('14+) Kicker Speaker Upgrade - recommended - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Kicker Speaker Upgrade - recommended

If you have the Limited or below, I would highly recommend the Kicker/Subaru Speaker upgrade, usually available on eBay for leass than $300. They are direct bolt-in, with no adapters required.

Please Note: You do NOT have to fully disconnect the door panel if you have a friend available to hold it aside while you swap the speaker in each door. A short or stubby #2 phillips will facilitate things.

2 Caveats: The connector and wire on the Right Rear Speaker needs to be re-routed around to the left side, instead of the right side, as shipped, using the built-in clips, in order for the speaker wire to reach. The Rear Speakers have a molded in "Front" marking, so they must be the Fronts on another model.
Also, the lower screws on the rear speakers can pinch the wires -- route them out of the way.

Very rewarding -- not the best piano I have heard in a car, but Trisha Yearwood sounds awesome. Finally the radio is worthy of my high bitrate iPod source.

Clyde Washburn
2014Ltd, 2010P, 2006X, +5 previous
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 06:49 PM
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Does this apply for non touring models?
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 08:42 PM
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Yes. I did the upgrade in my Premium. I also swapped the head unit. I upgraded all 6 speakers for around 300.00. As for difficultly, on a scale of 1-10, this was a 3 in my book.

I'm very happy with the sound improvement. It still lacks that lower end punch so I'm adding a sub under the driver seat. Subaru was nice enough to leave 2 unused studs in the floor under the driver seat. My brother is fabricating me up a metal bracket tomorrow. The bracket should allow the sub/amp to clear the plastic vents that direct air towards the rear foot wells. I went with the below sub. I like the stuff Focal makes so hoping it was worth it.

Focal Integration IBus 20 Compact 75-watt powered 8" subwoofer at Crutchfield.com

2014 Forester Premium
2013 XV Crosstrek Premium
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-14-2013, 08:35 PM
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My observation is the best thing to upgrade is the head unit. I installed Polk DB651s in all doors and polk db tweeters in the dash and even though they were better than stock they still didnt sound great. As soon as I replaced the headunit with my parrot asteroid smart they came alive, even still no door speakers will give you good low bass so I have two 10s in the trunk. Very happy with the stereo now. I would assume that you would get better sound from the stock speakers with an aftermarket head unit than the stock head unit with kicker speakers.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-15-2013, 01:18 PM
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The stock speakers are garbage. They have tiny magnets, thin paper cones and "whizzer" tweeters. I think Joe and I have disagreed on this one before

In my opinion, replacement speakers will make the single biggest difference in sound. Yes, replacing the factory HU will also provide benefit. The ideal approach is to replace the speakers, HU and add a sub/amp but if you can only do one upgrade, I'd do speakers before anything else. Here are some pictures of the stock speakers.

In my view, the factory speakers are the weakest link in the 14 Forester audio chain. Many times people will think the HU makes a bigger difference simply because it typically will have more power than the stock HU. It may be louder, but not better in my opinion.




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Last edited by Mike02z; 07-15-2013 at 01:23 PM.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-15-2013, 02:54 PM
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Yeah im only guessing with my opinion since even my polk dbs didnt sound very good with the stock hu, I have no idea what the stock speakers sound like with an aftermarket hu since I replaced all the speakers prior to the hu so you may be right.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-15-2013, 03:01 PM
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There's no substitute for a quality speaker. The Kicker's may not be the best out there, but they're not half-bad and they are pre-configured for Subie's 3-hole mounting system. If I had opted for the Limited or below I'd have upgraded all 6 speakers with the Kickers, too.

Congrats :)

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-15-2013, 03:12 PM
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Look up the hidden audio menu thread on NASIOC to turn off the jut factory EQ settings.

04 FXT
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-15-2013, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irongrave View Post
Look up the hidden audio menu thread on NASIOC to turn off the jut factory EQ settings.
Yes, but worshiping "flat" for its own sake is wrong in a dimensional space -- THROUGH MODE excites LF resonances which WAGON dampens -- I'm sticking with WAGON (radio off, press 1 +3 + TUNE until WAGON shown in the display).

