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This is a discussion on A quick question for audio upgrade in 2011 WRX within the Electronics/Car Audio forums, part of the Interior Mods category; Originally Posted by msharp However, I'd really like to keep those steering wheel buttons functional. Not only because they're handy, ...

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by msharp View Post
    However, I'd really like to keep those steering wheel buttons functional. Not only because they're handy, but also I hate having something staying in the way without doing anything.

    So I guess I'll just do more research to see if any aftermarket head unit could be compatible with those steering wheel controls... or... Does anyone know if this is even possible at all?
    Thanks again!
    I'm no expert at any of this but I'm in the market for a WRX and am curious what my options are... so I've been doing some research and I don't think any head unit is 'plug and play' compatible. There is an adapter you can get that apparently 'self programs' itself to take your WRX steering wheel controls and turns the signals into a standard that works with after market head units. (Drives me crazy that they wouldn't just plug into an aftermarket unit with a standard plug/wiring.

    Here is a link to a write up about the unit that specifically talks about using it with Subarus..

    http://ae64.com/aswc-install.htm

    Also on that site is a harness that you can get that has all the wiring pre-installed. This lets you not cut or splice any factory wires which is apparently a major no-no.

    http://ae64.com/20-pinfwdharness.htm

    The other thing to know is that the opening in the wrx/sti for a stereo is TOO WIDE for a standard stereo that would otherwise drop in there -- so you need an adapter to turn the 8" frame inside the opening to a frame that you can drop the standard 7"
    stereo into.

    This 'too wide' opening results in 'gaps' on the right and left side of the opening which a frame appears that doesn't match the stereo or the car... some pictures are here:

    http://fitfotos.pioneerelectronics.c...EZA%20WRX/2010

    It doesn't look all that bad in all the pictures so I am not sure if I will just live with it or...

    If you want a super tight, factory look you can get a an official Subaru (or Japan) replacement bezel/fascia that an aftermarket company sells that replaces the entire font of your frame around your stereo (and a/c vents) that is designed to narrow the opening from the wider. (http://www.japanparts.com/images/Ima...ase=1&no=15881)

    LASTLY, with all those variables worked out, there are TWO lingering (and disappointing to me) things that frustrate me about aftermarket installs.

    1. There is no known way to connect the center-console USB/IPOD port to an aftermarket stereo. The cable ends behind the OEM head unit in a proprietary 'mystery plug' that plugs into the OWM stereo just fine but has everyone scratching their heads about how to convert the mystery plug to a more standard USB cable that all aftermarket units are expecting... (again.. WHY would Subaru do this?!?! grrrr...)

    2. Similar the the USB mystery... there is also no known way to connect the overhead (in 2011) bluetooth microphone to the headunit. Again.. from what I understand, aftermarket headunits expect to have an external microphone plugged into them with a standard (semi-standard?) plug and the Subaru microphone doesn't provide this on the end of the cable that plugs into the OEM head unit.

    So that's my LONG rambling summary..

    There was actually a more detailed and specific overview of what you CAN do posted here:

    http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...31&postcount=7

    If you read through it you can (I think) arrive at the conclusions I outlined above..

    ** I AM DEFINITELY NOT AN EXPERT ** and struggling to get my head around my options and current limitations -- so if I got ANYTHING wrong or anyone is aware of updates PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE correct me in a reply so I know and everyone that reads this isn't misinformed..!

    For what it's worth here is my plan:

    Order a car with just the STOCK standard stereo. I live on my iPhone and the stock stereo supports bluetooth calling well with the iphone and also supports bluetooth audio streaming so that is pretty damn convenient. The stock stereo also comes with the aforementioned USB port in the center console and does a pretty good job and letting you access and see on screen your iphone/ipods music -- songs, genres, podcasts, playlists etc. (unless you have a very large library -- then I read it kinda chokes).

    Since I am quite proficient at using my iphone I am just going to get a nice ProClip mount (http://www.proclipusa.com and use my phone for audio control and just stream over bluetooth. For charging I'll probably just plug it into the USB in the center console and listen that way while it charges.. but for the most part I am planning on having it mounted on the dash while I drive. With the nice bluetooth features and integrated microphone having the phone in a mount on the dash will work nicely for phone calls. Also, I will probably get a mount that I can swivel so if I want/need navigation I can use my phone.

    I would love to have purchased the OEM navigation unit because I like it when everything works together... BUT... like almost all OEM navigation units -- it's a little crufty. I would way rather than something from a company that provides a better experience. Also -- the 2011 OEM navigation doesn't support bluetooth streaming... this was kinda a deal breaker for me.

    So I am just sticking with the stock unit which, while it isn't as nice as an aftermarket unit I prefer the integration with the everything in the care.. and since I am an iphone user I can get some of the nav and interface and easiness from my phone directly. Not ideal but the right thing for me to do now.

