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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everybody. This is my first post on the forum, so please don't be harsh if I violate some unspoken rules. I own a late 2017 (2018 model year) Subaru XV base EU trim (it is similar to NA's Premium with 6.5 Radio and sans EyeSight).
Plans
Although I enjoy the car I still want to improve some things:
1. Lightweight rims (bought used BBS RG345 from Japan)
2. Strut brace and front support kit and flexible draw stiffener
3. STi exhaust (least likely to actually buy)
4. Audio - while I dont care about the 8 inch screen and Nav, I do care about the sound quality, which is just OK.

Please help me answer two questions below if you have any experience with installing/upgrading stereo.

I have been reading the forum and have came out with upgrade strategy, that would allow me to stop when I reach desired level of quality. The audio upgrade priorities are:
1. Keep as stock as possible (to revert back if needed)
2. Minimise power consumption
3. Prioritise mids and high-end vs bass.

The approach is below:
Stage 1. Install 4-channel D-class compact amplifier behind the stock HU. This is the stage I am at. Will ask for the advise below.
Stage 2. Upgrade speakers
Stage 3. Install DSP between the amp and the HU.
Stage 4. Install Subwoofer in the trunk or under the front seat.

So the current questions are:
1. Is the head unit ISO-compatible? I am asking because I am selecting essentially between Focal 4.320 and 4.350 with prior being ISO compatible (please see the picture below) and the latter being slightly better quality-wise. If I am not able to use ISO compatibility as a direct plug-n-play, then I'll go for 4.350.
2. Speaker-wise which option should I go for (retaining stock wiring):
a) dash (3.5 inch coaxials), FD (6.5 inch coaxials), RD (6.5 inch coaxials) - all Focal Performance series
b) dash + FD (6.5 composite with tweeters replacing dash speakers), RD (6.5 coaxials)

Thank you for the patience to read the long post. I will edit it in future to turn into upgrade guide for a noob like me. Also will translate it to Russian to feed them the information as well.
 

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I'll just suggest that you spend the money up front to accomplish what you want so that you don't have to buy more stuff at another point in time.

You mention an amp and a DSP, you could do those separately at different times, makes it cheaper to start off but only buying one thing up front, or you could make your life easier, wiring easier, etc, by doing it right the first time. You could use something like the AudioControl D-6.1200 for an all in one amp & dsp unit. Higher cost but easier to work with.

I am using a LC-6.1200 which suits my needs, which was purchased after an LC7i and separate amp, when I should have just bought the 6.1200 in the first place.
 

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Hello and welcome!

I actually have no idea what a ISO compatible amp is but that wire will not plug into the OEM Harman headunit.
If doing the install over time, I suggest speakers fist, amp second. I'd hate to hear that you blew your OEM cones out and have to wait for the replacements.

No comment on the DSP as I don't find value except for competition cars and people who have way too much money.

You wont be able to retain OEM speaker connectors but adapter connectors are available. I'm not sure of a supplier for you but Crutchfield has them.
I like both speak options.

I put focal PS 165f in my front door. I mounted the tweeters in the door beside the 6.5", directed up towards the head and put infinity reference 3.5" mid's in the dash holes.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Nice, thank you for the ideas. Indeed I'll most likely will go for the amp and speakers at the same time.
It's good to know that 3.5 co-axials actually fit under the dash grills.

The head is not a N/K unit though. Its a regular 6.5 unit with 6 speakers. I know that technically it is still made by HK, but its not part of the HK package which is not available here.
 

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There's always confusion on Harman and HK. Harman ((International) makes electronics including all the Subaru head units. Their subsidiary, Harman Kardon, makes stereo components such as speakers< DSP and amps.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
okay, got it. What wiring harness did you use for the HU? Do I assume correctly that on the picture the leftmost connector is for the FD+dash, the one next to the right is RD and the biggest white connector is for controls.

PS. sorry, yes I am totally new to car stereo. But I can brag about oil, tyres and rims for ages =)
 

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They didn’t have a harness when I did mine. A few months later I found this one would have gotten if it was available at the time:
There‘s more manufacturers today.

the leftmost connector has power, acc, lighting, front speakers and ground. The rear speakers are the second from the left And yes, the long narrow center 30 pin is car communication. That head unit looks like a Harman G3.1 because unless I’m mistaken, and I don’t want to go reverify, it has a satellite radio antenna wire. It’s one of the 2 thick black ones on the left. the 6.5 G3.1s come in two models, one with sat radio and one without. I think sat radio one also has a CD player.

Regardless, the 2018 model has the Harman 3.0 and it will not have one of those wires Because it did not have a sat radio option.

Check out my signature block for pretty much everything you’ll need to know about an audio upgrade.

No, worries. We all started somewhere. The last big upgrade I did was in 1996 with a Chev Beretta. I didn’t touch my VW but went through a lot of learning with Stamford.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you guys. Have read a lot in the past week. The things started to clear a little.