The curves shown explain the boominess around 250 Hz when using flat (THROUGH MODE), whereas the WAGON (or SEDAN) modes provide a 6dB dip there, then roll off the rears below 250 Hz, which makes sense -- they are smaller, and boosts the bass at 75Hz by about 3db to make up for the lack of help from the rears. Sound to me like they got it right -- and it sounds right, which is the proof of the pudding.

Clyde Washburn
2014Ltd, 2010P, 2006X, +5 previous

Last edited by k2ue; 07-15-2013 at 04:25 PM.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-15-2013, 04:35 PM
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Both our 5door Impreza and the demo 14 forester I had for a few days had Loudness on and set to sedan. The best is to set it to your liking and accessing the menu lets you change the setting to fit your ears and music VS just leaving it in the factory setting.

04 FXT
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-15-2013, 05:37 PM
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Patrick made me adapters and I picked up the polks. Cant wait to put them in...

I really don't want to replace the head unit so I hope it sounds like I expected. ..
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-15-2013, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by k2ue View Post
Yes, but worshiping "flat" for its own sake is wrong in a dimensional space -- THROUGH MODE excites LF resonances which WAGON dampens -- I'm sticking with WAGON (radio off, press 1 +3 + TUNE until WAGON shown in the display).

The curves shown explain the boominess around 250 Hz when using flat (THROUGH MODE), whereas the WAGON (or SEDAN) modes provide a 6dB dip there, then roll off the rears below 250 Hz, which makes sense -- they are smaller, and boosts the bass at 75Hz by about 3db to make up for the lack of help from the rears. Sound to me like they got it right -- and it sounds right, which is the proof of the pudding.
I spent some time today in the car with a spectrum analyzer and a pink noise CD, and did NOT find a peak at 250Hz in the THROUGH MODE with the Kicker speakers, so the SEDAN/WAGON curves must have been intended for a resonance in the stock speaker.

I have the "B" radio, and it appears nothing turns off the loudness compensation -- any other key combinations to try?

Clyde Washburn
2014Ltd, 2010P, 2006X, +5 previous
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-19-2013, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k2ue View Post
I spent some time today in the car with a spectrum analyzer and a pink noise CD, and did NOT find a peak at 250Hz in the THROUGH MODE with the Kicker speakers, so the SEDAN/WAGON curves must have been intended for a resonance in the stock speaker.

I have the "B" radio, and it appears nothing turns off the loudness compensation -- any other key combinations to try?
I just changed these settings on mine.

To modify the "Loudness" feature on the "CF625UM" head unit:

1.) Turn key to "ACC" and make sure the head unit is ON.
2.) Press "1" + "6" + "TUNE" buttons together at the same time

Hopefully that helps. When I 1st tried to play with these, I kept trying to alter loudness w/ the H.U. OFF, as the hidden EQ settings only change when the H.U. is turned OFF. Kinda dumb that one is only accessible when its OFF and the other is only accessible when it is ON.
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2013, 12:52 PM
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Anyone know what speakers come with the Touring trim (i.e., the H-K audio)? I know the HU is much more powerful, but are the speakers just the Kickers? I'm debating between a Premium with the Kicker & tweeter upgrades vs. a Touring (and paying about $2k more and getting a bunch of features I don't care about). I don't need an audiophile quality system in my car but need to be able to turn it up on occasion and not be irritated by the sound.
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2013, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by pmcrock View Post
Anyone know what speakers come with the Touring trim (i.e., the H-K audio)? I know the HU is much more powerful, but are the speakers just the Kickers? I'm debating between a Premium with the Kicker & tweeter upgrades vs. a Touring (and paying about $2k more and getting a bunch of features I don't care about). I don't need an audiophile quality system in my car but need to be able to turn it up on occasion and not be irritated by the sound.
Believe HK makes JBL & Infinity speakers, not Kickers.
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