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Old 07-03-2013, 04:52 PM   #26
Mike 01Hawk
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I used that roll of duct insulator from the depot and did my whole car for like $40
Peel n Stick? I thought about it, but had read stories of if sliding down the doors in summer heat. Which doesn't make sense cause it's made for roofs, but I guess more of a horizontal fashion.
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:10 AM   #27
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Here's what really bugs me, though. The sound quality is so much better with USB, AUX, BT and CD. It's literally only the radio that suffers from poor sound quality. Based on my limited knowledge, there must be a way to solve this without replacing the head unit. Something internal, such as the receiver, is constricting the range of output frequencies. I'd hate to think the electrical engineers didn't think to power the radio reception, and that it's most likely a problem with sourcing a singular component for large scale manufacturing; thus my guess on the receiving chip. If there are any trusted EE's here, I'd send them my head unit for testing as long as I got it back.

EDIT: Then again, I recall reading that an older Impreza HU had a AUX input ability built in, only known because it was printed on the board around some unused contacts. Someone soldered on a 3.5mm jack and gave it a shot, but had to burn a CD of a blank audio track to make it usable (no AUX input selection, so another input had to be used without any real input that would overlap the AUX.). I may have too much faith in their EEs...

Last edited by Siress; 07-07-2013 at 01:21 AM.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:29 PM   #28
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So if I want to keep the stock HU I can throw in an amp to send more juice to the speakers???????????
I don't think the stocks are bad, but maxing out at 40 and not feeling like I'm bursting ear drums is disappointing.
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Old 07-07-2013, 09:37 PM   #29
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I have done this on a # of cars from audi to subaru and I can honestly say that replacing the HU is by far the first thing you should do but ONLY IF you are replacing it with a high quality HU not some sony pos. Also you HU is an amp! keeping that in mind try and find a HU that has a better output they may be harder to find but they are out there. If you found a good HU and are still not happy upgrade your speakers to some bertter higher watts and finally if that doesnt work THEN go to an amp. if you planned right and bought upgraded speakers they should accomidate an amp outputting around 3-400watts total distributed to all speakers. the reason I say amp is the last thing you should do is because the speakers cant accomidate the extra power all the time in stock setups also its a B**** to wire an amp to a stock headunit sometimes but if you are dead set on an amp, go for it. good luck to all who try and enjoy the bumping tunes!
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:01 PM   #30
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I have done this on a # of cars from audi to subaru and I can honestly say that replacing the HU is by far the first thing you should do but ONLY IF you are replacing it with a high quality HU not some sony pos. Also you HU is an amp! keeping that in mind try and find a HU that has a better output they may be harder to find but they are out there. If you found a good HU and are still not happy upgrade your speakers to some bertter higher watts and finally if that doesnt work THEN go to an amp. if you planned right and bought upgraded speakers they should accomidate an amp outputting around 3-400watts total distributed to all speakers. the reason I say amp is the last thing you should do is because the speakers cant accomidate the extra power all the time in stock setups also its a B**** to wire an amp to a stock headunit sometimes but if you are dead set on an amp, go for it. good luck to all who try and enjoy the bumping tunes!
So easy to wire an amp to most stock head units. I dunno where your expertise comes from but you are wrong dude. Some people don't like to entice thieves with a flashy head unit. So many solutions that easily incorporate high end sound into that crap head unit and still look completely stock. Even the "good" headunits that push good power can't power a decent set of components well. If you are interested in sound quality, a good amp is the only way to achieve it.
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:41 PM   #31
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i put a 4 channel alpine amp in my 2012 and i was very underwhelmed by the difference
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:02 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by dsn112 View Post
So easy to wire an amp to most stock head units. I dunno where your expertise comes from but you are wrong dude. Some people don't like to entice thieves with a flashy head unit. So many solutions that easily incorporate high end sound into that crap head unit and still look completely stock. Even the "good" headunits that push good power can't power a decent set of components well. If you are interested in sound quality, a good amp is the only way to achieve it.
Hey man just my personal experience, with 2 of the three cars (just happened to be subies) I have wired for an amp (be it subs or speakers) I had a lot of problems with getting the wires in. you can splice them and thats fine but I wanted a clean install and broke the plastic dongle 3 times trying to get the wire in the right slot. anyways if your way works by all means do it, im no pro and I just tinker with wiring and audio but that was just my advice. also not everyone has room for an amp.
In regards to not wanting stuff stolen then dont buy nice things because in this day an age people know what an amp is and they know to look under your seat.
P.S. you can get a Panasonic c9800u and it does 60Wx4 rms also there are some other ones that can do 60x6 or there is an alpine that does 50x4rms dont know whats its called but its out there thats usually what you want for a standard 250-300 watt peak aftermarket or stock speaker. normally aHU stock is less then 50-60rms and an amp will do 20-30 more then an aftermarket HU either way you go you will hear a difference. dont blow your speakers
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:42 PM   #33
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h wiring and audio but that was just my advice. also not everyone has room for an amp.
In regards to not wanting stuff stolen then dont buy nice things because in this day an age people know what an amp is and they know to look under your seat.
This is my point, if you keep a stock head, people aren't going to think to break in just to check under your seat for an amp. Aftermarket radios suggest that you have more than just a radio to actually come after since most people have amps and subs hooked up to their aftermarket radios.
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Old 07-08-2013, 12:51 AM   #34
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:49 PM   #35
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add another to the column of HU first.

