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1999 Subaru Forester Sport 2.5 L SFI
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Hi, I have a 1999 Subaru Forester S 2.5 L that has factory everything including the original cassette/dvd playing stereo. I am new to the forum but have already learned so much from being on here.

My question is where should I start the process of upgrading the stereo/audio system? I know nothing about stereo/audio systems except for the factory stereo doesn't put out enough power to the speakers which causes distortion and the speakers cant handle the power needed to achieve what I'm looking for. Also, my 4 rear speakers don't work, my front speakers are on the verge of going out, and the bass in any song is trash.

I'd like to have a good amount of bass (enough to where you'll feel it but not enough that the neighbor 4 houses down will too) but also still hear the song I'm listening to without having to crank the radio up. I mostly listen to hick hop, hip hop, classic/new country, and hard/soft rock. I know for a fact I'm going to have to replace the 4 rear speakers (2 in the back seat and 2 in the back hatch).

I do know how to install them and the wiring but as for the best type/brand/wattage/etc without costing the same as buying a new vehicle I know nothing. Before I got my Subaru a couple months ago I had Ford's. So all new terrain for me. Any advice/tips would be appreciated.

P.S. I am in the process of getting offset tire/rim upgrades and a 4" lift on it. So any suggestions for all terrain tires and would it be better to do spacers or a negative offset ?

 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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@Go.Subi.Go welcome to the forum from Oregon!

I moved your "audio" thread here, which looks like a good fit. For the best results, please ask your non-audio questions in the appropriate technical sub-forum.

You can ask your technical questions here:
Bobby...

['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
 
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'14 Forester XT Touring
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920 Posts
Welcome.
Car audio DIY are simple enough, I always recommend Critchfield.com
They have install kits for DIY along with upgraded speakers. There is also hand full's of YouTube vides out there.

As to your upgrading your head unit, well that is going to depend how much you want to spend and what is in-stock (chip shortage/back log)
Speaker wise, that's easy pick what fits and brand/price. As for that extra bass, I recommend an all in one combo. (amp, sub, and enclosure) Less space to take up, and provides that extra thump, but not too much.

Or...go with the traditional big sub/box combo. But it all depends on your budget and what is in-stock.
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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3,190 Posts
Welcome to the forum

Hi, I have a 1999 Subaru Forester S 2.5 L that has factory everything including the original cassette/dvd playing stereo.

My question is where should I start the process of upgrading the stereo/audio system? I know nothing about stereo/audio systems except for the factory stereo doesn't put out enough power to the speakers which causes distortion and the speakers cant handle the power needed to achieve what I'm looking for. Also, my 4 rear speakers don't work, my front speakers are on the verge of going out, and the bass in any song is trash.
This is worth a look Find what fits your car - Crutchfield
Which 4 speakers do you have in the rear ? As far as I know, the rears had d co-axial speakers in the rear doors only. Not sure where the other 2 are, unless perhaps tweeters ?

Anyway, start out with a good source. So the head unit first. There's tons of choices and some can do Apple Carplay etc if that's of interest. The brands Pioneers, Kenwood and JVC are pretty good, with JVC a step behind the other 2 brands I mentioned while all giving decent sound and should have speaker high outputs to go straight to speakers, in addition to RCA cables where the sound can be output to an amplifier if desired.

To get a decent sound stage, I would suggest looking at a set of component speakers for the front doors. This will give you highs and lows and enough bass to hear the full spectrum of the song. It wont be enough to shake the windows lol. Some speakers sound better and even require an amp to give them enough power to be driven comfortably to give a nice sound. Underdriven speakers can sound terrible. So the RCA outputs on the headunit begin to make sense depending on your speaker choice. Kenwood, JBL, Kicker, Alpine all do good speakers. Hertz, Rainbow and Morel do great speakers but they begin to creep into higher budget category.

The rear speakers could probably just use Coaxial speakers (2 Ways?) to save on the budget.

With the money saved on the rear speakers, use that saving for sound deadening behind the front and rear doors to get a better sound definition and bass from the speakers.

I'd like to have a good amount of bass (enough to where you'll feel it but not enough that the neighbor 4 houses down will too) but also still hear the song I'm listening to without having to crank the radio up. I mostly listen to hick hop, hip hop, classic/new country, and hard/soft rock. I know for a fact I'm going to have to replace the 4 rear speakers (2 in the back seat and 2 in the back hatch).

I do know how to install them and the wiring but as for the best type/brand/wattage/etc without costing the same as buying a new vehicle I know nothing. Before I got my Subaru a couple months ago I had Ford's. So all new terrain for me. Any advice/tips would be appreciated.
Components in the front doors should get some nice bass to hear the full song but not enough to set off car alarms. If you want to go that route, a 10 or 12" inch sub in it's own enclosure would be needed and probably a Class D amplifier to drive that sub too

If you were to go amps. Alpine, Kenwood, Infinity, Audison all do great amps depending on budget.... If you want to make sure everyone in the county can hear your music, MTX make some amps and subs for just that purpose.

As for if new amps are better than an originally more expensive/higher tier amp but you're sourcing used........For value for money, I would expect to getting a used higher tier amp would work out better for you - As long as the amp hasn't been abused...... There are In Car Entertainment (ICE) forums just for that sort of thing and will have their own classifieds. Ebay might be worth a look for used amps too ?

If you want some inspiration at what is possible, have a look here ('03-'05) - Audio build, sea-scooby style
 

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1999 Subaru Forester S
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20 Posts
A couple pieces of advice - first, the Forester came stock with a standard size 2tall headunit slot, so any 2tall headunit will fit great. Crutchfield is a great source (that's where I got my speakers, Cerwin Vega in the front and Infinity by Harman in the back) CarToys (if you have them in your area) is a great place to try out a head unit, and or buy one but install it yourself if you have the tools because their install prices are steep. The rear speakers are a standard size, but the front speakers are a bit of a trick. This forum thread I wrote should give some insight into that > ('98-'00) - MY98-02 6.5in. Front Speaker...

I agree that you should do you headunit first and then the speaekers later. My car also came with the factory everything, the 6disc changer, cassette and FM units and it also had a halfway decent sound system (but the upgraded system is much better. I went with a Pioneer AVH2550NEX which does car play, CD, DVD, FM/AM and also has like netflix and youtube built in. I only wanted CarPlay but this unit was on clearance and therefore cheap.

Anyways, good luck with you audio upgrades :)
 
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