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Old 01-28-2013, 05:02 PM   #1
KMA2
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Hello.

I'm hoping for input on taking my 2011 WRX hatchback to stage 2, with a catted dp and exhaust. I'd like a little better performance and a nicer sound. I've read through many threads on these forums, and think I have a decent idea of what I'd like... unfortunately the most difficult part is determining how the exhaust will sound (even with all the videos floating around). The main consideration is that I'm in my 40's (and relatively old for a WRX owner ) with a wife and two kids, so there are certain things that may matter a bit more to me than other owners... If anyone has valuable input and would like to help me decide, feel free to comment.

Some criteria:

1) It has to be quiet-ish. I would like the exhaust to sound deeper and "meaner", but not really louder in the car (especially at speed). Outside the car, it can be slightly louder, but again the focus would be on a deeper, rumbling sound and not high volume. NO DRONE whatsoever. Of course, it can't sound stock or be so quiet that it was a waste of money.

2) It has to be high quality, but not too expensive. I don't have a large amount of disposable income, but I also don't have the time or patience to mess around with crappy products. I like supporting "good" companies that offer a well made product and support it before/after the purchase. Easy installation and fitment are also key.

3) Continuing on with #2, I want to spend enough money to reach my goals, but no more and no less. In other words, if a mid pipe would be nice but not worth the extra $$$ for someone like me, then maybe I shouldn't consider it. Other input on if certain products are worth it or not, and price vs performance suggestions are definitely welcomed. There is very little chance I'll go beyond stage 2.

4) I want it to look nice, but not stand out. Think slightly nicer than stock, but it definitely can't stick out the back or bottom of the car or be gaudy. It also has to hold up to upstate NY winters and being used as a dd.

Right now, I am sort of leaning towards Nameless catted DP, with their Magnaflow mufflered axle back (or maybe 5" exhaust). I was going to keep the stock midpipe to save money. Anyone have experience with the Nameless on the hatch? How about pics of the 10% gloss black finish installed? What effect would the Nameless midpipe have on the sound for this setup? Are there other quality, mid priced exhausts that would fit the bill? (I listened to a video of the Cobb exhaust and it sounded great, but the price is higher and its hard to tell without experiencing in it person.)

I'll probably go with the Cobb Accessport for tuning, and buy a custom map from an online tuner (suggestions?).


==================================================

[UPDATE]

After a month or more, I'll try to summarize the feedback I received in this thread and via PMs... If someone asks me about the best upgrade path to a relatively quiet aftermarket exhaust on a 2011+ WRX hatchback, including more power and better sound while considering cost and quality, here are my suggestions:
  1. Read up on tuning via Access Port vs Opensource w/ Tactrix cable (there's not necessarily a "wrong" answer - I went with opensource)
  2. Once you've decided on #1 and understand the steps involved, contact a reputable e-tuner (e.g. Eric from Torqued Performance) about a Stage 1 map
  3. Work with the tuner by sending logs, etc and achieve the best Stage 1 performance you can. If you are satisfied, you are done with upgrades... otherwise proceed to the next step.
  4. Purchase a high quality shorty downpipe, catted downpipe, downpipe + catback exhaust, or turboback exhaust depending on whether you just want basic Stage 2 power (i.e. downpipe only), or you also want the look/sound of an upgraded exhaust. Some of the quieter, no drone suggestions are SPT, Maddad Whisper, Borla Hush, Cobb, Nameless w/ Magnaflow muffler option. You can start with just a DP, and move to a CBE later if preferred or undecided.
  5. Contact your e-tuner again for a map specific to your Stage 2 upgrades.
  6. If you would like to continue adding performance upgrades or more power (e.g. TMIC, CAI, etc), you will have exceeded the scope of these recommendations. There are all kinds of options, and each individual should invest a good amount of time in understanding the various parts and their effects before moving forward.

