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81 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys.

Im about to buy a new Forester.

Im not an audiophile, but I do find the existing stereo, even in the Limited, to be kind of blah.

Im thinking about upgrading the speakers and head unit, as it doesnt seem like the actual components are THAT expensive and I can still get quite a step up.

Im wondering how hard it is to actually install these things. I am NOT a tools guy and have never done anything on a car. Is it a matter of running wires, etc? Can I just snap out whats in there and replace it with the new components? How hard should I expect it to be, and are there any good online guides?

Thanks.
 

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2018 Forester XT Touring
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1,323 Posts
plenty of information to be found on this topic in the Interior & Electronics section.
 

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Premium Member
2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,462 Posts
If you are buying a new (2010) forester, have a shop do it for you. I don't generally say this, but if you buy a new car and want it to still feel new after your upgrade, don't use this car as your learning experience. Just my $.02. If you do want to do the install yourself, I recommend buying it from Crutchfield, really only for the detailed instructions they will send with it. Their instructions are car specific and have pics. They have pretty good deals too.
 

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2010 2.5X Limited
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38 Posts
I am not the most mechanically inclined person either, but just replaced all four door speakers in my 2010 Limited two weeks ago. Thankfully, with the help of this forum I was able to replace the speakers and Dynamat the doors very easily. There are several member journals for MY09-10 that detail speaker upgrades.

I purchased my speakers (Polk Audio 651s) from Crutchfield and they include the mounting rings and wiring harnesses. However, they do not have vehicle specific instructions yet for the 2010 Forester. But using member journals as my guide the install went easily, with no surprises.

I have no plans to upgrade the stock head unit, but replacing the four door speakers (I already had the stock front door tweeters) made quite a difference in the sound quality of the stereo... at least to my untrained ears.
 

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2020 Forester 2.5 Touring CVT
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186 Posts
We have a fair number of HD Radio station in this area, and I have well-filled iPods, so I added the PAC-Audio iSimple Media Hub (which directly supports iPod) and their HDRT HD Radio Tuner (this is in a 2010 Premium X). The latter completely replaces the AM/FM section of the stock radio, and fully integrates with the steering wheel controlls. The HDRT has a very hot tuner -- I get FM stations I'd resigned myself to being too far away for.

The only hitch was apparently there was a change in my stock radio that required a firmware change in the iSimple -- but their "Award Winning Technical Support" came thru as promised: when the usual reset didn't change anything the support guy went directly to an engineer responsible for Subaru, who confirmed the problem and promised a fix by week's end (this was Tuesday). On Thursday the new code was in my email, and all worked as promised.

New speakers and adapters from Crutchfield completed the upgrade, the results are respectable on a 1/3rd Octave Analyzer, and I'm a happy camper.
 

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Premium Member
2011 2.5X Touring 4EAT
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123 Posts
We have a fair number of HD Radio station in this area, and I have well-filled iPods, so I added the PAC-Audio iSimple Media Hub (which directly supports iPod) and their HDRT HD Radio Tuner (this is in a 2010 Premium X). The latter completely replaces the AM/FM section of the stock radio, and fully integrates with the steering wheel controlls. The HDRT has a very hot tuner -- I get FM stations I'd resigned myself to being too far away for.

The only hitch was apparently there was a change in my stock radio that required a firmware change in the iSimple -- but their "Award Winning Technical Support" came thru as promised: when the usual reset didn't change anything the support guy went directly to an engineer responsible for Subaru, who confirmed the problem and promised a fix by week's end (this was Tuesday). On Thursday the new code was in my email, and all worked as promised.

New speakers and adapters from Crutchfield completed the upgrade, the results are respectable on a 1/3rd Octave Analyzer, and I'm a happy camper.

Did your car have the Factory GPS Nav radio?
I wondering about compatibility.

Thanks!
 

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81 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I love my 2010 XT but the radio really does suck. I dont mean "if youre an audiophile you will find things to complain about." I mean "if you like to listen to music at all" SUCK.

