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Old 11-05-2018, 12:51 PM   #26
phd12v
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kenwood 9905 unit is pretty nice.

also i am waiting for the release of the new Sony double Din with maestro in it as well.
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Old 11-06-2018, 05:31 PM   #27
fysics
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Not quite the same on the upgrade path... but has anyone on the 2015+ got an UPDATE to their HK headunit to get the new Android Auto functionality from the '19s? Had I known that'd be across the board in 2019 I'd have waited a few damn months to buy my WRX!
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:59 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by fysics View Post
Not quite the same on the upgrade path... but has anyone on the 2015+ got an UPDATE to their HK headunit to get the new Android Auto functionality from the '19s? Had I known that'd be across the board in 2019 I'd have waited a few damn months to buy my WRX!
There's no update for any older hu. I'm also still waiting for more info on the 19 hu with HK, but it seems no one has the need to open theirs up so far. In the 2019 HU thread its been said there is also a steering wheel control difference.. 15-18 had a menu and back button, while 2019 doesn't and that throws another obstacle to retrofitting.
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Old 11-23-2018, 02:07 PM   #29
rcompart
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I have a 2016 FXT and loved everything about it with the exception of how the factory audio/navigation worked. I found it rather cantankerous when navigating from various menus to others or between functions and I absolutely HATED the inability to disable the turn-by-turn voice directions, which even when turned down as low as they would go were still very annoying due to the constant interruptions. So out with the old and in with the new.

My prerequisites were that under no circumstances were any permanent modification to be made to the car, the sound stage I had as a result of the separate lows, mids and highs speakers and the H/K audio DSP couldn't be compromised, the installation had to appear as close to factory as possible and the radio had to have CarPlay. This meant no cutting or splicing any of the factory wiring, finding out a way to continue to utilize the H/K amp when it was receiving fader information over a twisted pair data connection and not via discrete front and rear input channels, and I needed to find something that occupied more dash real-estate than a standard double-DIN. So I spent the last couple of months piecing together everything needed for a seamless and non-invasive installation and I must say that I am very satisfied with the results. The factory 7" navigation radio had quite a few connections behind it but I stuck to my plan and made sure none of them had to cut off or spliced into. Anywhere I needed to manipulate the wiring, I did so with a compatible replacement mating connector.

The head-unit I chose is the Kenwood DDX916WS. It's a 200mm Toyota replacement CarPlay radio that features a capacitive touch display, built-in steering wheel control interface, adjustable color illumination and the list goes on. It even comes with the plug-and-play wiring harness that works for those with the 10+6 Toyota style radio wiring. The 10 pin harness has the power, ground, illumination, antenna power, and front channel wiring and the 6-pin harness is for the rear channels. The wiring on the 10-pin would have worked fine if I didn't mind feeding a high-level signal into the amplifier. Problem was the rear channels are MIA from the 6-pin connector and instead, Subaru used that connector to provide part of the dimmer signal, the shielding for the audio going to the amp and the interrupt wiring which wasn't going to be used. If there was compatible shielded wiring like what was in the 2014-2015's, I'd have probably just used another set of Toyota connectors wired with RCAs to connect it but no point in doing that if it was only going to solve half the problem.


Since my car had Starlink, I needed to take the audio coming from the amp to the Starlink control unit and reroute it to the front high speakers (tweeters). I did this by removing the pins I didn't need from a connector housing that was the same as that on the Starlink control unit and then soldered the appropriate remaining pins to one another. I could have omitted this connector, keeping Starlink but that meant extra connectors, wiring and time; all of which would have been for something I didn't care about.
The connector is TE P/N 175967-2.
The following pins on connector i271 were soldered together:

1 and 2
3 and 4
9 and 10
11 and 12

The remaining pins were removed.






For the backup camera, I built a simple voltage regulator to bring the battery voltage down to 6V and tied that into the ACC wiring harness on the DDX916WS.
Connector is Toyota P/N 90980-12365.
The following pins on connector i146 were used:

1 - Camera Ground
2 - Camera 6V +
3 - Camera Video +
4 - Camera Video
5 - NC


To get the steering wheel control, reverse and parking brake signals, I used the SWC harness that came with the DDX916WS which connected to i87 and added wires on pins 2 and 15. I was thinking about adding the additional wires needed to connect the factory 3.5mm aux input in the center console to the DDX916WS for the sake of completeness but the odds of it ever being used were slim-to-none so I decided it wasn't worth the time messing around with it.
Connector is Toyota P/N 90980-12409.
The following pins were used:

2 - Reverse
15 - Parking Brake
21 - Steering Wheel Control 1
22 - Steering Wheel Control 2
23 - Steering Wheel Control Ground
26 - AUX Right Channel +
27 - AUX Left/Right Channel
28 - AUX Left Channel +

The remaining pins were left unpopulated.


After spending some time researching the H/K amp, I came to the conclusion that it would be price-prohibitive to make something to take the front and rear signals and generate the required data signal needed to tell the amp the fader information it would need. Long story short, I spent some time in the seat of my friend's 2015 Forester with the H/K audio to see if there was any discernible difference I could hear between it and my 2016 to see if using the H/K from a 2014-2015 Forester would be an option and after a couple days back and forth between the two, I found out that the audio quality between the two was indistinguishable to my untrained ears. I also found out that I'd have been hating life if I had purchased anything other than the XT. So I replaced the original H/K amp with one from a 2015.





