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Old 09-17-2001, 03:03 PM   #1
gkanai
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Post aftermarket audio options for a '02 WRX Wagon

Hi folks,

I've got the standard system right now and while I like the CD in-dash, I don't like the audio quality. I'm also driving a wagon, so I don't have a rear deck or trunk for large speakers or a built-in sub.

Anyone have any ideas for me? I don't want to replace my head unit unless I have to. I have a line on Sony Xplod stuff for cheap so that's what I plan to use (amp, separates, etc.) Sub can be anything. Budget should be reasonable.

Any advice or recommendations on installers in Northern NJ would be welcome.

Gen
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Old 09-17-2001, 10:06 PM   #2
Aaron'z 2.5RS
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Gen,

I personaly really like the Explod stuff. you can hook up with a 5 channel amp that will take car of the whole system. I'm not sure of the trunk lay-out of the REX wagon, but i'm sure there is some space on/in the side panels that could easily house an 8" woffer. Which should do just fine if your not intrested in poping out windows.
You also might be able to mount the/an amp on/in another side panel so you would still have FULL use of the back of the car.
Other wise you could set up a "removible" system were you have a box with the amp mounted to it and have "quick disconnects" attaching the power, ground and other connections. This is a MUCH less secure type set up but it could be fully removed in a few minutes if you needed to haul something. Any installer worth his weight in pee should be able to give you some good options.

As far as finding a decent installer...Well look around, i can't reccomend any in your area, but, usually it's kinda like finding a good mechanic.
First look at the outward appierence of the shop, is it run down, dirty and basically crappy looking (don't always jugde a book by it's cover though)
Second, whats it look like inside....same thing, is there crap everywere or to they run a tight ship?
Third, ask if they have pics of past work they have done, thats a great way of checking out how they do their thang.
How do they act most importantly, are they willing to work with you, or do they seem not to give a sheit. I have had expierences (working for and buying from)with a local shop were i lived in Buffalo (Custom Radio...ick)
They ran a very nice looking shop, but, they were total buttholes, if you weren't spending thousands (which they tried to sell you) you wern't dick!

Now some more insight....shops don't really make alot on custom work, it's the simple installs like a head-unit and four speeks that make the bulk of their money (it takes up less time, and leaves room for more customers) Thats why you need to find a place that will work with you. Secondly here, some don't want to install stuff they didn't sell you, some will, some care were you got it from and some don't. I can't tell you how many times peeps came in the the places were i worked and wanted me to install something that looked "hot". (not implying anything what-so-ever) Usualy shops don't have a problem with new or like new looking equipement, again some do, some don't.

Lastly be active in the install process, don't let them give you the "oh we'll take car of it" line....know what your getting....DON'T get in the way (most installers get nervous when a customer is looking over their shoulder, if you can get in the install bay that is(some install techneques (spelling) don't look the most orthadox to the non-installer)and don't take emence amounts of their time either. If your gonna spend some coin you should know what you getting though.

Gee....I could go on and on and on...i've fixed so many of buffalos crappy installs when i was working, i could tell you which shop they came from as soon as i pulled out the head unit, usually!!

Ne-way...this post is gettin real long and i'm sure you get the drift....

Good luck,

Peas,
AaRoN

Last edited by Aaron'z 2.5RS; 09-17-2001 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 09-18-2001, 03:38 PM   #3
wrxsvt
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Having a wagon of my own, I've given this subject considerable thought. For an amp, I *think* you could get away with putting it below the floor above the spare tire, if you were willing to ditch the tray that is in there now and cut a 1/4" thick board to fit the space (sitting on the spare). You'd be limited on how tall an amp you could get, as there's only 2.5" or so of space, but that would get the amp out of the way and away from prying eyes. That way, your sub box would be very easy to remove.

And speaking of sub boxes, a 10" JL PowerWedge would be a good performer for not much money and they don't take up much space. Would be easy to get in and out too.

Good luck!
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Old 09-18-2001, 04:06 PM   #4
gkanai
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Default thanks for the ideas!

Guys, thanks much for the ideas. I'll work on a 5 channel Xplod amp and a removeable sub box. The only issue is whether to keep the OEM head unit or not...is there an easy way to keep it or do I have to junk it? I'd like to keep it but...
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Old 09-18-2001, 04:18 PM   #5
mitch808
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STOP before you do anything.

The biggest improvment will start with replacing your stock speakers with separates and/or coaxials. An amplifier is really only needed when you want higher volume or to drive a sub. A headunit will not improve sound if the speakers are of poor quality already.

I've already replaced mine with a set of JL separates, and kicker mids in the rear. I also installed a Nakamichi CD deck. Both sound crystal clear, and WAY better than stock/OEM.

Just wanted to warn you before you get dissapointed when you buy an amp and hook it up to the stock speakers and hate yourself for it.
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Old 09-18-2001, 04:32 PM   #6
gkanai
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Default Mitch's comments

Mitch,

Thanks very much for your comments. I'll definitely be replacing the stock speakers with separates or Xplod ES component speakers. I was just thinking of doing it all in one shot, but maybe that's not necessary.

