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Registered
2010 Forester LTD
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys, I'm planning to upgrade 4 stock speakers for better sound. But I'm not sure if it worth the money and time that I don't put a sub woofer in it. Also, is the stock head unit power enough for bigger speakers? Thanks.
 

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The Sub kit guy
2005 Forester X & XT VF39
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13,008 Posts
I think adding a small sub and tweeters to the stock speakers would fill in the low and highend and sound better than just replacing the stock door speakers.

The stock headunit is only about 8w per channel, so the door speakers are thin/light high efficent speakers that will play louder with low power. Aftermarket speakers have heavier cones that require more power to "open them up" and get the fullest sound from them. Adding aftermarket speakers to the low power headunit might do the opposite and sound worse.
 

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2006 XT Limited 4EAT
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4,793 Posts
I know this doesn't answer your question, but I recommend that you get a new head unit before you start upgrading speakers. That alone usually improves sound quality somewhat noticeably and it really opens up your opportunities power-wise for speakers later on. Plus alot of times if you only upgrade your head unit and keep stock speakers, you'll blow the stock speakers. There's a reason to upgrade then! :woohoo:
 

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Registered
2004 FXT 5MT
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1,142 Posts
I would also upgrade just the front speakers and unplug the rear, some people like it, some don't.
 

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Premium Member
2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,462 Posts
Head unit is important. Also, most aftermaket speakers are designed to be part of a "set" of speakers for an entire system. This means that they are not designed to be full range speakers, but to cover certain areas of the range of sound. That's why people generally do a full setup. That being said, a decent stereo will give you more control to tune the sound to your liking. Make sure you look for something with a built in equalizer. Bass and trebel contols are not enough.
 

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2010 Forester X Limited
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57 Posts
I have always been along the lines of buy a 4 channel amp or two 2 channel amps for the new speakers cause even the best Head Units dont offer the Watts required to get the most out of aftermarket speakers.

You can find many 4 channel amps within $100-$200 that will make more use of your speakers than a high end head unit.

While I do agree having a better head unit will make aftermarket speakers sound better than the stock HU, getting a better amp also makes it much better than a new HU. It is extra effort to install but its well worth it for what you get in return.
 

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Registered
2010 Forester LTD
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I have always been along the lines of buy a 4 channel amp or two 2 channel amps for the new speakers cause even the best Head Units dont offer the Watts required to get the most out of aftermarket speakers.

You can find many 4 channel amps within $100-$200 that will make more use of your speakers than a high end head unit.

While I do agree having a better head unit will make aftermarket speakers sound better than the stock HU, getting a better amp also makes it much better than a new HU. It is extra effort to install but its well worth it for what you get in return.
does that mean the minimal work could be just adding a new amp?
 

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2006 XT Limited 4EAT
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4,793 Posts
My only fear with doing an amp before new speakers is blowing the speakers. My recommended order of audio mods: headunit, speakers, amps. With a new headunit, you may blow speakers after a while or even never. Depends on your listening style.
 

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2010 Subaru Forester 2.5X
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13 Posts
upgrading speakers

I would recommend getting the Tweeter kit first. This made a huge difference since the stock speakers seem to only be able to reproduce the lows. There are no tweeters or even midrange speakers on the stock speakers. They seems to be just a set of woofers. So the sound is very muddled. But when you put the tweeter kit in, it makes a world of difference. Even with the stock door speakers. The wiring is already there and installing them only took 10 minutes.

I did upgrade my door speakers to the Polk DB651S speakers and the sound is much better than the stock speakers. They are not as loud as the stock speakers but the sound is much cleaner. The cost was about $79 per set from Crutchfield. You can find them cheaper elsewhere but when you buy from Crutchfield, you get the wire adapter that allow you to plug your new speakers directly into the stock wiring harness. You also get the speaker adapter plate that allows you to mount your new speakers in the stock location without having to drill any holes. After putting these in, I was pretty pleased with the results. The stock speakers are very cheap but they are also very efficient. The stock speakers did sound a bit louder than the new speakers I put in. But not by much.

I did the Dynamatting on all the doors and I can say that this did make a difference. Nothing huge but it did cut down the road and wind noise. When done properly, it basically turns your whole door into a big speaker enclosure. And the doors sound much more solid when I close them. I get a solid "thud" instead of a "tink" when closing the doors. The cost was about $60 to do two doors and I feel it is a worthwhile upgrade.
My next upgrade will be a 4 channel amp. However, I can certainly live with the setup as it is without the Amp. It sounds very good now but when one of my favorite songs comes on, I would just like it a just a bit louder than what I am getting now. I can turn the volume all the way up to 37 or 38 before it starts distorting. With the new Amp, I will still have some headroom in case I want to turn it up even louder.

As for adding an Amp, I purchased a wiring harness from SVXdc to go between the stock wiring harness and the radio. The new harness has the speaker wires “broken” so I can run the output wires from the radio to the Amp and then the wires from the Amp back into the factory harness and out to the speakers. Below is a link to the wiring harness I purchased. This will make installing an Amp very easy.

www . subaruforester . org/vbulletin/f77/harness-found-68139/

I am going with the Alpine MRP-F300 amp rated at 50 watts per channel. This amp supports speaker level input so you can connect your wires directly from the radio to this Amp without having to buy any adapters. I purchased this Amp for about $140. It also has Pre Amp outputs so if you ever wanted to add a Subwoofer, you will be able to do so easily by plugging you Subwoofer Amp directly into the Pre Amp Outputs of this Amp. I am planning on mounting this under one of the seats. And if I need more bass, I will but a self powered subwoofer to go under the other seat or in the rear of the vehicle. It will be able to plug directly into this new Amp with no additional wiring except for a power wire.

