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2015 RDS Manual
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, when it comes to car audio I am quite the n00b!

For now I want to retain my stock head unit for now (because nothing out there that I know of has a double din that's clean and has green illumination)

I'm planning on changing all the speakers to

for the rears
http://mobile.jlaudio.com/products_components.php?comp_id=59

and for the fronts
http://mobile.jlaudio.com/products_components.php?comp_id=125

my friend has two old JL 12" Subs (I'm only going to use one and def. will not make FULL use of it because I don't need that much bass... but its free :wink: )

I was wondering what amp I should get? which one I would need???

Any input would be great thanks!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3

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K.I.T.T. meet A.L.I.C.E.
2008 Forester XT 4EAT
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If you're already going to pony up for JL stuff, they make some very good amps. I would say that you should get an appropriately matched JL amp.



Also, if you're putting this stuff in, it would be very well worth your while to put in a different head unit.

In an audio system there are three main components. The device which translates media (cd's) to audio signals (Head Unit), the device which brings line level signals up (amplifier) to levels high enough to drive the transducers (speakers).

In a stock system, the quality of the components is so poor that the transducers (speakers) are unable to reproduce subtle noise, and junk audio in the signal. This also means that they are unable to reproduce the finer subtleties in the music (which make for a more enjoyable listening experience)

Because of this, the OEM's can put a very very cheap and "dirty" head unit into the system. Since the speakers can't reproduce the noise to begin with, there is no good reason to try to eliminate that noise from the system.

This is the basic reason why upgrading just part of the audio system will not yield near the results MOST people are looking for. When you replace the factory amplifier with a higher end aftermarket one, and replace the speakers with ones which are more capable of reproducing subtleties in the audio, you also gain the ability to reproduce all the junk and noise that's in the system.

As I said earlier, the stock head unit is a very "dirty" unit. Because of this, all of that noise that it generates gets sent out to your new amp/speakers. But since these can actually reproduce that audio, you can actually end up with worse sound because you're putting junk into the system. (Think of the phrase "You can't polish a turd")

This is why, when choosing to upgrade your audio system, it is so beneficial to do the entire system. If you only upgrade the head unit, you can't gain the benefits of the cleaner, more pure sound because the speakers are unable to reproduce it. If you only upgrade the speakers, they will reproduce all the junk coming out of the stock head unit, and allow you to hear all the noise.

If you do the full system you gain the full capabilities of all the components on the system. This is why, if you're already going to spend the money to upgrade the system, it's worth spending an extra 100-200 for a decent head unit.

I know it was a bit longwinded, but I hope that this helps you out in your quest for better audio, and does a decent job of explaining why to do these things instead of just saying to do it.
 

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2004 Forester XT PP
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techy101 said:
I know it was a bit longwinded, but I hope that this helps you out in your quest for better audio, and does a decent job of explaining why to do these things instead of just saying to do it.
Thanks for your information! Very well said :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
def. well said techy101

thanks a lot!!!

Yeah I really want to buy a nice headunit, but still can't find one that I like (I'm so picky)...
 

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FYI You aren't stuck with a double DIN model, some of foresters have a single DIN and a nice DIN sized pocket with silver door. I put one of those in with my Alpine CDA-9835 and am very happy with the look.

Let me know if you need a picture...

I agree with techy101 as well, but it is the more expensive approach.

As far as amp recomendations I am a Phoenix Gold groupie... I like their older stuff though. The MS/MPS series are fanatastic old school amps but don't have the bells and whistles of newer models, like the ZX and Ti series. I haven't heard any of their newer/lower product lines (Xenon, Octane,etc.) but their old school high end lines were great. I have a PG Reactor that I am debating what to do with, and am running a ZX475 and a ZX350 in my FXT.
 

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I can't do TOO much brand recommending because I work for MTX in their amplifier design plant - but here's some advice:


first thing is if you're using high inputs on an amp, there's good news. That puts a very high impedance load on the stock head unit's little internal amp which "tricks" it, so to speak, into having a much cleaner s/n ratio. You'd be surprised how clean if you're using a well designed amplifier to capitalize on that.

Without doing too much advertising, I'll state that the MTX TA-series amplifiers have focused very closely on maximizing this phenomenon with balanced, floating ground inputs and an automatic engage feature so you don't need to run a separate remote turn on wire. very few other brands have those features - but even a cheaper amp with standard "high level inputs" will still surprise you with how clean it really can sound off the stock head unit when tuned right.