May I ask you what size speakers are OEM? I'd like to keep things as stealth as possible...
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Old 09-18-2001, 05:12 PM   #7
blub blub
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5 1/4" factory seps in the front
6 1/2" factory seps in the rear

have fun!!
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Old 09-18-2001, 05:18 PM   #8
mitch808
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Quote:
Originally posted by blub blub
5 1/4" factory seps in the front
6 1/2" factory seps in the rear

have fun!!
Yup I concur. Although some VERY VERY slimline 6 1/2" ones could fit up front. But to save a few bucks just get the 5 1/4" ones.

You can see what I have installed at http://www.speakeasy.net/~mnabors
Click the link about "subie"
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Old 09-18-2001, 05:32 PM   #9
shakattk
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i just finished an installation in my 02 wrx wagon and feel that i have some good information to share.

first of all, i disagree that you don't need an amp. a good amp will greatly enhance the richness of the speakers and will also prevent them from distorting at high volumes. an amp is essential. also, you can get a good one for not much money. a recommend the ppi pcx-440, a good four channel amp to run your speakers. you can get it for just over $200.

my approach was to install the stuff myself to save money. it cut the total cost in half. this allowed me to get good equipment that i otherwise couldn't afford (but took 3 weekends to complete). also, i wanted to preserve the trunk space so i could still haul my stuff around. to do this, i used a bazooka 8 inch self amped sub. this makes the install much easier and does not require installing another amp for the sub. i'm very happy with the sound of the bazooka. also, it comes out in 2 minutes if you need all of the trunk space. i just drove 4 people with luggage on a trip this last weekend and did not need to remove it--it fits against the side of the trunk very well.

one thing to watch is the speaker size. i don't know about sony, but i found some shallow speakers that sound great. the fronts can be 6.5 inch, but they can't be deeper than 2 1/8 inch. on the rears, if you don't want to cut metal, use 4.5 inchers, since the hole is not wide enough for 5.25s. people say you can put 5.25s there, but they are incorrect. you will have to cut metal to do this. i cut the metal and it made the install difficult, but i wanted the best sound possible, so 4.5s weren't an option.

as for the deck, get another one if you can afford it. you'll have to get a line level adapter to use the stock deck with an aftermarket amp. this will decrease sound quality and cause some background noise. online, you can get a good deck nakamichi 6 disc in dash) for about $480. check www.thezeb.com.

good luck with your project,
S
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Old 09-19-2001, 01:03 AM   #10
mitch808
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Originally posted by shakattk
i just finished an installation in my 02 wrx wagon and feel that i have some good information to share.

first of all, i disagree that you don't need an amp. a good amp will greatly enhance the richness of the speakers and will also prevent them from distorting at high volumes. an amp is essential. also, you can get a good one for not much money. a recommend the ppi pcx-440, a good four channel amp to run your speakers. you can get it for just over $200.


The original poster wanted sound quality not volume. Unless your doing 80 with the windows down, there is no need for an amp. I've installed over $25k over 5 years to know a little about what I'm talking about.


my approach was to install the stuff myself to save money. it cut the total cost in half. this allowed me to get good equipment that i otherwise couldn't afford (but took 3 weekends to complete). also, i wanted to preserve the trunk space so i could still haul my stuff around. to do this, i used a bazooka 8 inch self amped sub. this makes the install much easier and does not require installing another amp for the sub. i'm very happy with the sound of the bazooka. also, it comes out in 2 minutes if you need all of the trunk space. i just drove 4 people with luggage on a trip this last weekend and did not need to remove it--it fits against the side of the trunk very well.

Great advice If not a bazooka, Kenwood makes a similar model but not as good. It may be a little cheaper?


one thing to watch is the speaker size. i don't know about sony, but i found some shallow speakers that sound great. the fronts can be 6.5 inch, but they can't be deeper than 2 1/8 inch. on the rears, if you don't want to cut metal, use 4.5 inchers, since the hole is not wide enough for 5.25s. people say you can put 5.25s there, but they are incorrect. you will have to cut metal to do this. i cut the metal and it made the install difficult, but i wanted the best sound possible, so 4.5s weren't an option.


I've got 5 1/4" up front in mine. I went with some JL Audio separates for about 400 a pair. The depth is a real problem in the impreza. If your not going to make buildouts, you have to stick with a VERY shallow speaker, or a smaller one.


as for the deck, get another one if you can afford it. you'll have to get a line level adapter to use the stock deck with an aftermarket amp. this will decrease sound quality and cause some background noise. online, you can get a good deck nakamichi 6 disc in dash) for about $480. check www.thezeb.com.
good luck with your project,
S


I've got a Nakamichi CD-45Z for $350 Excellent headunit for the money. Looks factory/OEM, and sound quality is equal to a Sony ES model that retails for $1200. There aren't too many others that can touch a nakamichi as far as sound quality goes. But there are hundreds that are more flashy!. I don't like that anymore as it's distracts from the road and my car

Mitch
http://www.speakeasy.net/~mnabors
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Old 09-19-2001, 02:19 AM   #11
blub blub
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now was that $25k all stuff installed in your own car over that length of time or does that include all the cars you'v worked on?
cuz in the course of 3 months i'v installed much more then that just in LABOR charges never mind cost of equiptment. just looking for clarification.
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Old 09-19-2001, 02:37 AM   #12
mitch808
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Quote:
Originally posted by blub blub
now was that $25k all stuff installed in your own car over that length of time or does that include all the cars you'v worked on?
cuz in the course of 3 months i'v installed much more then that just in LABOR charges never mind cost of equiptment. just looking for clarification.

that is a very good and valid question.

