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Old 10-02-2016, 10:20 PM   #1
tsouzee
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Default Alpine Power Pack.... not the right thing to do?

So I've been debating on installing an amp to the base 7" HU in my 2017 WRX. Many have said its the best bank for your buck in terms of getting more sound out of the stock system. I've never done anything like this before so I started researching.

I read in a few places that simply amplifying an already amplified signal will not give good results. It will simply make everything louder, but not in a good way. Then there were statements made that line out converters are necessary to clean the signal?

Is there any truth to this? Is throwing an inline amp not the best way to go about this? Can anyone who is really familiar with how these things work chime in?

Thanks.
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Old 10-03-2016, 07:18 AM   #2
bobditts
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the best way? no it isnt. But it is good bang for your buck. It absolutely is better than the stock setup.
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Old 10-03-2016, 08:09 AM   #3
2017wrx
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Building a system is like building a house. Start with a good foundation, HEADUNIT, that will tie everything together. Then add your subs/tweeters/amps.

When you look at a 100 dollar alpine pack vs a 400-500 headunit. I can agree it looks good to go power pack. But realistically, your still doing the same amount of work ripping your dash apart and a year down the road your going to have a useless 100 dollar inline amp.
good luck
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Old 10-03-2016, 09:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsouzee View Post

I read in a few places that simply amplifying an already amplified signal will not give good results. It will simply make everything louder, but not in a good way. Then there were statements made that line out converters are necessary to clean the signal?
TO answer the first part of your question...It depends

If the speakers are being fed enough wattage to begin with then yes, amplifying that signal will do you know good. That is not the case with the 7" limited HU. The speakers are seriously underdriven with the stock output but it is a nice clean signal.

I have an Alpine Power pack in my WRX and in my 2011 Camaro SS. In the Camaro it made it sound like louder crap. However, I was stunned at how well it works on the WRX. Does it sound as nice as doing full separates with an independent amp, HU, and a Sub. No. But for the price of the PP and making a break out harness I am more then contented with my setup. I also added a Rockford 12" powered sub, but it didn't really need it.

Seriously though for the money it can't be beat. Plus you keep your OEM headunit which has some nice integration IMO.
I also live in my car. I have done 11000 miles in my 3 months of ownership. I am in sales and listen to the radio while driving all day long. The Alpine PP really wakes up th 7" HU.

Check out this thread on this head unit and you will find others who have been equally happy with simply adding this small amp. (it also fits nicely behind stock head unit)

Last edited by Eli; 10-03-2016 at 09:12 AM. Reason: link to thread
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Old 10-03-2016, 11:04 AM   #5
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I have the 7" HU in my 2016 Crosstrek Limited. I switched out the front door speakers for Polk db651s. The sound is much clearer. I now hear Paul pronounce the "T" in "listen to what the man said"

I used these speakers.
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_107DB65...51.html?tp=105

I used these spacers.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/6-6-5-6-1-2-...3D391528059062

You can always add an amplifier after doing speakers.
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Old 10-03-2016, 11:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsouzee View Post
So I've been debating on installing an amp to the base 7" HU in my 2017 WRX. Many have said its the best bank for your buck in terms of getting more sound out of the stock system. I've never done anything like this before so I started researching.

I read in a few places that simply amplifying an already amplified signal will not give good results. It will simply make everything louder, but not in a good way. Then there were statements made that line out converters are necessary to clean the signal?

Is there any truth to this? Is throwing an inline amp not the best way to go about this? Can anyone who is really familiar with how these things work chime in?

Thanks.
Your answer depends on where you want to go.

If you are unhappy with the sound and specifically the output level and quality, then a power pack and 4 $50 6.5" speakers will make a world of a difference.

If you are a sound fanatic and need subs, components, more eq, etc then start with a headunit.

The 16 & 17 radio features and looks are decent but it has zero output power, so I for one would go powerpack. I don't need a flashy headunit that does all these things I won't use. My last two wrx's I did powerpack, pioneer 65wRMS 6.5s and a little bit of sound deadening in the doors. Car sounded 100% better and I could listen to it with the windows down.
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Old 10-03-2016, 11:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRAZYHAWK View Post
I have the 7" HU in my 2016 Crosstrek Limited. I switched out the front door speakers for Polk db651s. The sound is much clearer. I now hear Paul pronounce the "T" in "listen to what the man said"

I used these speakers.
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_107DB65...51.html?tp=105

I used these spacers.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/6-6-5-6-1-2-...3D391528059062

You can always add an amplifier after doing speakers.
MECP installer here, used to install car audio back when it was huge in the late 90s-early 2000s. Alot of people do upgrades like you did and the placebo effect takes over. While speakers alone may be a tiny bit better, the real problem with the Subaru head unit is output. Good speakers that handle 75wRMS and only sending them like 7wRMS doesn't get you better sound. Power is the number one problem with the Subaru head units. If they added a factory power-pack like unit to the car, even the cheap oem speakers wouldn't be so bad.
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Old 10-03-2016, 12:46 PM   #8
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If you are happy with the functionality of your stock HU and looking to improve the sound quality, the best 'bang for your buck' IMO is the OEM Audio Plus system. Sure it isn't 'cheap' but you definitely get what you pay for. They really have made lemonade out of lemons. Swapping your HU will give you better than stock quality sound, but unless you're intentions are to eventually build and swap out every component of the stock system, you'd probably be happier with the OEM Audio product. IMO dollar for dollar, it is a better investment if better SQ is your goal. Good luck!
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Old 10-03-2016, 01:27 PM   #9
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I wouldn't call it a "placebo effect". We hear volume logarithmically. 10 times the power adds 10 db.
If after changing the front speakers, you feel you need more power, add a power pack. You can also add an amplified sub for more bass.

