6-speaker audio system vs Harman Kardon system - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-17-2013, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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6-speaker audio system vs Harman Kardon system

I am interested in the new 2014 forester xt. For those who are experienced in the subaru stock audio system, what can I expect from a Harman Kardon system comparing to a 6-speaker audio system. Thanks.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2013, 07:18 AM
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It should be a big improvement. Only time will tell, when someone who upgrades to the 2014 chimes in.

2010 Forester Touring/Newport blue/4eat ss
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2013, 07:27 AM
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If the stock system is like past years, then HUGE improvement from Stock to Harmon Kardon!

However, if you are wiling, you can upgrade to a harmon kardon level system for much cheaper than what the dealer charges
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2013, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joew View Post
I am interested in the new 2014 forester xt. For those who are experienced in the subaru stock audio system, what can I expect from a Harman Kardon system comparing to a 6-speaker audio system. Thanks.
My 2006 XT came with a 5 speaker system. It sounded a lot better than the 4 speaker "standard" system in use about this era. Subaru actually does use better door speakers, etc.

Can it be improved? Will the H-K system be better? Probably yes, on both questions, but the overall improvement may not be that great. Your chances of significant improvement would be much better if you were starting from the "base" or standard audio system (which basically sucks).
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-19-2013, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Do you mean from aftermarket?


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Originally Posted by Loscaldazar View Post
If the stock system is like past years, then HUGE improvement from Stock to Harmon Kardon!

However, if you are wiling, you can upgrade to a harmon kardon level system for much cheaper than what the dealer charges
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2013, 11:23 AM
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The '14 Forester Harmon Kardon system's far better than earlier Forester systems. Drivers perspective: bass's quite deep without being thumpy or johnny 1-note-ish. Good sound spatial positioning. Mid high end has a dip and a resonance or two, but there's extreme highs available. Gets plenty loud before bass response gets muddy and cabin/door plastics resonate. Equalizer's easy to set up. Not quite a Lexus's Mark Levinston system but worth money unless you demand in-car RAVE experience (for that, best to go custom).
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 12:46 PM
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I'm a newbie who just got a 2014 2.0 XT. My last Subie was the 1971 FF1-G and I'm glad I have one again. I love everything about the XT, but its sometimes challenging figuring out the nav, acoustics and other electronic controls. I am flat out stumped on the optimum settings for the Harmon Kardon equalizer which comes with flat defaults for all EQ profiles. For god sakes, even cell phones come with preset equalizer settings for rock, jazz, news, etc. but not the Forester. I have seen posts recommending a "smile" across the frequency settings, and others saying a 'frown" is the way to go. Has anyone figured out equalizer settings for various types of music yet? Thanks for your help.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 01:02 PM
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On topic:

The HK system is a massive improvement over the stock system as is the nav unit over the stock head unit. (the nav unit is outdated by competitive standards but is still better)

With regard to your question, azlaneguy:

I find that a gentle upward slope works well. I like to emphasize the mids, raise the highs a bit more, and lower the bass slightly. It varies by the music genre, too.

2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Touring (Jasmine Green)
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-13-2013, 03:04 PM
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Thanks, Staryoshi. I'll try your suggestion.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-13-2013, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joew View Post
I am interested in the new 2014 forester xt. For those who are experienced in the subaru stock audio system, what can I expect from a Harman Kardon system comparing to a 6-speaker audio system. Thanks.
Let me just stand up for the 6 speaker base system. 1) it's knobs and buttons, much better/safer for driving than touching a screen, esp. one with tiny buttons. 2) the base system is miles better than previous base systems. They're not comparable. Default settings were a bit too bassy for me, but that can be adjusted. There are probably hidden eq settings (typically are on clarion hus), but I haven't found any. But in most ways, using default settings I find the stock hu plenty loud and decent quality. Mind you it helps that cabin noise is so much improved in the SJ.

In the 2010, I couldn't wait to swap out HUs, but this one is staying. The system as a whole (speakers & hu) are better than the replacement (pioneer) HU with stock speakers in my 2010. Not as much amplification as the pioneer, but enough that i'm never wanting for volume (so far)

2014 forester ltd
prev: 2010 Foz Prem w/AWP
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2014, 12:02 AM
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I'm having the same issues with my HK the sound seems like its coming from the front windshield. The setting are in the shape of a smile. Maybe I think I need to mess with it more. Any ideas would be helpful.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2014, 09:15 AM
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Moving the sound towards the rear of the car a bit can help with the beaming from the windshield.

If the EQ is set up like a happy face, then the head unit is accentuating low and high frequencies over midrange. The tweeters are located at the base of the windshield, so...

I'd try flattening the EQ completely, turn off any other sound processing, and go from there, making small adjustments as you go. Season to taste.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 06:22 AM
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The best setting is the shape of a frown - with the peak being the bar next to the end bar. (So, weighted toward the higher end - the unit has a good bit of bass).
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 06:29 AM
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I found that moving it one or two clicks towards the rear of the vehicle made a huge difference in sound quality.

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