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Mark Levinsons Audio


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Hi All,

I've got a NX200t EP 2 with the Mark Levinsons audio system but it doesn't seem to cut it for me.

I'm no music mystro, but it feels like the music that I listen to which is mostly pop, rnb and hiphop feels like it's missing a lot of bass. The mids are out there in my face but very low bass. I've even cranked up the bass and reduced the mids and highs.

I got a hire car which was the bass model CT200h which I Pioneer speakers, I believe, and it sounded so much better.

Also, when I connect to the system using the 3.5mm jack I didn't have to crank up the volume more than 50. But on my NX200t I have to crank it up all the way to close to 60 or max. :( Which I've got no idea why. I've even tried it through the Bluetooth and have the same issue. I'm pretty sure I'm not going deaf :-)

I also don't know why volume seems to work on an acceptable level after 40. Why do I have to crank up volume more than half to get descent volume level?

The one thing I realize recently is that the NX200t advertisement has a couple of people playing instruments from an Orchestra or something... does that mean Mark Lenvinson is designed for people who want to listen to classical music? :(

Also, Lexus was saying that I should try it on a CD. For me... CD days are long gone. I only use Spotify now.

I had a Honda Accord Euro before the NX and it had a superb sound system. Had a separate control for the subwoofer. Which is not available on the NX.

Anyone else experience the same thing as me?

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  • 4 weeks later...


I am also finding the Mark Levinson sound system dissapointing in regards to the Bass Output, and volume levels, sounds rather "Tinny", even after setting Bass, Mid and Treble set to maximum, the standard sound system in my RX350 (2006) had a fuller sound.

Am also finding that the quality of sound from the DAB compared to AM for the same radio station eg. Magic 1278, is much "thinner" and not as loud for the same volume settings.

Another gripe is that the order of songs being played from a USB, doesn't follow the order in the directory folders, checked the options for random and shuffled play but havn't got it worked out yet, will have to go back to the dealer to query this.

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Hi SG-One,

I thought I was the only one experiencing these issues. But good to know that you've realised this as well.

I went to the local dealer and tested a couple of other NX and they all sound the same. I find it really strange that no one has complained or atleast commented about this as well. Even the dealer didn't realize how low the volume was till I showed them. And they said no one has complained about it. I also, looked at the option of getting a custom made sub added to the boot. 'Cause the sub in the NX is more of a mid range woofer and not an actual subwoofer.

Quite frankly, I find Lexus quite disappointing. Especially after paying all that money. The only thing I'm happy with is the engine and how it drives and the comfort level.

Also, I find that the dealer useless as they don't seem to have a clue of what the car can and can't do.

I visited another dealer and they were trying to say it's ok to have such low volume and was trying to argue how Mark Levinson is the best out there.

Clearly other car manufacturers use Bose, Harmon Kardon, Pioneer and some other unknown generic brands that sound way way better thank the Mark Levinson stuff.

Also, one of the dealers said every car is tuned differently. They say something just to derail you from the actual problem.

The most disappointing was the sound system followed by the navigation. Why are major roads in dark orange and when there's a traffic incident they are in a red colour that's quite close to the orange. So it's just not striking enough. My $90 Garmin does a job that's 100 times better.

Even the menu system is very Windows 3.1 from back in the 80s.

Before I bought the NX I was comparing the X3. I've heard mixed reactions with European cars, but now I'm thinking I should have gone for an X3. Atleast, I'll be happy with everything I would have paid for. Also, it would have come with Apple car play and the Android car interface as well.

The only downside been the price as I'll pay a bit more to get everything that the NX offers on an X3.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Complaints here on the ML system seem to fall into two categories:  Sound quality and interface look and feel.

I don't deny that the ML system lacks bass:  Other posts on the forums note the change of sub between MY08 and MY09 IS 250s, and the loss of bass in the model.  Subwoofer output hasn't improved since.  But one should really try playing music from CD first, before complaining of sound quality from streaming audio.  This is to isolate the problem between the playback device (Mark Levinson system) from the audio source itself.  Spotify's free service from mobile samples music at just 30% of the sampling rate used for its paid service used on a desktop computer, and that would make a noticeable difference to sound quality.

On user interface:  I'd rather a smartphone-vendor-independent interface than to be wedded to either Apple CarPlay or Google Android Auto.  To that end, Toyota has announced its use of the open source platform known as SmartDeviceLink, and will feature on all future models worldwide by 2019.  What does this mean to the existing Lexus infotainment system and its Enform apps?  My guess is that either very few enhancements will appear on the current platform, or that some enhancements will appear in order to justify charging for Enform after three years of free use.

One final note:  I don't mind Lexus' so-called Windows 3.1 look, feel and point-and-click interface (which would date back to the '90's, not the '80's).  The alternative is to use the dial interface of the Germans, which really has its roots in the jog-and-shuttle interface on VCR's from the '80s.  If it really was any good, we'd still see it on non-auto electronic devices today.




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Listening to streaming music on Spotify Premium and on my phone has no quality issue other than the very noticeable bass loss and low volume. But listening to music on DAB and FM is quite disappointing. The Euro that I owned had a very basic system but had very good sound balance. I've compared the DAB on other car brands and they are much much better than the NX. Part of buying a luxury car and paying top $ for the top spec in that model is to get good products. But the NX sound system has been a letdown. I thought it was just me and had a few friends sit in the car and test the system and I could see the disappointment in their face.

I've always listen to music in mp3 format and the songs I have are encoded at 320kbps. Spotify Premium has 3 qualities and I've tried them all. But a car manufacture cannot tell their customers to use CDs as they are better quality. With mp3s and streaming services out there, sale of CDs have slumped in the last few years. Cause there are alternative music services out there, car manufacturer implement them, so you cannot go to customers and say use CDs. Bluetooth music streaming at times seems like a hit and miss with some phone manufacturers. But listening to music via a 3.5mm input should eliminate the Bluetooth implementation issues between phone manufacturer's but in the NXs case there's a noticeable volume and bass drop.

I've got a Note 4 and I've read it's got Bluetooth issues which I've noticed. Every now and then I notice a slight drag for a moment in some songs. Also, the break up of sound, which can be quite annoying. I don't know why with such new technology Samsung still seems to struggle with such issues.

The iPhone on the other hand doesn't suffer from this issue. But my preference has been always non iPhone. Just my preference.

So my question is why is Lexus putting in ML system that don't have good balanced music while other car manufacturers seem to do a better job.

So it seems like it's a well known issue that ML systems lack bass? So why does Lexus talk highly about their ML system when they know it's not balanced well. Also, why use ML. When there known manufacturers that seem to offer well balanced systems in the luxury market?

My bad Lexus Nerd, Windows 3.1 was 90s. :w00t: I totally agree with you on the job shuffle but my experience on the BMW entertainment interface has been great. But when it comes to NX it just feels very basic and even worse Toyota shares this interface or may be slightly modified version of it. Shouldn't Lexus have a higher quality system as we are paying more?

Talking about the Enform app, how often do they update it and introduce new features?

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