2010 wrx audio setup
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This is a discussion on 2010 wrx audio setup within the Electronics/Car Audio forums, part of the Interior Mods category; Just got a 2010 wrx last week and love it so far but like many other people didnt really think ...

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    2010 wrx audio setup

    Just got a 2010 wrx last week and love it so far but like many other people didnt really think much about the sound system until the ride home.. I have the basic sound system trying to decide what i want to start with..

    i had a JL audio 12w3 in my previous car def enjoyed it, im leaning towards a 10w3 with prob an audio integrations perfect fit enclosure but that might be later down the road

    little bit on a tight budget so im looking for input on what the best quick fix for the system would be until i can put a little more in the car.. looking in the under $500 region

    new speakers? new headunit? amp? subs?

    any input is much appreciated
    Last edited by wall8; 12-22-2009 at 12:49 PM.

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    Registered User AsILayDying's Avatar
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    Take this for what it is (my opinion) but dont skimp on the head unit and this would be my first choice. Get the unit you will be happy with after you decide what it is you want the HU to be able to do (i.e. GPS, DVD, Ipod) Personally I love Pioneer, but defiantely spend the money on the Head Unit, it is the item that drives the rest of the system. Next I would Get quality interior speakers cause the good head unit will be good until you decide to put an amp to them. Then its a matter of deciding what type of bass, mid range or hi-freq sound you are looking for. A real good quality 5 channel amp, and a real good 10" - 12" would be good. Not a lot of space taken and you can have a good all round sound with the ability to upgrade your bass level in future if needed and not loose what you spent on the HU or interiors and amp. Good luck.
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    Registered User economatic's Avatar
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    Yep, the HU is the limiting factor. I thought I could replace the speakers and add a sub to be satisfied for a while and was terribly disappointed. It sounded like crap, period. If I were you and on a budget I would upgrade the HU first and add a sub then take care of the speakers (and amp, if needed) later.

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    Alright cool thank you..

    I know the deck size is the double din, i was wonder if getting a single din would look awkward with all the extra space?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wall8 View Post
    Alright cool thank you..

    I know the deck size is the double din, i was wonder if getting a single din would look awkward with all the extra space?
    that is indeed the reason for a dash kit. any bestbuy can order it for u

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    Captain James of the SS Impreza has gone down with the ship Drews's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keegur View Post
    that is indeed the reason for a dash kit. any bestbuy can order it for u
    Ew...I don't buy car audio at best buy ever. Their techs are idiots. I always do my shopping at car audio places and buy online. But I do my own installs.
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    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drews View Post
    Ew...I don't buy car audio at best buy ever. Their techs are idiots.
    yes they are, last time I was there to grab up the adapter harness I needed.. they advised that I didnt need an install kit for a double din head unit.

    Leaving in disbelief that they were unaware that a dash kit IS needed to fill the gap around the dd head unit and the factory opening.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mangostick View Post
    yes they are, last time I was there to grab up the adapter harness I needed.. they advised that I didnt need an install kit for a double din head unit.

    Leaving in disbelief that they were unaware that a dash kit IS needed to fill the gap around the dd head unit and the factory opening.
    I've seen their installs catch fire in someones truck because they used the wrong gauge wire to power two amps...
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    hey, i was taking to an audio shop near my house, i've been dealing with this guy for quite some time now. He told me that the imprezza front speakers have a magnet on them about the size of a dime due to minimal clearance between the door panel and speaker. Kenwood offers a speaker targeted towards cars with minimal back space (there is only about an inch and a half of clearance on the imprezza) the magnet is on the front side of the speaker i was quoted @ $270 Canadian for the pair so look into upgrading your inteior speakers, if a higher end double din is out of your price range right now.

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    Captain James of the SS Impreza has gone down with the ship Drews's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newwrxtuner View Post
    hey, i was taking to an audio shop near my house, i've been dealing with this guy for quite some time now. He told me that the imprezza front speakers have a magnet on them about the size of a dime due to minimal clearance between the door panel and speaker. Kenwood offers a speaker targeted towards cars with minimal back space (there is only about an inch and a half of clearance on the imprezza) the magnet is on the front side of the speaker i was quoted @ $270 Canadian for the pair so look into upgrading your inteior speakers, if a higher end double din is out of your price range right now.
    Yeah that would be cool...if kenwood wasnt crap when it came to speakers. The best ones I've heard are the MB Quarts with the magnet in front of the cone. Still over priced though. Get spacers and you can fit better speakers.
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    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    I've been installing my own audio since I had a vehicle to install it in. Def never trust any cookie cutter places for work or advice. It pays to do ones own research and then price out the best place to order/purchase the parts from.
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    ok, I know I will probably catch a load of it from some people, but having been in Car Audio for nearly 25 years I am going to put this out there as a new way to think about your (anyone in general) audio system and what needs to be done with it.

