Need opinion on speaker upgrade in 2015 2.5i Premium - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Need opinion on speaker upgrade in 2015 2.5i Premium

I have a 2015 2.5i Premium with the 6 speaker setup. I am looking to upgrade the stock sound system and want some opinions.

I will not be replacing the stock head unit and will be adding a powered 8" sub under the seat.

For the door speakers I am debating two options. Option 1 is just getting the Subaru Kicker upgraded door speakers and dash tweeters. Depending on how they sounded I would maybe clip the wires in the front door tweeters so I'm not running 4 tweeters up front. This option might also include adding an Alpine KTP-445u amp if I decided it needed more power.

Option 2 is getting the front door spacers from the member here (would have to search to see whicy member makes them), getting the Alpine amp and bridging it to run 90W to the front speakers, and installing the set of Focal Polyglass 165 VRs that I already have.

Option 2 is less expensive but more work. My dilemma is I'm not sure if the stock head unit and that Alpine amp will do justice to the Focals. If the sound quality from the Focals is not going to be much better than the Kickers I think I would rather sell the Vocals and get the drop in Kickers.

Thoughts?


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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 06:40 PM
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The kickers are the easier (and cheaper) option, and if they don't cut it for you they're easily sold in the members classified section. That's the route I would use first...

IMO, I wouldn't do Focals without dropping the money for a decent signal source for the amp.. Most would be hard pressed to hear the difference in speakers without a quality source unit...

If you use the search bar at the top of the desktop view page, type in "speaker upgrade" and you'll find many threads on the subject for researching...

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 07:22 PM
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I have no opinion about the speaker upgrade, but have you re-set the head unit to turn off the loudness compensation and apply a different EQ pre-set? This thread will tell you how:

Hidden (Stereo) Menus?

I'm not saying it turns the stock unit into premium sound, but it can sound much better than it does, and before you upgrade it's worth knowing what you're actually working with.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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@FishingFoz , thanks for the welcome. I already have the Focals as I pulled them from my last car before I sold it so the Kicker upgrade is the more expensive upgrade for me. My biggest concern is the stock head unit being a major limiter even with an external amp. I've had processors, big amps, multiple subs, and fully sound deadened vehicles in the past and don't want to go that route with this vehicle. I'll continue to search the forum.
@rdclark , thanks for the link. I turned off loudness and sound restorer since they are readily visible options but I didn't know about the hidden menu EQ options. I'll check them out.


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 08:46 PM
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@phenryiv1 is the member who sells the spacers.

Can I ask why you don't want a new head unit? You'll have much better control over the sound, you may not even need an extra amp, and you can get one that looks pretty close to stock.

Also, do you have a specific question? It sounds like you have two options and you just need to weigh the pros and cons of each. One is easier, but more expensive. One is slightly more involved, but cheaper.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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I'm trying to keep the vehicle relatively simple and close to stock. I already know if I change the head unit I'll end up sound deadening the entire car, probably upgrade the head unit every couple of years, and overall just put a lot more time and money into the sound system than I want to. I'm in the process of remodeling my entire house and would rather out my time and money into that.

I just want to increase the clarity and fill in the lows and mids without spending a lot of money buying equipment or time tuning it. I'm thinking the Focals and the small Alpine amp are the way to go since I can get the amp, the mounting adapters, and the sub for less than $400.


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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xJoeMama78 View Post
@FishingFoz , thanks for the welcome. I already have the Focals as I pulled them from my last car before I sold it so the Kicker upgrade is the more expensive upgrade for me. My biggest concern is the stock head unit being a major limiter even with an external amp. I've had processors, big amps, multiple subs, and fully sound deadened vehicles in the past and don't want to go that route with this vehicle. I'll continue to search the forum.
You're quite welcome. I caught after the fact you already owned the Focals, however it could be done cheaper (assuming you would end up amping the Focals) by trying the Kickers, if you like them , sell the Focals. Its about 250ish shipped for the speakers online. I'm guessing you can easily get 150 for the component set. If it works out that way for you, you're in it for about 100. The nicest thing about the Kickers is they are plug and play.

