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2014 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited w/Nav
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Discussion Starter #1
I recently purchased a 2014 Outback 2.5i Limited w/Nav and the Premium HK audio system. During the test drives I thought the sound system would suffice, but after driving it more the current audio configuration aggravates a condition with my left ear that gives me headaches, etc. I had a similar situation in a previous vehicle and the fix was to push the midrange away from the dash and back down into the doors, and install better components with tweeters I can aim.

That's all fine and good, but the HK system makes replacing the speakers a real headache because of the amp crossover configuration. There's no midrange going to the doors. So, as a test I would like to bypass the amp and install new components (with their own crossovers) to see if that resolves my issue.

This leads to two questions:
1. I'm assuming the output of the factory nav head unit is speaker level output, but can anyone confirm?
2. I would like to create a custom wiring harness by the amp to connect the wires feeding the amp input (speaker level output from the head unit) to the wires feeding the speakers. Is this a bad idea, and does anyone have any idea where to get connectors that will match up with the wiring harness connectors that are there now? Is there a better way to do this?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I love the vehicle with the exception of this issue.

Thanks.
 

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2015 2.5i Limited Carbide Gray
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When I installed the Kenwood unit into my Limited I connected the RCA's from the Kenwood to the inputs of the amp, so they are not speaker level even though they aren't in the form of RCA's. Bypassing the amp will work but it will be very (and I mean very) low output that may not even be audible. If you care that much about how it sounds I would look at replacing the speakers and amp, and H/U depending on what you like about the OEM setup.

I never got around to replacing the speakers but I would verify that the signal coming out of the amp is split (midbass and tweeter signal separate) or if it's a common signal to the kick where it splits to the tweeter with a cap on it for low frequency protection.

Welcome to the forums, and a wonderful car, and to the biggest gripe of the cars.
 

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2014 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited w/Nav
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply, lashlee. All of the installers I talked to were telling me it was speaker level output, but after looking at the service manual diagrams and the connector wires it just wasn't ringing true. It's nice to have confirmation.

Based on the wiring diagrams, the wires from the amp to the doors are separate from the dash. The connector layouts basically confirm it. I ran some test tones through the system to see what the cutoff is, and the door speakers went silent just after 500 Hz, so the bulk of the sound is coming from the dash speakers. If the dash speakers were better quality the whole arrangement might actually work, but having the majority of the sound come from low quality 2.5" speakers leaves something to be desired. I investigated putting some nice 3.5" coax speakers in the dash, but there just isn't enough room without major modification. And it most likely wouldn't address the staging issue that makes my left ear go crazy.

I'm off to find an amp. It's the right answer and will hopefully also help get the boomy bass back under control, I was just hoping to set up a proof-of-concept first. I'm fine with the head unit if I can actually deal with a couple of these issues. Time will tell.

Agreed...it's a wonderful car. They just missed the boat on the audio.

Thanks again.
 

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2015 2.5i Limited Carbide Gray
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When we had ours I looked at replacing the speakers, as well as the amp. I had a set of Hertz hi energy 3 ways with the 3" midrange that looked like it would fit in the dash and I was going to make a set of pillar mounts for the tweeters. If you are that serious I would look at an entire replacement to get the sound that you crave.
 

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2014 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited w/Nav
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Discussion Starter #5
I should have typed "off to find an amp and speakers". The speakers will definitely get replaced along with the amp. I haven't heard anything from Hertz...will have to check them out.

I'm still holding out hope for the head unit, but that dream could rapidly fade away also.
 
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