http://www.industrialnoisecontrol.co...e-examples.htm

I put an AC voltmeter across my 8 ohm home speakers, with the volume at an uncomfortable high level. It read 2 volts. That's 1/2 watts per speaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsn112 View Post
MECP installer here, used to install car audio back when it was huge in the late 90s-early 2000s. Alot of people do upgrades like you did and the placebo effect takes over. While speakers alone may be a tiny bit better, the real problem with the Subaru head unit is output. Good speakers that handle 75wRMS and only sending them like 7wRMS doesn't get you better sound. Power is the number one problem with the Subaru head units. If they added a factory power-pack like unit to the car, even the cheap oem speakers wouldn't be so bad.

Last edited by CRAZYHAWK; 10-03-2016 at 01:45 PM. Reason: added home speaker measurement
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Old 10-07-2016, 03:28 AM   #10
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It's a great little amp. I installed one in my 11 WRX paired with Alpine Type S speakers. When I my speakers off my Pioneer headunit they sounded terrible. After amping them up they sound so much better. I was going to originally install a large 4 channel amp but the overall simplicity and price of the Power Pack install is what led me to make my decision.

I made a video of the install as well. Check it out if you're interested in the amp.
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Old 10-09-2016, 04:55 PM   #11
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No real loss in fidelity adding the ktp. Like others have said, the 7" HU outputs a clean signal. It's probably because the signal is so weak that it takes so well to amplification. No need for LOCs or anything else. The only thing you will want eventually is a better tweeter, the stock one rolls off like crazy.

Install the KTP and run a realtime frequency analyzer and adjust your stock EQ to make it as flat as possible. You will clearly see the limits of the stock tweeter doing this but you will achieve very nice sound in the process.
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Old 10-09-2016, 06:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by industrial View Post
Install the KTP and run a realtime frequency analyzer and adjust your stock EQ to make it as flat as possible. You will clearly see the limits of the stock tweeter doing this but you will achieve very nice sound in the process.
listening to music with a flat EQ is horrible. You want to achieve an EQ curve that fits your personal taste. Setting the EQ to a flat line is a great base. tweak from there and achieve the desired curve. This will be extremely limited with the stock EQ, but it better than nothing. This video should help some.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Rs2ZghGXEc
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Old 10-09-2016, 10:44 PM   #13
tsouzee
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Thank you everyone for your feedback and responses. This will most likely be my next mod. I have never installed an amp before but I'm sure if I research enough I'll find the way.
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Old 10-13-2016, 02:59 PM   #14
industrial
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Originally Posted by bobditts View Post
listening to music with a flat EQ is horrible. You want to achieve an EQ curve that fits your personal taste. Setting the EQ to a flat line is a great base. tweak from there and achieve the desired curve. This will be extremely limited with the stock EQ, but it better than nothing. This video should help some.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Rs2ZghGXEc
By running flat I don't mean adjusting your car EQ to flat...

Have you run a real time frequency analysis on the WRX? With stock speakers or my alpine comps, it wasn't even close to flat. There were so many adjustments that needed to be made. After I made the adjustments to read flat, the system sounded much better. Then I bumped up the bass and midrange to give it the warm sound I prefer. It was easy as hell compared to shooting in the dark by trying to tune the car to just sound "right" listening to songs and making adjustments That leads to some songs not sounding right while others sound great because tuning your car without a true flat baseline is ridiculous. After tuning my car, which took all of 30 minutes, I haven't touched my EQ since. It's been months now. No bass knob needed.
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Old 10-13-2016, 06:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsouzee View Post
So I've been debating on installing an amp to the base 7" HU in my 2017 WRX. Many have said its the best bank for your buck in terms of getting more sound out of the stock system. I've never done anything like this before so I started researching.

I read in a few places that simply amplifying an already amplified signal will not give good results. It will simply make everything louder, but not in a good way. Then there were statements made that line out converters are necessary to clean the signal?

Is there any truth to this? Is throwing an inline amp not the best way to go about this? Can anyone who is really familiar with how these things work chime in?

Thanks.
Amplifying the high level signal is a pretty bad idea, you really need a dedicated amp connected to your HU via rca cables (low level signal). If you have a decent aftermarket HU, all the rest kinda makes no sense.
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Old 10-16-2016, 01:19 AM   #16
tsouzee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TOLM View Post
Amplifying the high level signal is a pretty bad idea, you really need a dedicated amp connected to your HU via rca cables (low level signal). If you have a decent aftermarket HU, all the rest kinda makes no sense.
So I'm guessing the power pack is not linked to the HU via RCA's?
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Old 10-17-2016, 08:59 AM   #17
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No, you get a speaker breakout harness that lets you tap into them.
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