Misc Tips:

The increase in boost pressure may cause issues/leaks with some stock parts on 08+ WRXs, so you may consider one or more of the following...
  • Add a clamp/zip tie to each end of the small hose that plugs into the back of the tb (under the tmic)
  • Swap out the stock clamps for a t-bolt style on the tmic-to-tb hose
  • Some people remove the rubber "boots" on the tmic-to-tb hose before reattaching with the t-bolt clamps (I ended up ditching the stock hose for aftermarket)
  • Replace the bpv with a high quality aftermarket part (e.g. Forge - using "yellow" spring)
  • If you don't want to replace the stock tmic, perform the "bulletproof" mod similar to what I've done in this thread
Thanks for all the input everyone! I'll update the thread after some upgrades.



==================================================

[UPDATE]

More updates after receiving my TBE can be found here (includes pics):

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...1&postcount=92

I've sent my data logs to TP for Eric to review, but here's the initial Virtual Dyno plot:



Video of Whisper CBE and Metal v2 DP right after installation:


I'm told the sound may improve more as the car is driven. It is definitely louder than stock, but I think it's just about right for people that want something that sounds like it has more power, without being obnoxious. My wife complained immediately of course... oh well. It's really not bad. Cruising along it is almost imperceptible, but driving around town you definitely can hear the muffler more than stock. That's how its supposed to be though... right? I want it to sound "meaner", just not crazy loud.

Appearance-wise, the parts are definitely high quality. The DP looks very cool, especially with the divorced wastegate, but most people won't see that. I wish the tips didn't stick out as far from under the bumper, but that's the old guy in me coming out... it doesn't look bad, but I would have liked it more "stealth". Really just nitpicking here. I did have to play around with the mounting awhile to get the tips close to even in the back. The driver side still sticks out a little more than the other.

Here's a few pics of the Thermal Solutions turbo blanket and modified stock heat shield:




Here's a pic of the "bulletproof" tmic mod I did. More details can be found here: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...&postcount=108


I think I'm done with stage 2. My last upgrade was replacing the stock bpv with a Forge unit to avoid leaks:




Thanks.

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Last edited by KMA2; 04-25-2013 at 10:48 AM. Reason: update
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:09 PM   #2
mtarr07
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Why not try it out with just a downpipe first? Drive that for a few months and if you're wanting more noise then purchase a catback exhaust. The catback install is very easy to do with some jack stands and a basic socket set. This route will make it easier on your wallet as well.

Regarding tuning options? I had Torqued Performance and Eric's service was phenomenal. There are a TON of dyno's floating around and his tunes make great power and are awesome when it comes to driveability. Check him out!
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:10 PM   #3
rwfloberg
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I voted invidia Q300 (or SPT) and a catted DP of your choosing
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:11 PM   #4
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I have the Cobb turboback (downpipe + catback) and stage 2 Cobb tune, so I can comment on that. Really, it's quieter than my old Prodrive driving around town. I drive to work everyday and it's just fine.... in fact, my winter tires are louder than it! Now, when you really get on it, something you probably won't be doing with the wife and kids in the car, it comes alive and you can really hear it. Keep in mind, I have the Cobb intake too... and that's louder than the exhaust in my opinion. It's a good sound all together though... skip the intake IMO... mine just came with it.

Cobb is overpriced though.. great quality. Get a catted downpipe.. not catless for sure. The brand doesn't matter as they all sound and performance generally the same. Stay away from eBay though... you can go cheaper than Cobb, but don't totally cheap out with parts that don't fit or leak... headaches and more $$$ in the long run.

In all honesty, get the midpipe while you're at it... that way, everything is new. Midpipes aren't that much more... and everything will fit well once it's all together with new, unrusted parts... and yes, even 2011's get rusted a bit down there.

Check into the SPT catback... it's quiet, but you can hear it. For most on here, it's too quiet, but for you, I think it would do the trick. Looks stock as it's from Subaru.

