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Old 11-30-2010, 04:10 PM   #1
rabidfurball
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Question 2011 WRX Stock Media Guide

Over the last few days I've been playing around with the stock 2011 Subaru WRX head unit. It may not be the best sounding system out there, but it certainly does have a lot of ways to get media... and now I have some pretty good methods of syncing music to my car, so I thought I'd share them. These are likely applicable to 2010 WRX's with media hubs, but I don't have one so I don't know for sure...

USB Audio
The USB feature of the head unit is probably the easiest way of getting lots of music in the car. It's good for playing music when you don't have time to fumble with an ipod or phone. This section of the guide gives a good way to easily periodically synchronize your flash drive with your media library, and to avoid codec compatibility issues.
What you'll need:
  • a USB Flash Drive (Faster is better, I have the Patriot Xporter XT Rage 16GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive Model PEF16GRUSB)
  • Winamp
  • a PC with USB
  • A 2011 Subaru WRX/STI
Prepare your flash drive
  1. Plug your flash drive into your computer.
  2. WARNING THIS WILL ERASE ALL DATA ON THE DRIVE: Go to my computer, right click the flash drive, format. Pick FAT32, and the largest possible allocation size (64kb usually). This will optimize the drive for larger files like mp3s.
  3. Eject (right click the drive in my computer) and unplug your USB Drive
Prepare your computer
  1. Install/Run Winamp. Import your media library to Winamp. (Library Button... Add Media to library)
  2. If you have more music than will reasonably fit on your flash drive, make a new playlist (right click playlists, new playlist) and add music that you want in your car to this list.
  3. Once you have a playlist, goto it, select all the music (ctrl+a), right click, send to... Auto Tag. This will download the correct tags for your music, so that it will display properly in your car. It will also help to avoid errors that could be caused by long filenames or incompatible characters.
Sync your Music
  1. Plug in the flash drive. Winamp will prompt you to manage the flash drive with winamp. Pick 'Yes'.
  2. Click 'Devices' on the left side winamp menu bar. Right click your flash drive and go to 'Preferences'.
  3. Under 'Sync', check 'update selected playlists only', and select your Subaru playlist. Alternatively, you can use 'Autofill' to automatically fill your USB drive to capacity with random music from your collection every time you connect it.
  4. Under 'Transcoding', check "Enable transcoding of incompatible tracks. Select Format: 'MP3 Encoder'. Select Preset '--alt-preset fast standard'. This will ensure all your music is in a format readable by your car. It will also likely let you fit more music on the drive. If you really care about quality, the stereo supports up to 320kbps CBR, but that will take up much more space. It does support Mp4 and WMA, but those files seem to take much longer to load in the head unit, so I would stick with Mp3s.
  5. Still under Transcoding, click 'Advanced Settings' and check 'forced transcoding' if bitrate is over '128' kbps.
  6. Under advanced, change file name format to "[DRIVE]:\<Artist>\<Title>" and supported formats to "mp3". This will make the TEXT button on your head unit work properly.
  7. Drag and drop your playlist to the USB drive, or right click it and hit autofill to fill your usb drive with music. It may take a while if you have to do a lot of re-encoding. It took me about an hour to transcode 16gb of music on a core2duo laptop.
  8. Once Winamp reports 100% transfered, eject (in my computer) and unplug your USB Drive
  9. Next time you attach the flash drive to your computer with Winamp running, it should sync your Subaru playlist again (or autofill with music)
Listen to your Music
  1. With the stereo turned off, plug in your flash drive in the center console.
  2. Turn on the stereo and switch to USB. Music will be in alphabetical order by Artist, and then by track name.
  3. Press text to display artist and song title. Press and hold to display longer names. Press and hold rpt/rand to shuffle
Tips
  • Get a USB drive with fast read times, this will decrease loading times in the car and make artist names appear faster.
  • Always safely remove your flash drive. The Subaru head unit does not deal with corruption well.