In keeping with the cutting no wires theme and needing a low-level signal for the amp, I picked up a Kicker Z-Series 16.5' RCA cable since it was twisted pair construction and cut it in half with the cut ends down by the newly installed 2015 Forester H/K amp. I made a selective pass-thru harness for the wiring I needed and then on the other end, I inserted the low-level input wiring from the RCA cables. I thought I had taken a picture of this when I still had the seat off but I can't find it on my iPhone so either I was slacking or I deleted it when I was going through some of the other shots I took. If I can sneak a decent one with the seat all the way raised up, I'll add it to this thread.
Toyota P/Ns 90980-12554 and 90980-12193
The following pins on connector i262 are passed through to the amp

11 - VSS
12 - ACC Power

The following positions are pins on connector i262 are populated with the wires coming from the low-level outputs on the radio:

2 - Front Left Channel
3 - Front Left Channel +
4 - Front Right Channel
5 - Front Right Channel +
17 - Rear Left Channel
18 - Rear Left Channel +
22 - Rear Right Channel
23 - Rear Right Channel +

The remaining pins on connector i262 were left unpopulated and the wiring on connectors i263 and R315 was not changed.

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Old 04-03-2019, 01:20 PM   #30
Mpizarro1981
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Default How to tap into the H/K amp

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRCrutc View Post
The install isn't super difficult but it can be complicated if you don't have a lot of experience. I decided to mount the Amp under my passenger seat and I did tap into the speaker wires coming out of the H/K amp and utilized the current stock speakers. I think they sound fine and I don't see a real need to upgrade them (unless you really want thumping bass, more later on this).

I bought a 4 gauge amp wiring kit from the internet and then I also purchased a set of RCA cables (I got one that had 6 connections, or 3 sets of simple RCA cables). You will need at least five RCA connectors (2 for the front speakers, 2 for the rear speakers, and 1 for the sub). I ended up using a simple y adapter to make my 1 sub output from the radio go to both sub inputs on the amp. I also bought a ton of speaker wire because I ran all the speaker wire from the new amp to the trunk where my H/K amp is. Here is the basic overview of how ran everything.

http://i.imgur.com/JWs8niZ.png

I ran the amp power wire from the battery up to the back of my firewall in the engine bay and then down to a rubber grommet on the passenger side of the engine bay:

http://i.imgur.com/xlCRe2j.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/1vvADFs.jpg

I used some 3M "strip caulk" to "seal" the hole that I had to make in the rubber grommet. There are other methods for routing the power cable but this seemed to be the safest and cleanest from my perspective. There are several tutorials for this online.

As for the amp placement, As mentioned before I put mine under the passenger seat:

http://i.imgur.com/eTFcTvu.jpg

I had to modify (and then close off) the heater vents under the seat so it wouldn't blow hot air on the amp. I found that the carpet is super rigid here so I didn't actually screw the amp down to the underbody of the car but you might consider this if you do any offroading or have rough roads in your area (I might screw mine down later). I grounded the Amp to a ground point that I found under the seat, any clean metal spots would work though as long as it is close to the amp (the closer the better).

Then I ran all of the output speaker wire from the new amp to the trunk where my H/K amp was. I didn't have a diagram of the speaker wiring so I used the 9 volt battery method to test the twisted pairs of wires coming out of the H/K amp. If the speaker pops out then you have the polarity correct (positive to positive), if it pops in then you have it reversed. Here are the wire colors that I found in my car, but they may be different for you (I would suggest testing at least one set using the method noted above to verify that your wiring is the same as mine):

http://i.imgur.com/gC14eBB.png

These wires were in two different harnesses and I didn't grab the pin locations but I can if you need them.

Here is a high level diagram of how I made the connections:

http://i.imgur.com/hQYfnTK.png

The diagram above doesn't show that I tapped into the H/K wiring but it does show what channel on my amp went to what speaker and how I divided 5 channels among 7 speakers. I also added high pass filters to the tweeters in the front dash. The dash speakers are about 3 inches so I just found a HPF online that was designed for 3 inch speakers and installed it inline with the positive speaker wire when I connected to it in the trunk. Also, the sub in my car was a dual coil sub so I wired it in parallel. I have the gain pretty low since it is only an 8 inch sub. It will clip pretty hard if you push the gain up on it. If you are looking for significantly more bass then a new subwoofer would probably be a good investment.

I used to do this for a living so I was pretty comfortable with the steps involved and it took me most of a day to complete. I would budget several days just to be safe if you aren't real familiar with the process. If you have any further questions feel free to ask.

Hey JRCrutc, I just bought the HU from Idoing and everything else I needed. Can you tell me more about how you tapped in to the h/k amp wires and how did you use both of the metra harnesses? I guess what I'm trying to say is I know you disconnect the harnesses from the amp but do you connect the metra ones to the amp?

Thanks
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Old 04-04-2019, 12:10 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Mpizarro1981 View Post
Hey JRCrutc, I just bought the HU from Idoing and everything else I needed. Can you tell me more about how you tapped in to the h/k amp wires and how did you use both of the metra harnesses? I guess what I'm trying to say is I know you disconnect the harnesses from the amp but do you connect the metra ones to the amp?