If you can, but these parts used. You can get great deals and I've bought a ton of parts off this forum. All were great quality and the people are legit... just get pics. You'll save a ton. I'd reckon you can find an SPT exhaust from someone ditching it after getting it with their car and it not being loud enough for them.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:12 PM   #5
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I'd like an "old man" solution as well for my 2009 WRX (single exhaust). KMA2 there are a bunch of threads out there but as you said, videos and forum posts can't really provide all the sound one would need to make a decision. I hope to run across a couple of people on this forum that are close to me (Sacramento, CA) and have modded their cars to stage 2 so I can pester them to listen to their cars in person.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:17 PM   #6
KMA2
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Thanks for the lightening fast feedback and comments! I updated my original post where I accidentally typed "borla" instead of "magnaflow", and clarified there can be no drone whatsoever. Looking forward to more feedback. Thanks again.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:18 PM   #7
KMA2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtarr07 View Post
Why not try it out with just a downpipe first? Drive that for a few months and if you're wanting more noise then purchase a catback exhaust. The catback install is very easy to do with some jack stands and a basic socket set. This route will make it easier on your wallet as well.

Regarding tuning options? I had Torqued Performance and Eric's service was phenomenal. There are a TON of dyno's floating around and his tunes make great power and are awesome when it comes to driveability. Check him out!
mtarr07,

Thanks! Does the DP alone change the sound much? I'll look into Torqued Performance.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:21 PM   #8
KMA2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwfloberg View Post
I voted invidia Q300 (or SPT) and a catted DP of your choosing
I looked at the Q300 a while back, but will take another look. Thanks.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:23 PM   #9
Varady360
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dont forget to TUNE TUNE TUNE!

if you have a local muffler shop around your area i would go talk to them. i took mine to a custom exhaust shop... he put it on the lift and took off my exhaust and put pipes on it ( not welded on ) and had me hold the muffler up to it with glove to hear the different tones and pitches it would make. he reved it a few times and i got what i was looking for after 30 min of being under the car. picked it out and he called me back when it was done!

Thats the best thing i can think of!


Good Luck

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Old 01-28-2013, 05:26 PM   #10
HeroCrank
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Cobb catted downpipe, spt cat back exhaust, accessport, torqued performance stage 2 tune, process west tmic or perrin tmic, forge bpv in black. This will give you all you want and leave it alone until you sell it. Use oem 75w90 extra s in drivetrain, oem blue filters, and rotella t6 5w40.

You will never have to touch the thing again. Wear items excluded.

I endorse all this because its exactly what I run.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:27 PM   #11
KMA2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmiovino View Post
I have the Cobb turboback (downpipe + catback) and stage 2 Cobb tune, so I can comment on that. Really, it's quieter than my old Prodrive driving around town. I drive to work everyday and it's just fine.... in fact, my winter tires are louder than it! Now, when you really get on it, something you probably won't be doing with the wife and kids in the car, it comes alive and you can really hear it. Keep in mind, I have the Cobb intake too... and that's louder than the exhaust in my opinion. It's a good sound all together though... skip the intake IMO... mine just came with it.

Cobb is overpriced though.. great quality. Get a catted downpipe.. not catless for sure. The brand doesn't matter as they all sound and performance generally the same. Stay away from eBay though... you can go cheaper than Cobb, but don't totally cheap out with parts that don't fit or leak... headaches and more $$$ in the long run.

In all honesty, get the midpipe while you're at it... that way, everything is new. Midpipes aren't that much more... and everything will fit well once it's all together with new, unrusted parts... and yes, even 2011's get rusted a bit down there.

Check into the SPT catback... it's quiet, but you can hear it. For most on here, it's too quiet, but for you, I think it would do the trick. Looks stock as it's from Subaru.