On my own cars lets see yeah roughly $25k on 4 cars. Two different systems on a 88 Dakota, two on a '95 Neon, one in a '00 Dakota, and now just starting my wrx. All work except with the WRX was done by me. Now I am too lazy to do it anymore and don't have the time. Would a painter want to paint his own house? Or a Computer tech fix his own computer? Most likely not. I'm in that boat now, and don't care to scratch up my knuckles, bend and contort to awkward positions, and waste a day doing a "stereo install" or "alarm install"

I could include what I did for friends too, but I didn't charge them other than lunch And I have no clue as to what they paid for hardware, but I could run a list of products that I installed and the cars too that would be a few pages long. Oh and we won't get into the box building designs that my brother inlaw and I got into as he was a carpenter and I was eager to make a buck while in school making custom enclosures for just about everycar.

Mitch
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Old 09-19-2001, 09:36 AM   #13
iouri
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Quote:
Would a painter want to paint his own house? Or a Computer tech fix his own computer? Most likely not.
I am a computer tech and will never let anybody but me fix my computer (well, maybe some of my close frieds...)
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Old 09-19-2001, 11:07 AM   #14
mitch808
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Quote:
Originally posted by iouri

I am a computer tech and will never let anybody but me fix my computer (well, maybe some of my close frieds...)
Lucky you. I am a sys admin for a high tech company, I will put off fixing my own computers when at home when I manage over a thousand at work.
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Old 09-19-2001, 07:18 PM   #15
iouri
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Quote:
I will put off fixing my own computers when at home when I manage over a thousand at work.
I am also not exactly coming home from office with only one thought - fix my computer.
I'd rather go and do something with my sound system.
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Old 09-19-2001, 09:33 PM   #16
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or you wife - i understand where everyone is coming from.

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Old 10-14-2003, 09:27 PM   #17
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If you space your woofer a little you can use Infinity 60.5 component speakers (2 3/16 deep). I fabricated a small enclosure for under seat application with a JL Audio 6W0 6" sub and put a small amp under the other seat and kept the headunit, that way you have good sounding system while looking stock.
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Old 10-15-2003, 12:43 AM   #18
02SilvaWagon
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Quote:
I'm also driving a wagon, so I don't have a rear deck or trunk for large speakers or a built-in sub.
No space for a sub?


Its there....gotta keep looking. Oh yeah, the 12 isn't visible. Hint, I no longer have a spare tire. Just waiting for carpet that matches better.

To the original poster:
If you want to keep it simple, get the most powerful deck you can find. I would recommend one of the Alpine 60W X 4 V-Drive decks. I have never been a fan of Sony. No power, and cheap feel to them. But if you can get it cheap and thats all that is in your budget, then its better than stock.
Get a pair of thin 6 1/2" components for the front that don't need a lot of power to sound good. As far as the back doors go, it is very difficult to fit a lot of 6 1/2's in there without cutting the metal. Even still, make sure the speakers tweeter doesn't stick up too high, or you will run into problems with it hitting the door panel. I would recommend sticking with 5 1/4's.

I have 6 1/2 Kenwood Excelon Dual Mag components up front, and 6 1/2 Kenwood Excelon Dual Mag coaxials in the rear. The rears had to be mounted from behind because the tweeter bridge sticks up too much. I wouldn't do it again. Been installing 5+ years, so I have a clue what I'm talking about.
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Old 10-25-2003, 04:44 AM   #19
Yasin
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I found that 6.5" speakers don't fit well in the back. I think mine now are 5.25" Pioneers in the rear, with JBL tweets and 2-way 6.5"s in the front. ('02 wagon) I have an aluminum Eclipse 12" I'm looking into putting into a fiberglass box in my spare tire well. One 350 kicker amp is under the driver's seat, going to the sub, with a 400x4 Planet Audio under the passenger's seat running my doors. I have great sound quality and the sub hits nicely. The one problem I'm having is engine noise when the car is running, which will hopefully be fixed tomorrow...

02Silva -
I saw a Sony deck today that was a flip over that can completely black out. I'm tempted to switch with the Clarion and use the extra $140 in credit on something else... can you talk me into keeping the Clarion deck? It CAN change colors, but I liked the advice that it has great sound quality.

How much are you pushing your sub with? What material for your box?

-Y
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