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Discussion Starter #181
Thank you both for the suggestions. I went ahead and completed the 504 update myself, and I can tell that there is a subtle difference to the quality. I feel like no matter what I do with switching the settings around, the highs make my ears want to bleed. I will try both of your setups to see how it goes. I was hoping that the speaker upgrade would be enough to satisfy me, so I am still crossing fingers that after they break in and I get them dialed in just right - we will be good!
With all EQ settings flat and all of the DSP stuff turned off, try lowering the treble as far down as it goes, play music at a comfortable listening volume, then gradually increase the treble until it sounds right. To me the difference between -3 and -4 is significant, and if you're trying to "listen" it may not seem as dramatic but if you just "feel" the music and the distress on your ears you will notice that at a certain point the highs go from comfortable to uncomfortable, then back it down one. After that you can play with the mids and the bass, DSP, whatever.
 

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2020 Outback Limited XT Black on Ivory
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The fact that I've had to spend $620 + $90 for the tweeters to get a $35K car to "acceptable" sound quality kind of pisses me off. Even after all the upgrades, I think the sound is slightly worse than a $200 Vizio sound bar system, and much worse than even a $200 set of headphones; granted some of that is just due to the acoustic challenges inside a car. Subaru really dropped the ball in this department.
I really think that Subaru should make either the RF or HK systems standard in the Onyx. It's their 3rd most expensive trim level (out of 7) for crying out loud. Allot of folks (myself included) like the Onyx but get turned off based on the rock bottom sound system they use, At least now, partially due to threads like this, more is known about the results of RF and aftermarket solutions. Back when I was shopping in Nov 19, there was virtually nothing known about upgrading the system. That said, I still would love to be able to hear a base, base+RF and HK system side by side at the dealership (or even online). Subaru needs to figure out how to allow their customers to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter #183
I still would love to be able to hear a base, base+RF and HK system side by side at the dealership (or even online). Subaru needs to figure out how to allow their customers to do that.
Leaving those lame tweeters when you do the RF upgrade is another problem. It should have upgraded tweeters and have the system voiced to match rather than leaving us to try to hobble together a decent combo.
 

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2020 Outback Limited XT Black on Ivory
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Leaving those lame tweeters when you do the RF upgrade is another problem. It should have upgraded tweeters and have the system voiced to match rather than leaving us to try to hobble together a decent combo.
Agreed. They would likely sell more RF system upgrades if there were decent tweeters included as well. When I was considering an Onyx, I looked at the $620 (installed) RF system and saw what I considered a "bare bones" upgrade with two door speakers and an amp. Beyond cost, I thought "Well, how good can that be?" It seemed to me like the upgrade was marketed towards "Walmart audiophiles " wanting more volume and base vs an overall quality sound stage. I certainly would have been more tempted if the upgrade was a component speaker set with crossovers and an amp. I'm not knocking the RF systems performance (as I have never heard one) but am knocking the thinking at SoA on the way they approach quality sound in all their trims. Even the top HK system had it's woes as delivered. As stated above [email protected] (and others here in the past), when your dropping $35-$40K on a new upper trim model car, the last thing a buyer should be thinking is how fast they can change out the speakers.... Shutting up now......
 

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Agreed, Subaru sound sucks. But the RF upgrade wasn't $600 either. I've seen it as low as $350 and mostly between $400-$500 as a factory ordered accessory, and thats before negotiating on the full car price. That dealers aren't stocking options people want is on the dealer. Maybe they want to be able to charge the labor for profit reasons

In other words, the base system sucks and RF kinda sucks as an upgrade compared to upgraded systems of other makes. But the "degree of difference in sound quality" and the price is pretty typical, you're just starting from a lower bar, lol.

RF + tweeters is solid, IMO, but I wouldnt call it good. It's clear and has some bass. But a little harsh and "faky" sounding. I'm still satisfied with it. A true audiophile should go aftermarket.

Where they dropped the ball, I think, is not making it possible for people in an Onyx to pay for a larger upgrade, like HK. Many prefer the Onyx trim to limited and touring trims for other reasons (front camera, dual mode x-mode, better seats, looks). But you cant get those things and get top notch audio at the same time, even though Subaru does carry all of these options on outbacks. In other words, there's no such thing as fully loaded, which is weird.
 

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2020 Ice Silver Outback Premium
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Ok so I found something very interesting. When I compare audio quality between CarPlay, Bluetooth and USB - there is a remarkable difference. CarPlay and Bluetooth almost cuts the volume in half. I have to turn the volume up to at least 30 before I’d have to raise my voice to speak to a passenger to be heard over the music. When I play audio using the USB thumb stick, I’d have to raise my voice around 20. The highs are much less harsh when I use the thumb stick as well.