If you can, but these parts used. You can get great deals and I've bought a ton of parts off this forum. All were great quality and the people are legit... just get pics. You'll save a ton. I'd reckon you can find an SPT exhaust from someone ditching it after getting it with their car and it not being loud enough for them.
I'll have to think more about the mid pipe. Yeah, Cobb is too expensive for my taste. SPT might not be quite enough for me, but I'll think about it. Thanks!
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:27 PM   #12
Varady360
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oh and to add to what i last said get a CATTED DP id go with bellmouth
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:29 PM   #13
the suicidal eggroll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMA2 View Post
I looked at the Q300 a while back, but will take another look. Thanks.
Everything I keep hearing is that the new version of the Q300 on the hatchbacks drones like it's going out of style.

I second the downpipe-only recommendation above. It will make the exhaust a little louder and more aggressive, but not much. If you feel you want more than that, you can get an SPT catback down the road.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:36 PM   #14
Trea17
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On the subject of used parts, the cobb stage 2 paced for my 03 wrx new is $1750(I believe) I have found a few used catted turbo backs on here for $650-900. The access port you might as well buy new. They are $595 new if you buy a used one it will only save you maybe $50-100, and then unless you meet up with the person you will run the risk of it being married already.

On another subject I didn't quite understand I you were going to buy an access port or have it pro tuned to stage 2. From what I have seen and heard, unless you are going to BIG numbers(400+ whp/wtq) everyone seems to love the access port. Mainly for all o the functions it has, even though it is more expensive than the average pro tune. I personally am about to order the cobb stage 2 package coupled with a catless up pipe and K&N short ram intake. Hoping for the same outcome of a nice little growl at idle and cruise and then a real head turning for spirited driving.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:39 PM   #15
Gallo2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMA2 View Post

I'd like a little better performance and a nicer sound. wife and two kids,

criteria:

It has to be quiet-ish. NO DRONE whatsoever. it can't sound stock

high quality, but not too expensive.

I want to spend enough money to reach my goals, but no more and no less. There is very little chance I'll go beyond stage 2.

I want it to look nice, but not stand out. It also has to hold up to upstate NY winters and being used as a dd.

On the 2011 hatchback, the exhaust brands you've mentioned will be much louder and will drone. Go with the downpipe, a torqued performance or Cobb OTS stage 2 tune and be done. I've sat shotgun in a sedan and hatchback with just a downpipe. The sound is deeper when you get on it, but very quiet when you're just cruising. As far as looks, the stock catback and muffler/tips don't look terrible so just leave them alone. Just my 2 cents, from experience.

Edit: 48 year old talkin to ya, son. ;-)

Last edited by Gallo2011; 01-28-2013 at 05:46 PM. Reason: You ain't old!
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:40 PM   #16
KMA2
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Regarding the get a good quality DP suggestions... is there no advantage to the divorced models (e.g. nameless), or other designs? Thanks again.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:42 PM   #17
KMA2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gallo2011 View Post
On the 2011 hatchback, the exhaust brands you've mentioned will be much louder and will drone. Go with the downpipe, a torqued performance or Cobb OTS stage 2 tune and be done. I've sat shotgun in a sedan and hatchback with just a downpipe. The sound is deeper when you get on it, but very quiet when you're just cruising. As far as looks, the stock catback and muffler/tips don't look terrible so just leave them alone. Just my 2 cents, from experience.
Thanks for the input! (I like your abridged version of my original post too )
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:42 PM   #18
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Do not get a q300 if you are looking for a quiet exhaust with no drone. I used to have and would highly suggest looking at the maddad whisper exhaust. I ran that for 4 years prior to the q300 and it was a night and day difference between the two as far as sound goes. With the whisper you would never know the car had an exhaust on it under light loads, however it quickly opened up on throttle. With the q300 on cold starts it will vibrate the springs on the garage doors that are about 5+ feet away from the back of my car. The whisper is a little expensive but they are made here in the US which was nice. If you good to the website it won't say they have but you can use the 08+ Sti and it will fit.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trea17 View Post
On the subject of used parts, the cobb stage 2 paced for my 03 wrx new is $1750(I believe) I have found a few used catted turbo backs on here for $650-900. The access port you might as well buy new. They are $595 new if you buy a used one it will only save you maybe $50-100, and then unless you meet up with the person you will run the risk of it being married already.