almost all OEM head units in car stereos are not flat response in the amp sections, and usually dreadfully underpowered. sometimes its a design shortcut for cost, sometimes its intentional.

some OEM HU will have a ridiculous bump in frequency response built in around the 100hz mark to make it 'seem' to sound louder because of the bass bump. The OEM one in my 04 definitely did not have a flat response.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:06 PM   #36
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1) Headunit
2) speakers
3) amp
4) sub
5) amp for sub
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:18 PM   #37
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Headunit first. This will get you a better source signal AND a better "baseline" amplifier (the integrated one), and if that isn't good enough for you, an external amp will be easier to add cleanly to an aftermarket HU than the stock one.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:29 PM   #38
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Seems like HU first is a common advice.

Anybody have recommendations to a double din HU? I don't want NAV, just want the larger touch screen and all. Sort of a pioneer fan but open to suggestions!
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:11 PM   #39
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Seems like HU first is a common advice.

Anybody have recommendations to a double din HU? I don't want NAV, just want the larger touch screen and all. Sort of a pioneer fan but open to suggestions!
You seem to be on the right track with pioneer, something like a Pioneer AVHP8400, doesn't have GPS and it boasts a good touchscreen and its very easy to use, also it's got Bluetooth and if you ever wanted to add the GPS feature you can, as pioneer sells a plug and play GPS extension to the unit. Happy hunting!
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:39 AM   #40
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You seem to be on the right track with pioneer, something like a Pioneer AVHP8400, doesn't have GPS and it boasts a good touchscreen and its very easy to use, also it's got Bluetooth and if you ever wanted to add the GPS feature you can, as pioneer sells a plug and play GPS extension to the unit. Happy hunting!
My friend's got that one in his 2008 Camry Hybrid (don't laugh hahaha). It's really nice.
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:28 PM   #41
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I discovered there are some hidden options in the stock head unit of my 2013 WRX that help the radio just a tad. The downside is that these settings will also be applied to the other inputs which don't suffer from the flattening that the radio suffers. I got this information from a youtube video which I cannot find ATM, and wasn't sure was legit until I tried it myself.

With the power off: hold 1 and # (variable), then press Tune once or twice until the display gives the set value.
#: 2=> Sedan, 3 => Hatchback, 4 => "Through all"
"Through all" seemed to have a little more low end than before, but it's a small change AFAICT.

With the power on: hold 1 and 6, then press tune.
This toggles "Loud" on and off, which gives a little more boom boom in your back room at low volume, AFAIK.

Personally, if I have to replace the HU, I really want to just slap in a high quality amp for the cabin speakers and use a tablet for the inputs. I haven't used CD's in over 6 years, and wiring won't be so bad if I can cram the amp behind the tablet...that's a huge plus...but ventilation? Might could reroute some of the cabin ventilation since it's as close as it is...

Last edited by Siress; 07-10-2013 at 11:52 PM.
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:57 AM   #42
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I discovered there are some hidden options in the stock head unit of my 2013 WRX that help the radio just a tad. The downside is that these settings will also be applied to the other inputs which don't suffer from the flattening that the radio suffers. I got this information from a youtube video which I cannot find ATM, and wasn't sure was legit until I tried it myself.

With the power off: hold 1 and # (variable), then press Tune once or twice until the display gives the set value.
#: 2=> Sedan, 3 => Hatchback, 4 => "Through all"
"Through all" seemed to have a little more low end than before, but it's a small change AFAICT.

