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  1. #1
    tjamz Guest

  2. #2
    tjamz Guest
    Thanks to Offset on nasioc.com for putting this together:

    offset’s Car Audio Manifesto

    This is my attempt at organizing and informing people on all basics of car audio; and the ways in which it applies to a Subaru. I hope that this can serve as the starting point for any car audio related question. If you are considering posting a general question, you may want to take some time and jump through some of these links as it will most likely answer your question. For anything not covered or something more specific however, feel free to post as there are several very helpful and knowledgeable people in these forums. I am including in this post the links to the primary Buyer’s Guide and FAQ posts that I have created; as well as several other links that cover various topics. If you there are any suggestions, comments, or criticisms of my FAQ postings please use this thread instead of the others to post in so that they may stay clean and this thread can see all of the activity. Also any requests on FAQs please post in here as well.

    Also, many of the most frequently asked questions on NASIOC can now be found in the third and fourth posts of this thread.

    Primary Car Audio Buyer’s Guides and FAQ
    Car Audio System Design and Selection FAQ (This one may take a while to get done, but I think when it is ready it will greatly help. For now try this link instead...)
    Head Unit Buyer’s Guide and FAQ
    Cabin Speaker Buyer’s Guide and FAQ
    Amplifier Buyer’s Guide and FAQ (includes Big 3 and alternator type of info)
    Subwoofer Buyer's Guide and FAQ (needs some revision now)
    Sound Deadening Buyer’s Guide and FAQ
    (Coming soon, but for now these are excellent posts...)
    Car Alarm Buyer’s Guide and FAQ
    (I hope to convince netZ to work with me on this one, it may take a while, until then these are the best posts for info...)
    Other Electronics (CB, police scanners, radar detectors, laser jammers)
    (No idea when this will happen, but it would be worthwhile I think)

    Car Audio shopping -
    First and foremost if you have the option of buying from a local car audio specialty shop I would recommend you considering that. This helps to promote local business, gives you good opportunity to see and hear the equipment in person, and it is generally easier to get support on any items purchased that way. However you should be a little cautious of Best Buy and Circuit City in terms of installations as their salesman and installers know less than they should (there are some exceptions, but there have been plenty of bad install stories about either of them).

    This is a listing of some Internet retailers who deal in car audio products. The first two listed are the only two who offer only authorized products. The rest are considered more ‘grey market’, which means that the manufacturer’s warranty may not be valid on an item purchased through them. However people still continue to buy from them due to the tremendous savings on the items they carry. Most do attempt to give their own warranty on products sold though. I have dealt with some of these retailers and have not personally had any problems yet. Just remember that it is like gambling, you pay less for an item but you also have less support and no factory warranty in case you run into problems.

    Of course there is also eBay which is a wonderful place to buy both used and new car audio equipment. I have bought stuff that way and have had no major problems as of yet. A lot of that is being an informed buyer and knowing what to look for in an auction to insure everything will work as expected. That comes with lots of experience in car audio.

  3. #3
    tjamz Guest
    Car Audio forums -
    If for some reason you want to do more research on car audio outside of these forums there are several other good car audio specific forums around. Here is a list of the better ones…

    Car Audio Installation -
    Car audio installation can be daunting for anyone knew, however it really is fairly simple. If you can change your oil you can probably install an amplifier. It does take a decent amount of effort if you have never done any installation work before, but between the links below and all of the help available around here you should be fine. Remember if you are really tentative but still want to try, consider buying from Crutchfield because their support is outstanding and they can walk you through most installs.

    Car Audio Troubleshooting -
    Troubleshooting can be one of the most frustrating parts of car audio. The last thing you want after getting everything where you think it goes is for it to not work correctly. As always there is plenty of help available in the forums, but please do some basic troubleshooting first. Use the link below as the basic run down on things to watch out for. You may want to read this before doing any install work as well so you can avoid certain possible problems ahead of time. If you do continue to have problems and want to post please make sure to include in your post all of the information you can. Information such as what the model of all of the equipment and have you have all connected; along with what you have already done to fix the problem yourself will help us help you quickly and effectively.
    A nice flowchart for determining the source of noise…
    A video showing how to use a make and use a muting plug to help locate the source of noise (11.5MB)…

    Extra Stuff -
    The best car audio information site on the internet in my opinion…
    Crutchfield’s list of articles (great for beginners)…

    Never forget about ScoobyMods.com either as they have quite a few good how-to articles…

    If all of this information just wasn’t enough for you here are a couple links to several links of articles and discussions on all different topics…
    and another...
    and another...

    If you get stuck on any terms used relating to car audio try going here first...