Thanks
I removed the connectors (plugs) from the amp and then spliced into the wires (I didn't cut them just tapped into them). Then I taped the ends of the plugs with electrical tape and zip tied them up behind the HK amp. There may be aftermarket connectors that fit these plugs but I didn't look for them, it's pretty easy to just tap into the wires. This way the HK amp is completely disconnected and the aftermarket amp is sending all the power to the speakers.
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Old 04-04-2019, 04:41 AM   #32
arempee26
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Default STARLINK 7" w/ Navi + HK Headunit Upgrade

Not trying to high jack this thread but this is what I did to my 2017 WRX Limited with 7 touch screen, NAV and HK.
I replaced the factory HU to W4400NEX with the iDataLink Maestro and SU2 Harness.
Everything went well, then I realized that the front speakers dont work.
I did some research and found out that the front speakers are connected to the telematic unit.
So I decided to tear the telematic unit apart and shoved it behind the dash to make it fit behind the dash.


I changed my mind. I made some room behind the dash by removing the brackets and bolts that used to hold the factory HU and bending the other parts of the brackets back. That gave me enough space to hide the telematic unit behind the dash with the housing facing down.

But somehow, that created another problems. When the OBD2 is plugged in, it triggers all the warning lights on the dash and also the back up camera no longer works. So I decided to not to use the OBD2 port. I dont mind not having the gauges and what not anyway.
Everything works right now except the BUC. If someone can chime in help me out?
TIA.
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Old 04-06-2019, 08:18 PM   #33
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Update: all my issues has been fixed!
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Old 04-14-2019, 03:01 PM   #34
RPW44
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Nice! Howd you fix your issues?
Ive read that the new Apple play in the 2019s is god awful (wanted to swap a 19 HU into my 18) but now Im back to looking at aftermarket. Only concern is integrating it because apparently the Harmon Kardon doesnt play nice w/ aftermarket.
*I had a 2015 wrx and putting a pioneer nex in there completely changed the car for the better. Did it all myself. This HK swap has me nervous though*

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Originally Posted by arempee26 View Post
Update: all my issues has been fixed!
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:13 AM   #35
SirBrass
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Originally Posted by RPW44 View Post
Nice! Howd you fix your issues?
Ive read that the new Apple play in the 2019s is god awful (wanted to swap a 19 HU into my 18) but now Im back to looking at aftermarket. Only concern is integrating it because apparently the Harmon Kardon doesnt play nice w/ aftermarket.
*I had a 2015 wrx and putting a pioneer nex in there completely changed the car for the better. Did it all myself. This HK swap has me nervous though*
Maestro RR will let an aftermarket unit play nice with the HK system.
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:40 AM   #36
arempee26
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Default STARLINK 7" w/ Navi + HK Headunit Upgrade

iDataLink RR will retain the HK audio and it's actually sounds so much better than the stock HU.
My issue was fixed by resetting the iDataLink RR through the Pioneer factory reset settings. I was about to give up and go back to stock
Now everything works like it's supposed to.
Also, I wanted to get the Sony XAV 210SXM but it doesn't have wireless Carplay. Having a wireless Carplay is really nice.
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:38 AM   #37
yudangorgor
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Originally Posted by SirBrass View Post
Maestro RR will let an aftermarket unit play nice with the HK system.
does it play nice with the 17-18 forester limited HK units?
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:49 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by yudangorgor View Post
does it play nice with the 17-18 forester limited HK units?
Unknown. Depends on if it has 2 CANBUS's or 1. The 2015-2017 WRXs can use the Maestro RR. 18+s require the RR2 which is still in development. I don't know if the 17 Forester falls into the former or the latter category.
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Old 05-11-2019, 03:10 AM   #39
arempee26
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Default STARLINK 7" w/ Navi + HK Headunit Upgrade

Just an update with my after market HU upgrades.

I now have the Kenwood Excelon DDX9906XR installed to my 2017 WRX Limited with the HK audio and with the iDatalink RR. This HU is so much better than the first two ones I had.
The only issue Im having right now is the Apple wireless CarPlay. I keep getting an error message on the screen that the speed sensor wire has to be connected to use Apple wireless CarPlay. I double- triple check my wirings and everything looks fine. It actually works when I plug in the lightning cable and unplug it. It works wirelessly fine. But then when I shut off the car and start it again, my iPhone doesnt connect to the HU wirelessly. It shows the warning error again on the HU. I have to plug in my iPhone every time I get it in the car, and if I unplug it, wireless CarPlay works fine. What am I missing here?
Pink VSS wire from Kenwood harness is connected to the pink VSS wire from the iDatalink harness. Any helps would be greatly appreciated. This wireless feature is driving me nuts! I never had this issue when I had the W4400. My iPhone connects to HU wireless no problem everytime I get in the car. TIA.

Last edited by arempee26; 05-11-2019 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:37 AM   #40
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@yudangorgor
I have a 17 XT with the HK and I installed a Pioneer W8400 with the Maestro RR/SU2 and everything worked out fine. I did have to cut a blue wire off the 6 pin as it was grounding out the radio. This was because of me hooking up the power antenna wire to the amp wire. That power antenna wire is located in two harnesses and the pioneer doesn't have a dedicated antenna wire.
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Old 08-21-2019, 05:08 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVXdc View Post
Subaru radically changed the h/k system in the newest models (2016-2018 WRX, STi, & Forester; 2017-2018 Impreza; 2018 Crosstrek; and 2015-2018 Legacy & Outback).

