Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
2003 Forester
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Okay, since audio upgrades seem to be big around here I thought I would post up what I have done to my set up. I got my 03 Forester XS in October. It had the stock audio system (CD changer w/ door tweeters) and I admit I wasn't very impressed. Here is what I have come up with so far (see attached pictures):

JVC KW-NT1 head unit
Alpine MRP-F450 4 channel amplifier
Focal 165 A1 component speaker set
JL Audio CS110RG-W1v2 enclosed subwoofer
Visteon HD Zoom HD Radio

I chose the head unit because navigation, MP3 playback via mass storage device, double DIN detachable face, and Bluetooth were all must-haves for me. The unit is definitely no frills, but what it does it does well. Routes are calculated quickly, so far accurately, the voice is clear, and it even prepares you to get in the correct lane. The head unit loads up quick and I haven't experienced any glitchy behavior so far (e.g. freezing). Even though JVC doesn't list the unit as SDHC compliant, it works fine with a 16GB SD card loaded with music. Bluetooth, A/V input, and DVD playback all work great although the latter feature I won't be using much (just make sure to ground the parking brake wire). Next Summer I will install a back up camera. The amplifier, located under the passenger seat, supplies 70W RMS per channel to the Focal speakers. I am very pleased with the speakers so far. It took a long time to decide on a set, but these were chosen because of good build quality, they were efficient enough to work with my amplifier, the tweeters were small enough to fit in the stock location, and I was able to audition them before buying. I bought a pair of speaker spacers from sea-scooby. Using these, installation was very easy and seems to be the only way to obtain a proper fit. The tweeters replaced the stock pair and are held in place with heavy duty 3M double-sided tape. That turned out to be a perfect fit; far easier than I expected. I did not do anything to the rear door speakers. They are connected to the head unit, but the internal amplifier is turned off. I don't think adding rear channels will do much to improve the sound quality of my set up. I have not done any sound proofing. Having done that to a couple of vehicles in the past, I know it can be a big, time consuming project. I would rather wait until next Summer when it's warm to tackle it. I bridged the other two channels of the amplifer to supply the 10" JL Audio subwoofer with 200W RMS. I originally bought one of those small self powered subwoofers (Boss) to fit under the passenger seat. I admit the output level for such a small device was more than I expected, but I just wasn't satisfied with the sound quality. I went with a wedge shaped enclosure that is located right behind the rear seats. Not only does it take up a minimal amount of room, but I can easily remove it by yanking out two banana plugs. It is kept in place by the cargo net. The HD radio rounds out the set up. The Visteon unit works great and even the analog tuner seems sensitive enough to lock in stations that are normally very difficult to get. That all said I am not terribly impressed with HD Radio but seeing it offers additional programming (one of my favorite local stations became HD only), I am not going to complain. I keep the display/controller "Velcroed" to the center console. I might decide on a different location later, but right now I can conveniently stash it between the seats when parked and passengers seem to like being able to grab it so they can start flipping stations. :mad:

Overall, I am quite happy with this set up. I wanted to upgrade the audio, but I did not want to alter the interior of my vehicle drastically. The doors look stock. I can can easily regain all of the cargo room with the enclosed subwoofer. Everything can be hidden away so it doesn't attract too much unwanted attention. I must admit the resources of this forum have been invaluable. Everything from obtaining the speaker spacers, learning the radio antenna was amplified, to figuring out how to remove the door panels came from here. Thanks everyone. :biggrin:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2005 Forester X
Joined
·
225 Posts
Looks good. Your doors are so clean! My MY05 was filthy when I popped the trim panels off...previous owner must have lived on a dirt road or something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
Very nice!

I like the JVC KW-NT1. I wish more companies had detachable faces on their double din units.

I would get some lower watt sensitive speakers to run off HU in the rear for rear fill. I'm putting a set of Boston Acoustics S65 coaxials in my rear doors and running off HU. The S65 is rated 35 watts rms and has a sensitivity of 92 dB. BA makes the same speaker in 5.25" which would work for your rears (S55). I have a component set in front and sub running off of amp like you.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Very nice!

I like the JVC KW-NT1. I wish more companies had detachable faces on their double din units.

I would get some lower watt sensitive speakers to run off HU in the rear for rear fill. I'm putting a set of Boston Acoustics S65 coaxials in my rear doors and running off HU. The S65 is rated 35 watts rms and has a sensitivity of 92 dB. BA makes the same speaker in 5.25" which would work for your rears (S55). I have a component set in front and sub running off of amp like you.
I prefer to use only the front speakers when I am in the vehicle. I thought about replacing the rears for when I have rear passengers, but really I don't think it's necessary. However, I have to admit just having those lousy speakers in the rear doors just bothers me. I was thinking of replacing them with Polk DB501 speakers to see if I like having rear fills. They shouldn't require any cutting and should run off the head unit just fine. I don't know if baffles are needed, but I know who to contact if I need them. I am just worried about the tweeters; it might be a tight fit. I know this is a long shot, but has anybody installed these?
 

·
Registered
2006 subaru forester 2.5
Joined
·
83 Posts
did u use heat gun to get the stock tweeters off?
how big are the new tweeters?

i like how you didn't splice into stock speaker wiring and used adapter to reach crossover :)
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
did u use heat gun to get the stock tweeters off?
how big are the new tweeters?

i like how you didn't splice into stock speaker wiring and used adapter to reach crossover :)
Ha, I used a pocket knife to remove the tweeters. I used one of the flat tools to gently pry up the tweeter. I also flexed the plastic mount a little bit to weaken the bond. Eventually it gave and I managed to leave very few pry marks on the plastic. I believe the Focal TN44 tweeters are about an inch. I can tell you it was by luck they fit. Any larger and I would have had to modify something. I tried the 1" tweeters from a set of Polk DB6501 components and those were too large to fit without some sort of modification.

I always try to use adapter plugs to connect speakers to any of my car's factory wiring. I figured factory wiring was good enough for my modest setup (70W RMS). I used 16 ga wiring, not because I had to but because I had so much laying around.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Just a final follow up to what I posted prior. First, I decided to relocate the HD radio's control/display. It was annoying having it velcroed to the bezel around the shift knob. One person actually pulled the whole bezel off trying to grab ahold of the control (velcro is very strong). That said, I ripped off 2.5x_sleeper's idea of locating it on a Subtle Solutions ashtray bezel. I didn't want to spend the $$$, but it's well worth having a permanent location to mount the control. I decided to paint the bezel to match the interior trim, which proved more challenging than I thought. :icon_mad: I think applying a clear coat made the bezel too glossy in the end (which makes the paint color look lighter in the photo due to the way the flash reflects off of it), but it's good enough. I also replaced the Alpine MRP-F450 amp. I was told once I upgraded one component, I would become dissatisfied with another. That proved to be somewhat true as I wanted a little more power going to my speakers. I purchased a factory refurbished Kenwood XR-4S off eBay. It supplies 120 W RMS per channel to my component speakers along with the two other channels bridged to supply 300 W RMS to my subwoofer. I was a little hesitant going with a class D amp, but so far I very pleased with the sound quality and the amp is very small! I am happy with how everything turned out and think I am finally done messing around with my audio setup. I may replace the back speakers whenever I start doing some sound deadening next Summer, but it sort of seems like a waste of money seeing I will rarely ever use them.
 

Attachments

1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top