Stock vs. Aftermarket HU
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This is a discussion on Stock vs. Aftermarket HU within the Electronics/Car Audio forums, part of the Interior Mods category; I went to my favorite audio shop yesterday looking to buy a new head unit for my '10 WRX. I ...

  1. #1
    Registered User Geo-Aggie's Avatar
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    Stock vs. Aftermarket HU

    I went to my favorite audio shop yesterday looking to buy a new head unit for my '10 WRX. I currently have the stock 6-disc dealy in it. I wouldn't mind a USB input, but my main reason for being there is I want my two 10" subs hooked up. I have a 330w RMS amp.

    The salesman told me that he would recommend I get a new HU but that if I liked the stock one and my main reason for being there was to get my subs working that they sell a part that will turn a regular out into those RCA outs or.. something like that.. (I don't speak audio.)

    My question for any of your people who know stuff about audio is will this sound decent? Honestly I'm not too concerned about having a new deck. Like I said before the stock one is fine and I'm not going to be competing in any audio competitions or car shows. But if my system is going to sound bad and spending an extra $300 on a nice deck+install will make worlds of difference I'm willing to do that.

    Suggestions?
    2010 Subaru WRX

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    OMG WTF MainFrame's Avatar
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    Using the signal converter works, but the stock stereo is just never going to sound very good. It's up to you.. I would go with an aftermarket HU for what it's worth.

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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    You'll get more EQ adjustability, more power to the speakers, and possibly some extra features (e.g., ability to use SD card). Whether that's important to you or not, you need to choose.

    For a basic audio upgrade, a H/U and sub will go a long way.

    As for the H/U install, DIY. It's about the easiest upgrade (shy of a shift knob) you can do, even if not too mechanically inclined.
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    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    aftermarket>stock

    /thread. Surbaru puts their engineering and monies into other parts of the car so the sound system is always going to be shorted when it comes to materials/equipment. Get a good aftermarket H/U and be happy.

    will also make hooking up your external goodies much easier and will likely have a nice eq and built in x-overs to tweak to make your system sound its best.
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    Registered User Rallye_Ghost's Avatar
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    I was surprised at the difference an aftermarket head unit made in my WRX! The stock speakers aren't that bad when fed with a proper signal. Adding a sub just makes it even sweeter!

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    Registered User xFalleNx's Avatar
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    I always replace the stock head unit before I replace anything else. I hated the way the stock audio in my WRX sounded, with just a HU it's 100% better now.

    I would definitely recommend going with an aftermarket hu + the subs.
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    Administrator RayfieldsWRX's Avatar
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    I had to replace the HU and fronts in both of my WRX's. (and add sub) Stock sounded lousy. But then I'm snobby that way.
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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    If a filter is not present, it cannot distort the signal.

    Converting speaker outputs to RCA does work. It's not ideal, but you may not care and in a car audio environment, it may not make all that much of a difference.

    I'd go HU - door speakers before considering a sub personally but that's just me. HU - sub is reasonable also.
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    Registered User Rallye_Ghost's Avatar
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    I crossed my stock speakers over at 60hz. with my headunit so they don't have to play very low bass. They are good at mids and highs, but lousy at bass.

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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR
    I'd go HU - door speakers before considering a sub personally but that's just me. HU - sub is reasonable also.
    The only reason I'd suggest a sub before front components is because you'll want to amplify them anyway, so there's no cost savings, and you can allow the sub to take care of the lows and let the speakers take care of the mids/highs. Buy a four channel amp to power the sub and pick up a set of components down the road if you desire.

    My advice for "staged" upgrades:
    H/U
    H/U + sub
    H/U + sub + front components (4-ch amp, 1/2 speakers & 3/4 bridged for the sub)

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    Last edited by EJ257; 10-18-2011 at 03:11 PM.
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    Registered User Geo-Aggie's Avatar
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    Well I already own the subs and amp. That's not a purchase cost to me. I just need them installed. After reading everyones inputs though it sounds like an HU would be useful to me. However, I'm not sure it's really worth the price.

    Are the stock speakers really good enough to make the extra $200 spent on an HU worth it? I don't plan on replacing the stock speakers at any point.
    2010 Subaru WRX

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    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    I found that the factory speakers were more than adequate after I fed them some decent power. Mids are clear, mid-bass is solid and highs are solid. I have aftermarket tweets in mine since it was a base car and I had to buy the panels and add the tweets.. but the mids/midbass and clarity really came alive with better output.

    You could always use a signal processor and amp the entire system.. but you'd spend as much if not more doing that vs just running a good head unit.
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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geo-Aggie
    Well I already own the subs and amp. That's not a purchase cost to me. I just need them installed. After reading everyones inputs though it sounds like an HU would be useful to me. However, I'm not sure it's really worth the price.

    Are the stock speakers really good enough to make the extra $200 spent on an HU worth it? I don't plan on replacing the stock speakers at any point.
    How many channels is the amplifier?

    Depending on your response to my question above, I would say yes. Combine the fact that the OE speakers will only be dealing with mids/highs (sub taking care of lows), the added power will make the stereo as a whole better, not to mention the added EQ adjustability.
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    Moderator rage-wrx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mangostick View Post
    You could always use a signal processor and amp the entire system.. but you'd spend as much if not more doing that vs just running a good head unit.
    I just got a signal processor & it came out to be cheaper than a new HU.But you would need an amp anyway IMO.
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    Registered User Geo-Aggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJ257 View Post
    How many channels is the amplifier?
    It's a mono-amp.
    2010 Subaru WRX

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