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Old 11-27-2013, 12:29 AM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 291558
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Ithaca, NY
2010 Impreza 2.5GT

Default Installing both Subaru subwoofers (underseat and Kicker): why does Subaru say no?

I'm surprised if this hasn't been discussed, but I searched and didn't see anything. Sorry if I missed it...

I had the Subaru underseat sub installed in my 2010 Impreza 2.5GT at the time of purchase. I recently had the Kicker trunk sub installed. Both subs seem to be working fine, and I have found posts from other members with a similar experience.

The thing is, some of Subaru's literature says you can't have both subs. But it doesn't explain why, and since it seems to be doable, I'm a little baffled that they say otherwise.

The only problem I can think of involves the Kicker's crossover. Since it's supposed to cut bass to the cabin speakers, it seems to me that the underseat sub would get a bass-reduced signal as well if it was connected downstream of the Kicker's harness, and that would be rather silly and render it somewhat impotent.

But if I'm not mistaken, the installation instructions that come with the Kicker (from Subaru!) specifically address the condition in which the underseat sub is already installed, and seem to indicate it's fine to have both (from page 18):
"Note: if another accessory is installed that also uses a T-harness, connect the subwoofer T-harness to the factory dash harness, then connect the other accessory harness to the subwoofer harness and radio."
I'm not sure what "another accessory" could refer to, other than the underseat sub. Any other audio accessories would be inputs (media hub, Sirius/XM, etc.) and thus not even part of the output wiring equation. So if I'm deciphering this correctly, it seems to say that if the underseat sub is already installed, connect its harness to the head unit first, and then connect the Kicker's harness to that harness. Which I'm guessing is specifically to make sure the Kicker's crossover doesn't affect the underseat sub.

Anybody know if I'm on the right track here? This is all guesswork based on vague info, and I'm no expert with car audio.

In any case, the question remains as to why Subaru intermittently says you can't have both subs. (Interestingly, the 2012 WRX accessory brochure says so under the Kicker subwoofer description, but the 2011 and 2013 WRX brochures do not -- from just reading those, you'd think you could have both.)

The main thing I'm worried about is whether my underseat sub might somehow be preventing the Kicker from performing at full power, but from everything above, I don't think that should be a concern...

When I raised this question to a Subaru customer service rep by phone a couple years ago, he checked with parts/accessories, and told me that while they didn't give him a very specific explanation, the thing about "can't have both subs" is just a "sound quality recommendation."

If that's all it is, I really wish Subaru wouldn't state it as a "can't." Seems to me it would just be a matter of personal preference (and why would the extra bass from both be a bad thing?). And don't the installation instructions seem to include that provision for having them coexist, or am I misinterpreting them?

I've tried unplugging the jack from the front of the underseat sub to shut it off and see if it has any effect on the Kicker, and I don't think it does. But of course its harness is still wired into the head unit when I do that, so I'm not sure if that proves anything.
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Old 11-27-2013, 12:10 PM   #2
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 259184
Join Date: Sep 2010
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Kansas
2008 Subaru WRX


Well I have two underseat subs in my car and they both sound exactly the same connected together or just one. Though I understand that it isnt the rear sub, it is something.

I'm sure they say that because of the time to do both, (which isnt even hard to begin with) and because the bass will be overpowered somewhat. I have both the underseat subs and the bass can get pretty strong for what it is. I can only imagine that the rear sub is even better from what I hear.

It was kinda long to read (tl;dr) but I did skim over it and think I got the idea.
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Old 11-27-2013, 01:25 PM   #3
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 226004
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Western NY
2011 WRX


I have both the kicker and driver underseat sub in my 2011 wrx. It came that way from the guy I bought it from though, so I have no idea on the install or if it's not producing at full power or something. It does kick decently, but the quality at higher volumes is meh. It also gets boomy at certain frequencies.
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Old 11-30-2013, 06:42 PM   #4
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 291558
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Ithaca, NY
2010 Impreza 2.5GT


Got a new explanation from SoA:

The stereo system in your Impreza is set to a certain configuration and a maximum wattage. If the wattage exceeds the limit of the radio, issues might arise. With the two sub-woofers active, there is concern with surpassing this limit. But, per your feedback, you are not having this experience.

I'm not sure how I would know if I was having such a problem, but I'm hoping/assuming from what he said that it would be fairly obvious if I was.

The only thing I've noticed is that if I'm parked with the engine off and music playing at a pretty high volume, the map and dome lights dim slightly in time with the music. Not something I'd want to subject my battery to for long periods of time anyway. And I mean, hey, between the head unit and the two subs with their integrated amps, I'm now running a 300-watt sound system. Not earth-shaking but it's a big increase over stock.
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