The quality of audio from the thumb stick is what I’m trying to achieve using CarPlay or Bluetooth, as I’m a Spotify user and that’s my preferred method of music listening. Anyone have any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #187
The only thing I can think of that would cause this would be if the phone is set for low output (the volume control on the phone itself) have you tried increasing phone volume while using carplay and bluetooth to see if it has an effect?
 

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2020 Outback Onyx XT, 2007 Outback 2.5
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Ok so I found something very interesting. When I compare audio quality between CarPlay, Bluetooth and USB - there is a remarkable difference. CarPlay and Bluetooth almost cuts the volume in half. I have to turn the volume up to at least 30 before I’d have to raise my voice to speak to a passenger to be heard over the music. When I play audio using the USB thumb stick, I’d have to raise my voice around 20. The highs are much less harsh when I use the thumb stick as well.

The quality of audio from the thumb stick is what I’m trying to achieve using CarPlay or Bluetooth, as I’m a Spotify user and that’s my preferred method of music listening. Anyone have any ideas?
Any chance this is app related? I know over bluetooth in my Gen 3 I get substantially more volume from Pandora compared with any other audio app.
 

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2020 Onyx XT Autumn Green
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The only thing I can think of that would cause this would be if the phone is set for low output (the volume control on the phone itself) have you tried increasing phone volume while using carplay and bluetooth to see if it has an effect?
This. I used to have to crank up my media volume on my Samsung S9 with my Ascent. I have not streamed with the Onyx yet but I would think it is the same.
 

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I am planning to install the Alpine R-S69.2 speakers into my Onyx XT. I have already installed the kicker tweeter kit on the dash. I have the Alpine's but probably won't install for a week or two.

On the third page of the Alpine speaker's manual there is a warning: "This product contains a high performance tweeter. If there is a tweeter already installed in your car, then you must disconnect its terminals. If you leave the original tweeter connected and connect this product in parallel, then a fault may develop in this product, so you are strongly recommended not to do so."

I remember seeing some previous posts about there being some frequency interference or harsh tone and also posts about the tweeters being in parallel with the door speakers. Anyone try to disconnect the dash tweeters when upgrading to the Alpine speakers or any aftermarket 2-way or 3 way speakers? Does it improve the overall sound?
 

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Discussion Starter #191
I am planning to install the Alpine R-S69.2 speakers into my Onyx XT. I have already installed the kicker tweeter kit on the dash. I have the Alpine's but probably won't install for a week or two.

On the third page of the Alpine speaker's manual there is a warning: "This product contains a high performance tweeter. If there is a tweeter already installed in your car, then you must disconnect its terminals. If you leave the original tweeter connected and connect this product in parallel, then a fault may develop in this product, so you are strongly recommended not to do so."

I remember seeing some previous posts about there being some frequency interference or harsh tone and also posts about the tweeters being in parallel with the door speakers. Anyone try to disconnect the dash tweeters when upgrading to the Alpine speakers or any aftermarket 2-way or 3 way speakers? Does it improve the overall sound?
I have both the Alpines and the Kickers in my car - and they work fine together but I have my treble set to either -3 or -4 in the head unit. I thought about that warning and ignored it and my thinking was this: The stock tweeter was 4 ohm and so is the Kicker. The Alpines are 4 ohm and so were the stock door speakers. I've been using this combo for 6 months with no problems.

First I had the alpines with the stock tweeters. The sound was better, but the soundstage was dragged down because of the alpine tweeters. It didn't go to the floor, but it was noticeable. I found that the highs still didn't sound crisp and dynamic so I added the kicker tweeters afterwards. When I installed the kicker tweeters I did a listening comparison of Alpine + stock tweeter vs Alpine + kicker tweeters and much preferred the Alpine + Kicker.

Notably, I have never heard the combination of Kicker tweeters with stock door speakers, or with the Rockford Fosgate upgrade. People with the RF (which isn't a coaxial) seem to like the Kicker tweeter combination since the stock tweeter is so lacking.

Since you have the Onyx, have you considered adding the sound deadening from the Limited and Touring trims? If I had known about them before my install, I would have put them in.

 

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I have both the Alpines and the Kickers in my car - and they work fine together but I have my treble set to either -3 or -4 in the head unit. I thought about that warning and ignored it and my thinking was this: The stock tweeter was 4 ohm and so is the Kicker. The Alpines are 4 ohm and so were the stock door speakers. I've been using this combo for 6 months with no problems.

First I had the alpines with the stock tweeters. The sound was better, but the soundstage was dragged down because of the alpine tweeters. It didn't go to the floor, but it was noticeable. I found that the highs still didn't sound crisp and dynamic so I added the kicker tweeters afterwards. When I installed the kicker tweeters I did a listening comparison of Alpine + stock tweeter vs Alpine + kicker tweeters and much preferred the Alpine + Kicker.

