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Old 06-10-2016, 11:09 PM   #1
Wilfwrx
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Default 7" Headunit on the 2017 stock WRX limited

The limited WRX comes with the 7" headunit from the factory without the HK upgrade. I've recently purchased the 2017 WRX and I love everything about it except the stock sound system. I've been doing a little research but couldn't seem to find an answer to this since the 2017s are still pretty new, but does anyone know whether with the 7" headunit and speakers I can simply add an aftermarket AMP to give it some extra power to get some better sound out of them? I read that the headunits are under powered and was hoping that could be a cost effective way to resolve it, or maybe even upgrading the speakers. I really love the way the 7" display looks and works with my phone so I'd like to keep the functionality from it while upgrading the sound without breaking the bank.
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Old 06-10-2016, 11:43 PM   #2
BuckiWRX
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It should be possible, although the Starlink DCM may complicate things a bit. Just have to take one for the team or wait until someone else does and posts their build here

I wouldn't recommend upgrading speakers before either replacing the HU or adding an amp. The problem is (mostly) the source, not the speakers
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Old 06-11-2016, 12:34 AM   #3
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Default ditto

I'm in exactly the same state, picked up my 2017 limited wednesday 6/8/16

I've been researching a lot.

I took my car into an audio shop wednesday, same day I picked it up. I'm not super into sound, but it was such a step down from my old car (2002 mostly stock system). A few things since then.

First off, if you just got it, it WILL burn in and get better. There are some other points. Are you listening to the rather cool siriusxm stations? their sound sucks. Pop in a cd, even try the bluetooth audio, which is a rather dismal source, it's still much better than siriusxm.

I'm not as hating the system after listening to cd's all day today, but I'm still going to upgrade it.

SO. I've had some tips. Thus far I'm thinking an amp, subwoofer and speakers, in that order if not at once.

I also got an interesting recommendation for jbl ms-8, very interesting sound processor that, well, is worth a look up even though it's discontinued, if you wish.

Anyway. Biggest thing I've heard is the HU (head unit) is underpowered even for the stock speakers, leaving everything a lot flat. Also, front staging is most important, so speakerwise, replace the doors (6.5", probably need a spacer to make aftermarkets fit in same spot) and the tweeters (left and right corners of the dash, 1" i think).

Ampwise, tons of options, but you can stuff an amp under any of the seats, run it to the speakers. If you want to do it incrementally, amp first, have an installer do it I'm thinking. Speakers, especially once they're rewired into the amp, should be simple to do yourself.

The sub. There are a few custom enclosures to hold a sub in the back corner and look smooth. It'll require it's own amp. Adding bass will really fill out the deeper parts of the sound (but I bet you know what a sub is lol)

SO. long book short. My current plan is to buy an amp and sub, installed. Decent quality, probably $700 or so. Then a pair of component speakers (include the tweeter, so replacing both) for 2-300.

So, a grand. Good amp (alpine?), good sub (no idea), good speakers (even focus's, which are apparently awesome, run 249 on amazon with tweeters). Then install. Under 1200

That's what I'm currently thinking at least. But the immediacy is down a bit now that the stock system burned in and I'm using a CD.

Not sure your level, so if I'm being too basic or something apologies, I don't know you. If you want to discuss further, PM me. I'd like to know anything you figure out as well. Including corrections, i'm an amateur at car audio!

--Alex
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Old 06-11-2016, 12:38 AM   #4
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Default also

Oh, there's also a way to replace the headunit with a doubleDIN unit using a device that will retain your steering wheel controls and another device that allows the reverse cam.

you can even get touchscreen units with better gps and nav and interfaces (the pioneer is popular)

Just an option. I'm keeping the stock HU myself, at least until I feel some extra money
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Old 06-11-2016, 12:45 AM   #5
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I have a 2016, but im betting the 2017 has the same $#!++y guts as the 16 in it.