On another subject I didn't quite understand I you were going to buy an access port or have it pro tuned to stage 2. From what I have seen and heard, unless you are going to BIG numbers(400+ whp/wtq) everyone seems to love the access port. Mainly for all o the functions it has, even though it is more expensive than the average pro tune. I personally am about to order the cobb stage 2 package coupled with a catless up pipe and K&N short ram intake. Hoping for the same outcome of a nice little growl at idle and cruise and then a real head turning for spirited driving.
You and the OP need to understand that when you deviate from the specific parts indicated for the Cobb off the shelf tune, you should get it protuned at that point. When you get the short ram and catless up pipe, at that point you should be protuned imo for the safest and best results for the mods you put on your car.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:54 PM   #20
Trea17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Napalm3nema View Post

You and the OP need to understand that when you deviate from the specific parts indicated for the Cobb off the shelf tune, you should get it protuned at that point. When you get the short ram and catless up pipe, at that point you should be protuned imo for the safest and best results for the mods you put on your car.
According to the guy I talked to at cobb Plano it will be absolutely fine. The only reason I am changing the up pipe is to prevent my turbo from eating a cat in the event something bad happens. The intake is just because I enjoy the sound. Also if you read the first sentence on the OTS maps page at the cobb website it says "stock or cobb sf intake". About the only difference in the cobb intake and mine, is that I over payed.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:57 PM   #21
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Why catted? go catless.

Why AP if your going to need a custom tune? go opensource with a tactrix cable, 100$ Assuming your an old guy who knows how to work a computer.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:57 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Napalm3nema View Post
You and the OP need to understand that when you deviate from the specific parts indicated for the Cobb off the shelf tune, you should get it protuned at that point. When you get the short ram and catless up pipe, at that point you should be protuned imo for the safest and best results for the mods you put on your car.
That little "imo" Napalm threw in there is important. A protune is NOT mandatory, but as he says, it will provide the best tune for the mods. Cobb does have OTS maps for it's short ram and catless downpipe. You'll want to watch your boost to assure you're not overboosting. There's an OTS map to remedy this as well, should it happen.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:05 PM   #23
KMA2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mf07sti View Post
Do not get a q300 if you are looking for a quiet exhaust with no drone. I used to have and would highly suggest looking at the maddad whisper exhaust. I ran that for 4 years prior to the q300 and it was a night and day difference between the two as far as sound goes. With the whisper you would never know the car had an exhaust on it under light loads, however it quickly opened up on throttle. With the q300 on cold starts it will vibrate the springs on the garage doors that are about 5+ feet away from the back of my car. The whisper is a little expensive but they are made here in the US which was nice. If you good to the website it won't say they have but you can use the 08+ Sti and it will fit.
Maddad was at the top of my list when I was looking into this a few years ago, but I was reading that they weren't responding quickly (or at all) to email, etc. Their website also wasn't very up-to-date (e.g. it should state the 08+ STI would work with '11 WRX hatch). Anyway, it sounded perfect in the videos but the price is pretty bit high, especially since it is a cat-back option only. Thanks!
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:07 PM   #24
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Try finding info on Borla hush? Might be a good compromise what you are looking for.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:11 PM   #25
KMA2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulpat View Post
Why catted? go catless.

Why AP if your going to need a custom tune? go opensource with a tactrix cable, 100$ Assuming your an old guy who knows how to work a computer.
Why go catted? Did you not read the part about me being old. I'd like to have a fighting chance at passing emissions testing.

I don't think I *need* a custom tune. An OTS map might be fine, but I would like to explore the option of getting something more specific to my car.

The technology part of open source is definitely not the issue. AP is easier and compact, with little risk. I don't have a lot of free time to read up on the software and worry about it working... I want "plug and play". Same with the hardware. It has to just fit and work with no issue. If I was younger, or the kids were in college and I had more time, open source would definitely be the way I would go.
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