The old h/k HUs still had 4 powered (amplified) speaker outputs. The HU still performed all of the balance/fade and EQ adjustments on those 4 outputs. Those 4 outputs were fed into the h/k amp, and the amp generated 8 outputs (4 doors, 2 tweeters, and a dual-voicecoil sub). There was no other communication between the HU and amp. In those cars, it's possible to only replace the OEM HU with aftermarket and keep the h/k amp. In this case, people found that it's better to send the new HU's line level outputs to the h/k amp (instead of the HU's amplified speaker-level outputs to the h/k amp).

On the new h/k system, the new STARLINK-style HUs only provide 2 audio outputs, at a fixed volume! I'm guessing the HU's audio signals are line level (not amplified). The HU has several separate control lines that talk to the new style h/k amp. The amp handles all of the volume/balance/fade and EQ functions.

The communication between the OEM HU and new h/k amp is via proprietary signals. It's extremely unlikely anyone will develop a box that would allow you to integrate an aftermarket HU with the new h/k amp.

So if your car has the new-style h/k amp and you want to replace the OEM HU, you'll need to replace the h/k amp as well. Likewise, if you want to keep your OEM HU but add aftermarket amp(s), you'll have to keep your h/k amp and connect to the h/k amp's outputs.

If you're shopping for a new Subaru and know you're going to want to install an aftermarket head unit, it will be better to choose a model without the new h/k system.

Sorry in advance for the bump from hell but I cannot seem to find ANY info on this.

I have the h/k unit with starlink, looking to keep the stock H/U, send to a DSP, and run a full active system with 4ch amp for front woofer/tweeters, and mono amp for sub. I plan on using high-level inputs to the DSP.

It seems from my reading that the eq is applied at the HK processor, so the signal coming from the HU should be flat, or close enough that I can EQ it out, and that the bass rolloff at higher volumes comes from the HK unit. However, if I used the stock HU with high-level inputs to the DSP, would I be able to retain the volume controls from the stock HU? You said above that the stock unit is at a fixed volume, so would that mean that my my DSP sees the same volume from the HU regardless of the setting on the HU and I will need a volume controller from my DSP?

Thank you in advance
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:48 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by loneyboy View Post
Sorry in advance for the bump from hell but I cannot seem to find ANY info on this.

I have the h/k unit with starlink, looking to keep the stock H/U, send to a DSP, and run a full active system with 4ch amp for front woofer/tweeters, and mono amp for sub. I plan on using high-level inputs to the DSP.

It seems from my reading that the eq is applied at the HK processor, so the signal coming from the HU should be flat, or close enough that I can EQ it out, and that the bass rolloff at higher volumes comes from the HK unit. However, if I used the stock HU with high-level inputs to the DSP, would I be able to retain the volume controls from the stock HU? You said above that the stock unit is at a fixed volume, so would that mean that my my DSP sees the same volume from the HU regardless of the setting on the HU and I will need a volume controller from my DSP?

Thank you in advance
I spent 30 minutes on my iPhone typing a reply to this, and when I hit submit it made me login again and lost my entire post!

Until I have the time to redo my post please take a look at my previous posts about how we made this work with the 2017 factory head unit, by installing an audio control LC7i to take the output of the HK amp and feed it to a JL audio five channel app. Sorry, grrrr
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Old 08-23-2019, 03:48 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loneyboy View Post
Sorry in advance for the bump from hell but I cannot seem to find ANY info on this.

I have the h/k unit with starlink, looking to keep the stock H/U, send to a DSP, and run a full active system with 4ch amp for front woofer/tweeters, and mono amp for sub. I plan on using high-level inputs to the DSP.

It seems from my reading that the eq is applied at the HK processor, so the signal coming from the HU should be flat, or close enough that I can EQ it out, and that the bass rolloff at higher volumes comes from the HK unit. However, if I used the stock HU with high-level inputs to the DSP, would I be able to retain the volume controls from the stock HU? You said above that the stock unit is at a fixed volume, so would that mean that my my DSP sees the same volume from the HU regardless of the setting on the HU and I will need a volume controller from my DSP?

Thank you in advance
Back on my Mac now.

For 2 years I used my 2017 WRX 7" HK head unit with a JL Audio 5-channel amp and Focal speakers, thanks to an AudioControl LC7i unit that I placed under the driver's seat, with the JL Audio amp under the front passenger seat.

DO NOT TRY TO TAKE SIGNAL FROM THE HK HU - it sucked. We repaired the connection between the HU and HK amp in the trunk, and then cut and spliced the HK amp speaker outputs to re-direct them into the LC7i instead.

The LC7i has three pairs of hi-level inputs. The front tweeter and front woofer outputs from the HK amp went into 2 of the 3 inputs on the LC7i, where they are mixed together and sent out of one set of RCA outputs.

There is a separate gain pot for each of the LC7i 3 inputs, so I was able to adjust how much treble and bass level was mixed into the LC7i RCA line level output. It was a fast an easy way to adjust the treble/bass levels going into the front speakers.

The rear HK amp output went into the 3rd LC7i input, which also has it's own gain control to adjust it's level relative to the others, to help keep front and rear volumes balanced as well.

