Subaru Crosstrek and XV Forums banner
1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
2021 Crosstrek Limited
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Those who have the stock base "6 speaker" system in a Limited and have replaced all the speakers, can you share your results? Was there a noticeable difference in sound? I have put complete stereo systems in some of my past cars and I do not want to go that route with this one. Speakers are easy enough to do and just hoping for a bit of an improvement. I'm not expecting miracles. The bass roll-off of the OEM head unit means I would have to go "all in" if I wanted to do things "the right way" while keeping the stock HU in tact. I'm not willing or wanting to turn the car into a mess of wires. I lived 17 years with a stock '05 Civic stereo and the stock stereo in my Crosstrek is already better than what I had in the Civic.

I have the base 6 speaker stereo in my '21 Limited and have a complete set of Kicker KS Series speakers coming (6"x9" 3-way fronts, 6 3/4" 2-way rear and 3.5" 2-way dash). I know it's a no-no, in terms of SQ and staging, to put full range in the rear as well as in the dash, but seeing this car is never going to be a true SQ system I figured I'd try it with full range all the way around. I don't know what to expect seeing they will be powered off the head unit and then there is the bass roll-off once you get to a certain volume level. I'm hoping it will be enough improvement over the stock speakers to justify spending the $$. LOL The KS Series 6"x9" is a very efficient speaker, at 92db sensitivity (1W/1M and not the 2.83V rating which would be even higher yet).

Anyway, just wanted to see what one's impression was from going to the stock system to replacing just the speakers. I'm hoping some of you have done this with the non-amped 6 speaker base system found in the Limited, so it's an apples to apples comparison. As I'm sure the amped HK/RF systems would sound even better with more power being fed to the speakers.

Does anyone know what the power difference is between the base system (powered off the HU) vs the HK and RF upgrades? I'm talking real world power and not the BS "rated" power.


thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,355 Posts
I have put complete stereo systems in some of my past cars and I do not want to go that route with this one. Speakers are easy enough to do and just hoping for a bit of an improvement.

i don't have a limited but i replaced all the speakers in both my 2016 premium and 2021 sport (and almost all of my cars and trucks in the past 30 years) and the improvement in sound was massive. i paid $450 and a little over $500 respectively for the upgrades.

i had infinity primus speakers installed in the sport.

here are the stock speakers.....
307474


and the infinitys

307475
 

·
Registered
2021 Crosstrek Limited
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks.

Looks like your '21 Sport had stock 6x9's up front. I thought mine has a 6 1/2" up front. Maybe mine will also have a 6x9 up front. I'm also assuming your speakers are powered off your head unit as well and you don't have an external amp like the HK or RF upgrades do? I'm betting our cars have the same stock stereo setup.

So you used 6x8's up front and 5 1/4's in the rear? The Infinity's you posted pictures of are 6x8's and 5 1/4" speakers.

Here are what I am using to replace the OEM speakers with:

6x9's: KICKER | KS Series 6x9" 3-Way Coaxial
6 3/4"'s: KICKER | KS Series 6.75" Coax
3.5's: KICKER | KS Series 3.5" Coax

Luckily Crutchfield had them all in stock when I placed the order a couple days ago. I will be installing them on Saturday.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,725 Posts
I picked up my car on a Tuesday and installed the first wave of audio upgrades (stored in my basement for several weeks) on Saturday.
You'll notice a big difference replacing the speakers, but if/when you upgrade the head unit, it'll get even better.

Have fun and enjoy :)
 

·
Registered
2021 Crosstrek Limited
Joined
·
1,967 Posts
As long as you don't have a DSP, changing speakers should greatly improve the SQ. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
2021 Crosstrek Limited
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As long as you don't have a DSP, changing speakers should greatly improve the SQ. Good luck.
That's what I am a bit concerned about. I'm guessing we all (those who have the stock HU) have some level of DSP going on that has been tuned to work with the cheap paper speakers to make them sound better. I'm guessing it's the DSP that's cutting bass when volume levels go beyond a preset level. I do not have an external amp though, which may even add more DSP.
 

·
Registered
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport (2.5 L) Black
Joined
·
65 Posts
I also did a '21 Sport audio upgrade. I started out with just the four corners (3.5's on the dash, 6.5s in the BACK) and did just the speakers first. Massive improvement without touching the 6x9's in the front doors. THEN, I had the RF upgrade done. Of course, it sounds much better with all six speakers done and extra power/signal processor.

I have a powered 8" sub to install still. Waiting for cooler weather.

[/QUOTE]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,725 Posts
That's what I am a bit concerned about. I'm guessing we all (those who have the stock HU) have some level of DSP going on that has been tuned to work with the cheap paper speakers to make them sound better. I'm guessing it's the DSP that's cutting bass when volume levels go beyond a preset level. I do not have an external amp though, which may even add more DSP.
I don't know a lot about the HK DSP, but I can add two things.

Increasing volume decreases the bass output at the head unit.

