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i have read many posts here where you guys seem to be perfectly happy with the stock sound system in the IS250/350. To be honest, I was very disappointed. There is really no "OOmpff" in those 13 speakers and the sound quality is far from "crystal clear."

Any of you guys added an after-market amplifier? I dont wanna go all out ... but something decent sized would suffice for my needs. Any suggestions for a decent after market amplifier would be appreciated.

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i have read many posts here where you guys seem to be perfectly happy with the stock sound system in the IS250/350. To be honest, I was very disappointed. There is really no "OOmpff" in those 13 speakers and the sound quality is far from "crystal clear."

Any of you guys added an after-market amplifier? I dont wanna go all out ... but something decent sized would suffice for my needs. Any suggestions for a decent after market amplifier would be appreciated.

The most common upgrade I'm aware of is to add a subwoofer in the trunk. Sub + mono amp will cost around $400-800 depending on what you get and how much of the work you can do yourself.

I don't think I've heard of anyone puting in an aftermarket amp to power the stock speakers. You might try the sub first and see how you like the sound. There doesn't seem to be much aftermarket support for the IS audio system, and the subwoofer is the only simple upgrade I know of.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Agree: It's amazing just how much apparent "volume" and "oomph" a powerful sub can add to a stock audio system.

Have either of you guys done this with your respective IS's? If I decide on adding a sub ... I dont think I have the necessary know-how to do it myself ... so will have to take it to Best Buy or some place like that. But not really sure whether I should trust the "certified crew" to mess with the wiring on my IS.

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I wouldnt worry about installers messing with your wiring most of us have done more expensive cars. I am sure your car will be safe. Its actually not the wires that are the hard part its getting to them.

I put mine in myself. The stock amplifier is in the trunk. You can make all the connections there, so there is no need to tear apart the dash. It's not an easy job - it dook me about 6 hours, so it's not a bad deal to pay an installer $75-$100. Just make sure you go somewhere where they know what they are doing.

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I thought the stock system does not have any RCA outs, so don't you need to add an RCA adapter in order to add an amp?

If so, doesn't that kill the sound quality? I've listened to MANY systems that have used this approach and I found each one worse than the next.

Maybe you are suggesting the amp is ONLY connected to the sub and since it is playing in mono, the RCA adapter won't affect sound quality all that much. Not sure, what the suggestion is, but I suppose if the amp is bridged 2 ohm mono and simply for the sub, it might be okay.

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I thought the stock system does not have any RCA outs, so don't you need to add an RCA adapter in order to add an amp?

If so, doesn't that kill the sound quality? I've listened to MANY systems that have used this approach and I found each one worse than the next.

Maybe you are suggesting the amp is ONLY connected to the sub and since it is playing in mono, the RCA adapter won't affect sound quality all that much. Not sure, what the suggestion is, but I suppose if the amp is bridged 2 ohm mono and simply for the sub, it might be okay.

The added amp is only for the new sub. Many sub amps have speaker level inputs, which saves you the hassle of adding a hi-lo converter. The sound quality of the sub is excellent, and it's a significant improvement over the stock sub.

Regarding RCA pre-outs and low-level signals, they are not always necessarily better than using a speaker level signal. I reviewed the wiring diagram from my Pioneer Elite home receiver, which has preouts for all the channels. The main speaker left/right preouts come from an internal preamplification circuit, which I think is the 'clean' way to provide the signal, and which probably results in better sound than you would get from an amplifier->high/low converter->amplifier connection. The center and surround channel RCA preouts just come from an internal high to low conversion of the amplifier output. So my point is that having an RCA pre-out connector does not necessarily mean that you are getting a cleaner source signal.

I bet if you look at the circuit designs of some car stereos, you'll probably see some of the same thing. Some might use a true preamp circuit to provide a clean signal to an RCA output, but some will probably just have an internal high-low conversion to the RCA outputs. I think the internal high-low in my home receiver only involved a couple of resistors, so it's got to be cheaper to manufacture than a true preamplification circuit.

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I thought the stock system does not have any RCA outs, so don't you need to add an RCA adapter in order to add an amp?

If so, doesn't that kill the sound quality? I've listened to MANY systems that have used this approach and I found each one worse than the next.

Maybe you are suggesting the amp is ONLY connected to the sub and since it is playing in mono, the RCA adapter won't affect sound quality all that much. Not sure, what the suggestion is, but I suppose if the amp is bridged 2 ohm mono and simply for the sub, it might be okay.

The added amp is only for the new sub. Many sub amps have speaker level inputs, which saves you the hassle of adding a hi-lo converter. The sound quality of the sub is excellent, and it's a significant improvement over the stock sub.

Regarding RCA pre-outs and low-level signals, they are not always necessarily better than using a speaker level signal. I reviewed the wiring diagram from my Pioneer Elite home receiver, which has preouts for all the channels. The main speaker left/right preouts come from an internal preamplification circuit, which I think is the 'clean' way to provide the signal, and which probably results in better sound than you would get from an amplifier->high/low converter->amplifier connection. The center and surround channel RCA preouts just come from an internal high to low conversion of the amplifier output. So my point is that having an RCA pre-out connector does not necessarily mean that you are getting a cleaner source signal.

I bet if you look at the circuit designs of some car stereos, you'll probably see some of the same thing. Some might use a true preamp circuit to provide a clean signal to an RCA output, but some will probably just have an internal high-low conversion to the RCA outputs. I think the internal high-low in my home receiver only involved a couple of resistors, so it's got to be cheaper to manufacture than a true preamplification circuit.

I gotta tell ya, that might be true, but I've never heard a system sound good using an RCA adapter. Your explanation seems more than reasonable, although I'd still have to hear it to be fully convinced. ;)

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Have either of you guys done this with your respective IS's? If I decide on adding a sub ... I dont think I have the necessary know-how to do it myself ... so will have to take it to Best Buy or some place like that. But not really sure whether I should trust the "certified crew" to mess with the wiring on my IS.

I used to do this when I was younger but I'm getting too old for those contortions now! ;) But DO NOT TAKE IT TO BEST BUY!!! Take it somewhere that deals with high end installations and insist on references and pictures of their installs by the guy who will do yours. I added an amp and two 10" subwoofers to the stock system in my 2001 BMW 530i and was stunned by the transformation! I'm trying to accumulate information to do the same with my IS250 but I would prefer two low profile subs under the rear deck (to retain trunk space). The existing "sub" isn't - it's just a woofer!

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