Then we sent 2 sets of front and rear RCA out line-level signals from the LC7i into the 5-channel JL audio amp inputs.

The JL Audio amp front speaker output went to a pair of Focal 165F speaker crossovers hidden under the dash, to drive the separate tweeter and woofer up front.

The JL Audio amp rear speaker out went to a pair of Focal 165AS coaxial for a while, which were later upgraded to another pair of 165F with the crossovers hidden in the B-pillar. We drilled holes a few inches above the rear woofer for the tweeters.

This way, the factory head unit and HK amp were still driving the 8" woofer in the back deck, while the JL audio amp was driving the front and rear speakers. But, since the JL Audio amp also had a subwoofer amp, I used it to drive a 10" woofer box in the trunk at the same time as the 8" on the HK amp.

The 10" woofer deep-bass blended well with the 8" mid-bass and upper-bass, once I flipped the phase on the 10" sub speaker wires. Otherwise the 10" seemed slightly out of sync with the rest of the system and gave me more bass hang (made the bass feel slow).

This was a major upgrade, although it improved even further when Maestro RR was available to allow a Pioneer 8400NEX while preserving the Subaru Starlink, steering wheel controls, backup camera, and OBDII features. The bass extension below 32-40Hz improved a lot, as did the speed and transparency of the sound, even without the 8" woofer getting a signal anymore.

The best feature of the Pioneer units is the auto-EQ which really does a fantastic job of filling in the gaps in frequency response of the speakers in the car, where the Focal 165F have a somewhat withdrawn midrange in the WRX (Focal 165FX in our Forester don't have this issue).

I did upgrade the single 10"subwoofer to dual 10" woofers later, but it wasn't absolutely necessary except for more felt impact. When we travel and need the trunk space, it's easy to swap the dual 10" for the single.

Someday, if I can find the right adapter plug, I can make an adapter-pigtail to connect the dual VC 8" sub in the back deck and try it out, in case I have no room for any subwoofer boxes in the trunk.
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:30 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by ImprezaRS dot com View Post
Back on my Mac now.

For 2 years I used my 2017 WRX 7" HK head unit with a JL Audio 5-channel amp and Focal speakers, thanks to an AudioControl LC7i unit that I placed under the driver's seat, with the JL Audio amp under the front passenger seat.

DO NOT TRY TO TAKE SIGNAL FROM THE HK HU - it sucked. We repaired the connection between the HU and HK amp in the trunk, and then cut and spliced the HK amp speaker outputs to re-direct them into the LC7i instead.

The LC7i has three pairs of hi-level inputs. The front tweeter and front woofer outputs from the HK amp went into 2 of the 3 inputs on the LC7i, where they are mixed together and sent out of one set of RCA outputs.

There is a separate gain pot for each of the LC7i 3 inputs, so I was able to adjust how much treble and bass level was mixed into the LC7i RCA line level output. It was a fast an easy way to adjust the treble/bass levels going into the front speakers.

The rear HK amp output went into the 3rd LC7i input, which also has it's own gain control to adjust it's level relative to the others, to help keep front and rear volumes balanced as well.

Then we sent 2 sets of front and rear RCA out line-level signals from the LC7i into the 5-channel JL audio amp inputs.

The JL Audio amp front speaker output went to a pair of Focal 165F speaker crossovers hidden under the dash, to drive the separate tweeter and woofer up front.

The JL Audio amp rear speaker out went to a pair of Focal 165AS coaxial for a while, which were later upgraded to another pair of 165F with the crossovers hidden in the B-pillar. We drilled holes a few inches above the rear woofer for the tweeters.

This way, the factory head unit and HK amp were still driving the 8" woofer in the back deck, while the JL audio amp was driving the front and rear speakers. But, since the JL Audio amp also had a subwoofer amp, I used it to drive a 10" woofer box in the trunk at the same time as the 8" on the HK amp.

The 10" woofer deep-bass blended well with the 8" mid-bass and upper-bass, once I flipped the phase on the 10" sub speaker wires. Otherwise the 10" seemed slightly out of sync with the rest of the system and gave me more bass hang (made the bass feel slow).

This was a major upgrade, although it improved even further when Maestro RR was available to allow a Pioneer 8400NEX while preserving the Subaru Starlink, steering wheel controls, backup camera, and OBDII features. The bass extension below 32-40Hz improved a lot, as did the speed and transparency of the sound, even without the 8" woofer getting a signal anymore.

The best feature of the Pioneer units is the auto-EQ which really does a fantastic job of filling in the gaps in frequency response of the speakers in the car, where the Focal 165F have a somewhat withdrawn midrange in the WRX (Focal 165FX in our Forester don't have this issue).

I did upgrade the single 10"subwoofer to dual 10" woofers later, but it wasn't absolutely necessary except for more felt impact. When we travel and need the trunk space, it's easy to swap the dual 10" for the single.

Someday, if I can find the right adapter plug, I can make an adapter-pigtail to connect the dual VC 8" sub in the back deck and try it out, in case I have no room for any subwoofer boxes in the trunk.
I really appreciate the well-thought-out response. So it seems as if for the time being I could go from HK amp to DSP, then to my 4 channel and Subwoofer amp. That would at least get me going towards my goals, and then in the future I could swap a CarPlay-functional head unit in there and just bypass the HK amp. Did you find that you still had the bass rolloff at high volumes with the HK amp, though? From what I've read, the adaptive crossover is created and controlled by it, and with fluctuating volume levels, the factory EQ would constantly be changing and be impossible to tune out. Maybe I'm confused there.

