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Old 11-09-2020, 12:13 PM   #1
RealBACONATOR2
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Default 2011 Impreza Suggested Audio Upgrade?

So I have a 2011 impreza outback sport with the 6-speaker audio system and it kind of sounds like a cheap bluetooth speaker. Definitely sub-par. My question is really, is the audio bottlenecked by the head unit, or the speakers, or both?


It would be much easier for me to pick up aftermarket speakers and retain the stock head unit, and I'd prefer that path if it would yield an audio quality improvement (not just bass, more like overall depth of sound? not an audio expert).



Is this viable? If so, what speakers do people have good experience with?



Or is the system completely bottlenecked by the head unit, so you'd start with a new head unit.
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Old 11-10-2020, 09:27 AM   #2
bicycle_wreck
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Head unit would be the first step if you're only going to upgrade one thing at a time.

Your stock speakers are woefully underpowered, and a good aftermarket head unit will give you more headroom, even on the stock speakers. They will definitely sound better with more power.

Look for a head unit that has at least 15--20 Watts RMS output on the speaker level and has 4 volt preamp outputs (RCA) for adding an amplifier and subwoofer later on.

You can get a double-DIN dash trim piece straight from Subaru to make it look factory. Subaru part No. 66065SC130. If you already have the navigation head unit, you might not need this, IIRC.

https://www.oemsubarupart.com/oem-pa...nel-66065sc130

The base head unit chassis in the Impreza/WRX/STi of this era is actually double DIN, but the front fascia is wider, so all the stock brackets will bolt right up to a new, standard DIN head unit. Get yourself a plug and play harness from David at AE64.com, and it's a bolt-in affair.

http://ae64.com/20-pin-pinout.htm

If you have steering wheel controls, you can pick up something like the Metra ASWC. They also make an adapter for the USB in your center console (if you have one). That way you can keep your iPod or USB drive in the center console as normal.

https://axxessinterfaces.com/product...ort&TrimOption[]=w%2Fo%20NAV

Last edited by bicycle_wreck; 11-10-2020 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 11-10-2020, 05:24 PM   #3
609blk15wrx
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Default 2011 Impreza Suggested Audio Upgrade?

I would definitely start with the head unit. Along with added power youíll also get more EQ adjustability to help your stock speakers shine.

I recently replaced the entire system in my WRX (which was equally crappy) for around $1,500. And that includes a Sony Car Play head unit, Focal speakers all around and a JL Sub and amp setup. Iíd consider it a budget build but you can definitely do it for less and it completely transformed my car. By no means an audiophile system but I can hear my music over the road noise now haha.
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Old 11-10-2020, 11:41 PM   #4
thatgarrett
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Get something that is double DIN with CarPlay (Sony XAV-AX is cheap and good power and looks stock) and donít look back. Not 100% sure on this, but the adapter going to factory USB port might not work with CarPlay, so look into that before getting that adapter. Youíll also need to run a new Bluetooth mic (and will need to with any stereo) but can pretty easily run it to the factory location and keep it all looking 100% stock, I have the same overhead console and the aftermarket mic will clip right on it no problem
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Old 11-11-2020, 12:28 AM   #5
RealBACONATOR2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicycle_wreck View Post
Head unit would be the first step if you're only going to upgrade one thing at a time.

Your stock speakers are woefully underpowered, and a good aftermarket head unit will give you more headroom, even on the stock speakers. They will definitely sound better with more power.

Look for a head unit that has at least 15--20 Watts RMS output on the speaker level and has 4 volt preamp outputs (RCA) for adding an amplifier and subwoofer later on.

You can get a double-DIN dash trim piece straight from Subaru to make it look factory. Subaru part No. 66065SC130. If you already have the navigation head unit, you might not need this, IIRC.

https://www.oemsubarupart.com/oem-pa...nel-66065sc130

The base head unit chassis in the Impreza/WRX/STi of this era is actually double DIN, but the front fascia is wider, so all the stock brackets will bolt right up to a new, standard DIN head unit. Get yourself a plug and play harness from David at AE64.com, and it's a bolt-in affair.

http://ae64.com/20-pin-pinout.htm

If you have steering wheel controls, you can pick up something like the Metra ASWC. They also make an adapter for the USB in your center console (if you have one). That way you can keep your iPod or USB drive in the center console as normal.

https://axxessinterfaces.com/product...ort&TrimOption[]=w%2Fo%20NAV

Thanks for the detailed reply. While replacing the door speakers is something I think I could do myself, the head unit stuff seems pretty intense. What's a normal amount of money to pay a shop to put a new head unit in?
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Old 11-11-2020, 10:23 AM   #6
bicycle_wreck
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Probably $50--$75, depending on how many modules (e.g., steering wheel control) you ask them to install.

Honestly, if you are comfortable pulling the door panels off and replacing the speakers, then the head unit is on that level.

The only part that requires special tools or supplies is the harness. You'll need a crimper and butt connectors (red, 22 AWG).

https://www.amazon.com/Titan-Tools-1...5104291&sr=8-5

https://www.amazon.com/Glarks-Electr...%2C193&sr=8-23

You basically connect the vehicle harness (from AE64) to the head unit harness (which is included in any new head unit you buy). You can hook these up on your bench/table. Then it just plugs into the car's harness.