Bluetooth Audio
Bluetooth is probably the most powerful way to listen to music in your car. You can use any device with A2DP bluetooth support, but this guide is tailored towards Android phones, because that's what I have. This guide uses wireless sync, because having your phone automatically download new music when you're home is awesome. You can also synchronize with USB, it works almost exactly the same as a flash drive, above.
What you'll need:Prepare your Phone
  1. Install and Run Winamp for Android from the Market
  2. Connect your phone to the same wifi network as your computer.
  3. Open winamp, and goto settings. Enable 'wireless sync'.
Prepare your computer
  1. Install/Run Winamp. Import your media library to Winamp. (Library Button... Add Media to library)
  2. If you have more music than will reasonably fit on your phone, make a new playlist (right click playlists, new playlist) and add music that you want in your car to this list.
  3. Once you have a playlist, go to it, select all the music (ctrl+a), right click, send to... Auto Tag. This will download the correct tags for your music, so that they will display properly on your phone. It will also help to avoid errors that could be caused by long filenames or incompatible characters.
Sync your Music
  1. Make sure your phone and your computer are connected to the same Wifi Network and that wireless sync is enabled in winamp app settings
  2. Right click Devices on the left side winamp menu bar. Click Start Discovery. After a few seconds your Android device should appear in the Devices pane.
  3. Right click your phone in the devices pane and go to Preferences.
  4. Under Sync, check 'update selected playlists only', and select your Subaru playlist. Alternatively, you can use 'Autofill' to automatically fill your phone to capacity with random music from your collection every time you connect it.
  5. Under Transcoding, check "Enable transcoding of incompatible tracks. Select Format: 'MP3 Encoder'. Select Preset '--alt-preset fast standard'. This will ensure all your music is in a format readable by your phone. It will also likely let you fit more music on your phone.
  6. Drag and drop your playlist to the phone, or right click it and hit autofill to fill your phone with music. The music will be transferred wirelessly over the network.
  7. As long as Winamp is running on your computer and the Winamp app has wireless sync enabled, music will be pushed to your phone whenever it connects and your playlist has changed.
  8. Disable wireless sync on your phone when syncing is done to save battery life.
Listen to your Music
  1. Put your phone into bluetooth discovery mode in Settings... Wireless and Networks... Bluetooth Settings... Discoverable.
  2. Put the car into discoverable mode... Menu... Add Bluetooth device...
  3. On your phone, in the bluetooth menu, Scan for devices and select the car on your phone. "Car M_Media" for me...
  4. Pairing code will be 0000 if requested.
  5. Once the phone and car are paired, you should see signal strength and battery level on the head unit. Switch to BT-A Mode on the headunit, start up winamp and hit play, and you should hear music. You should be able to control your phone with the track buttons on the steering wheel and headunit.
Optional Bluetooth Tweaks
  • Download the latest 'Car Home' app by google from the market
  • Go to settings in this app. Select 'Bluetooth starts car home', and then check 'turn on bluetooth'
  • This will make bluetooth be enabled whenever the phone is placed in it's dock. This will let you save battery by not leaving bluetooth on all the time.

iPod
The major advantage of the iPod is that you can select a song or playlist on the head unit while another song is playing.
  1. Put music on your iPod with iTunes
  2. Plug in your iPod with a USB cable in the center console.
  3. Switch the Head Unit to iPod mode. The Subaru logo should appear on your iPod. Your iPod controls will no longer work.
  4. Use the list button to bring up the ipod menu on the head unit and the track selector dial to go between menus. Select with list.
  5. Pick music and listen to it.

MP3 CDs
Finally, you have MP3 CDs. The Subaru head unit supports compressed audio on CDs, letting you fit way more than the ~80 minutes a normal audio CD can hold. Mp3 CDs can usually fit about 100 songs, more if you reencode.
I'm not going to go into exactly how to do this, because I don't have any CDR's right now, but you'll want to copy over folders to the CD-R in the format "CD:/Artist/Track.mp3". The files must be mp3's, mp4's or wma's, <320kbps. You can burn the CD with Windows or iTunes. I don't think winamp supports burning Mp3 CD's at this point.

Other Stuff
It's not really audio related, but it is android and subaru related... Check out Torque if you would like highly customizable gauges for your car. It can do boost, speed, temperatures, MAP/MAF, mpg, fuel, and so much more. It works with bluetooth OBD readers you can pick up for $30-50. Works great in the aforementioned car dock.

Troubleshooting
Only some of my music is showing up in the car even though all the files are there
There may be a a file with an incompatible codec, too long of a file name, or with non-standard characters on the drive. Check your transcoding settings and go through your playlist and remove or rename any files with long or abnormal file names. Run Auto-Tag.
Can I use a USB Hard drive instead of a flash drive?
It may be possible if you have a very low power drive, perhaps a 1.8" drive. But I would be careful. I plugged a hard drive into another head unit once and blew a fuse... I also don't know how quickly the head unit will operate with thousands of files to look through, and I'm sure there is some limit on number of files. But, lemme know if you give this a try...
I can't figure out how to pair my phone
Make sure that bluetooth is on and discoverable in both the car and the phone. Try pulling the phone battery and restarting, the android bluetooth stack is flakey sometimes. Consult the owner's manual for detailed pairing instructions.
I can't get wireless sync to work
Make sure the phone and the computer are connected to the same network. Make sure wireless sync is enabled. Try disabling the firewall on your computer. If all else fails, wait for a non-beta release of Winamp and use USB sync.
How do I do this with a Mac, iphone, or other bluetooth device
I would just use itunes and the ipod interface. Personally, I dislike itunes and ipods and opted for Android and Winamp, So I can't really help you. Wireless Sync is awesome.