    First - Contrary to popular belief, you head unit is probably not the piece of crap you think it is. Most of them are built by the same companies building the aftermarket unit you would purchase anyway. using the same parts for the key features that make the biggest difference. (ie cd transport, processor <though usually more limited but this it not huge> D/a converters) yes back 10 plus years ago heck even back 6 years ago stock units were still borderline junk but this is not the case today.

    Factory amps- these are still in the I wouldn;t keep one for a paper weight list. very few are actually built well to perform as aftermarket amps will provided you are buying quality and not replacing junk with more junk. (yes a watt is a watt, but how that watt is created and transfered to your speakers is not always the same)

    Speakers- this seemingly continues to be the worst part of OEM audio. the build a car and then go crap how do we put a speaker in here when we did not plan for it.... we have someone build us some piece of crap that will fill the hole and depth. in pretty much every subaru I can remember you need some kind of speaker spacer ring to get anythign worth while in the stock locations. for those who are looking to get the biggest bang for the buck audio enhancement over stock this IS where you start.

    when shopping for speakers think about a few things before your purchase.

    A) do I ever plan on adding amplifiers to my system? if yes then buy speakers that will handle the added power... do not buy teh cheapest crap you can find as they will 1. not improve your current situation and 2. will be worse when you try to add more power.

    b) what kind of sound do I like.... some speakers (tweeters) will have a "harsher" sound than others this is typically seen in metal dome tweeters as they tend to reproduce higher frequencies more efficently so they seem like they are playing them louder then a soft dome tweeter, which will appear to be calmer on the top end to the ears. Mylar or composite based tweeters will be somewhere in between. (that does nto always mean they will sound better to you.)

    c) What are my expectations of my speakers? this also goes with the question of adding amps later. if you have plans of adding some type of sub-woofer to help out with the bottom end then you front will not need to work as hard in most aspects. (this is because most people that tune a sub will build it and have it play from about 80 or 90 hz down. this covers a good portion of the midbass area as well so your system does not have to work as hard through the smaller speaker to get it all done.) Note: true sub-bass is considered anything below 60 hz mid-bass is 60-250hz, mid range 250-3000, and highs are 3000 up
    If you do not have intentions of adding a sub to your system then you will want higher end speakers from your front end that will play a bit lower on the bottom end to help fill in this area. (hard to do well but can be done with the right speakers and set up.)

    other things to consider to help improve the sound in your vehicle are vibration and noise reduction. this is done via Damping materials (most people refer to Dynamat) though there are many others and a couple are better for less money.


    now once you decide to get into amplifiers (or upgrading amplifiers you say how to get get from my stock head unit to the amp... well there is the old school high level (or speaker level) to low level (or RCA) converters, but these are archaic at best. JL, Arc Audio, Peripheral, Audio Control I am sure others all make OEM integration devices (known as summiung units) they take the input signal form a stock head unit read it and flatten it out (baiscally this means the prebuilt eq in the headunit is defeated to a zero slope) this gives you a good clean signal into your amp, and will usually boost the signal via a line driver. from here you simply runb your RCA cable to your amps and/or processors you are good to go form there out to your speakers. some higher end units are available form Audio Control, rockford fosgate and Audison with built in processors that are actually really nice, different features from each but will do more than any "high end" head unit currently available on the market.(rane from about 600 to 800 dollars. yeah most peple will go wholly s--t, when you talk about what a GOOD head unti would cost plus the upgrades for other accessories you will lose by replacing your factory... (ie steering wheel controls, maybe built in bluetooth, six disc in dash ect... 800 bucks would seem cheap.)

    if you still feel the need to replace your headunit. I did mine in my subaru.. being that it wass the stock single din and I went to a Double Din Navigation system. make sure you find one that has good features with a good warranty. others may just want to go single din with more fueatures, to the same good reliablity and warranty.

