Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Flagstaff, AZ
Car Year: 2019
Car Model: Forester Sport
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
This next post will discuss the speaker upgrade and reveal the dash and door skins and speakers. Like usual, once I installed the subwoofer I could not resist going all out. Hell, I should have bought the standard stereo, but then I would have missed out on the power gate lift and the 8" LCD display. Can anyone tell me if the Forester with a standard stereo has the dash speakers???
So, while at the shop they were telling me about a speaker line that emerged in 2006. It is called Hybrid Audio Technologies (HAT). This company hailed from the old school days of hi-fidelity car audio. They started with the Lagatia competition series and later added other speaker lines. This stuff is all high end. They have some entry level series as well, now. I used to run Dynaudio speakers in my 91 Isuzu show truck. While still made, Dynaudio is limited to particular sizes. HAT Unity series is a midlevel HAT series that uses drivers intended to be factory replacements. This is attractive. While I want to upgrade the sound system, I do want to use the factory speaker locations which includes two front door 6x9s, 3" dash speakers and 6.5 inch rear door speakers.
The key to the great sound of the HK system is that the door speakers do not run any tweeters (coaxial speakers). Most cars run coaxials. The problem with this is that it impacts audio staging. In other words, high pitched vocals and treble sounds that typically come from the front stage and up high will be aimed at your knees instead of firing out of the dash in an upward angle.
So, while I suspected the door speakers were not running coaxials, I confirmed this today when I pulled the doors skins off. The only coaxials in the car come from a 3 inch dash midrange with metal coaxial tweeter.
Yesterday when I picked up the car, I bought a set of HAT Unity 3" dash speakers for $200. These speakers have an amazing wide range from 150 Hz to 20k Hz and it does not have a coaxial tweeter. So, I popped one in on the drivers side and left the HK speaker in the dash on the left side. The HK amp is powering this speaker. To my surprise the volume of the U3 was about 1/2 of the HK speaker. At first, this seemed underpowered, but then after listening to some test songs, I realized that the HK speakers are really harsh and lack stereo separation. I could not decide if I liked the U3 speakers, then I finally took the plunge and popped out both HKs for the U3s so I had a matching set instead of the mismatch with a huge difference is volume.
This is when I realized how great the overall sound was. I typically listen to test music at a Volume of 30. The HK speakers were so harsh that on some songs I had to turn down the volume because it was too loud and now I realize that it was not just too loud but also some distortion. The U3 speakers do need more power, but they are really well matched for the non-coaxial door speakers. The vocals and trebel sounds are well separated from other sounds and the imaging is spot on.
So, I am sold! The HAT speakers are remarkable and I am going to upgrade the remaining door speakers with Unity U69 6x9 front speakers and the Image series I6v2 rear door speakers, which are 6.5 inches. Afterall, I did not want to leave the JL Audio XD 600.6 amp in my old car for sale. So, I am going to have the shop install that 6 channel amp into the Sport to run the 4 door speakers and 2 dash speakers. What amazes me the most is the range that these non-tweeter speakers have. This entire sound system will not have a dedicated set of tweeters. Kinda interesting for sure.
In this series, I will showcase 19 photos. I will start with the dash speaker upgrade, then I will reveal the speakers in the doors and the door skins.
1. Front grill cover. Start on the far left side closes to you and insert a small flat blade screwdriver. Pry upward to pop the first panel rivet. Then use your hand to pop up the grill and slide it towards you.
2. Here is the box for the HAT U3 speakers
3. Comparing the size and depth of the HK coaxial to the U3 speaker.
4. Side view
5. HAT U3 speaker loosely in place. Good fit, but the speaker mounting ring is not continuous, so the U3 speaker holes do not all line up. Therefore I was only able to use two screws to mount the speakers. It is still secure.
6. Magnet of the U3
7. Passenger side dash speaker.
8. Here is a look at the HK speaker in place.
9. HK dash speaker.
10. HK side view.
11. HK bottom view. This speaker has four wires running into two pins on the harness. The midrange is purple/yellow. The tweeter is green/black and has an inline filter.
12. Here is the interior of the front door skin. It has very nice sound deadening materials in use. There is a combination of white padding and the black foam padding.
13. 6x9s in the door? Really. Well, I am a fan! These are massive and this is why the front end bass is so good. Not to mention there is no coaxial tweeter, thereby making this a woofer/midrange speaker.
14. The 6x9HK speaker is integrated with the plastic molding that seats up to the door panel. You can see the indentation in the foam gasket.
15. Back side of the 6x9
16 Notice inside the door there is no deadening material on the door outer steel panel. This cound be improved for sure.
17. Rear door skin
18. Full shot of the rear door. This HK speaker is a 6.5 inch with a 1" raised section like the 6x9. This really helps to get clearance from the window as it is lowered.
19. Close up of the HK 6.5 inch speaker. No coaxial tweeter on this one either.