2015 Subaru WRX - Replacing HU or Speakers
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This is a discussion on 2015 Subaru WRX - Replacing HU or Speakers within the Electronics/Car Audio forums, part of the Interior Mods category; I've asked questions before about replacing speakers, adding amp, etc., and I frequently got conflicting answers where when I ask ...

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    Registered User ebwrx's Avatar
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    Question 2015 Subaru WRX - Replacing HU or Speakers

    I've asked questions before about replacing speakers, adding amp, etc., and I frequently got conflicting answers where
    when I ask about speakers people say I should replace HU first and vice versa.

    So, my question here is, and I am really looking for a qualified answer - should I replace HU or speakers first for the best sounds, and if so - why one or another?

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    in a 2015 you need to replace the HU first. Why? Because the speakers have not met their potential yet in the 2015 system but the HU has. the HU is the MAIN source of bad sound. It only makes sense to start replacing your weakest link first.

    Also, if you replace the speakers but have crappy audio coming through, some speakers will actually amplify the imperfections and sound even worse on the stock head unit.

    By replacing the head unit you are guaranteed to get the most out of your current speakers and if it is STILL not good enough THEN consider replacing your speakers / getting an amp for the new speakers.

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    Subaru headunits, with the possible exception of the Harmon Kardon units (I haven't tried one to have an opinion), are notoriously cheap, and one of the most obvious cost-cutting measures on the car. Thankfully, Subaru still uses the double-DIN standard on the Impreza, so aftermarket headunits can be installed quite easily and seamlessly.

    In contrast, the Legacy line has used integrated headunits for several years now, and replacing one of those is cost prohibitive.
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    I would agree with all of the above. Grant it this is my first subi and I had it all of two days before puilling everything out and building it back up Unless you are wanting to keep your stock head unit there are audio processors you can install between your stock HU and amps. Also I wouldn't recommend swapping speakers for aftermarket unless you're going to put an amp to them. Can't tell you how many people I see throw a mono block and sub's then complain that their highs and mids suck lol

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    Registered User ebwrx's Avatar
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    What do you all think about just putting an amp between stock HU and the stock speakers just to improve the overall sound.

    I say this because I mostly listen to XM radio and not high volume music except when on the longer travel.

    Thanks all.
    Last edited by ebwrx; 07-16-2014 at 07:51 AM.

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    See, I don't agree with not replacing the factory speakers if you aren't powering them with an external amp. If you have a good aftermarket HU and efficient aftermarket speakers installed then your mids/highs should still sound clear and clean even after adding a sub to the setup. I've replaced everything in my car...and the highs are crystal clear and clean as can be...even with my 10" sub in the trunk.

    I'm not an audiophile, but i've been into stereos my whole life...I know what sounds good and what doesn't. Obviously you should amp new speakers, but it's not necessary if you buy something that's more efficient and you're not running 2 15" subs.

    My .02 cents
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    Quote Originally Posted by blknylw View Post
    See, I don't agree with not replacing the factory speakers if you aren't powering them with an external amp. If you have a good aftermarket HU and efficient aftermarket speakers installed then your mids/highs should still sound clear and clean even after adding a sub to the setup. I've replaced everything in my car...and the highs are crystal clear and clean as can be...even with my 10" sub in the trunk.

    I'm not an audiophile, but i've been into stereos my whole life...I know what sounds good and what doesn't. Obviously you should amp new speakers, but it's not necessary if you buy something that's more efficient and you're not running 2 15" subs.

    My .02 cents

    Oh not saying you have to but if you buy after market speakers with say 120-150 RMS then the 25 or so watts you're putting out from the average head unit just won't cut it at higher volumes. I just don't know many who invest into their cars audio that don't want to crank it up and make their girls tingle ;-p but yes not a must I used to run it that way (no amp) but after the first system I did with an amp on everything I personally can't go back. For the OP throwing an amp into the stock system may clean it up a bit and allow higher volumes without distortion just make sure you tune the gain on the amp so it doesn't damage your stock speakers

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    Quote Originally Posted by ebwrx View Post
    What do you all think about just putting an amp between stock HU and the stock speakers just to improve the overall sound.

    I say this because I mostly listen to XM radio and not high volume music except when on the longer travel.

    Thanks all.
    I wouldn't recommend this approach. There are a few things to consider. First, adding an aftermarket amp to factory speakers is almost definitely going to blow the speakers, factory speakers generally do not handle more than 15-25 watts RMS. Second, in a vehicle with factory amps, it not just a plug and play to install an aftermarket amp. In all of my experience, you have to bypass the factory amps, then run new wiring to the speakers from the HU to the amp, then from the amp to the speakers. Third, some stock speakers from a factory amped system are not compatible with aftermarket amps. If you are going to add an amp, you'll likely have to add new speakers.

    2012s came with 4Ω 40 watt max speakers. I am not positive about the specs for the 2015s.

    That said, it is possible to upgrade the front speakers and run those off an aftermarket amp, and then have the factory rear speakers wired to the HU for power. A good HU will improve the sound quality of the factory speakers, and as the driver, the rear speakers do not offer much for you, they are really for the rear passengers. You would get enough of a sound quality boost from upgrading the HU and adding quality front speakers with an amp, and then keeping the rear factory speakers.
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    My stock system lasted about a month before I needed better sound. The stock HU on a 2013 puts out like maybe 5 watts, but the speakers can handle more (at least on my Limited with the so-called Premium Audio upgraded speakers) As others said, the weakest link here is the HU and lack of LFE.

    I had an Alpine HU installed and an underseat amp to run a small pick-up style sub. Let me tell you, it's loud and clear and there's no reason for me to replace the stock speakers at this point. I'm a musician and an audio enthusiast and I'm happy.
    Not so much anymore.

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