend and see if I have any money left 😄

Good luck with your MOT!

 

Anyone else reading this and being tempted by the Bluemusic adapter, it's important to note what kind of connections your CD player has. The link I have posted above may not be suitable for pre-facelift LS430's (even though the website says so), if they have the older 5+7 connection to the cd player.

You can still make this work but just require a different Y cable.

 

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I have a factory fitted sony minidisc player in mine.,,,,, I guess I better check the back of it 1st... 

thanks

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On 4/28/2021 at 8:35 PM, ciao_chao said:

Same here actually. I've done some research and theres a fair bit that is upgradeable. From bluetooth connectivity, to subwoofers, and even the amp. Seems that as long as your pockets are deep enough then anything is possible. It would be helpful to give us a rundown on what your audio situation is currently at and what direction you would like to take it in, and please include what might be faulty (e.g. my sub seems to be fine, but interestingly my tweeters are the one giving the dreaded crackle.)

Hi thanks for your reply. Well the cd player doesn't work anymore and was thinking of changing the screen display to an android system which will work through the existing mark Levinson system in the car. Where I can connect to it by Blue tooth rather than using an FM transmitter which is very annoying. The speakers and amp are all ok. 

 

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On 5/5/2021 at 9:53 PM, skyway said:

 

Will this just replace the original unit and work through the ML speaker/amp?

16205690810487931490723700504202.jpg

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2 hours ago, Ivanaldo7 said:

Hi thanks for your reply. Well the cd player doesn't work anymore and was thinking of changing the screen display to an android system which will work through the existing mark Levinson system in the car. Where I can connect to it by Blue tooth rather than using an FM transmitter which is very annoying. The speakers and amp are all ok. 

 

The Grom Vline uses the existing screen and hardware, might even be able to do a CD changer delete since it’s non functional. It’s not cheap, but it’s an interesting build. Have a look at this (there’s also a link for the strip down for install there):

 

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On 5/5/2021 at 6:11 PM, Exdee said:

I've been using a bluetooth adapter from a German company called Bluemusic. Installation is easy and it plugs behind the CD player. Sound quality is excellent in comparison to the FM and cassette based Bluetooth adapters. You can also move up and down the tracks using the steering wheel buttons.

 

https://www.musikimauto.de/BlueMusic-Bluetooth-Audio-Toyota-Lexus-6-6

 

If wanting to keep the CD player functionality, a 6+6 y cable will be required as shown below:

https://www.musikimauto.de/Toyota-6-6-Y-Stecker-klein 

 

You can read their reviews on the German amazon website too.

Thanks @Exdee I took a chance and ordered one of these with the Y cable for my 2008 LS600hL and it worked great. The volume on Bluetooth is a fair bit lower than the CD or radio, but I don't see any way to adjust it seperately. However, that's a minor issue.

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Sounds obvious and apologies if you've tried it but check the media volume level on your phone. Start it playing, up the volume on your phone and it should remember the setting.

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Yes, that does solve the problem but them my phone is at max volume and deafens me the next time I use it! The car is booked in with the local Lexus dealer for a service tomorrow, so I'm going to check if they can adjust the Aux channel volume independent of the other channels for CD and Radio.

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Your smartphone should have separate volume settings for the Ringtone, voice, and Media player.
Mine (3/½ year old Huawei Honor 9 running Android 9) has separate volume settings for Media, Ringtone, Alarms and Calls.

I fitted my BlueMusic module this weekend and it sounds awesome. So much cleaner than the Bluetooth-FM I was previously using.
I can't tell the difference between my phone playing a 128Kb/s MP3 file via Bluetooth and the CD playing the same song.
The ML system sounds superb with excellent reproduction, dynamic range and more than enough power.

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3 hours ago, BigBoomer said:

I can't tell the difference between my phone playing a 128Kb/s MP3 file via Bluetooth and the CD playing the same song.

