Thill's 2014 WRX Audio Upgrade - Page 2
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This is a discussion on Thill's 2014 WRX Audio Upgrade within the Electronics/Car Audio forums, part of the Interior Mods category; I was all set to pull the trigger on the Pioneer AVH-X3500BHS since it has a 0 pricepoint drop on ...

  1. #16
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    I was all set to pull the trigger on the Pioneer AVH-X3500BHS since it has a $100 pricepoint drop on Crutchfield due to the newer model (the X3600BHS) being released. I am glad I called Crutchfield to discuss the difference between the two models. They changed the cabling for the new model to connect and use the App Radio features and the new model is significantly cheaper (cable cost) making the $100 price drop a moot difference. And the new model support Siri Eyes Free which I want to try out for sure.

    Really like Crutchfield. They know their stuff and assisted in making sure I knew which cables to get for Appradio (the Pioneer website was not updated yet for the 2014 model).

    So the receiver and the cables are ordered and should be here early next week. Now I am shopping for an amp....

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  3. #17
    \_(ツ)_/ Rambo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skimd View Post
    Struggling with this issue as well. Divided opinion on this all over. I like the way the Limited's steering wheel controls work. With the "Loudness Trick" and avoiding the radio (in favor of bluetooth or hard-wired) Sirius or Pandora over my phone and it sounds much better.

    Local installers by me are out of their minds. For them to upgrade the HU and do all the stuff that SvXdx has they want between $1,200 and $1,800.

    The more reputable Subaru audio guy thinks the stock HU sounds way better when the "$5 paper cone speakers" are replaced with good speakers, dynamat and an amp. He came in with an $1,800 estimate.

    Changing my mind now to upgrading performance before audio...
    Apparently, I'm in the wrong line of work. I've always done my own audio installs, with soldered harnesses I've designed and made myself. If people are willing to pay that much for basic installation, I'd gladly do some of that work on the side.
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  4. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rambo View Post
    Apparently, I'm in the wrong line of work. I've always done my own audio installs, with soldered harnesses I've designed and made myself. If people are willing to pay that much for basic installation, I'd gladly do some of that work on the side.
    My installer is charging me $75 to install the new HU, Axxess remote + program, and bluetooth mic. Seems reasonable to me. For that price I will have the pro do it.

  5. #19
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    i dont know if you've seen the stock speakers but they actually look half-way decent. upgrading the stock HU on the standard 2013 wrx, made a GIANT difference. the tweeters were still flat as you said, and there was lack of bass. i can tell you, even if you do everything you can to your doors, you don't want to put anything lower than ~75hz through them, something (b-pillar, or mysterious) buzz will occur. My '13 Blurple Hatch
    ^Thats what i ended up doing and i'm really satisfied with the results. gets louder than i could ever want to play it and it sounds nice and crisp. subs are the only way to really get the bass notes, especially with our rattling tin can cars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WREXXY View Post
    i dont know if you've seen the stock speakers but they actually look half-way decent. upgrading the stock HU on the standard 2013 wrx, made a GIANT difference. the tweeters were still flat as you said, and there was lack of bass. i can tell you, even if you do everything you can to your doors, you don't want to put anything lower than ~75hz through them, something (b-pillar, or mysterious) buzz will occur. My '13 Blurple Hatch
    ^Thats what i ended up doing and i'm really satisfied with the results. gets louder than i could ever want to play it and it sounds nice and crisp. subs are the only way to really get the bass notes, especially with our rattling tin can cars.
    I have the crappy undereast OEM subwoofer and I will see how everything sounds. I had a dedicated sub in my last car but I also experimented with the sub off and I was fine with my Hybrid Audio 6.5's for the most part, and the JL Audio speakers should offer similar performance. Worst case I add a monoblock amp and a small sub down the road.

    I did order my amp late last week (I picked up a 2 channel Rockford Fosgate Punch P300X2). The amp is rated at 100watts per channel RMS so should pair pretty well with the JL Audio speakers.

  7. #21
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    I just spoke with my installer and we are a go to get everything in on Thursday this week. I also decided to add a backup camera. I have three very young kids and a neighborhood full of young families, our minivan has the backup camera and twice it saved me from backing over a riding toy and my biggest fear would be backing over a toddler/small child. So I am having the backup camera installed as well.

    Will be updating with my pictures and thoughts post install.