Take it from somebody who went the assbackwards route.

you should upgrade:
1)head unit
2)amp
3)sub(s)
4)speakers

I put speakers in first, and it actually sounded WORSE. then added amp, and it sounded very slightly better than stock. still waiting on my subs until sunday, then hopefully will finally add the bass that has always been nonexistant.
head unit just isnt in the funds for me atm...

Last edited by Gfoke; 06-11-2016 at 03:24 AM.
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Old 06-11-2016, 01:07 AM   #6
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^^^ Exactly! I would spend money on the HU first, then a sub and depending on how loud you need it to be, an amp and speakers.

It's amazing how good and decently loud even a stock speaker + factory Kicker sub setup can sound with an aftermarket HU and simple X-over, Time Alignment and EQ settings. I suspect most folks would be perfectly happy with that setup
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Old 06-11-2016, 03:31 AM   #7
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The '17 unit is different on the WRX Limited and STI Base (option on Premium). It sucks far less than the '15 and '16 units. There's a thread showing a swap from the standard '16 unit to the Non-Nav FujitsuTen unit in the Forester, which I believe is the same unit we have in the '17s.

The 10+6 pin interface has power and speaker outputs. I'm thinking that you could easily get a breakout harness from svxdc and then add a small amp like an Alpine powerpack, and swap out the speakers.

IMO, the '17 Limited unit is much better than the '16 and '15 units, both in performance and sound quality. It's still not as good as swapping out the HU to a CarPlay unit, but personally I think i'll hold off for now as the '17 unit is decent, not laggy and works well. A Powerpack amp should only run you $100-150 plus the harness, and then whatever you were planning on spending on speakers.

A CarPlay upgrade will run ~500ish for the HU, plus the trim, plus the harnesses plus the iDataLink unit. So $650ish at least, and you'll lose Starlink Connect.

On my '15 I upgraded to a Pioneer NEX unit, and it was well worth it, since the stock Clarion '15 unit was AWFUL. The '17 unit is much better. I'm probably going to go the PowerPack + Speakers route and see where things land.

There's an EQ on this '17 unit. I'm sure aftermarket is better (I know it is) but it's not going to look as good. On the '17 unit, I believe the camera outputs have moved to a new 5-pin plug that autoharness house sells, everything else should be straightforward on the 10+6pin toyota harness having power + speakers, and then everything else on the 28-pin (or is 20pin) bigger harness. Starlink Connect has it's own harness I believe, as nobody's converted that yet. If/when iDataLink supports this, i'd consider making the jump.
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Old 06-11-2016, 03:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gfoke View Post
I have a 2016, but im betting the 2017 has the same $#!++y guts as the 16 in it.

Take it from somebody who went the assbackwards route.

you should upgrade:
1)head unit
2)amp
3)sub(s)
4)speakers

I put speakers in first, and it actually sounded WORSE. then added amp, and it sounded very slightly better than stock. still waiting on my subs until sunday, then hopefully will finally add the bass that has always been nonexistant.
head unit just isnt in the funds for me atm...
Nope, the '15 and '16 units were made by Clarion I believe. The 7" '17 unit is made by FujitsuTen. It's basically the HK unit with out the extra speakers and amps.
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Old 06-11-2016, 03:35 AM   #9
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Do the tweeters in the dash. I did that on '15 and it was a big difference. Don't do speakers as they'll want more power and will likely sound crappier on the stock HU. Either upgrade the HU, or put in an amp/powerpack for clean power, then speakers.