Im also debating whether to upgrade but I have the added complexity of the fact that this car is leased and I dont know if I will buy it at lease end or buy a newer Forrester at that point (2.5 years to go).

I know some install places will swap the OEM equipment back in when the lease is up, but I dont know whether I will be left with components that will be of no use to me in my next car - for example, if I buy a HU that fits this Forrester, will it be usable in my next car as well.

I dont mind spending a little extra to put things in and out, but I just dont know the best way to manage this issue...
 

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2003 Forester X 4EAT
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690 Posts
If you are buying a new (2010) forester, have a shop do it for you. I don't generally say this, but if you buy a new car and want it to still feel new after your upgrade, don't use this car as your learning experience. Just my $.02. If you do want to do the install yourself, I recommend buying it from Crutchfield, really only for the detailed instructions they will send with it. Their instructions are car specific and have pics. They have pretty good deals too.


I have ordered from Crutchfield several times and have always been satisfied! besides the great vehicle specific pics and instructions, they will give you any connectors so you dont have to cut factory connectors.
 

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2010 Forester Premium
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135 Posts
I dont mind spending a little extra to put things in and out, but I just dont know the best way to manage this issue...
Replace the stock speakers the DB651's from Crutchfield. I think they still have the buy 1 get 1 50% off sale going on. They will send you vehicle-specific instructions. It's not overly difficult to do yourself, but you will likely end up breaking one or more of the sail panels. Do a search to get the idea.

Note that Crutchfield will recommend the DB651S. You don't need to do that. The standard 651's fit just fine.
 

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2005 ForesterXT premeium
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81 Posts
aftermarket audio

Hi, Do your research, buy the parts(circuit city..other high end audio shops install their stuff), and have the shop install AND guarantee their work..simple simon..If there is ever a problem, they fix it..When you spend $500 or more on nice stuff, it dosen't cost a lot more to have them put it in..while you are at it, have them install a remote starter..worth its' weight in Gold!
 

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05 XT Manual
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508 Posts
I would keep the stock headunit and just upgrade the front stage with a set of components that you can run off a pre-amp or a line driver. The rear woofer can be replaced if you need more boom (i do). The rear speakers can be left as is since they would just fill the back end and your listening comes from the front.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Replace the stock speakers the DB651's from Crutchfield. I think they still have the buy 1 get 1 50% off sale going on. They will send you vehicle-specific instructions. It's not overly difficult to do yourself, but you will likely end up breaking one or more of the sail panels. Do a search to get the idea.

Note that Crutchfield will recommend the DB651S. You don't need to do that. The standard 651's fit just fine.
A number of people have said that upgrading the speakers without first doing the HU doesnt make sense, as the HU is too underpowered to drive better speakers. Do you disagree?

(can you reply to this in the new thread I started? thanks so much)
 

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2010 Forester X Premium
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931 Posts
A number of people have said that upgrading the speakers without first doing the HU doesnt make sense, as the HU is too underpowered to drive better speakers. Do you disagree?

(can you reply to this in the new thread I started? thanks so much)
Agree. The stock needs an amp in order to sound good. I was in a rush so I swaped the HU first (drop Alpine HU in) and I was surprise because the stockers did not sound bad at all when powered by the Alpine HU.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5 XT
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7 Posts
I did some research and decided to keep original HU. It is a 6CD with AUX analogic input (You can use iPod or other MP3 player but can't charge its battery). After checking several speakers specifications I choose an intermediate setup that does not require an amplifier (with higher sensitivity - 92dB or more). The affordable ones I've found were the JBL GTO608C (2 way front) and JBL 628 (back). You may choose Hybrid Audio, Focal, Morel, etc. but I could not find these easily here in my country... anyways.
With minor adjusts, patience and dremel tool the tweeter will fit - some hot glue may be required for proper install and avoid vibrations.

Next phase upgrade I intend to add a sound processor (Bit One or JBL MS-8) to improve quality.
Hope it helps!
 
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