  8. #22
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    Everything was installed late yesterday, and I will post some pictures as soon as I can take some good shots (it was too dark last night). Initial thoughts with about 2 hours with the radio:

    Cliff note version:
    - Radio is 200% better. HD radio is nice to have and iTunes tagging is a cool feature I had not used before.
    - Bluetooth streaming is better, but not as noticeable as the radio. Have not tried USB yet.
    - Pionner 3600BHS head unit is very responsive and intuitive to use, but has a ton of features I have not had time to experiment with yet.
    - Have not tried Appradio yet, my priority was radio and iPhone sound quality checks first.
    - Axxess steering wheel controller works great. Everything works, and is responsive on the steering wheel (well, voice commands don't work from the steering wheel). Steering wheel works well for radio and iPhone integration. No delays. Everything works well.
    - JDM style bezel was worth the money IMHO. The radio looks clean.
    - I am on the fence about replacing the OEM undseat sub. The JL speakers really have filled in the midbass nicely, but I do feel like I am lacking for lower bass and the OEM undeseat sub is pretty much a paperweight.

    I will add more as I spend time with the other features of the radio.
    Last edited by thill; 03-07-2014 at 10:26 AM.

  9. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by thill View Post
    My installer is charging me $75 to install the new HU, Axxess remote + program, and bluetooth mic. Seems reasonable to me. For that price I will have the pro do it.

    Yeah, parts were 90% of the cost for me, the installation charges were nothing compare to price of the HU ($500), amp ($200), and sub ($300). He charged me $200 for a 5 hour install. So, ~$40/hour? Hardly making out if you ask me.
    Not so much anymore.

  10. #24
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    Okay, now that I have had everything installed for several days and have had time to familiarize myself with the setup I will share my thoughts and some pics:

    - The stock speakers are rated 20watts RMS and 40 watts peak. They are definitely more substantial than some other stock speakers I have seen, but distort and get muddy pretty easily. The JL's C5 650's are rated 75 watts RMS and 225 watts peak. The JL audio woofers feel much more substantial and weigh at least 2 times more. The JL audio tweeters are also more substantial looking, and really the JL speaker should. They cost a good amount. My thoughts over the past week are that the JL's powered by the Rockford Fosgate amp really are a big upgrade all around. HD radio on the Pioneer HU sounds night and day better over the stock HU and stock speakers. Bluetooth sounds considerably better. The JL's can be pushed very hard and I don't detect any distortion. Mid bass is improved considerably, and the tweeters sound crystal clear. The JL's are more neutral sounding that the Hybrid Audio Imagine component speakers I had in my last car. The Hybid's had better bass, but the tweeters were noticeable brighter than the JL's. I would classify the JL C5 650 speakers as a more neutral speaker. Overall I am very happy with the speaker upgrade. I paid $289 for the JL speakers which was a steal considering they were brand new and still under warranty.

    - The Pioneer head AVH-X3600BHS head unit is a really nice unit. I find the touchscreen easy to use and intuitive. It is responsive and much faster than the Fujitsu 10 touchscreen unit in my last Subaru. Bluetooth works really well, and the car syncs to my iPhone 5s consistently and typically quickly. The one thing I have noticed, which is true of all touchscreens, is that it is easy to have the screen get washed out with lots of sun/glare. Luckily with the steering wheel controls I can maneuver around without a problem. I have noticed no delay with the Axxess steering when module and this head unit. Everything is working quite well. The 7" screen in the 5600BHS might be nice to have vs the 6.1" but I am not sure I could justify the price difference. HD radio sounds great with this unit and the EQ and other settings make the unit very flexible to find the best sound to your personal preference.

    - I have not been able to test the Appradio features because I discovered my installer did not hook up the parking brake wire correctly. That means no DVD's or no Apps. I just get a warning screen and no way to accept the warning. My installer has been great to work with and I have a microbypass cable on order and he will install it for me once it is in.

    - My wife says that phone reception over Bluetooth is much better and she can hear me crystal clear. So it does appear that the Pioneer microphone is a better microphone or perhaps the head unit has improved the sound quality. I have had no drops or sync issues. RDS works great and streaming via Bluetooth gives you artist/title info. I have not tried iTunes tagging with the radio yet but will make a note.

    - Backup camera works great minus all the dirt and snow and water I have had to clean the lens a few times here as everything is thawing and making a big mess. But the camera works as advertised and is nice to have when I am backing out. Especially for the summer when all the kids are out in full force.

    I have a few pics and will update once Appradio is working (should be sometime next week). So far I would say I am quite happy with my purchase. Sound quality is noticeably improved. The radio stations are drastically improved. I might add a dedicated sub (the underseat OEM one is useless) at some point but the next updates to the car will be suspension.

    Some pics:

    iTunes streaming via Bluetooth:


    Radio:


    Random:

  11. #25
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    BTW, the pics show the wrong bezel installed. I will have new pics up with the double din bezel as well as pics and thoughts of Appradio sometime next week.

  12. #26
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    Microbypass installed and Appradio works great. I am a fan of the Waze GPS/Nav app. It is pretty slick. I have not really had any issues with the radio or phone to date and have been happy with the purchase.

    Here is a shot with the JDM bezel installed:



    Last edited by thill; 03-29-2014 at 11:43 AM.

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