Otherwise, the spacers are here: Pricing & Shipping | Subaru Audio A full set would run 63.

I gotta say, I guess I would be just as tempted to try the Focals on the stock unit, you're not going to get out everything they can do out of them, but anything is an improvement from the paper wonders installed from the factory. That route you're primed for later upgrade, if you feel the need.

I totally understand not wanting to mess with the stock unit much, I used to 14 years back now mind you, compete in IASCA Pro 301-600 SQ for KCG ( referred to as Team Kicker now). At that time I lived car audio what seemed like 7 days a week... Now I'd rather pick up a new fly rod then replacement speakers. Funny what a few years and a few kids will do to ones priorities!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 07:29 AM
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I pulled Alpine spx-17's from my other vehicle and the Alpine amp as well .
It was an upgrade, but, it wasn't until I put in a Pioneer 4000nex HU and did the auto eq that I was happy.
The head unit and speakers have the most effect on the sound. the amp just kicks it up a notch.

FYI I just cut the old speakers out of their mount and installed the speakers in their place. They fit just great. just be careful with the utility knife
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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I finally got around to installing the audio equipment yesterday. I put RAAMmat on the outer and inner front door skins and Ensolite on the inner door skins and a small piece directly behind the speaker mount on the outer door skins. The RAAMmat was easy to apply. Much easier than I remember this type of material being in the past. I have a lot of RAAMmat and Ensolite left over and will probably do the rear lift gate.

I used the spacers that phenryiv1 sells to mount the Focal woofers. They fit perfectly and I highly recommend them to anyone looking to mount a non-factory speaker in the front door. I also used his adapters to mount the Focal tweeters in the dash. I don't have the flush mount cups anymore so I made brackets out of some scrap metal and attached them with hot glue.

SVXdc provided me with a harness so that I would not need to cut into any factory wiring. It worked well. The extra long speaker wires and the extra leads for the constant, switched, and ground were helpful. I'd recommend his products for anyone trying to integrate items into the factory head unit or looking to upgrade the head unit.

An Alpine KTP-445u bridged to 90Wx2 powers the front stage. It fits nicely behind the lower pocket. Hopefully it stays cool enough to not go into protection mode, but I probably won't know until this summer. I didn't want to cut off the female RCA connectors off the Alpine harness in case I sell it later, so I simply added male RCA connectors to the front speaker wire leads from the SVXdc harness.

The low end is handled by a Sound Ordnance B-8PT mounted under the driver's seat. I used the high level inputs but the auto sensing turn-on didn't work so I ended up running a wire from the switched lead on the harness to the remote turn on. I mounted the level control knob in front of the lower pocket where I think the X-mode buttons are on the XTs. I wasn't expecting a lot from the sub but was still quite disappointed after tuning the system. There was almost no felt or heard bass. I was ready to pull it out and return it when I realized I had the level control knob at the minimum setting while I was tuning it. Once I retuned it the quality was much improved. It's not fantastic but it's good enough for me especially considering the small size and price.

Overall the install went well and was fairly easy. The hardest part was fishing speaker wire from the doors to the cab. I am very satisfied with the results. While the factory head unit sound quality is not great, it is really not terrible. At higher levels it distorts pretty badly but at lower levels it is fine. With the amp I don't need to turn it up very high. I used to listen to it at volume level 30 with the windows down, now it is just as loud if not louder at volume level 10. The clarity is greatly increased and I can hear details that were simply not audible with the factory setup. I can crank it up to uncomfortable volume levels now, though the sub cannot keep up past volume level 20 or so without becoming really boomy.

In total I spent $510 and a few hours of my time for the entire setup (not including the Focals). If I had added a new head unit I would have easily doubled my cost. I recommend trying it this way first if you already have some decent equipment laying around. You can always swap head units later if you're not satisfied with the results.

Thanks everyone for the advice and the links to the spacers.

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