The trim around the radio itself is actually easier to remove than the door panel, especially if you have any scratch-free trim tools. The upper corners of the trim piece are easy to get under with your fingernail. The whole thing just pops right off. I can do it bare handed, but your mileage may vary. DO NOT USE a screwdriver, or you'll damage the dash.

https://www.amazon.com/GLISTON-Remov...5104440&sr=8-5

Keep in mind all the tools above can be found locally at a Harbor Freight if you're willing to mingle with the pandemic horde.
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Old 11-11-2020, 07:41 PM   #7
RealBACONATOR2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicycle_wreck View Post
Probably $50--$75, depending on how many modules (e.g., steering wheel control) you ask them to install.

Honestly, if you are comfortable pulling the door panels off and replacing the speakers, then the head unit is on that level.

The only part that requires special tools or supplies is the harness. You'll need a crimper and butt connectors (red, 22 AWG).

https://www.amazon.com/Titan-Tools-1...5104291&sr=8-5

https://www.amazon.com/Glarks-Electr...%2C193&sr=8-23

You basically connect the vehicle harness (from AE64) to the head unit harness (which is included in any new head unit you buy). You can hook these up on your bench/table. Then it just plugs into the car's harness.

The trim around the radio itself is actually easier to remove than the door panel, especially if you have any scratch-free trim tools. The upper corners of the trim piece are easy to get under with your fingernail. The whole thing just pops right off. I can do it bare handed, but your mileage may vary. DO NOT USE a screwdriver, or you'll damage the dash.

https://www.amazon.com/GLISTON-Remov...5104440&sr=8-5

Keep in mind all the tools above can be found locally at a Harbor Freight if you're willing to mingle with the pandemic horde.

Wow, thanks. Ok I'll give it a go! Thanks man.
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Old 12-04-2020, 12:10 PM   #8
RealBACONATOR2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicycle_wreck View Post
Head unit would be the first step if you're only going to upgrade one thing at a time.

Your stock speakers are woefully underpowered, and a good aftermarket head unit will give you more headroom, even on the stock speakers. They will definitely sound better with more power.

Look for a head unit that has at least 15--20 Watts RMS output on the speaker level and has 4 volt preamp outputs (RCA) for adding an amplifier and subwoofer later on.

You can get a double-DIN dash trim piece straight from Subaru to make it look factory. Subaru part No. 66065SC130. If you already have the navigation head unit, you might not need this, IIRC.

https://www.oemsubarupart.com/oem-pa...nel-66065sc130

The base head unit chassis in the Impreza/WRX/STi of this era is actually double DIN, but the front fascia is wider, so all the stock brackets will bolt right up to a new, standard DIN head unit. Get yourself a plug and play harness from David at AE64.com, and it's a bolt-in affair.

http://ae64.com/20-pin-pinout.htm

If you have steering wheel controls, you can pick up something like the Metra ASWC. They also make an adapter for the USB in your center console (if you have one). That way you can keep your iPod or USB drive in the center console as normal.

https://axxessinterfaces.com/product...ort&TrimOption[]=w%2Fo%20NAV

BTW that particular part supplier won't ship you the double-din dash piece without VIN verification, and shipped me the normal oversized trim piece instead! What people...
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Old 12-10-2020, 12:42 PM   #9
RealBACONATOR2
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Hey everyone i just wanted to thank you for all the help! i went with a kenwood dpx794bh and it's a night-and-day difference in audio quality. It actually sounds great! And the bluetooth autoconnects now which is wayyyyy better.

Sadly there are no non-touchscreen head units for sale today with rear aux inputs, so I did have to lose the factory aux jack in the console. But kept factory USB so at least there's that.

And thanks especially to ae68.com with their excellent wiring diagrams.

https://i.imgur.com/UI24Hrc.jpg

Last edited by RealBACONATOR2; 12-10-2020 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 12-15-2020, 01:03 PM   #10
Uebeenne
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I'm in the process of upgrading the system in my 2017 WRX, thus far:

$500 for a head unit

$225 for average speakers, front and back.

$100 for a Subwoofer

$250 for a 5 channel amplifier.

$100 for misc installation hardware.

I often play on the quatro casino mobile after reading the review on the http://mobilecasino-ca.com/quatro-casino and now I can spend more money to upgrade my car.

Last edited by Uebeenne; 12-29-2020 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 01-24-2021, 09:50 PM   #11
Ironweed
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For those looking to do head unit upgrades for more power to their speakers and end up wanting more power but don't want to go full blown amplifier and thicker gauge wiring, I'd like to suggest a cheaper and pretty decent solution by going with an inline amplifier. They piggyback off the yellow power wire that your radio harness uses.

A popular one is the Alpine KTP-445U:
https://www.crutchfield.com/S-Q7UdRP...ower-Pack.html

There are other brands that supply a similar amount of power - I wouldn't go higher than these if you're going with the stock radio harness wire (I think it's a 16 gauge power wire). Any more power, you'll want to run a dedicated thicker gauge of wire from your battery with a fuse within the first foot of the wiring.
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Old 01-24-2021, 09:56 PM   #12
Ironweed
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Oh, and if you keep going down the rabbit hole as I did, you can fit some pretty good sized 6.5" subs in the rear doors as filler. I did and I'm totally satisfied. CDT Audio makes some pretty good ones for the price, but you'll definitely want to power them, they aren't very efficient.

I've done the whole big enclosure with dual 10" subs, but it's not practical for me. I like having the option of folding down my seats and having hatch space for storage and whatever else I might want to throw back there.
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Old 02-22-2021, 05:23 AM   #13
jeffambo
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Get a pioneer head unit, I just switched from a Sony ax-1000 to a pioneer 1400nex and it has so many more car audio options, like auto EQ, crossover slope adjustments, time alignment, more EQ bands, and all for about the same price, the Sony was pathetic in terms of audio features, but the knob was nice and the interface was more intuitive
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