With the power on: hold 1 and 6, then press tune.
This toggles "Loud" on and off, which gives a little more boom boom in your back room at low volume, AFAIK.

Personally, if I have to replace the HU, I really want to just slap in a high quality amp for the cabin speakers and use a tablet for the inputs. I haven't used CD's in over 6 years, and wiring won't be so bad if I can cram the amp behind the tablet...that's a huge plus...but ventilation? Might could reroute some of the cabin ventilation since it's as close as it is...
Bumping up an older thread..

I discovered those options a while ago too and have kept loud on, but went to Through All. That worked the best for me, but some people decided to take loud off.

Does anyone know the difference between the AVH P8400BH and the AVH X8500BHS?
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:36 PM   #43
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First upgrade should be your in door speakers. Transducers are the lifeblood of any sound system, and the answer to "which amp to drive them with?" should always be, "The one which matches the power requirements of the speakers." Modern amplifiers are all fundamentally the same until driven to their limits ( I.e. output stage clipping our power supply current limiting). That being said I find the stock system totally acceptable for what it is, which is a SYSTEM designed to work as such.

The settings that I have selected on the non-nav head unit are:
Bass +2
Mid -1
High +1

I am a professional audio engineer who has mixed live concert sound for many major, international music acts. I am gainfully employed and well compensated for my critical listening abilities. I've worked in recording studios as a staff engineer, am certified on many professional live sound speaker systems, and have an in depth knowledge of sound system tuning.

If people are interested, I'd be happy to take some in car measurements with my dual-FFT SMAART based measurement rig and post the results.

Gabe
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:39 PM   #44
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I should clarify that the settings above refer to my brand new 2013 WRX 5 door. Traded my 2008 Miata in for this bad boy, and can't be happier, even if I miss the joy of top down motoring a bit.
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:57 PM   #45
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Head unit first by far. Replacing the head unit will not only give you much more power going to the speakers but gives you many more options for tailoring the sound to your liking as well as providing a good platform if you ever decided to add a subwoofer or other system components. I highly disagree with the advice to replace the speakers first.
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:32 PM   #46
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Head unit first by far. Replacing the head unit will not only give you much more power going to the speakers but gives you many more options for tailoring the sound to your liking as well as providing a good platform if you ever decided to add a subwoofer or other system components. I highly disagree with the advice to replace the speakers first.
It really depends on what you want to accomplish as to what you should do first. Blanket statements are useless. Each user is going to want something different. when I got my mecp certification back in 1999 all the shop guys I worked with argued this point all the time. Anything can be achieved a bunch of different ways, especially now with all the tech to incorporate sound into a stock deck.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:37 PM   #47
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Head unit first by far. Replacing the head unit will not only give you much more power going to the speakers but gives you many more options for tailoring the sound to your liking as well as providing a good platform if you ever decided to add a subwoofer or other system components. I highly disagree with the advice to replace the speakers first.
Hey Greyfixer. Have you found that people run the stock amplifier/HU into clipping? That would be the instance where it makes sense to add a more powerful amplifier, assuming the drivers can handle it.

Regarding adding more processing to correct frequency response, this is mostly negated by a driver upgrade. As a general rule, inferior drivers cannot be corrected to have the behavior of superior ones, as instructing a lot of EQ also brings with it lots of phasing issues. Hence the "use quality transducers" approach which is how we do things in the professional audio world.

Hope this clarifies my position a bit.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:13 PM   #48
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I read this thread earlier and had no opinion since all stock setups are different. I have owned cars where the stock head unit was good enough to be kept with am insane system build. So to generalize of what order, is not possible.

Now with that said. Upgrade your head unit first. I picked up my 2013 Friday. The stock unit was junk. Last night I ripped it out and finished my double din pioneer install this morning. The stock door speakers sound much much better. Me personally, I will still swap them out, amp them and throw a sub in the trunk. But I had planned that even before hearing the stock system.
But, an aftermarket headunit made a HUGE difference. It gets much louder, clearer and more accurate.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:20 PM   #49
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To quote Homer Simpson, "Where can we get some of this wonder drug, placebo?".
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:00 PM   #50
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I should clarify that the settings above refer to my brand new 2013 WRX 5 door. Traded my 2008 Miata in for this bad boy, and can't be happier, even if I miss the joy of top down motoring a bit.
Gabe,

It's obvious the sound quality is lacking with this unit. Even with my untrained ear, I can see that. Do you plan on upgrading? What kind of speakers are you looking to pick up?
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