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2011 Forester X Limited, 2007 Impreza Outback Sport SE 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So this is my first time trying to build up a car audio system, and I have a few questions that I am not super clear on after research.

First of all:
Goal-more clear, slightly louder sound, not a whole lot of money
Current Equipment: Started with "premium" system in my 2007 Impreza, and now have a Sony XA-VAX1000 HU (22 RMS x 4), stock under seat sub, stock rear 4" speakers, and I just installed Polk DB 5251's (5.25 component system for front door).

I have replaced the stock tweeter with the component tweeter in the same location, installed crossovers, and wired everything up. I cut the stock speakers apart to use the mounting/spacer to mount to my new speakers. Stock size was 5.25" with premium allegedly being 6.5 (but looks closer to 6" after cutting it out). The mounting ears of the Polks touch the plastic I am mounting them too, but there is a gap all around the body of the speaker and the spacer, though the mount is very solid.

Like many, I have "lost" a lot of mid bass and lower mid bass, where I can hear bass (the instrument) but it is quiet and not prominent, even after messing with EQ and all of that. I know that I need to let the speakers break in, and I love the volume and clarity besides from the lack of bass (close to the 120hz area, not anything lower than 80 or 80hz, as I have the stock sub crossed over to take care of that, even though I think the stock sub might be a little blown). I have checked Polarity and wiring and all of that as well. I can "feel" significant air/vibration in front of the woofers, I just don't hear much in the mid bass range.

I got a really good deal on this component system ($40), and I was originally looking for a 6.5" system and wanted to see if I could make this work well in my application. I want to buy actual spacers to take care of the gap and mat it some, but I wanted to see if it is the gap in my speaker mounting that is causing the lack of mid bass or is it more indicative of the speaker size itself. If it is more the speaker itself, I would want to order the 6.5" spacer for the front and upgrade to 6.5" component up front and move my 5.25" to the rear doors (which I know are mostly fill, but I often have people back there and care less about soundstage being in front of me).

My eventual goal would be a slightly better powered underseat sub to replace the OEM one to fill out the system if I were to keep the 5.25" up front and I got decent mid bass from them, and possibly even if I swapped in 6.5".

Long story short, am I lacking all the mid bass because of the gap in mounting the speakers, the fact they aren't broken in, or because of the size (5.25 woofer vs 6.5)?
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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3,172 Posts
While I'm not a big car stereo knowledge base, I do DJ part time and work with a lot of systems. Generally, the larger the woofer, the better the bass. Of course, there are exceptions to this as there are to just about everything in life.

I think also that the gap between the speaker and the door panel is also creating some of your issue. Even if they "feel" solid, there is still some vibration because of the gap - the whole unit can reverberate in the open space vs being tucked against the door panel framework.

And I'm guessing the speakers did not come out of a (or were designed for) an Impreza Outback/Sport and were designed for something else.

All of these will be at least a part of the issue you're encountering.
 

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2011 Forester X Limited, 2007 Impreza Outback Sport SE 5MT
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170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, I am upgrading my factory speakers to an aftermarket ones because after 14 years the foam surrounds on the cones were deteriorating pretty badly, but either size is a fit for the door itself!
 

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'14 Forester XT Touring
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827 Posts
......uh..ok...
Yeah..... you have a metric ton of air gap. I have no idea why you would down grade to a smaller speaker than what the factory came with. Even if it was $40.
If you still want to pay as little as possible, go buy a proper sized speaker adapter for your forester. Yes they do make them for one size smaller. Assuming you have 6 1/2" size get a 5 1/4" that would fit in the 6 1/2" hole. They should be like $20 from Amazon.

FYI speakers only need less 30 minutes of "braking in" High power subwoofers need an hour of low level sound, Depends what the manual says. If there is zero instructions, then your sub/speakers are ready to rock and roll from the box.
 

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2011 Forester X Limited, 2007 Impreza Outback Sport SE 5MT
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170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the feedback. The cutout in the door is for a 5.25” speaker (most models of the Impreza came with 5.25” front and 4” rear), but the stock premium speakers include a ~2.5” spacer to fit a larger size speaker in the cutout. Since my speakers mounting depth is over 1.5”, and the doors are so shallow, I rigged them up using the stock spacers as a temporary way to test if they worked for what I was looking for, with the intention of buying spacers made for my model that will seal up any gaps, either the “regular” size speaker version for 5.25” or the oversize adapter for 6.5”. So I am only using the stock spacer to get an idea of how they sound and because they would hit the window mechanism if mounted straight to the door (and I don’t want to drill).