My mind still wonders back and forward between
A) Co-axial 4 inch in dash and coaxial 6*9 inch in the doors
B) Focal Plug and Play Component upgrade for Toyota, which supposedly should fit our car as well (everything looks good on paper). This set has crossover mounted on the 6*9 speaker and tweeter installed via provided bracket in the dash. The question is - if they are connected in parallel and only the woofer has some sort of crossover, does it mean that tweeter will be left playing the full range. I do not expect this poor solution from such a reputable company as Focal.

For now I'm more procoaxial because I feel that money will go to more watts (which I know is BS) and that I will not need to do crossovers at all (coaxials have them by design)
 

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Thank you guys. Have read a lot in the past week. The things started to clear a little.

My mind still wonders back and forward between
A) Co-axial 4 inch in dash and coaxial 6*9 inch in the doors
B) Focal Plug and Play Component upgrade for Toyota, which supposedly should fit our car as well (everything looks good on paper). This set has crossover mounted on the 6*9 speaker and tweeter installed via provided bracket in the dash. The question is - if they are connected in parallel and only the woofer has some sort of crossover, does it mean that tweeter will be left playing the full range. I do not expect this poor solution from such a reputable company as Focal.

For now I'm more procoaxial because I feel that money will go to more watts (which I know is BS) and that I will not need to do crossovers at all (coaxials have them by design)

The crossover should be specifically for the tweeter but specifically, which Focals are you looking at? I'd like to see how its designed so I can try to answer the question.

Yeah, Toybaru seems to share supply chains so they might drop right in however.... OEM upgrades are rarely as easy on the wallet as other suppliers for better gear. Seek out better Focals from other sources. There should be plenty of sales this time of year.

I used PS 165F's in mine. I put the 6.5" and tweeters in the door, pointed up, (for concern that the dash placement would be too bright),and then I dropped infinity 3.5" mids in the dash.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The crossover should be specifically for the tweeter but specifically, which Focals are you looking at? I'd like to see how its designed so I can try to answer the question.

Yeah, Toybaru seems to share supply chains so they might drop right in however.... OEM upgrades are rarely as easy on the wallet as other suppliers for better gear. Seek out better Focals from other sources. There should be plenty of sales this time of year.

I used PS 165F's in mine. I put the 6.5" and tweeters in the door, pointed up, (for concern that the dash placement would be too bright),and then I dropped infinity 3.5" mids in the dash.
Hi, thanks for looking into this for me. The specific speakers are these: https://www.focal.com/en/car-audio/car-audio-kits-solutions/integration/plugplay/focal-toyotar/is-toy-690#documentation

The specifications sheet says 'Crossover Woofer: integrated; Tweeter: on line'. As far as I know Subaru does not put it in their circuit, so supposedly will have to sort it out myself. Also asked Focal on their support web page.

Re your suggestion to look for 165 components - I totally agree that they are better value, but I am a bit scared to do something wrong to the vehicle and want to make it as revertible as possible. I am a mechanical engineer by background and electrical engineering was a Chinese literacy for me from the yearly days in the Uni.

P.S. Today went to the dealer for 4 service campaigns. Got the HU flashed, which a bit improved high frequencies.
 

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My 2 cents, quality of sound first defined by speakers, so coaxial will not offer same quality like split unit. So if sound quality is the aim, there is no way you run same speaker and same wiring, because good speaker will need powerful amp to drive and this need bigger cable.
I am not sure for US model but for mine I am quite happy with the sound after adjusting the built in dsp and bass treble setting, the only caveat is you cant compare with system comes with sub and the volume setting must be on mid to mid high.

DSP is the magician on the mix but need professional to tune and without good speaker and amp, your yield is limited.
 

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My 2 cents, quality of sound first defined by speakers, so coaxial will not offer same quality like split unit. So if sound quality is the aim, there is no way you run same speaker and same wiring, because good speaker will need powerful amp to drive and this need bigger cable.
I am not sure for US model but for mine I am quite happy with the sound after adjusting the built in dsp and bass treble setting, the only caveat is you cant compare with system comes with sub and the volume setting must be on mid to mid high.

DSP is the magician on the mix but need professional to tune and without good speaker and amp, your yield is limited.
Hi, thanks for your thoughts. What DSP have you got? is it Rockford optional upgrade or the H/K unit?
 

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I had a look across various sources and while I believe the 690's will drop right in, I don't think they're a great choice.

The 690 tweeters have a capacitor mounted on the input positive wire, this is called an "in-line crossover" or an "in-line high pass filter".
The 690 woofers have a capacitor mounted on the speaker input terminal. They call it integrated but it's really an in-line "low pass filter".
Subaru has dash speaker in-line crossovers, like the 690 woofer, but none on the doors because those are mid-range speakers to reproduce most frequencies.

