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I have a 2013 Outback 2.5i Limited with a harman/kardon radio. When I am driving listening to an AM radio station, the volume changes from soft to loud. The dealership told me that the sound changes to compensate for road noise. There is not any noticeable change in road noise on the roads I travel - not like going from paved to dirt at 60mph.
Also, there is a lot of repetition of words on an FM station. The announcer will be saying something like "today will be bright and sunny with a chance of rain" and my radio will say "today, today will be bright, bright and sunny with, with" etc. What does anyone think about this stuff?
 

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I never listen to AM but I have noticed that one of my favorite FM radio stations is right on the edge of good reception and it will switch from HD to normal radio frequently which causes a change in volume and sound quality. I have never noticed the echoing you're describing.
 

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2020 Touring XT, 2013 Outback Lim SAP 270K, 2003 Outback Lim MT 2.5L, 241K..
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Interesting - is there a way to stop it from switching from HD to normal? I don't know what HD is. We just bring up the screen and touch the FM radio station.
You could be talking about 2 different things with the volume change.

First of all, yes this HD thing is really annoying to me. I live in a town that is right on the edge of reception - so FM and AM switches constantly from HD to normal analog. The only way to stop it is to change the setting to ignore HD all the time, or hit the HD button manually when that happens and it turns that feature off for the moment.

But which radio do you have? Does the limited have 2 HK radios - depending on SAP or not - or is the HK only on the SAP?

The reason I ask is that it seems that the head units on the NON SAP cars (dont know if these are HK or not) have a setting called SVC that means "SPEED VOLUME CONTROL". This can be turned off but it generally adjusts the volume control based on speed (which will change road noise). Im an audio engineer that has made my living working on music and tv audio and I think this feature is really stupid (just my opinion). I dont like electronics thinking for me telling me how loud Id like to hear my music.
HOWEVER - looking at the manuals - it seems the Limited Special Appearance Package (SAP) HK radio has a setting called "SVC" - but it means "SOURCE VOLUME CONTROL". Very confusing they are both named SVC.

I could be mixing up which car has which head unit - it could be all the NAV packages have the HK with the SOURCE volume control setting.

Anyway - SOURCE VOLUME CONTROL only lets you set a different volume default setting for each diff source (FM, AM, SAT, USB, etc etc).

I dont know which one you have but if its the SPEED VOLUME CONTROL, then that is what your dealer was talking about and it CAN be turned off.

Again though, you may be just hearing the broadcast switching from HD to non HD automatically, which also can be turned off.
 

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2020 Touring XT, 2013 Outback Lim SAP 270K, 2003 Outback Lim MT 2.5L, 241K..
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BTW, "HD RADIO" is basically a digital signal that is broadcast along with the radio stations regular analog signal. Many stations are doing it - some arent. The head unit can detect if there is a digital signal also and switch to using THAT signal - which will be a clearer signal with less noise. Not to be confused with HDTV or all the other companies that jump on naming something HD because its a popular selling point now.

One thing HD radio tec hnology gives a station is the ability to broadcast MORE stations out on the same frequency. So for instance, KROQ, here in LA - has their normal station - and then if your head unit can pick up the digital "HD" signal also broadcast, then the head unit can let you switch from the regular broadcast, to a SECOND broadcast. You will see a button light up on the screen when you are getting an HD station and they have a second alternative broadcast - which KROQ has. That station uses the second broadcast to play much older songs than the regular broadcast.

Hope that helps
 
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