    My hope is that in the next year or two someone has come along and solved the issues with getting BOTH the USB glove box connections AND the built-in overhead bluetooth microphone playing well an aftermarket head unit.

    But I am not too frustrate.. I am actually pretty okay with the stock, basic unit! But I think if I didn't have an iPhone (or another nice smartphone) that I was comfortable with and that could provide GPS in a pinch... and a nice music selection and phone dialing interface... then I would definitely need to make some trade-offs with replacing the OEM stereo with an aftermarket head unit.

    WOW... Did I just type a lot. I hope someone out there trying to decide what to do with their 2011 recent purchase or future 2011 order find it helpful! It'd tricky sorting through all the posts across multiple forums and info on the subaru website and conversations with dealers.. but I *THINK* this is a pretty good 'what you need to know' if you are a 2011 owner or to be owner..

    - Chris

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  3. #17
    Registered User Chader's Avatar
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    WOW, thanks for the research and write-up. I need to take two days off work to read it .

  4. #18
    Registered User mm05897's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MizzouDevil View Post
    What kind of speakers did you install? Did the tweeters fit in the original enclosure? I am looking to replace my speakers as well.

    Thanks.

    Front = Alpine SPS-600C components
    Rear = Alpine SPS-600
    Sub = JL 10W3v3
    Amp = JL G6600

    I did not do the install myself. However, the car audio guys said that they did not need any sort of special kits for putting the speakers in. They had to pull the tweeters out of their enclosures they came with out of the box, then reused the stock enclosures that came with the car. Looks exactly the same as when I first got the car.

    If you go this route, throw in the minimal extra $$ to get some Dynomat or equivelant. Those doors rattle like crazy, esp. if you hook up an amp.

    BTW, the car audio guys did not know of any way to keep the functionality of the factory bluetooth controls. The adapter only worked for the volume and channel/track change buttons. And this is a decent, reputable shop. So now I am stuck with those awful looking buttons on the steering wheel serving no purpose. I can't find a way to get them off, either. Has anybody managed to get those stupid buttons off of there yet?
    Last edited by mm05897; 10-28-2010 at 09:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mm05897 View Post
    BTW, the car audio guys did not know of any way to keep the functionality of the factory bluetooth controls. The adapter only worked for the volume and channel/track change buttons. And this is a decent, reputable shop. So now I am stuck with those awful looking buttons on the steering wheel serving no purpose. I can't find a way to get them off, either. Has anybody managed to get those stupid buttons off of there yet?
    I must agree that the steering wheel buttons are disappointingly I'll fitting with the rest of the car.

    .... and to have them not do anything would be super frustrating.

    All is not lost though.. I believe that there will shortly be a means of getting them to work as the Canadian STI has all the same wiring and has an option for a Pioneer head unit installed from the factory/dealer. AND the buttons (everything!) works. So there exist currently, deep in the bowels of Subaru of Canada, parts to get the bluetooth phone controls, and the steering wheel audio controls and the hard wired bluetooth mic AND the center console mounted USB media hub.. at least with a Pioneer head unit...

    And apparently you can just drop in a new Pioneer head unit in a Canadian STI and everything just totally works.. which is definitely a good sign that parts exist somewhere that make that have the Subara (with wiring identical to the US version I am assuming since the base model stereo is exactly the same..) play fair with a Pioneer head unit.

    Chris



    I suspect and hope it's just a metter of im

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisinCA View Post
    All is not lost though.. I believe that there will shortly be a means of getting them to work as the Canadian STI has all the same wiring and has an option for a Pioneer head unit installed from the factory/dealer. AND the buttons (everything!) works.
    THAT IS ENCOURAGING!!! Guess I'll just wait for a couple of more months with the stock audio then. I really don't want to render these buttons useless...


    Thanks Chris!

  7. #21
    Registered User MizzouDevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm05897 View Post
    Front = Alpine SPS-600C components
    Rear = Alpine SPS-600
    Sub = JL 10W3v3
    Amp = JL G6600

    I did not do the install myself. However, the car audio guys said that they did not need any sort of special kits for putting the speakers in. They had to pull the tweeters out of their enclosures they came with out of the box, then reused the stock enclosures that came with the car. Looks exactly the same as when I first got the car.

    If you go this route, throw in the minimal extra $$ to get some Dynomat or equivelant. Those doors rattle like crazy, esp. if you hook up an amp.

    BTW, the car audio guys did not know of any way to keep the functionality of the factory bluetooth controls. The adapter only worked for the volume and channel/track change buttons. And this is a decent, reputable shop. So now I am stuck with those awful looking buttons on the steering wheel serving no purpose. I can't find a way to get them off, either. Has anybody managed to get those stupid buttons off of there yet?

    Thanks for the info! Spoke to the guy who sold me the REX and he recommded a local stereo shop to consult with. Said to stay away from Best Buy!
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  8. #22
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    I recently installed a Pioneer P4200DVD, which improved the sound quality from the stock speakers a lot. I made the mistake of not installing the adapter to allow the stock steering wheel controls to continue working with the new HU but will do so in the near future.