I'll add more to this if people find it helpful, or if they have other questions... If anyone wants to add information about ipod's, please do.
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Last edited by rabidfurball; 12-02-2010 at 09:21 PM. Reason: grammar.
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:31 AM   #2
arf80
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Great thread, I didn't realize the usb input worked with thumb drives. Those are cheap enough to just leave plugged in without worrying about it being stolen. It's becoming a pain to open the center console to hook up and remove my ipod every time I get in car anyway.
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:50 AM   #3
xluben
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I've been using Pandora via Bluetooth from my BB Tour for a while now. The Bluetooth connection was set up at the dealer when I picked up the car. Pandora automatically sent the music over to the head unit. Very easy.

Last night I tried a USB Flash drive for the first time. I did not use WinAmp. I don't have it, and I don't think it is necessary. As long as the files are already in a format that the car can read, I don't see any reason to re-transcode them. I simply put the files onto the drive in this format:

USB Drive \ Artist and Album Name \ Track Number and Track Name

I didn't realize the head unit could even read the tags (as described in the original post). That method may work better for some situations, but the folder / drag and drop method was much easier for me. And it allows me to keep the music sorted by album (one folder for each album) and to keep the songs in order (track number in file name).

The only downside is that the Folder / Track info will not scroll. So unless you hold that button you only see the first few words. Another curiosity I noticed was that it starts with Folder 2 instead of Folder 1. I have no idea why it does this, and all of my folders are there, just numbered starting at 2. I love using USB. Very convenient and the folder system makes it very usable.

I also have used regular audio CD's. No problems there.

One of the main things I've noticed is that any of these high quality sources (Bluetooth, USB, CD/MP3) all sound much, much better than the radio. Obviously this is going to be true, but it seems much more noticeable in my WRX than in past cars. The radio sounds really muffled, but the other sources sound a lot more clear (but still not amazing).
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xluben View Post
One of the main things I've noticed is that any of these high quality sources (Bluetooth, USB, CD/MP3) all sound much, much better than the radio. Obviously this is going to be true, but it seems much more noticeable in my WRX than in past cars. The radio sounds really muffled, but the other sources sound a lot more clear (but still not amazing).
I agree with this. I am amazed at how much better pandora streaming over BT sounds over stock FM stations. I mean pandora is only streaming at what 64k? The stock radio for FM stations is just terrible and sounds much worse than it should compared to other cars with streaming pandora vs radio.
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:56 AM   #5
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I find it very strange that the radio display will not scroll information such as radio station ID, Song Title, ID3 tag info, etc.

Or am I missing something?

Might there be a way to get the display to scroll through the information?
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:24 AM   #6
xluben
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J03 View Post
I agree with this. I am amazed at how much better pandora streaming over BT sounds over stock FM stations. I mean pandora is only streaming at what 64k? The stock radio for FM stations is just terrible and sounds much worse than it should compared to other cars with streaming pandora vs radio.
Yeah, it doesn't make sense. Despite lack of bass, the bluetooth, CD and USB audio sounds pretty decent. The FM radio really sounds much worse in comparison.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichM View Post
I find it very strange that the radio display will not scroll information such as radio station ID, Song Title, ID3 tag info, etc.

Or am I missing something?

Might there be a way to get the display to scroll through the information?
On my car you have to press the "TEXT" button at the top right of the head unit. The choices are frequency, text with autoscroll and text without autoscroll. When you have it on autoscroll it will show station name and slogan, artist name, and song title. Some stations seem to work better than others.
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Old 12-17-2010, 06:13 PM   #7
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I completely agree, the USB audio is pretty good and the radio is very lack luster. Its wierd.
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:18 PM   #8
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On a side note the USB hub will charge a BB if you have it plugged in. This is great cause I don't have to have a cig lighter plug dedicate for my phone.

Does anyone know if the BT in the 2011 can transfer phone book/contact info from phones?

-mike
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paisan View Post
On a side note the USB hub will charge a BB if you have it plugged in. This is great cause I don't have to have a cig lighter plug dedicate for my phone.