  4. #4
    tjamz Guest
    Frequently Asked Questions
    commonly asked here on NASIOC in the Car Audio section

    I would like to get a system, what do you recommend? What is the best ______?
    First, decide how much of a change you want from what you currently have. Do you just want it louder, or need a little extra bass, or do you want to feel like you are actually standing in the middle of a concert? After a general idea, most purchasing decisions in car audio require defining a budget. The money you have available greatly narrows down your options. From there make sure to read all of the relevant FAQs I have already done as it will answer many more questions on this topic. Another thing to note is that one other big part of the car audio budget also includes the install. You should determine if you (alone or with the help of some friends) can do the install. If you want custom work done by a shop (kick pods, amp racks, etc), this can affect budget, time line, and the rest of the work involved.

    Where do I buy car audio?
    Normally it is best to try and support your local car audio specialty store (this isn’t counting Best Buy or Circuit City as they have revenue from plenty of other areas). But first make sure and do some research before the purchase, both on what you want to buy and on the local store. There are many car audio shops these days that are uneducated and try to sell you what gives them the greatest profit. If there aren’t any trustworthy stores in your area to shop with you can turn to the Internet. I have listed many shops in the manifesto that people have had some success buying from. Of course, there is also eBay. Shopping online presents some other issues such as items not having the factory warranty available. The bottom line is that the old axiom holds true, “Buyer Beware”.

    How do I install ______?
    Many of the install instructions for various components can be found by reading the appropriate FAQs here or searching here and at ScoobyMods.com.

    What vehicles does a 19XX or 20XX factory radio fit in?
    All 94+ US Subaru Decks are directly interchangeable. Some earlier models had different plugs, go here for more info…

    Can I use a 2004 - 2006 OEM / factory subwoofer on a 2007 head unit?
    Yes, the sub will work, but it might not be plug-and-play. The earlier models (2002-2003) just use a forward and reverse plug, while the later ones have a separate plug. (Would be nice to link to a post that explains this in better detail, and link to a description of the F/R plug can be bought). (**NEEDS MORE INFO)

    How do I add the Subaru factory subwoofer to the factory system?
    Here is a thread with all the info needed…

    How do I hook up the Subaru factory subwoofer to an aftermarket radio?
    Yes, you need a Subaru reverse harness and wire that into the harness for whatever vehicle the head unit will be installed into. Please note Subaru uses ISO-DIN mounting and may not install in many vehicles. (**NEEDS MORE INFO??)

    Can I connect a satellite radio / iPod (or other mp3 player) to the stock stereo?
    Yes, but it does take some work / parts. For the best collection of information, see the great post by SVXdc on the stock HU (paticularly section 8). Also included in that thread is the “Jazzy iPod connector”, which can be connected to most Subaru factory radios, with that second link showing a very clean install...
    The 2007 factory radio has an “Aux In” connection but you need the aux in part itself for about $60. (Need a link with more info verifying this).

    How can I install / mount my iPod/ satellite radio / GPS device (and antenna)?
    This thread should answer most questions on this topic…

    What is the difference between XM and Sirius?
    Mostly it is simply the programming offered by both of them. Both companies offer some sort of preview so you can get an idea of which one has more stations you like. For more in depth idea try reading up on them both side by side here…

    How much power does the stock head unit put out?
    Give the answer and reiterate how good of a thread SVXdc put together...

    Can I power aftermarket coaxials / components with the stock head unit?
    Yes, but keep in mind you will not get the most from your new drivers in terms of sound quality or output as you would from an aftermarket head unit or an amplifier due to the lower amount of power being fed to them. Also, you will not damage your components because of the lower than optimum power levels the factory unit produces BUT it can damage them if you force it into clipping (too much distortion from cranking the volume up higher than you should or turning the bass way up).

    What's the best way to secure equipment under the seats / in the trunk?
    A secure mounting is better than having the item loosely placed or inadequately secured. The link below has more information on this topic…

    What size speakers fit in the front doors of the Impreza? What size speakers fit in the rear of my Impreza? What speakers that fit in the front doors with NO modification to the metal (speaker and spacer only)?
    http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...threadid=23933 (sizing)
    http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...hreadid=180744 (sizing)
    http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...hreadid=157258 (front install)
    http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...hreadid=335452 (front install)
    http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...hreadid=130073 (rear install)

    Where should I mount the tweeters for my aftermarket component speakers?
    There are up to five typical locations. The most common one used is probably the stock location where the factory tweeters are normally installed. This is not an ideal location for sound quality, but does make for an easier install than some other locations. The other locations include mounting them on the door panels closer to the stock woofer locations, mounting them on the sail panels (the small triangle panel inside from the door mirror), around the kick panels, and on the A-pillars. Each location has their pros and cons, below are a couple threads discussing the different locations…