My setup will end up being fairly similar to yours. I'm going 4 channel to active focal 165fx, fully sealed and deadened front doors, no rear door speakers, no rear deck subwoofer. I'll have a sealed Type R 15 inch in the back running off of a JL slash 1000W amp. I'm not currently loving the stock HU integration but within my current budget, I'm working on prioritizing so I can get some better sound for the time being.
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Old 08-27-2019, 01:07 AM   #45
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I really appreciate the well-thought-out response. So it seems as if for the time being I could go from HK amp to DSP, then to my 4 channel and Subwoofer amp. That would at least get me going towards my goals, and then in the future I could swap a CarPlay-functional head unit in there and just bypass the HK amp. Did you find that you still had the bass rolloff at high volumes with the HK amp, though? From what I've read, the adaptive crossover is created and controlled by it, and with fluctuating volume levels, the factory EQ would constantly be changing and be impossible to tune out. Maybe I'm confused there.

My setup will end up being fairly similar to yours. I'm going 4 channel to active focal 165fx, fully sealed and deadened front doors, no rear door speakers, no rear deck subwoofer. I'll have a sealed Type R 15 inch in the back running off of a JL slash 1000W amp. I'm not currently loving the stock HU integration but within my current budget, I'm working on prioritizing so I can get some better sound for the time being.
Whether you use a DSP like the AudioControl DM-801 or their line level converter such as the LC7i, their unit will compensate for the stock HU bass roll off at higher volume settings on the head-unit if you set it that way.

With the LC7i you can choose where the roll-off frequency at which it will begin compensation (threshold), and the amount of compensation based on volume (level) - this way IF it only needs to boost bass below 100hz at HU volume settings past 70% of max volume, then that's what it will do after you spend some time fine tuning it.

Their DSP I believe is tuned by a computer and you'd want a spectrum analyzer with microphone to EQ everything just right, while the LC7i is tuned by two controls on the unit itself for choosing the turn-over point and the level of compensation and so it's easier to tune by ear without the spectrum analyzer.

The LC7i compensates both the front and rear door speakers by the same amount, but the stock HK HU and amp have much less bass going to the rear door of the WRX than it sends to the front. So the rear speakers may never put out as much bass because the HK HU and amp won't allow it. Therefore you could probably leave the stock rear door speakers in place for "fill" and they would be unharmed.

And with the LC7i you can have all of the front-hi/front-low/rear outputs of the HK amp going to the LC7i where the front-hi and front-low signals are merged into the "output 1" and the rear signal would come out of the "output 2" (6-channels in), but each of the 3 pairs of inputs will have it's own gain level control on the box.

You can leave the HK amps sub output alone, still going to the 8" deck subwoofer, so that when you need to make room in the trunk you'll still have the 8" woofer running when needed (just unplug the 8" speaker connector when you don't need it).

NOTE - I tuned mine so that if the stock HK head unit were to be accidentally turned to max volume (I don't recall but think it was 62/62 on volume) that it would not drive the amp loudly enough to blow the speakers or cause distortion and clipping. This required setting the EQ compensation called ACUBASS to fix the stock head unit and amp bass rolloff at high volume settings.

BUT you can avoid the stock HK HU from pulling back the bass at high volumes by turning up the gain on the amp or the LC7i (or DSP), high enough such that the amplifier achieves max volume before the stock HK HU volume level ever hits 40-50% of max volume setting. This way if you're not pushing the stock HU too loud then it's not going to pull the bass down, and you let the external DSP or LC7i and amp handle everything. This runs the risk of accidentally overdriving the DSP or external amp if you go past the halfway point on the head unit volume control, resulting in clipping or too much power going to the speakers.

ALSO - If you choose to lose the rear speakers as you said, you can use the 4-channel amp to separately bi-amp the front door woofers and dash tweeters actively (my JL Audio 5-channel amp will allow it to drive a pair of woofers and a pair of tweeter with the 4-channels (with hi pass and band pass filters built-in) and then drive a subwoofer separately. And, if you bi-amp the front speakers with your 4-channel amp, you could still drive the rear doors with the stock HK amp for "fill" (in the same way the stock head unit and amp can drive the 8" sub).

With the Forester XT we have a Rockford amp sending 360 watts to a pair of 12" subs, but I'm still using the built-in JL Audio 5th channel output with about half that power for my dual 10" in the WRX, and it's quite adequate (even with a single 10" it's very nice). Your 1000 watts into a 15" will be insane.

Lastly, I found in the WRX, since the bass wave length is so long, you will need the woofer to face the rear of the car. With the woofer facing forward the bass will suck.
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Old 09-03-2019, 05:27 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by ImprezaRS dot com View Post
Whether you use a DSP like the AudioControl DM-801 or their line level converter such as the LC7i, their unit will compensate for the stock HU bass roll off at higher volume settings on the head-unit if you set it that way.

With the LC7i you can choose where the roll-off frequency at which it will begin compensation (threshold), and the amount of compensation based on volume (level) - this way IF it only needs to boost bass below 100hz at HU volume settings past 70% of max volume, then that's what it will do after you spend some time fine tuning it.

