I am trying to determine the real cause of the lousy sound in the '11 non-Nav WRX/STi. I listened to it for about 2 minutes before deciding that the best word for the sound is "muddy."
I dialed back (all the way) the midrange on the built-in EQ and bumped up the bass to +2 and the highs to +1, but it still sounds lousy, even at a volume in the high 20s. Above 30, it all goes to hell.
So in some factory systems (the Legacy comes to mind), the HU is okay but the speakers are complete crap, while in others, the speakers can sound passable with a good HU pushing good sound to them. In those cases, changing EITHER the HU or the speakers are an improvement, normally one moreso than the other. Obviously, changing it all out has the best improvement.
My initial inclination with the '11s is that the speakers suck. Clarion knows how to make a HU, but who knows how Subaru specified the particulars on bass attunation or other artificialities, so I could be way off.
it seems that most people just swap out the HU as a knee-jerk reaction to bad sound, but is that really the best solution?
If you had to nail down the cause of the muddy, dull sound in the '11s, would you say that it was the HU or the speakers?
I am considering pulling it all out, but I want to do one step before the other. If I could get by with just upgrading the front speakers now, I could live with the HU functionality (I actually like it). I would also be fine keeping the stock speakers for a while, assuming that a higher-quility HU would be able to drive them better than the stock one and that it would sound significantly better then what is in there now.
No matter what, I am adding a small underseat sub to help with bass reproduction, since neither the factory HU nor speakers seem suited to that.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.