For a low-buck amplifier, I'd recommend Crunch believe it or not... i consider them the "Cream of the Crap" - the best super cheap amps. No, they're not made by the company I work for or any subsidiary - a direct competitor in fact.
 

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Not withstanding the amp issue, if I were to rip out the double DIN in-dash 6-disc CD stacker and replace it with something like this:
http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pna/product/detail/0,,2076_4043_152869141,00.html

Subaru Japan does offer the above unit under the Carrozzeria brand in their official Navigation and Audio catalog.

Will the speaker cables etc just plug in at the back, or will I be asking for trouble? The model I have in Australia (XSL) comes with 7 speakers. Presumably adds a subwoofer and a pair of tweeters. The quality of these speakers are meant to be better????

My actual desire is to have a double (or good looking single) DIN head unit that offers iPod integration, like some from Clarion, Pioneer, Alpine and Kenwood. I can then leave the iPod in the glove box or the very small centre console.
 

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K.I.T.T. meet A.L.I.C.E.
2008 Forester XT 4EAT
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All you should need is the correct harness for your vehicle. Then you just splice the Pioneer harness and the harness for your vehicle together, and it should work like a peach.
 

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Sounds like it's ok then. Pity Subaru still hasn't got a factory supported iPod integration solution.
 

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AaronB said:
FYI You aren't stuck with a double DIN model, some of foresters have a single DIN and a nice DIN sized pocket with silver door. I put one of those in with my Alpine CDA-9835 and am very happy with the look.

Let me know if you need a picture...
Aaron,

I'd like to see a picture of that.

My stock radio is the single DIN unit with pocket in the other slot. Yesterday I started looking at switching the radio over to my Panasonic from my last car. Got the stock radio out with no problem but I found that the Panasonic isn't such a great fit because it's got a clip-on bezel that exceeds the size of the DIN aperture. Either the bezel would need to be omitted (in which case it would look nasty) or the Pansasonic would need to be mounted sticking out a quarter inch so that the bezel could overlap the door of the pocket below. In which case I don't think the door would open.

Did you run into this problem with the Alpine? (Pics of it look like it has a bezel too).

I didn't do a trial fitting because I hadn't checked out the availability of wiring adaptors at the time.

-- Steve
 

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K.I.T.T. meet A.L.I.C.E.
2008 Forester XT 4EAT
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With my alpine as long as I don't use the bezzel it's a perfect fit. I have a 9855 (basically the same as the 9835 with a few more bells and whistles). Here is a picture, but in this pic I have the swing face activated so it sticks out on an angle. When it's recessed all the way it's flush.

 
J

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Unusual stock Head Unit alternatives

I'm including this stuff here because it may not yet be as noticeable on this new sf.org site as it was on the old sf.com site. So, for those doing research:

I was really interested in the old single-DIN Blaupunkt Bremen MP74 until Blaupunkt effectively discontinued it and blew the remaining stock out through Crutchfield last summer. While I was at CES in Las Vegas last week, I talked to Blaupunkt and learned that the "4" in MP74 followed Blaupunkt's not-heavily-publicized convention of the last digit indicating the year of a particular model's introduction. So that makes the Bremen MP74 a 2004 model-year product. OK, that explains why they blew out the old stock. Look for a new replacement Bremen MPx6 in the April/May timeframe. In the meantime, if you want to see what's so interesting (to me anyway) about the Bremen MP74 (and presumably, this year's follow-on), check out the .PDF on the USA Blaupunkt site.

Another new product seen at CES is the Pioneer AVIC-Z1. The -Z1 variant is the new version: Navigation+Entertainment+MP3+iPOD control+satellite radio+Bluetooth for cellphones+video (backup camera?) all in a Double-DIN form factor. Drawback? Probably $2250 list price. Availability also April-May.

Finally, for semi-USA-compatible foreign-market Double-DIN head units, see the www.audiocubes.com website. Pay close attention to the differences in FM frequency spectrum between the U.S. and these units. They look like they'll work, but, one way or another, even with a converter, you're going to lose access to the top or bottom of the FM frequency range.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
apanthropy said:
I can't do TOO much brand recommending because I work for MTX in their amplifier design plant - but here's some advice:


first thing is if you're using high inputs on an amp, there's good news. That puts a very high impedance load on the stock head unit's little internal amp which "tricks" it, so to speak, into having a much cleaner s/n ratio. You'd be surprised how clean if you're using a well designed amplifier to capitalize on that.