If you don't mind losing StarlinkConnect, replacing the trim, and figuring out the new wiring changes, then swap out the HU with something that has CarPlay or AndroidAuto. You might even be able to live with the stock speakers at that point.
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Old 06-13-2016, 11:04 AM   #10
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This makes me sad.... I was considering upgrading to the 7" in my '16 WRX with hopes that would fulfill my needs to hear my music clearly with the windows down. I really don't want to mess with the hassle of installing a new HU, amp, and wiring... Guess it is back to the drawing board.
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Old 06-13-2016, 11:39 AM   #11
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IMO I think the 7" unit is great. Not as good as aftermarket but better than what we've had so far. I had the crummy Clarion unit that came stock on the '15s and got rid of that ASAP. I think I can definitely live with the 7" unit. Those who are saying it's terrible probably haven't heard the 6.2" or the 2015 unit.
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:00 PM   #12
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If you want to keep the original head unit, you might consider the oem+ system. Basically it plugs in between your factory head unit and harness and runs the signal through their dsp amp and sub system. It uses the stock door speakers (which really aren't the weak link IMO) and provides new dash tweeters. Total Plug and play. It took me roughly two hours to install mine. It is a bit pricey, but it transformed my stock base '15 system into something pretty special....especially when Bluetooth streaming good quality music. Super clear and good bass. I've been thrilled with it. If i had the new starlink in my car (making it harder and more expensive to add a new hu), I would totally go this route again. Highly recommend. If it did magic with this super crappy '15 hu I have, I can't imagine how good it would be with the newer stock starlink hu since it is apparently better.

http://oemaudioplus.com/subaru/wrxsti/
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:30 PM   #13
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While the interface is vastly improved over both the 2015 Clarion and Starlink 6.2" units, the gripe about audio quality is valid. It sounds just as bad as the previous stock head units, but it will likely be a bigger pain to upgrade than previous years because of the Starlink Telematics module integration
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:31 PM   #14
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I have done full systems in the past and my bar wasn't set terribly high for the 17' wrx but it is a bit of a let down. The stock brz system blows it away. My 14' forester premium with kicker front speakers/tweeters blows it away. I don't know how terrible the 15-16's were but this new system is still pretty weak.

That said, I've messed with the EQ a bit and it actually sounds okay now but anytime I switch cars I notice the disparity. Seriously, the crappy forester system which looks like the same HU as the 15' wrx and every other base model Subaru of that time sounds much better than this new system on a 32k car. Pretty sad. I really like the head unit itself. Nice screen and snappy response to inputs. Starlink is pretty worthless imo. Wish it had CarPlay instead.

I'm debating OEM+ or just doing my own thing with a alpine ktp445 and small sub setup. I'll probably take it in stages. Gonna deaden the doors first, then amp and see from there.
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Old 06-13-2016, 01:03 PM   #15
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OEM+ is a nice option but very pricey. For that much cash one could go full CarPlay/Android Auto + amp + sub.

I think we'd lose telematics, but otherwise the install would be just like a '16 except for the 5-pin harness that now has the backup camera. I'll probably try an Alpine PowerPack + speakers, and if that isn't good enough then swap out the HU.
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by industrial View Post
I have done full systems in the past and my bar wasn't set terribly high for the 17' wrx but it is a bit of a let down. The stock brz system blows it away. My 14' forester premium with kicker front speakers/tweeters blows it away. I don't know how terrible the 15-16's were but this new system is still pretty weak.

That said, I've messed with the EQ a bit and it actually sounds okay now but anytime I switch cars I notice the disparity. Seriously, the crappy forester system which looks like the same HU as the 15' wrx and every other base model Subaru of that time sounds much better than this new system on a 32k car. Pretty sad. I really like the head unit itself. Nice screen and snappy response to inputs. Starlink is pretty worthless imo. Wish it had CarPlay instead.