Their DSP I believe is tuned by a computer and you'd want a spectrum analyzer with microphone to EQ everything just right, while the LC7i is tuned by two controls on the unit itself for choosing the turn-over point and the level of compensation and so it's easier to tune by ear without the spectrum analyzer.

The LC7i compensates both the front and rear door speakers by the same amount, but the stock HK HU and amp have much less bass going to the rear door of the WRX than it sends to the front. So the rear speakers may never put out as much bass because the HK HU and amp won't allow it. Therefore you could probably leave the stock rear door speakers in place for "fill" and they would be unharmed.

And with the LC7i you can have all of the front-hi/front-low/rear outputs of the HK amp going to the LC7i where the front-hi and front-low signals are merged into the "output 1" and the rear signal would come out of the "output 2" (6-channels in), but each of the 3 pairs of inputs will have it's own gain level control on the box.

You can leave the HK amps sub output alone, still going to the 8" deck subwoofer, so that when you need to make room in the trunk you'll still have the 8" woofer running when needed (just unplug the 8" speaker connector when you don't need it).

NOTE - I tuned mine so that if the stock HK head unit were to be accidentally turned to max volume (I don't recall but think it was 62/62 on volume) that it would not drive the amp loudly enough to blow the speakers or cause distortion and clipping. This required setting the EQ compensation called ACUBASS to fix the stock head unit and amp bass rolloff at high volume settings.

BUT you can avoid the stock HK HU from pulling back the bass at high volumes by turning up the gain on the amp or the LC7i (or DSP), high enough such that the amplifier achieves max volume before the stock HK HU volume level ever hits 40-50% of max volume setting. This way if you're not pushing the stock HU too loud then it's not going to pull the bass down, and you let the external DSP or LC7i and amp handle everything. This runs the risk of accidentally overdriving the DSP or external amp if you go past the halfway point on the head unit volume control, resulting in clipping or too much power going to the speakers.

ALSO - If you choose to lose the rear speakers as you said, you can use the 4-channel amp to separately bi-amp the front door woofers and dash tweeters actively (my JL Audio 5-channel amp will allow it to drive a pair of woofers and a pair of tweeter with the 4-channels (with hi pass and band pass filters built-in) and then drive a subwoofer separately. And, if you bi-amp the front speakers with your 4-channel amp, you could still drive the rear doors with the stock HK amp for "fill" (in the same way the stock head unit and amp can drive the 8" sub).

With the Forester XT we have a Rockford amp sending 360 watts to a pair of 12" subs, but I'm still using the built-in JL Audio 5th channel output with about half that power for my dual 10" in the WRX, and it's quite adequate (even with a single 10" it's very nice). Your 1000 watts into a 15" will be insane.

Lastly, I found in the WRX, since the bass wave length is so long, you will need the woofer to face the rear of the car. With the woofer facing forward the bass will suck.
Awesome info, I appreciate all of that. I think for now my plan will be to just accumulate the things I need for the build while leaving things stock as-is. I'll be running (eventually) a carplay-capable headunit to a helix dsp mini, to my 4ch active to Focal Flax, and my JL Slash to my Type R 15. I'll probably swap the box to a sealed and it will definitely face the back - I've always had more success that way. Front doors sealed and deadened and some harmonic hunting throughout the cabin should leave me pretty happy, but all of this is about $1500 away (head unit, dsp, focal flax, and deadening).

I could likely start with everything but the head unit but since I'm not confident with DSP's yet I feel like it's quite possible I'll be left without sound (or unacceptable sound) and be wishing I just had a clean signal from an aftermarket HU.

I do have some extra confidence that it is indeed possible from reading how you've done things but I feel that the difference of a simple head unit replacement and HK amp bypass would lead to a much simpler install and that's likely the route I'm going to take unless I get impatient in the meantime. I appreciate all the info you've been able to give and respect the amount of work you've had to put in to make it work. I thought my old car was complicated but 10 years of vehicle and technology progress apparently only gets more involved!
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Old 09-04-2019, 01:52 AM   #47
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Awesome info, I appreciate all of that. I think for now my plan will be to just accumulate the things I need for the build while leaving things stock as-is. I'll be running (eventually) a carplay-capable headunit to a helix dsp mini, to my 4ch active to Focal Flax, and my JL Slash to my Type R 15. I'll probably swap the box to a sealed and it will definitely face the back - I've always had more success that way. Front doors sealed and deadened and some harmonic hunting throughout the cabin should leave me pretty happy, but all of this is about $1500 away (head unit, dsp, focal flax, and deadening).

I could likely start with everything but the head unit but since I'm not confident with DSP's yet I feel like it's quite possible I'll be left without sound (or unacceptable sound) and be wishing I just had a clean signal from an aftermarket HU.

I do have some extra confidence that it is indeed possible from reading how you've done things but I feel that the difference of a simple head unit replacement and HK amp bypass would lead to a much simpler install and that's likely the route I'm going to take unless I get impatient in the meantime. I appreciate all the info you've been able to give and respect the amount of work you've had to put in to make it work. I thought my old car was complicated but 10 years of vehicle and technology progress apparently only gets more involved!
When you say Focal flax, I assume that would be the 165F or 165FX with flax drivers.