    Some brands you may want to look at:

    Head units: Kenwood Excelon very reliable and 2 yr warranty
    Eclipse pretty good line good sound quality, 3yr warranty plus a 1 yr theft guaruntee if installed by authorized dealer.
    Pioneer nav is ok little hard to navigate menus but still good, good reliability premier line is gone so no more two yr warranty.
    JVC built in the sam plant as Kenwood now with same parts for key parts so reliablity is up good add on features (built in HD and/or bluetooth)

    Speakers: there are tons of brands that are good.

    Arc audio, Image Dynamics, Hertz, Hybrid Audio Technology, Focal, DLS, JL Auido these are just some of the key brands I would recommend. the best sounding speakers by far are the ones your ears like!

    Amps... there again are many brnd to choose from. some are junk others are not. brands to look at.... Arc Audio, Hertz, Audison, JL, Focal, image dynamics, Zapco, Orion (again these are lines I know to be reliable)

    Subs you have similar choices as above Arc, Image Dynamics, JL, Focal, T3, RE, Ultra Sub... the list goes on. but agian only listing brands I know to be good and reliable with good support from the manufacturers)

    When shopping for products you will surely look at online resources... I will say this, as opposed to it as I am being a small business owner... it will be done... be careful of the comapnies you buy from... even though they may say they are an authorized dealer for said line check with the actual maker of the product to verify this...(if they are not and you have problems with product bought from them it could get hairy as the manufacturer will NOT warranty the product and you may end up stuck with a paper weight.) also consider that buying online it will be hard to get good support for what may be a specific to your particular project problem becuase the guy on the phone cannot see what exactly is done. (this is if you attempt your own installation)
    Which bring me back to your local retailers, yes they may be more money for the same product (or for some you will not find online) but a good shop has the experts in our field (or should) they work on cars day in and day out, not one car here and there. so they know the trick and quirks of the vehicles. and every car has them. they also know what the capablities of the the products are and it physical limits, so they are more able to set up your equipment properly.
    Yes most shop will install your gear you bring in.. .but it WILL almost always cost more (this is due to the fact that they like everyone else are in business to make money not rip you off) and if you have any problems with your gear they have ablsolutely no responsibilty to help you with any kind of warranty on the product not purchased form them. they may or may not offer a warranty on the install of this type of gear (varies by shop)

    I know some of you will say the ONLY way to do it is byh doingit yourself... here are my thoughts, yes some people may be cable of this and it will seem easy... here are the other things to think about... the computer circuits in cars today are super sensitve and if you tie into a wire you are not absolutely positive about its functions you could cause major damage to multiple systems. in most newer vehicles 1 wire will serve multiple functions... (ie VW 1 wire will controll door locks, dome light trigger, window function and trunk release). Air bag systems are not thougth about as anyhthing to fear... however some vehicles if you pull a seat with airbags in it and do not properly disengage or depower the SRS system you could cause damage to the system or possibly deploy the bags when you plug them back in, or worse cause them to fail when they are needed.

    beyond this good installers have the tools and techniques to get the absolute best perforance out of the gear you have purchased.
    now I understand that in some areas you may not have a good, qualified shop close, but before you say I know more... I encourage you to make sure you do.

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    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    All this good information here from Hertz is why you consult a independent pro with a good history thats willing to take a hour out of his day to explain things to you and listen to your needs before pushing a product on you.

    Unlike say, best buy or some other generic retailer. Unfortunately I never had the money or the time to build a competitive system.. but what you can learn from those who do it for a living is worth its weight in gold. The old common sense still applies. "if you dont know, ask those who do before it costs you more than it would to have them do it in the first place"

    good info Bryan!

    edit:

    for those who've not gotten the factory head unit out of the dash


    yep, that says CLARION and this is the standard package radio.. however, if I were clarion I'd not want to admit this was my product. If it had something of a power supply/amplifier in there it'd be fine... but its waaaaaayyyy under powered... even for stock speakers. I didn't open it up but its easy to peer inside and there isn't much there. If the standard radio had more snot behind it and maybe some more features (bluetooth/usb interfaces would be nice) It'd be worth keeping.
    Last edited by mangostick; 01-06-2010 at 05:23 PM.
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    Peripheral does make a Ipod interface for the Nav units for the 08 up radios. the base unit there is not much you can do with it, but you can still use it with a bitone interface unit and give you flexibilty for added on options.

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