I never did find out exactly what model of Harman speakers the poorly upgraded system has in the front doors, but best guess is that they're from somewhere on the low end of the mid-range. Probably something similar to the Harman Infiniti Reference REF-9632ix.
 

·
Registered
2021 Crosstrek Limited
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I also did a '21 Sport audio upgrade. I started out with just the four corners (3.5's on the dash, 6.5s in the BACK) and did just the speakers first. Massive improvement without touching the 6x9's in the front doors. THEN, I had the RF upgrade done. Of course, it sounds much better with all six speakers done and extra power/signal processor.

I have a powered 8" sub to install still. Waiting for cooler weather.
I was contemplating adding the RF amp to the upgraded speakers at a later date if I get bored. I'd do it just for the added power and wouldn't use the RF 6x9's.
 

·
Registered
2021 Crosstrek Limited
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Increasing volume decreases the bass output at the head unit.
I agree, that's what I meant about some level of DSP at the HU, seeing I don't have an external amp. It's doing something to process the signal at the HU in order to screw with lower frequencies at speaker level outputs.
 

·
Registered
2021 Crosstrek Limited
Joined
·
1,967 Posts
  • Like
Reactions: JRHAWK9

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,355 Posts
Thanks.

Looks like your '21 Sport had stock 6x9's up front. I thought mine has a 6 1/2" up front. Maybe mine will also have a 6x9 up front. I'm also assuming your speakers are powered off your head unit as well and you don't have an external amp like the HK or RF upgrades do? I'm betting our cars have the same stock stereo setup.

So you used 6x8's up front and 5 1/4's in the rear? The Infinity's you posted pictures of are 6x8's and 5 1/4" speakers.

Here are what I am using to replace the OEM speakers with:

6x9's: KICKER | KS Series 6x9" 3-Way Coaxial
6 3/4"'s: KICKER | KS Series 6.75" Coax
3.5's: KICKER | KS Series 3.5" Coax

Luckily Crutchfield had them all in stock when I placed the order a couple days ago. I will be installing them on Saturday.
yeah i just swapped the speakers. i had shop do it. i've used the same shop for 30 years. they know the drill :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,725 Posts
I agree, that's what I meant about some level of DSP at the HU, seeing I don't have an external amp. It's doing something to process the signal at the HU in order to screw with lower frequencies at speaker level outputs.
Ah, I understand now. The DSP title is reserved for addon items, stuff like this.

Omitting manual bass/treble adjustments, the head unit is not actually processing a signal; it only reads the input, converts it to a modulated signal and amplifies it. The head unit reduces bass in accordance with a logic based volume threshold, as set by somebody, somewhere, sometime. E.g., volume 1 = user baseline, volume 5 = -1 bass, volume 10 = -3 bass.

A DSP's sole purpose is to manipulate the frequencies within the signal, based on maths and personal taste. While they can function as an amplifier, that's a 2-in-1 solution which is not required for true processing. Those who have an external amplifier, should never buy a DSP/amp, unless you really enjoy matching gains across a chain of devices <shudder>.

Many, if not most, OEM units have bass reduction built in (I don't know about aftermarket). This is for two reasons; first, in all but what I assume would be luxury/high end cars, OEM speakers typically don't do well with increased volume. Too much power equals too much heat, which equals a burnt out voice coil; this is called overdriving. Secondly, OEM head units are designed to be capable, but they're not designed to rattle bones. In other words, high bass demands, and therefore high energy demands, exceed the built-in amp's capability to reproduce a complete modulated signal, resulting in the dreaded clip. Clipping changes the signal from an AC to DC current, forcing the voice coil to rapidly vibrate in one direction causing elevated heat, and eventually blowing the coil.

307494
 

·
Registered
2021 Crosstrek Limited
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Ah, I understand now. The DSP title is reserved for addon items, stuff like this.

Omitting manual bass/treble adjustments, the head unit is not actually processing a signal; it only reads the input, converts it to a modulated signal and amplifies it. The head unit reduces bass in accordance with a logic based volume threshold, as set by somebody, somewhere, sometime. E.g., volume 1 = user baseline, volume 5 = -1 bass, volume 10 = -3 bass.

A DSP's sole purpose is to manipulate the frequencies within the signal, based on maths and personal taste. While they can function as an amplifier, that's a 2-in-1 solution which is not required for true processing. Those who have an external amplifier, should never buy a DSP/amp, unless you really enjoy matching gains across a chain of devices <shudder>.

Many, if not most, OEM units have bass reduction built in (I don't know about aftermarket). This is for two reasons; first, in all but what I assume would be luxury/high end cars, OEM speakers typically don't do well with increased volume. Too much power equals too much heat, which equals a burnt out voice coil; this is called overdriving. Secondly, OEM head units are designed to be capable, but they're not designed to rattle bones. In other words, high bass demands, and therefore high energy demands, exceed the built-in amp's capability to reproduce a complete modulated signal, resulting in the dreaded clip. Clipping changes the signal from an AC to DC current, forcing the voice coil to rapidly vibrate in one direction causing elevated heat, and eventually blowing the coil.