    I too am not an audiophile but from my research the HU is underpowered resulting in unclear wimpy sound from the relatively decent stock speakers.

    Of course you can keep the stock HU and instead consider installing a new speaker system but you should then consider also installing amps(s) to power them.

    IMO, changing the HU is a relatively easy fix for improved sound (not optimal sound) and may be easier than upgrading the speaker system.

    Good luck.

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    This thread is great.

    Thanks the most to mm05897 for actually listing the equipment put in his car. Crutchfield has a such a limited selection of speakers that will fit I have a suspicious that even minor creative-thinking can get a lot of speakers in there (like using the stock tweeter housing).

    mm05897, what Excelon HU did you get? For $500 installed it must not be one with nav. With nav, I'm looking at $1000 installed.

  10. #24
    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joker_927
    mm05897, what Excelon HU did you get? For $500 installed it must not be one with nav. With nav, I'm looking at $1000 installed.
    A H/U install is about as basic as it gets when it comes to car audio. The hardest part is the wiring harness, but if you aren't colorblind, it shouldn't be an issue. If you're ordering from Crutchfield, they send you instructions with pictures.
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    For the SWC adapters there are 2 brands. I tried both and the Axxess one is the easiest to install and setup. Plug it in your HU and it will autodetect what functions work with your HU. The blutooth buttons on a 2011 will work but retaining the blutooth functions DEPEND ON THE MODEL OF HU you are installing. This is because some HU do not have remote control functions for bluetooth. You can look on the install instructions for the SWC adapter to see what HU keep the bluetooth button functions. The bluetooth buttons still work so they can be reprogrammed for other functions.

  12. #26
    Registered User Officer Cartman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisinCA View Post
    Since I am quite proficient at using my iphone I am just going to get a nice ProClip mount (Device Holders and Dashboard Vehicle Mounts-ProClip Car Mounts for Mobile Phones, GPS, and Handheld Devices and use my phone for audio control and just stream over bluetooth. For charging I'll probably just plug it into the USB in the center console and listen that way while it charges.. but for the most part I am planning on having it mounted on the dash while I drive. With the nice bluetooth features and integrated microphone having the phone in a mount on the dash will work nicely for phone calls. Also, I will probably get a mount that I can swivel so if I want/need navigation I can use my phone.
    This is what I ended up doing as well.. I didn't like the ProClip mounting positions, so I got the Panavise mount with the ProClip cradle. (I had the ProClip cradle from my old car) It sits on the right of the radio, and installation wasn't too difficult. It's a little more expensive than the "universal" options out there, but I was willing to pay a bit more for a quality piece.

    I do everything through the Bluetooth Audio, so I wanted a good way to manage my playlists and such.. You can only switch tracks using the steering wheel controls, so a mount for the phone was a must! I think you'll be happy with it.

  13. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joker_927 View Post
    This thread is great.

    Thanks the most to mm05897 for actually listing the equipment put in his car. Crutchfield has a such a limited selection of speakers that will fit I have a suspicious that even minor creative-thinking can get a lot of speakers in there (like using the stock tweeter housing).

    mm05897, what Excelon HU did you get? For $500 installed it must not be one with nav. With nav, I'm looking at $1000 installed.
    KDC-X994. No complaints. Lighting on the display and buttons can be adjusted to match the red lighting on the dashboard instruments.

  14. #28
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    pioneer avh-p3200BT kicker LS200 component speakers up front, alpine type-s rear. SWI-PS steering control module and pioneer brake harness relay.

    I DO have a question tho - i did NOT connect the tweeters yet to the front, as they are larger and come w/ a 4 ohm + addon box for higher quality sound. my question is in regards to: can i cut the cord to the stock tweeters and put the kicker tweeters in, or should i KEEP the stock tweeters, and use the kicker in-line addon box, wire to the speaker and mount the kicker tweeters somewhere else? basically... where do the factory tweeters plug into, and if they are just spliced from the front speakers anyways?

  15. #29
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    Has anyone had any luck in finding anything new on this topic? I'm in the same boat as others... I just got my 2011 WRX Sedan last week- and I'm going to upgrade most if not all of the audio equipment- but I would like to retain as much functionality of the stock equipment as possible...

    Can anyone chime in?
    I think about the meaning of pain. . .
    Pain is personal. It really belongs to the one experiencing it- probably the only true thing that is your own.
    I like mine.

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    Registered Whippersnapper mustangtx63's Avatar
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    Came across this the other day, might be an idea for some of you '11 guys.

    New OEM Radio Installed into MY11 WRX: Source MY11 Forester - NASIOC
    ~ Retired Blobeye Syndicate #063 ~
    2011 Ford F-150 ECOBOOST 4x4

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