So, to answer the specific question "if they are connected in parallel and only the woofer has some sort of crossover, does it mean that tweeter will be left playing the full range", the tweeter will not try to reproduce full range audio because it has a filter.

I think the 690's would be an improvement over stock but @ $300 USD a set, I put them in the low-mid class of component speakers, perhaps even high-low because you're paying for plug-n-play with an OEM affiliate. Regardless...

If you drop one of each on the same radio channel, in parallel, there'll only be 2 ohms of resistance on the circuit. You probably don't need me to tell you but that'll mean more energy is being sent back to the head unit and more energy equals more heat. Even if only as a remote possibility, that could mean that you may fry the head unit at some point. Note the wording of that least sentence. I don't know the tolerances for the Harman unit but suspect it'll be fine.

You could customize the wiring to bypass the OEM circuit by capping one of the connectors and creating a series circuit from the door to the dash, or vice versa. In series, you'd have 8 ohms of resistance. This uses more energy than required but reduces heat and means that you'll have to turn the volume up to achieve the same noise level.

I agree with kr_xv about a component system being better than coaxial and needing an amplifier to get full benefit. That'll also address wiring job concerns. However, I disagree about having to upgrade the speaker wire. Yes, bigger wire means less heat but it doesn't necessarily affect the sound and heat is not extremely relevant until you boost volume by a very high degree, such as to enter a car audio competition. That's also how I feel about DSP's. Yeah, they're good but I feel that most people generally don't need them. After months of review and going between I don't need one and I have the cash so why not buy new toy, I decided that if I need to adjust any songs, I can do them manually with audio software to not have to worry about changing DSP profiles when Metallica is followed by Hank Williams Sr. and bought a new guitar instead.
 

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I'm not sure if this has been addressed, but your original post doesn't address how much SQ you are going for and how much time and money you are willing to spend. If you are serious and want to actually tune your own DSP, maybe check out Diymobileaudio forum (DIYMA).

Few notes on DSP:
  • Take a lot of time to figure out
  • Simplify the process by allowing you to not have to dick around with passive crossovers (this is why I got one.. Dayton DSP 408)
  • Once you get one you can't go back, so be careful.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I had a look across various sources and while I believe the 690's will drop right in, I don't think they're a great choice.

The 690 tweeters have a capacitor mounted on the input positive wire, this is called an "in-line crossover" or an "in-line high pass filter".
The 690 woofers have a capacitor mounted on the speaker input terminal. They call it integrated but it's really an in-line "low pass filter".
Subaru has dash speaker in-line crossovers, like the 690 woofer, but none on the doors because those are mid-range speakers to reproduce most frequencies.

So, to answer the specific question "if they are connected in parallel and only the woofer has some sort of crossover, does it mean that tweeter will be left playing the full range", the tweeter will not try to reproduce full range audio because it has a filter.

I think the 690's would be an improvement over stock but @ $300 USD a set, I put them in the low-mid class of component speakers, perhaps even high-low because you're paying for plug-n-play with an OEM affiliate. Regardless...

If you drop one of each on the same radio channel, in parallel, there'll only be 2 ohms of resistance on the circuit. You probably don't need me to tell you but that'll mean more energy is being sent back to the head unit and more energy equals more heat. Even if only as a remote possibility, that could mean that you may fry the head unit at some point. Note the wording of that least sentence. I don't know the tolerances for the Harman unit but suspect it'll be fine.

You could customize the wiring to bypass the OEM circuit by capping one of the connectors and creating a series circuit from the door to the dash, or vice versa. In series, you'd have 8 ohms of resistance. This uses more energy than required but reduces heat and means that you'll have to turn the volume up to achieve the same noise level.

I agree with kr_xv about a component system being better than coaxial and needing an amplifier to get full benefit. That'll also address wiring job concerns. However, I disagree about having to upgrade the speaker wire. Yes, bigger wire means less heat but it doesn't necessarily affect the sound and heat is not extremely relevant until you boost volume by a very high degree, such as to enter a car audio competition. That's also how I feel about DSP's. Yeah, they're good but I feel that most people generally don't need them. After months of review and going between I don't need one and I have the cash so why not buy new toy, I decided that if I need to adjust any songs, I can do them manually with audio software to not have to worry about changing DSP profiles when Metallica is followed by Hank Williams Sr. and bought a new guitar instead.
Thats a very comprehensive answer, sir. Most probably now I will spend more time drawing up my setup. In the end I dont have to do it tomorrow =)

Thank you for stopping me from getting the 690's. I'll most likely go component 6.5 way.
 

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Thanks. I'm not always the brightest but sometimes I'm wordy; can be good or bad.

Take you time, find the right gear and you'll enjoy it much more.
I still regret my first amp purchase but I bought it a month before the 18's were available Canada.
 

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Hi, thanks for your thoughts. What DSP have you got? is it Rockford optional upgrade or the H/K unit?
I just use built in DSP come with the head unit because I am still on the sideline before putting another 3k to revamp the whole setup
 
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