To power the new Amp, I will only need to run a power wire from the battery to the new Amp which will be very easy. There is a rubber grommet on the firewall where I can run this through. The power wire will run under the driver’s side carpet/door sill trim plate. The Amp will be grounded at the seat. I also purchased an Amp trigger module for $9 to turn on the Amp. It was the PAC TR-4 trigger module. This basically senses voltage on the speaker wire and then sends the remote signal to turn on the Amp. This way you do not have to run a special wire from the radio or another source to tell the Amp to turn on.

I will use the Stock Subwoofer install instructions to help me take apart the dash and center console to I can install my new wiring harness and also to run the “broken” wires to the AMP and then back to the wiring harness. Basically there will be 4 sets of wires (RF, LF, RR, LR) coming from the new harness and will go to the Amp’s speaker level inputs. Then another 4 sets of wires will be run from the Amp’s output back to the other side of the new wiring harness. With the Stock Subwoofer install instructions, this shows how to take apart all the spots nece3ssary to run the wiring between the Amp and the radio.

With the new speakers alone, the sound is very good. But adding the Amp will allow me to crank it up some. However, even without the Amp, the sound is much better now and I can live with the way it sounds. If you like you music loud, then you will probably want to do the Amp also.

One other option I considered instead of an Amp was installing another OEM head unit from FlyAudio. They sell a Navi Unit for around $1000 that is rated at 45 watts per channel and can be installed in a matter of minutes. It connects directly to your stock wiring harness. You would still need new speakers and the tweeter kit but this is a great way to upgrade your whole stereo very easily. Since I didn’t have the extra money to buy this now, I went with the Tweeters, new speakers and Alpine Amp.

Overall, the sound is extremely good and I am very happy with my results. Plus everything still looks stock and I did not have any wiring nightmares that comes with installing customer systems into stock locations. Below is a link to the stereo from FlyAudio.

http: // flyaudio.us/7500-series/54-for-subaru/146-for-subaru-09-forester-e7532navi-0]For Subaru Forester 2009 (E7532NAVI-0)"
 

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2003 Subaru Forester XS
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167 Posts
It depends on the speakers you choose, but the short answer is - Yes, you'll get better sound with a good choice of speakers even from the stock headunit . I would strongly recommend looking into JBL and Infinity .
 

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2010 Subaru Forester 2.5X
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13 Posts
JBL and Infinity

I agree. There are definitely better speakers than the ones I chose. I chose my for the best bang for the buck. But if you want to spend more, you will definitely find that there are beter speakers than the Polks I mentioned here. Just make sure you get the shallow mount speakers. That is what the "s" in the Polk DB651s means. But I think you can put full sized 6.5" in the back because the window does not go all the way down like the front. And to make your install easier, be sure to get the speaker wire adapters that plug into your factory harness and have speaker connectors on the other end. Makes it truly plug and play. And you will also need the speaker mounting plate. This allows you to mount the speaker to the stock speaker screws without having to drill any holes. It also lifts the speaker out of the door a bit to give it more clearance behind it for when the windows are rolled down. So watch you clearance on any speaker you install and whether you need to use a mounting plat or not..
 

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2010 Subaru Forester 2.5X
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13 Posts
replacing stock speakers

One more note on replacing your stock speakers. If you are not going to also install an Amp, look for speakers that are very effecient. Most of the speaks will give this rating at one watt. The Polk DB651s are 92db at 1 watt. Get ones that have a higher rating if you are not going to use an amp. Anything over 90db is usually good for a stock head unit. The higher the better if no amp is being used.
 

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2010 Subaru Forester 2.5X
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13 Posts
Alpine MRP-F300 and Polk DB651s

I would have to say that going with the Polk DB651s and the Alpine MRP-F300 has definitely given me a huge improvement over the stock system. I don't even think I will get any subwoofers. This setup rocks and the bass is teriffic. Thank goodness I did the dynomatting or everything would have been buzzing with the new upgraded system. I get a little bit of buzzing now but only if I really crank it up and on a song with heavy bass. I can only go up to about 30 or 32 on the Factory Head Unit volume control before it gets so loud that it starts to hurt my ears. And it is still crystal clear. Between the speakers, amp, dynomatting and wiring, I spent about $400.00. You are not going to get much better unless you spend much more. If you are looking for a way of upgrading your stock system, I strongly recommend going this route. Took about 6 hours spread out over a few days. If you need any details of all the steps to do this yourself, PM me and I will be glad to share my experience so yours will be an easier install.
 

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Registered
2010 2.5X Limited
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111 Posts
Hi guys, I'm planning to upgrade 4 stock speakers for better sound. But I'm not sure if it worth the money and time that I don't put a sub woofer in it. Also, is the stock head unit power enough for bigger speakers? Thanks.
I noticed a significant difference when I did this. Ended up with upgrading the whole thing, but started with just the front door speakers.
 
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