JBL explains why audio quality in the 2022 Toyota Camry is so good

Hans · Dec 2, 2022 03:50 PM

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When talking about the new facelifted 2022 Toyota Camry, its new 2.5-litre Dynamic Force engine (209 PS / 253 Nm) and 8-speed automatic transmission combo is always the focus, and rightly so, considering how good it is. What is less said but still an equally deserving talking point is its JBL audio system, because it’s the best in any car on this side of a quarter million Ringgit.

The updated 2022 Toyota Camry now features a 9-inch touch screen infotainment with support for Android Auto / Apple CarPlay, playing content through an 800 Watts, 9-speaker setup.

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Audio specialists will tell you that while having a high speaker count is great, speaker placement, specifically placing what kind of speaker where, how big and how powerful, as well as software are just as important.

JBL’s relationship with Toyota started in 1998, with the US market Toyota Camry. Closer to home, the first Toyota model to be sold in Malaysia with JBL audio was the third generation Toyota Prius, specifically the 2012 facelift model, which had an 8-channel amplifier 8-speaker JBL GreenEdge setup.

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In developing the audio system for the new Toyota Camry, JBL explained that it hadn’t just license its name to Toyota.

Instead, JBL customized the audio system to suit the specific requirements of the Camry’s vehicle architecture, taking into consideration the model’s target users.

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“In order to determine what is the appropriate sound system for a Toyota vehicle, we first start with the first principles and understanding with the target for the vehicle. If it’s a smaller vehicle, of course, we can use a lower number of speakers. If it’s a larger vehicle, we certainly need a larger number of speakers. On top of that though, it’s important to also understand what type of features and sonic experience is desired for this specific vehicle,” said Rishi Daftuar, global acoustics lead at Harman International, which owns JBL.

“The four sound quality attributes we focus on in JBL are spectral — which is the balance of the bass, the mid-range, and the treble,” says Jonathan Pierce, director of global experiential R&D at Harman International. “Spatial is a very unique one. I think [what] most people don’t think about is more where you see the instruments in your favorite music. Dynamics is something that’s very, very special for JBL® and it’s part of our heritage here. Dynamics refers to not only the ability for the system to play loud and clean, but also to reproduce the quietest sounds as well. And then Vehicle Integrity is something that we work with Toyota very closely on. This is the actual structural build of the car itself where the speakers are placed, how they are fastened into the vehicle, the grills that go on top of those speakers as well and of course the wiring harnesses around those speakers.”

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Speaker placements and setup for the Camry

In developing the audio system for the Camry, JBL spent hundreds of hours to develop and fine-tune the speakers to achieve the perfect sound reproduction in a moving car.

In the case of the Camry, JBL adopted a 3-way approach for the front section. Low, mid, and high range frequencies are produced by the 8”x9” woofers in the front doors, 80 mm squawkers in the edges of the dashboard, and JBL’s signature 25 mm horn tweeters at the A-pillars.

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Behind, full range 15 cm wide dispersion speakers are installed on the rear doors, while a two-channel 25 cm sub-woofer is placed in the parcel shelf.

Under the front passenger seat is an 8-channel Class D amplifier.

JBL adds that its signature Clari-Fi music restoration technology is especially useful for today’s MP3 / streaming services usage habits, Streaming services use very high data compression methods to keep file size small for faster transmission. While small file sizes are great for streaming, some of the track’s fidelity are lost.

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Difference between regular compressed audio file vs Clari-Fi restored file

JBL’s Clari-Fi technology analyzes and restores digital audio files to high fidelity in real time, by supplementing low- to high frequencies lost during compression. The result is vivid reproduction of vocals and musical instrumentation details that are often compromised with digitally compressed music.

For the best experience, you should use premium paid content services, like Spotify Premium, as free accounts typically have lower quality audio.

Audio quality in the Toyota Camry is far better than what’s offered in many higher range cars like a BMW 3 Series or a Mercedes-Benz C-Class. No, you shouldn’t believe us. Just try it for yourself.

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Many people evaluate audio quality by cranking up the volume and bass but what separates a good audio system from an average one is not sound power, but the ability to play a full range of sound with very high clarity. It needs to play not only playing the loudest sound without cracking, but crucially, it must also play the quitest sound without hissing. That’s how concert hall performances are best reproduced inside a car’s cabin.

If there’s one complaint that we have, it would be the head unit’s sluggish response. We are not sure if it’s a memory or processing power issue, but with Android Auto running, the screen is just slow to respond to inputs, sometimes to the point of even causing Spotify to lag.

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The 2022 Toyota Camry 2.5V is priced from RM 209,800. The model is imported (CBU) from Thailand.

Also read: Review: 2022 Toyota Camry facelift - 'Top up a bit more' to get a 3 Series? Don't bother

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Hans

Head of Content

Over 15 years of experience in automotive, from product planning, to market research, to print and digital media. Garages a 6-cylinder manual RWD but buses to work.

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