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Is it just me or does the factory sound system sound horrible? Worst sound of any vehicle I have ever had, and I have had some old beaters. What have people upgraded to?
 

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Is it just me or does the factory sound system sound horrible? Worst sound of any vehicle I have ever had, and I have had some old beaters. What have people upgraded to?
See my sig...

2014 Limited
20x9 Fuel Krank wheels
33 x 12.5 Toyo Open Country RT
Warn Super Bolt Flares
ToyTec/Eibach 3" Lift
Total Chaos Fabrication upper control arms
JBL Entune with Maestro DSR1 Amp replacement module
4x100w Pioneer amp pushing El cheapo Renegade RX6.2c components
Hifonics 1000w amp pushing a Kicker 1000W 12" 2-Ohm Slim Shallow Subwoofer with Passive radiator

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Is it just me or does the factory sound system sound horrible? Worst sound of any vehicle I have ever had, and I have had some old beaters. What have people upgraded to?
What year, model (single cab, double cab, crew cab), trim level (Base through Platinum). Did it come with the basic radio system or the JBL premium system?

Lots of yes/no questions like:
  • Do you want to play CDs
  • Do you want to play DVDs
  • Do you want XM satellite radio
  • Do you want built-in navigation
  • Do you want Apple Play and/or Android Auto
  • Do you want voice control
  • Do you want removable face plate
  • Do you want to upgrade to newer, more powerful speakers
  • Do you want to have a subwoofer
To do it right, you'll need the head unit - the thing that goes into the dash), an amplifier that will probably mount under the passenger seat, replacements speakers (ensure speakers match up the amplifier output), a sub-woofer (if desired), and a satellite receiver.

If you're capable, you can install all this yourself. However, about 99% of people are not capable of such a complex installation. Their their case, they should do some research into brands/models of stereo, amplifier and speakers. Stick with brand names if you want really good music reproduction at all volume levels. Ask friends, relatives, and others who might know of an excellent auto stereo shop. Check local Yelp and other local sources for what most people recommend as far as a shop and who to avoid. Talk to the shop about what you want, and be ready to give a maximum price if necessary. Remember, installation costs are high (often $75-$100 per hour) but you generally get a warranty on the work and you don't want some hack chopping holes in your roof for a satellite antenna or things along that line.

I had a new base model 2013 Tundra with the base stereo. I bought it on a whim and didn't really think through things completely. After suffering through the horrible basic system for a few months, I did all the research and took it to the best local stereo shop. I had to stand hard behind my choice of equipment, but in the end I got exactly what I wanted. I ended up with a Pioneer head unit (with XM, CD/DVD player, Apple Play...but no subwoofer, no navigation) for around $700), a Pioneer 4-channel amp for around $150, Rockford-Fosgate front speakers with separate woofer & tweeter for about $200, and Rockford-Fosgate 2-way speakers for the rear for about $130. The installation cost around $350. All those components worked together perfectly and was exactly what I wanted.

The only complaint was that particular stereo head used two tiny buttons for volume control and they were hard to find when I wanted to turn it down quickly. I should have found one that still used a knob for volume control. However, if your Tundra comes with stereo controls on the steering wheel, then nearly all stereos can be wired into them.

I kept that truck for 3 years and traded it for a new 2016 Tundra Limited that had the fancy JBL stereo and it sounds just as good as the modified one in my older Tundra.

Sorry this is so long but I wanted to give you an idea of what to think about....

Good luck!
 

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Yes, it's horrible. I went with TacoTunes, you can find them on youtube and the web. They have DIY pre-selectable kits that are made specifically for the Tundra. Their kits allow you to go as crazy as you want and know that someone has tried, tested and confirmed that what you get works with what you have.
 

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The stock audio in my 2008 is pretty dang good, to be honest.
2008, DC, SR5 trim.
Headunit is base model, but not sure if SR5 has upgraded speakers. I assume they are paper cone BS

But I enjoy it. Certainly enjoy it too much to spend the time/money tearing my interior apart installing new speakers and wiring.

I'm quite picky about this. I'm no audiophile, but my ears quickly hurt with bad systems. I recently spent a bunch of time installing a top-tier Pioneer (AVIC-8200NEX) headunit into my 2013 Scion FR-S. Headunit greatly improve the sound as well as allowing MUCH more EQ tuning and sound timing. It took a trash tier, budget car sound system and made it sound 5x better.
Again, nothing stellar, but it's now satisfactory enough to postpone removing interior panels to replace speakers.

Even so, I enjoy the audio in my Tundra more. It seems to have a much better stereo, factory vs. factory, the volume level is adequate, and the interior of the truck is much more...substantial than most cars. More sound deadening, more soft materials so sound waves don't bounce everywhere. I wound say the Tundra interior is "thicker" in every respect. So much easier for me to crank my favorite song and just relax into the seat and enjoy.

My Scion has poor sound deadening and lots of wind noise. I have to crank my stereo to drown out of the road noise, but I'm the one who loses because all accumulates and gives me a headache after a while.
 

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Is it just me or does the factory sound system sound horrible? Worst sound of any vehicle I have ever had, and I have had some old beaters. What have people upgraded to?
I like the sound in my 2020 Tundra SR5 dbl cab. I am hearing impaired and didn't play the radio in my vehicles for several years. Now I do because it sounds much better. Sorry that yours is not working good for you. I enjoy using Car Play so I listen to music from my iPhone.
 
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