View attachment 307494
thanks!

I was into car audio years ago and understand clipping and all that.

I used logarithmic paper to map out the frequency response of some passive crossovers I put together.

I knew DSP was not the correct term, but I did not know how the OEM HU's do what they do. I know my Civic's HU did the same thing with bass.

I just know if I want a decent system and want to keep my original HU I would need something along the lines of the Audio Control LC7i to be able to sum different bandwidth signals to create full bandwidth ones. It would also allow for "adding back in" the lower frequencies in which the HU takes away. I'm just not willing to go all in on a system for this car. I don't feel like taking half the interior apart and having to run a bunch of wires, even though I know it's the only way to get a decent sounding system. If I were going that route, I would have bought 6x9 separates for the front doors/dash and midbass drivers for the rear doors and a sub all being powered off an amp or two after the LC7i. Heck maybe even throw in a DSP. Or just use a Audio Control d-6.1200 for everything.


Now, this brings up another question about swapping out speakers. The front door speakers and front dash tweeters (high impedance) are wired in parallel I'm assuming. This means that replacing them with 4ohm drivers that the HU will now be seeing a 2ohm load (where they are duplicating the same frequencies). This will increase the power output of the HU (at those shared frequencies) and at the same time increase distortion and heat. Does anyone know if the HU's amp can take it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,725 Posts
No worries. When I reply to most things here, I try to do it from the perspective of a third party. It can annoy OPs, who sometimes think that I think they're stupid, and it makes for excess reading, but it's intended to help someone unexperienced who stumbled onto any given thread.

I had an LC7i and it was awesome. I put it in the dash cavity, below the radio, but today, it's boxed in the basement with the original head unit. I considered selling it, but the wife may like it in her anticipated 2023 Crosstrek. I found the Crosstrek to be the easiest vehicle in which I've installed audio.. except for an ATV.
 

·
Registered
2021 Crosstrek Limited
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
@Doca ,do you know anything about this?

Now, this brings up another question about swapping out speakers. The front door speakers and front dash tweeters (high impedance) are wired in parallel I'm assuming. This means that replacing them with 4ohm drivers that the HU will now be seeing a 2ohm load (where they are duplicating the same frequencies). This will increase the power output of the HU (at those shared frequencies) and at the same time increase distortion and heat. Does anyone know if the HU's amp can take it?
 

·
Registered
2018 Subaru Crosstrek Premium/2020 Subaru Forester Sport
Joined
·
130 Posts
@JRHAWK9,
I have kicker ks 3.5” and 6x9 in front door in our 18 crosstrek. According to the kicker, both of them are 3.5 ohm rated. The head unit has no problem handle the set up. I also had the Rockford forsgate 3.5” and 6x9 both 4ohm in my 20 forester sport. Again, head unit has no issue handling them. Pump the volume level to 22 and no distortion or anything. With just the speakers upgrade, much clear sound. Kicker gives more bass then oem. Rf is clear but the low freq is not as low.
 

·
Registered
2021 Crosstrek Limited
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
@JRHAWK9,
I have kicker ks 3.5” and 6x9 in front door in our 18 crosstrek. According to the kicker, both of them are 3.5 ohm rated. The head unit has no problem handle the set up. I also had the Rockford forsgate 3.5” and 6x9 both 4ohm in my 20 forester sport. Again, head unit has no issue handling them. Pump the volume level to 22 and no distortion or anything. With just the speakers upgrade, much clear sound. Kicker gives more bass then oem. Rf is clear but the low freq is not as low.
Glad to hear! Thanks for chiming in. I have my 3.5's mounted in the dash, I plan on doing the doors tomorrow. :)
 

·
Registered
2018 Subaru Crosstrek Premium/2020 Subaru Forester Sport
Joined
·
130 Posts
most of the newer head unit can handle effectively 2 ohm front and 4 ohm back. In fact, if you have premium or higher with 6 speakers, it is effectively 2 ohm front channel.
I would suggest you put the sound deadening mat on the outer door panel through the speaker hole. Just a 6x6 will quiet down the outside noise a lot.
 

·
Registered
2021 Crosstrek Limited
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Got everything installed. I used the Kicker mounting brackets included with my 6x9's...the screw holes for the speakers lined up MUCH better than the ones I got free from Crutchfield. I just had to do some minor trimming of the bracket to get it to fit around some bolt heads. I also cut off all the unused tabs from all the brackets.

It definitely doesn't sound as muddy as it did before, but it's definitely lacking bass (as was the stock system). It gets worse the more you turn up the volume due to the stupid HU cutting bass. Probably wasn't worth the ~$450 I have in the speakers, but o well. It almost seems the stock speakers were more efficient as well. They seemed to play a hair bit louder at lower volumes. I could be wrong, as just going off of memory.

Too bad the HU cuts bass, as if it didn't the system would sound SOOO much better at higher volumes.
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top