Without doing too much advertising, I'll state that the MTX TA-series amplifiers have focused very closely on maximizing this phenomenon with balanced, floating ground inputs and an automatic engage feature so you don't need to run a separate remote turn on wire. very few other brands have those features - but even a cheaper amp with standard "high level inputs" will still surprise you with how clean it really can sound off the stock head unit when tuned right.

For a low-buck amplifier, I'd recommend Crunch believe it or not... i consider them the "Cream of the Crap" - the best super cheap amps. No, they're not made by the company I work for or any subsidiary - a direct competitor in fact.
thanks a lot man! still looking into this :)
 

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AChan10 said:
thanks a lot man! still looking into this :)
Let me know if you have any specific questions - brands, models, "how to shop for an amplifier" advice ... etc. I have a whole rant on how to tell the real RMS power output of an amplifier just by looking at it no matter what the print says.

FYI, all current MTX show vehicles, including the ones demonstrating our $550/pr high end component speakers, utilize the factory head unit.

er, one exception - the chevy kodiak doesn't - but that's partly because when we got it from Chevy it didn't have a radio. or dashboard.
 

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I have to disagree with Techy101; audio systems from the factory are not as “Dirty” as he contends, IMO. They were during the 70’s and 80’s, but today the electronics are so clean, you will see the same specs for Signal to noise ratio’s, stereo separation, etc. from the factory system as you will from a aftermarket system. The benefit and lure of the aftermarket head unit is not better sound, but greater versatility and more features.

For 150 dollars you can purchase a Pioneer deck that will tune Am/Fm, is Satellite Radio ready, and plays CD’s, CD-R/RW’s, MP3s, WMAs, WAVs, is iPod ready and has 4 channel MOSFET amplification. In fact, they use the same tuner in their $119.00 unit as they do in their $1,999.00 unit. And Pioneer is not alone in that arena. Many aftermarket sources use the same tuner circuitry in all their units, its cost effective. They may add other features, like Satellite receiver or iPod circuitry but the TUNER circuit is the same. The difference is in the features. They use the same Laser assembly for the CD reader as well.

AChan10, add a clean 150 watt 2 channel bridgeable amp (Running in bridged mode) and a 10 inch Bazooka or 12” sealed sub and your system will sound AWESOME!!
 

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sahunt said:
Aaron,

I'd like to see a picture of that.
Sorry I missed this, I will get a picture up tomorrow. It mounts flush and I didn't use the bezel (not sure it even came with one...)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
keyser soze said:
I have to disagree with Techy101; audio systems from the factory are not as “Dirty” as he contends, IMO. They were during the 70’s and 80’s, but today the electronics are so clean, you will see the same specs for Signal to noise ratio’s, stereo separation, etc. from the factory system as you will from a aftermarket system. The benefit and lure of the aftermarket head unit is not better sound, but greater versatility and more features.

For 150 dollars you can purchase a Pioneer deck that will tune Am/Fm, is Satellite Radio ready, and plays CD’s, CD-R/RW’s, MP3s, WMAs, WAVs, is iPod ready and has 4 channel MOSFET amplification. In fact, they use the same tuner in their $119.00 unit as they do in their $1,999.00 unit. And Pioneer is not alone in that arena. Many aftermarket sources use the same tuner circuitry in all their units, its cost effective. They may add other features, like Satellite receiver or iPod circuitry but the TUNER circuit is the same. The difference is in the features. They use the same Laser assembly for the CD reader as well.

AChan10, add a clean 150 watt 2 channel bridgeable amp (Running in bridged mode) and a 10 inch Bazooka or 12” sealed sub and your system will sound AWESOME!!
thanks a lot for the input... haha... I dunno what to do!
 

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AaronB said:
Sorry I missed this, I will get a picture up tomorrow. It mounts flush and I didn't use the bezel (not sure it even came with one...)
Aaron,

I decided to just try the Panasonic without the bezel and it turned out to fit & look fine. My belief that I would see unfinished parts of the radio casing turned out to be false.

It sounds much better than the stock VDO radio, even with the stock speakers.

-- Steve
 
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