This 2014 Camry owner came to us looking for an overhaul of his car's sound system as he found the sound quality and connectivity lacking. We installed a Kenwood head unit along with the iDatalink Maestro RR which was crucial for this install. The Maestro RR goes beyond a normal steering wheel control module and adds these other functions which streamline the install process for head units that have the dedicated Maestro input:
- Full factory rearview camera retention with dynamic parking guidelines (with TO2 harness)
- Performance gauges, tire pressure display, engine error code display (through OBD accessory)
- Retention of factory settings access only otherwise accessible through the factory head unit
- Factory USB port retention (with UTO2 accessory)
- Factory satellite radio antenna retention (with STO2 accessory)
The Maestro serial connection is one of the reasons we like these double din receivers from Kenwood but there's much more they offer. The high voltage RCA preouts are perfect for adding an amplifier and the time alignment/DSP settings are user-friendly and make for an appreciable difference in sound quality. They are also built to last with many users running JVC/Kenwood receivers from 10 years ago that are still going strong.
Alpine R Speakers
In terms of speakers, we prefer Alpine's new R-Series over Kenwood's lineup, including their Excelon series. Although to be fair, we find that Kenwood's head units offer a better experience than Alpine's and better value for the money. Our customer didn't want to sacrifice trunk space for a subwoofer so we installed the Alpine MRV-F300 4-Channel amp and Alpine's R-S69 6x9 speakers on the front doors and rear deck. The bass response from these 6x9's is impressive and will rival some smaller subwoofers with the best part being that they don't take up any additional interior volume.
These speakers can handle up to 100W RMS which is about 4x more than the factory speakers. Interestingly, the factory Toyota speaker is only a 6.5" despite there being enough room for a 6x9. We used a Metra speaker adapter for a clean bolt-on installation. Perhaps on the JBL sound system equipped cars, a true 6x9 speaker is included. To help these powerful speakers perform at their best, we also added Dynamat sound deadening to keep the sound inside the cabin, reduce road noise, and improve sound pressure level (SPL) performance.
We loved how this Camry's new system performs, not only for music requiring deep bass but the advanced DSP on the Kenwood double din even makes talk radio sound better. None of the factory functions are lost and the car is just that much more enjoyable to drive. For a car like this where the driver will spend hundreds of hours a year sitting in traffic, we think that an upgraded sound system is well worth the investment.