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We just bought a new 2012 2.5i Premium yesterday, with the bluetooth setup. It's our first Subaru. (We're Honda people. Until now, anyway.) I'm no audiophile, but the base sound system is crummy. Very flat and tinny. I've adjusted the (hollow, booming) bass, treble, and mid-range, but I can't get good sound out of this thing. It's worse than my 10-year-old Honda Accord with broken front speakers. Am I missing a setting somewhere, perhaps? Or, if we should just upgrade, what's recommended?

I found an old thread here on the 2010 Forester base sound system that just recommended installing new tweeters. Anyone tried something like that with the 2012? It would be nice not to have to replace the entire dash unit (I don't know the proper names for these things), since I've heard the aftermarket microphones aren't any good.

Anyway, suggestions welcome.
 

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The 2012 Premium already has the tweeters installed, so Fatabbot's suggestion won't help.

I have the same set-up as you - 2012 Premium with the non-HK stereo. I wouldn't call the system flat and tinny (and if I thought it was, tweeters would NOT be the solution,) but I agree that the bass is pretty booming - overly resonant at certain frequencies but overall unfocused and with very little punch.

I haven't done this yet, but my plan is to first install an underseat subwoofer. In theory, this should shift the bass load from the speakers, which really can't handle it. In turn, that should free up some power and bandwidth to let the speakers work a little better in the frequency range they're designed for.

If that doesn't get the system sounding good enough for my purposes, I'll probably swap out the entire stereo system sometime next year.

Normally I would look at the speakers first, as in any audio system the transducer ends of the chain are where you can make the easiest and most significant improvements. However, from the reading I've done on this forum regarding the stereo system, it seems like most people are getting good results from swapping the head unit first.
 

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New head unit hands down. I've purchased 2 Pioneer Avic units for my last two cars and the difference in audio is astounding, even with just the stock speakers. The bluetooth Mic works just as well as any OEM unit I've ever used.
 

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I have the same car/stereo, and agreed that it sounded lousy. I replaced all 4 door speakers with Polks. 6501's in front and 651's in back. I also put vibration dampening material on the metal door panels around the speakers. The new speakers made a world of difference. I am quite happy with the sound now. My only complaint is that equalization on the radio and the USB inputs are MUCH different. When using the radio, I keep the bass/treble flat, or close to it. With the USB I have to turn bass and treble down quite a bit. (With the factory speakers, I ran bass/treble nearly flat on USB, and had to crank both way up when listening to the radio)

I left the factory tweeters in the dash, and mounted the separate Polk tweeters near the front door handles.
 

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No sure if anyone has mentioned this. I had the same problem. When I first got my car I had to wait a week for the 6-speed to be shipped up from Oregon, the dealer gave me a loaner 2011 OB premium with the standard stereo. I thought it sounded decent. Then when I got my car delivered I thought the stereo sounded much crappier. For 4 months I thought that the 2012 got downgraded speakers until the other day I found that the surround sound selection on my menu was turned off. I turned in on, and now its decent again, like the loaner was.

You should see an little "surround sound" indicator symbol under the Bluetooth symbol if its turned on.

Then again you might already have it on but still hate your stereo.
 

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I have the H/K system. I thought it was clear but lacked stereo separation. I bought a jbl ms-2 and it made a huge difference. The sound doesn't seem like it's all coming from the middle of the windshield anymore. However, it works much better on some songs than others. Other times, it takes away more bass than I prefer.
 
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