Does anyone know if the BT in the 2011 can transfer phone book/contact info from phones?

-mike
My friend did that with his BB.
I can't figure out how to do it with my android phone. And the functionality of the BT deteriorated ( won't show me what song is playing over BT) so going to the dealer tommorow to see if anything is wrong with it.
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:48 PM   #10
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Wow. Good info. Wish I would have known about the USB BB charging before I bought a $30 car charger. I have tons of USB cables lying around!

What do you use for music playing via BT? I just use Pandora via my BB and it doesn't ever show anything. Most of the time is says "Pause" (even while playing).
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:50 PM   #11
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Im having a slight problem with my media hub, Im not sure if any of yall are having the same issues. When I search through my 120g IPOD classic it wont show all of my artists only the first 50 or 60, Ive reset the ipod, unplugged it and plugged it back in. Im about to take it in for them to look at but I just cant figure it out, and Id like to save a trip to the stealership
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:54 PM   #12
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Sounds like a software limitation. I doubt the dealer will be able to do anything unless Subaru has released newer software that supports it. I don't have any new enough iPods to try it. 120GB sounds huge. I think mine is 4GB. LOL.
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Old 12-23-2010, 11:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xluben View Post
Wow. Good info. Wish I would have known about the USB BB charging before I bought a $30 car charger. I have tons of USB cables lying around!

What do you use for music playing via BT? I just use Pandora via my BB and it doesn't ever show anything. Most of the time is says "Pause" (even while playing).
I use Pandora and the oem mp3 player via BT. Only downside is if you want the USB port to charge your phone you have to go into USB mode on the stereo. If you have the USB plugged into the BB, then you can't stream via BT Audio.

I am really stumped on the transfer contact info to the HU.

-mike
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Old 12-24-2010, 04:18 PM   #14
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Yeah I use it mostly to put tv shows and some movies on it, for when im bored at work haha
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:21 AM   #15
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How do you get the Average Fuel Economy to display in the center console? I'm confused because it's not there on my base STI, yet my brochure clearly shows "Digital trip computer displaying average fuel economy, digital clock and ambient temperature" being standard on all WRX's and STI's.
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:51 AM   #16
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Mine will only display the average fuel economy for each trip counter, not for the entire odometer.
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:41 AM   #17
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That is how it works. The Avg is only for the particular ODO you are displaying. So you actually have 2 Avg Fuel Economies.

-mike
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:27 AM   #18
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There is also an update to get the thing to display more than 255 items in a list.
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paisan View Post
That is how it works. The Avg is only for the particular ODO you are displaying. So you actually have 2 Avg Fuel Economies.

-mike
Do you have to reset the trip at least once first?

I've tried rotating through ODO, trip 1 and trip 2 and nothing is displaying between the temp and the clock.
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:56 PM   #20
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On my car I didn't have to.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:03 PM   #21
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oh man, I need to RTFM.

It's supposed to be turned on from the factory but mine wasn't. Put the key in lock, hold the + sign for 5 seconds until the display blinks and it'll turn on. Repeat to turn it off.

20.4 mpg averaged so far with ~190 miles of 2-4k revving and then engine braking, and constantly shifting gears and speeds on the highway. Not too bad!
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:14 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scooby24 View Post
oh man, I need to RTFM.

It's supposed to be turned on from the factory but mine wasn't. Put the key in lock, hold the + sign for 5 seconds until the display blinks and it'll turn on. Repeat to turn it off.

20.4 mpg averaged so far with ~190 miles of 2-4k revving and then engine braking, and constantly shifting gears and speeds on the highway. Not too bad!
highway driving I see 22-23ish. Upper 20's if I really baby it, but it's hard with the turbo.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:16 PM   #23
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On the stock tune I would sit at about 26-26.5MPG while going 60MPH on cruise. Really couldn't get it any higher than that, no matter how much I babied it. Normal mix of city/highway is about 20MPG.
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Old 04-02-2011, 03:40 PM   #24
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If you are using a USB flash drive, does the unit "remember" what track you are on when you turn the car off and pick up where you left off? On our Outback, it starts back over at folder1/track1 each time.
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Old 04-02-2011, 03:45 PM   #25
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It remembers what track you're on, and the position in the song. it even fades it in for you. pretty nice really.

Also, an update, I finally got my OEM under seat subwoofer to work, and it sounds pretty awesome now in my opinion. Probably still not as good as aftermarket, but the extra bass really fills out the system nicely.

If anyone else bought the OEM subwoofer to find it was incompatible with the bluetooth wiring harness, the dealers can get you a new harness now.
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