I have the 165F in the front and rear doors of my WRX, and 165FX in the front and rear doors of our Forrester XT. With the Pioneer 8200 and 8400NEX auto EQ the 165F sound as good as the FX to me, because the EQ fills in the mid range. But if youre not going to use auto EQ then I think I prefer the FX. The FX also seem to handle high volumes, when playing full range, better than the F.

If not for the maestro RR with the upgrades that allow it to work with Starlink, steering wheel controls, and built-in backup camera, I would still be using the stock head unit with the audio control LC7i.

But it definitely sounds better with the pioneer CarPlay head unit, and I get that last octave of deep bass that was missing with the stock head unit and HK amp feeding into the LC7i and JL audio amplifier.

Good luck.
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:32 PM   #48
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I'm about to do the same thing on my '17. Your comments have been super helpful. I have the SU2 harness and notice the maestro instructions say this:

"Connect the BROWN Starlink wire to PINK or WHITE/BLUE
(pin 8) of the 8 pin connector behind the OEM Radio."

I haven't pulled out my HU yet, but the connector I see in the photos on the starlink unit looks like more than 8 pins. Also did you just splice into that wire and solder brown wire to the pink, white / blue?

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Originally Posted by arempee26 View Post
iDataLink RR will retain the HK audio and it's actually sounds so much better than the stock HU.
My issue was fixed by resetting the iDataLink RR through the Pioneer factory reset settings. I was about to give up and go back to stock
Now everything works like it's supposed to.
Also, I wanted to get the Sony XAV 210SXM but it doesn't have wireless Carplay. Having a wireless Carplay is really nice.
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Old 04-23-2020, 10:02 PM   #49
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Unknown. Depends on if it has 2 CANBUS's or 1. The 2015-2017 WRXs can use the Maestro RR. 18+s require the RR2 which is still in development. I don't know if the 17 Forester falls into the former or the latter category.
When I use the tool on iDatalink's website, it tells me that for my '18 STI Limited w/ HK, I need the Maestro SW.
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Old Yesterday, 09:13 AM   #50
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The install isn't super difficult but it can be complicated if you don't have a lot of experience. I decided to mount the Amp under my passenger seat and I did tap into the speaker wires coming out of the H/K amp and utilized the current stock speakers. I think they sound fine and I don't see a real need to upgrade them (unless you really want thumping bass, more later on this).

I bought a 4 gauge amp wiring kit from the internet and then I also purchased a set of RCA cables (I got one that had 6 connections, or 3 sets of simple RCA cables). You will need at least five RCA connectors (2 for the front speakers, 2 for the rear speakers, and 1 for the sub). I ended up using a simple y adapter to make my 1 sub output from the radio go to both sub inputs on the amp. I also bought a ton of speaker wire because I ran all the speaker wire from the new amp to the trunk where my H/K amp is. Here is the basic overview of how ran everything.

http://i.imgur.com/JWs8niZ.png

I ran the amp power wire from the battery up to the back of my firewall in the engine bay and then down to a rubber grommet on the passenger side of the engine bay:

http://i.imgur.com/xlCRe2j.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/1vvADFs.jpg

I used some 3M "strip caulk" to "seal" the hole that I had to make in the rubber grommet. There are other methods for routing the power cable but this seemed to be the safest and cleanest from my perspective. There are several tutorials for this online.

As for the amp placement, As mentioned before I put mine under the passenger seat:

http://i.imgur.com/eTFcTvu.jpg

I had to modify (and then close off) the heater vents under the seat so it wouldn't blow hot air on the amp. I found that the carpet is super rigid here so I didn't actually screw the amp down to the underbody of the car but you might consider this if you do any offroading or have rough roads in your area (I might screw mine down later). I grounded the Amp to a ground point that I found under the seat, any clean metal spots would work though as long as it is close to the amp (the closer the better).

Then I ran all of the output speaker wire from the new amp to the trunk where my H/K amp was. I didn't have a diagram of the speaker wiring so I used the 9 volt battery method to test the twisted pairs of wires coming out of the H/K amp. If the speaker pops out then you have the polarity correct (positive to positive), if it pops in then you have it reversed. Here are the wire colors that I found in my car, but they may be different for you (I would suggest testing at least one set using the method noted above to verify that your wiring is the same as mine):

http://i.imgur.com/gC14eBB.png

These wires were in two different harnesses and I didn't grab the pin locations but I can if you need them.

Here is a high level diagram of how I made the connections:

http://i.imgur.com/hQYfnTK.png

The diagram above doesn't show that I tapped into the H/K wiring but it does show what channel on my amp went to what speaker and how I divided 5 channels among 7 speakers. I also added high pass filters to the tweeters in the front dash. The dash speakers are about 3 inches so I just found a HPF online that was designed for 3 inch speakers and installed it inline with the positive speaker wire when I connected to it in the trunk. Also, the sub in my car was a dual coil sub so I wired it in parallel. I have the gain pretty low since it is only an 8 inch sub. It will clip pretty hard if you push the gain up on it. If you are looking for significantly more bass then a new subwoofer would probably be a good investment.

I used to do this for a living so I was pretty comfortable with the steps involved and it took me most of a day to complete. I would budget several days just to be safe if you aren't real familiar with the process. If you have any further questions feel free to ask.
This writeup is great, but did you bypass the HK amp or do you use the outputs from the amp to feed the aftermarket amp?
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