I fully intend on getting the proper spacers, but since they come in different sizes I wanted to figure out I would end up moving the 5.25” to the rear eventually and have to go and buy another spacer for the oversized speaker in the future. I’m just trying to figure out how much of the lack of mid bass is attributed to the air gap in the mounting currently vs. sizing of the woofer vs. the fact that stock plastic cone speakers could get a little more bass at the expense of clarity and power handling
 

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'14 Forester XT Touring
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By any chance did you wire them backwards?
Did you use a speaker harness adapter or just cut and splice them to the new speaker?
 

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2011 Forester X Limited, 2007 Impreza Outback Sport SE 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I used an adapter to wire them in to the crossover itself from the stock woofer wire I pulled up back near the door handle, but using the crossover I ran wires for everything else (even scavenging the wire clips off the stock wires for the new wires I ran), and double checked all the wiring, and pulled the door cards to check again yesterday. Over the last two days, I’ve noticed a marked increase in sound quality, so there might be some truth to the break in period after all, at least for these speakers. I’ve ordered custom spacers to seal the mid woofers up better, along with rope caulk, which from my research should pick up some more detail in the mid bass. I’ve read a few threads of others with my style Impreza building systems with 5.25”, so I’ll move forward with mounting them in a very secure and sealed manner and see the final result.

honestly, the thing that made the largest different was the tweeters, Iiked the stock ones fine until I put these in, and then realized how much detail and clarity I was missing
 

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2011 XT Limited Auto
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107 Posts
If you spend the time and money on sound deadening you will notice a major improvement in sound quality. It in a pain, and takes time, but after doing my past few cars with proper sound deadening of the doors, I will never waste my time and money on just installing speakers alone. Especially in the tin can called a Subaru.
 

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2009 Forester 2.5x 4EAT
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Not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but have you double-checked your high pass filter setting? That might also help explain the loss of mids.
 

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2011 Forester X Limited, 2007 Impreza Outback Sport SE 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, I ended up going with the Polk DB5251 component set in the front doors, fading mostly to the front, and using the OEM subwoofer, and after letting them break in for a few weeks am quite happy. Initially, to test, I cut the stock speakers out of the brackets and mounted the Polk 5.25” woofers to them, but they did not sound good at all for lower frequencies (bass, piano, deeper voices, etc.) because of the gap between the old speaker and the new one, so I went with iAPerformance’s 5.25 spacers for the front, and used Moretite rope caulk between the spacers, the speaker and spacer, and spacer and door to seal and isolate the speaker as much as possible (even in an infinite baffle situation, you don’t want to have air gaps right next to the speaker. After doing that, they sound great!

Previously with the stock speakers, I would have distortion at 26 on my radio (along with general lack of detail and muddy sound), but now I can push to 34 without distortion and have way more clarity and detail, parts of songs that I had never realized were there! Audio upgrades are largely influenced by installation quality, and I definitely saw that there, couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. I played with my high pass on the HU some too, eventually might get a better underwear sub (like that Sound Ordinance one everyone seems to have) but I accomplished my goal for less than $80 all in! The stock plastic speakers were definitely a step up from paper cones I’ve seen in other Subaru’s but the foam surrounds were starting to rip apart and they needed to be replaced, the Subaru tweeters are not even close to the Polk ones either!
556835
556836
 

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2011 Forester X Limited, 2007 Impreza Outback Sport SE 5MT
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170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
As another update to this, I saw a wild deal on a Sound Ordnance b-8ptd for under $100 from Crutchfield, so I jumped on on that and installed it the other day, definitely a huge upgrade from the OEM under seat subwoofer! Ran the power cable to battery using the grommet for the AC drain hose, super easy and routed just where I wanted it. Very happy, have it mounted under my passenger seat and can finally set high pass and low pass filters for the speakers and sub separately, letting me get the most out of my setup! I noticed that I had a gap in the mid bass frequency, so I ended up keeping the OEM sub plugged up with a low gain and higher low pass on the OEM sub, which, since it’s off the speaker signal, effectively had a band-pass setup on it to only produce midbass (100-150hz), which it is quite good at. So, between my components, powered midwoofer, and powered sub, I am extremely happy with my audio setup, I can run up to 93db cleanly on my system, which is more than enough for windows down on the highway, and the division of midbass and lower bass has everything nice and balanced, with no abrupt transitions or annoying peaks, and a full range of sound reproduction throughout all listening levels
 
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