Notably, I have never heard the combination of Kicker tweeters with stock door speakers, or with the Rockford Fosgate upgrade. People with the RF (which isn't a coaxial) seem to like the Kicker tweeter combination since the stock tweeter is so lacking.

Since you have the Onyx, have you considered adding the sound deadening from the Limited and Touring trims? If I had known about them before my install, I would have put them in.

Thank you for the feedback regarding the tweeter warning. I have a feeling that the stock head unit doesn't have enough power to overload the tweeters but wanted to see what others have experienced.

I am using the kicker tweeters with the stock speakers for the last couple days and I did notice significantly improved definition/clarity in upper end. I also felt that the stereo image was raised in the car but it was also even more apparent that the stock speakers are just not good at all. The kicker tweeters are accentuating the stock door speakers being very flat in middle and just about no lows. I am looking forward to getting the Alpines installed to bring a better balance with added mid range and lows, and then I can tweak it with eq if needed. I had used Crutchfield's speaker demo and really liked the Alpine's dynamic range across pretty much all styles of music compared to other options in similar pricing.

I had seen your earlier posts and have ordered the sound deadening already (thanks for the suggestion!).That is mainly what I am waiting for to finish this project.

My original plan was to self-install the RF kit but in the end decided to just replace the speakers to try to get a better frequency response. Basically this will cut the cost in half and I don't have to take the dash apart. Also I tend not to be a fan of DSP's in general - always sounds fake to me. I prefer to keep signal processing to a minimum if possible (although I'm sure the stock head unit has it's own undefeatable processing).
 

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2020 Outback Onyx XT - Autumn Green - Navigation
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Outstanding!!!

Cris90- Thank you for all this info and the link to the harness. I just bought that one as I talked to my installer he said he will use the harness if I can find one that works.

Umbra Vipera - Thank you too for the rear pic of the headunit that really drives it home for what is needed.

I am sure this will help alot of people that are trying to get better sound!
New Subaru owner & member here!

@Doomed @Cris90 -- Can either of you confirm that the harness Cris90 originally linked to on Amazon was the correct harness for the 2020 with factory navigation? I'm having a hard time finding a concrete answer on the wiring harness online. I know someone on the forums here used the Metra 70-1761 and 71-1761 to do the install but I'm not sure if anything changed with the 2020 model.

I already replaced the tweeters with the factory Kicker tweeters, put Kicker CS 6x9s in the front doors, and Kicker CS 6.5" in the rear doors. All of those installs have been covered in pretty good detail on here already so I wont bother writing anything up but I'll plan on doing my first write up on a Pioneer GM-DX975 5 channel amp install. I'll also be using an Audio Control LC7i, as well as a 10" kicker sub mounted in a box that fits in the spare wheel under the floor. Much to Crutchfield supports dismay, I'll be using the factory speaker wire. They strongly recommended running new wire for anything over 50 watts RMS but I've seen several forums where people have had no issues running 75-100 watts with no issue. My theory is to try it and if I'm having issues with the sound quality I can upgrade the wire later. I've searched the forums and internet and it seems like we all need an install write up on a 2020.
 

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I got confused because it sounded like there was so much mid-bass from the dash area but must be the front doors I'm hearing. That's great news the dash speaker stock plug connectors are compatible.
 

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Subaruonline parts.com says not compatible for vehicles with Eyesight for those Kicker tweeters. Wondering why they say that, is it because the fit requires minor modification? The Ohm rating should be the same.
 

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I could have sworn there isa speaker there. Especially after 504. @SilverOnyx , you have upgraded audio right? Could it be that base audio has a speaker there?
I have an HK system in my Ltd and can say that 504 seemed to bring more of the sound off top dead center of the dash and into the doors ( which in my case, de-emphasized the middle speaker). The sound still seems like it's coming from the dash but separation is better and the sound field isn't so focused to the center. It also runs louder where now setting 17 seems like 22 used to be,. ( My thought is they turned up the gain and tweaked some filter points on the front door speakers to accomplish this but that's just a WAG) My guess would be that they did similar in in the non-HK systems as well give the reported improvement in sound on those platforms.
 

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Discussion Starter #200
I could have sworn there isa speaker there. Especially after 504. @SilverOnyx , you have upgraded audio right? Could it be that base audio has a speaker there?
My car came with whatever the Onyx comes with - no Rockford Fosgate upgrade. I think the Base has no tweeters and no center speaker. Subaru states that the Base comes with 4 speakers not 5, and the Premium/Onyx has 6 speakers not 7.

Harman Kardon system has 12 speakers, but they're counting coaxials as having 2 speakers, and the subwoofer as one speaker and the center channel as one speaker, so that's why it's an even number and not odd.
 
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