Sadly I can (audio engineer for 30 years) 😆 I never use MP3 its either a direct .wav copy from a FLAC file and stuck onto an SD card or an original CD

In other news I'm about to find out tomorrow if my cassette deck still works as I have been reliably informed (by the previous owners son) that his dad only ever Listened to the radio and its never had a tape in there in its life. I have a couple of tapes coming tomorrow (nothing that I can't replace just in case) to test it 😁
 

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15 hours ago, BigBoomer said:

Your smartphone should have separate volume settings for the Ringtone, voice, and Media player.
Mine (3/½ year old Huawei Honor 9 running Android 9) has separate volume settings for Media, Ringtone, Alarms and Calls.

I fitted my BlueMusic module this weekend and it sounds awesome. So much cleaner than the Bluetooth-FM I was previously using.
I can't tell the difference between my phone playing a 128Kb/s MP3 file via Bluetooth and the CD playing the same song.
The ML system sounds superb with excellent reproduction, dynamic range and more than enough power.

Apologies guys, your replies prompted me to check this again. I had assumed that my Iphone didn't differentiate between volume settings on different devices, but it does. When connected to the BlueMusic module and I adjust the volume, that slider on the phone has a Bluetooth icon beside it. When I disconnect, the volume setting returns to it's previous level. Magic!

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13 hours ago, BMCWP said:

In other news I'm about to find out tomorrow if my cassette deck still works as I have been reliably informed (by the previous owners son) that his dad only ever Listened to the radio and its never had a tape in there in its life. I have a couple of tapes coming tomorrow (nothing that I can't replace just in case) to test it 😁
 

Quite the rabbit hole to disappear down :wink: I buy chrome or metal cassettes off the bay and record onto them for use in my LS 400.

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15 hours ago, BMCWP said:

Sadly I can (audio engineer for 30 years) 😆 I never use MP3 its either a direct .wav copy from a FLAC file and stuck onto an SD card or an original CD

In other news I'm about to find out tomorrow if my cassette deck still works as I have been reliably informed (by the previous owners son) that his dad only ever Listened to the radio and its never had a tape in there in its life. I have a couple of tapes coming tomorrow (nothing that I can't replace just in case) to test it 😁
 

In my yoof, I used to tune 2 stroke mopeds in a closed garage so my hearing is slightly impaired. As a consequence I've never understood why people pay so much for Audiophile kit. :rolleyes: Yes, FLAC is undoubtedly better than MP3 given the Lossless Compression, but...
a) the files are huge and my phone has limited storage (64GB).  It already has 31GB of MP3 files. FLAC would be over 5 times larger and I would have to go back and re-rip hundreds of CDs to FLAC.
b) I can't hear the difference between MP3 and FLAC or CD. I was an electronics engineer who migrated into software support and I work in Radio Oncology, so the science and engineering I get, but I just can't hear the difference. ☹️

Ahh, cassettes, now we are talking real LoFi although still better than FM Radio. All that compression/decompression, tape stretching, motor wow, and dirty heads makes for poor quality even I can hear. I have also never understood the obsession over vinyl records. Noise, rumble, RIAA Compression/Decompression all add up to really poor reproduction. I guess it's just nostalgia.

The tape deck in my 2004 works great. Just for laughs last night I put Floyds "Wish You Were Here" in there as I have it on original audio cassette, CD, and MP3. I can't separate the MP3/CD versions but the cassette sounds muddy, muffled and using Dolby just makes it worse (cassette was recorded using Dolby B NR). I even ran a cleaning cassette (one of the ones you put cleaner solution on the felt pads) through it, but that made no difference.

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17 hours ago, BMCWP said:

Sadly I can (audio engineer for 30 years) 😆 I never use MP3 its either a direct .wav copy from a FLAC file and stuck onto an SD card or an original CD

Being an audio engineer for so many years is definitely an advantage, but you need to have good hearing abilities as well. I spent all my working life in and around large aviation jet engines and I'm high-tone deaf. We have a BOSE sound system at home......lots of people who visit (or did before Covid) are impressed by the sound quality but, to me, it sounds no better or worse than lots of others.

Before spending a lot of money on high-spec sound, it is a good idea to get your hearing checked out.

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