I'm debating OEM+ or just doing my own thing with a alpine ktp445 and small sub setup. I'll probably take it in stages. Gonna deaden the doors first, then amp and see from there.
not sure what year brz you are comparing it to, but my 2013 brz limited with nav stereo was far crappier sound quality and volume wise compared to my 2016 base wrx. the 7" hk starlink in my 2015 legacy limited obviously blows them both away. both in sound and functionality. no lag or connectivity issues.
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Old 06-13-2016, 05:50 PM   #17
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I wish someone would offer to do something like this for the Starlink radios, bypassing the weak onboard amp:

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Subaru+...+Out+Mod/17985
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Old 06-13-2016, 07:25 PM   #18
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Alpine power pack will make it sound much better and costs under $120.
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Old 06-13-2016, 07:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2oiroc View Post
not sure what year brz you are comparing it to, but my 2013 brz limited with nav stereo was far crappier sound quality and volume wise compared to my 2016 base wrx. the 7" hk starlink in my 2015 legacy limited obviously blows them both away. both in sound and functionality. no lag or connectivity issues.
I had the same car. 2013 brz limited. The stock stereo sounded awesome compared to the one on my 2017 wrx limited. The brz was much louder, had better imaging (the tweeter in the wrx is absolute trash), and much better range. The brz actually had an amp and a decent 3 way front stage. Toyota parts bin FTW. The Subaru head unit was of course terrible to use. In the brz all I had to do was deaden the doors, set the EQ, and it was great.

I'm not even sure how you could say the base wrx system with maybe 5w rms can even come close to the ~50w rms system in the brz. I'm looked to get back to that level of power with a ktp445. It's not even close.
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Old 06-13-2016, 07:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by industrial View Post
I had the same car. 2013 brz limited. The stock stereo sounded awesome compared to the one on my 2017 wrx limited. The brz was much louder, had better imaging (the tweeter in the wrx is absolute trash), and much better range. The brz actually had an amp and a decent 3 way front stage. Toyota parts bin FTW. The Subaru head unit was of course terrible to use. In the brz all I had to do was deaden the doors, set the EQ, and it was great.

I'm not even sure how you could say the base wrx system with maybe 5w rms can even come close to the ~50w rms system in the brz. I'm looked to get back to that level of power with a ktp445. It's not even close.
give it some time to break in. mine distorted really bad at low volume for the first few weeks. its much better now that the speakers have loosened up. still not good, but somewhat tolerable.
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:10 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2oiroc View Post
give it some time to break in. mine distorted really bad at low volume for the first few weeks. its much better now that the speakers have loosened up. still not good, but somewhat tolerable.
How long have you had your car? I've had mine a week and I'm pretty sure I'm one of the first few to get actual delivery on the 17's. I do agree the system is breaking in but I drove my forester for the first time in a week today and I was shocked at how much better/louder that system sounded. I don't know what kind of magic is in those kicker 6x9s but they are pretty nice.
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:25 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by industrial View Post
How long have you had your car? I've had mine a week and I'm pretty sure I'm one of the first few to get actual delivery on the 17's. I do agree the system is breaking in but I drove my forester for the first time in a week today and I was shocked at how much better/louder that system sounded. I don't know what kind of magic is in those kicker 6x9s but they are pretty nice.
mine is a late 2016 that ive had for 2 months.
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Old 06-19-2016, 04:18 PM   #23
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i just picked up 17 wrx base, the sound system is HORRIBLE!

in for info. im assuming the headunit is the weak point after reading some threads. so i'll wait to see what the best process is. also, wtf no bass at all!

btw - my daily is usually an audi a4. this is now my daily, my 06 evo in my garage completely stock radio system sounds better then this!!!
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Old 06-19-2016, 05:46 PM   #24
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^^^ If you have a base or premium, you have the same 6.2" Starlink HU as the 2016s. Check out the 2016 Aftermarket HU Install thread for info on how to replace the head unit.

This thread is for the new for 2017, WRX Limited only 7" Starlink Multimedia Plus HU
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Old 06-21-2016, 11:14 AM   #25
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Has anyone pulled their headunit yet? I'm not finding too much info for the "FV672UM" model. I'm adding a ktp445/mrv500 and trying to build a breakout harness. Haven't heard anything from svx and I'm assuming he is waiting for more info too.
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