    Where do I mount the crossovers for my new component speakers?
    You can mount the crossovers wherever you see fit. The most common locations are in the doors themselves, underneath the front seats, or in the trunk near the amplifiers. Each option has both pros and cons that you need to consider when making your final decision.
    Many people remove a portion of foam from door card and use double-sided tape to hold it in place. Many select this location when mounting tweeters in the factory location or the sail panel because it requires only running one set of speaker wires through the door grommet (an extremely rough feat). It also requires the minimum of speaker wire to run all your connections as well, saving you money in your budget. A few negatives for this location do need to be taken into account. Being inside the door the crossover is being exposed to the elements such as water. Over time, this can cause corrosion on the crossover itself resulting in a host of possible problems. Another issue with this location is that it makes it difficult to adjust the tweeters attenuation as most crossovers have this ability.
    Placing the crossovers under the seat(s) keeps them from being exposed to the elements and allows for more secure mounting options, but they may be more prone to damage from passengers in the rear seat kicking them. It also gives better access to the crossover for any adjustments that you need, although still a bit difficult with the seat in the way. You may have to run two sets of wires into the doors depending on how you are mounting your tweeters. Also, you’ll need more speaker wire to make all your connections.
    In the trunk results in many of the same problems as under the seat in terms of increased amount of speaker wire along with possibly two runs into the doors. The best thing about mounting in the trunk is easy access for any needed adjustments along with troubleshooting if there is a problem. Below is a link for more info on these options…

    How do I hook an amp/sub up to my stock radio? Can I run a sub off the rear channels of my head unit?
    Yes, there are two common ways to do this. Some amplifiers come with “speaker level inputs” where you run the wiring that was going from your stock radio to your speakers into the amplifier. Another method, in case your amplifier doesn’t have speaker level inputs, is to buy a Line-Out Converter (or LOC for short). An LOC is a whole lot like an extra speaker level input module; you run the existing speaker wires from your stock radio to it, and then you connect the LOC to the amp using RCA cables. Both methods get the signal to the amplifier, and then you just need to run new wires from the amplifier to the speakers/subwoofer.

  5. #5
    tjamz Guest
    What do I fill the space with under my new/aftermarket radio? Will a forester DIN pocket work for my Impreza?
    Include links from Sticky FAQ (verify it is the full answer in each thread and all are relevant).

    Why do I get lousy reception with my new aftermarket radio?
    It is very common that the power antenna wire wasn’t hooked up to the new radio (even “professional” installers have not done this correctly). More information can be found in this link...

  6. #6
    tjamz Guest
    What subwoofer / amplifier options do I have that fit under the front seat?
    The only prefabricated aftermarket option currently is from RAAMAudio. The factory vents for rear passengers are still functional and the construction is extremely high. Here is a thread with more info on the RAAMAudio enclosure…
    Others have tried building small boxes with small speakers, but they often are too small to add any lower frequencies desired from a subwoofer setup. If you feel up to the challenge of trying to do this yourself, here is a link with quite a bit of information that will help…
    For mounting an amplifier under the front seat, a nice write-up was done on a DIY bracket…

    Do they make a sub box that fits in the corner of the trunk? Does JL Audio make a “stealthbox” for my Impreza?
    Audio Integrations is a NASIOC vendor who makes a good quality fiberglass enclosure for the trunk. It is mounted in the rear corner of the trunk; and it requires no modification of the vehicle to secure it. Please see their website for more information on this item as there are multiple versions with custom options as well. Only the driver’s side enclosure is available now, but a passenger side one is in the works…
    Also, JL Audio has created a stealthbox for the Legacy wagon and Outback wagon (2005 and up models); although it appears they have no desire to do the same for and sedan models. Here is the last thread discussing it (with a word from Manville of JL Audio)…

    What are some other options for subwoofer enclosures / mounting? What's the best way to secure boxes in the trunk?
    Look in this thread for some other enclosure choices…
    There are a few options to keep an enclosure in place. There is a wide spread debate regarding the use of Velcro (which at a minimum, heavy-duty Velcro is always recommended). Many people would say that the velcro is not strong enough to hold an enclosure in place in case of an accident, which could lead to more sever injuries if the enclosure was to become a large projectile. That decision is yours to make, however more discussion on the topic can be found here…

    How big of an Amp do I need? I saw / have an amplifier rated at ABC watts; will it work for my speakers rated at XYZ watts?
    Still thinking on how to best answer this one without getting wordy…

    What are the differences between 50 watts from a cheap amp, and 50 watts from an expensive amp?
    Many lower end manufacturers use special tricks to give them higher power ratings than what their amplifier can truly produce in real world sustained situations. A new standard called CEA forces any manufacturer who participates to follow specific rules to measure power output removing many of the loopholes and creating a bit more of a “balanced” playing field. This also creates issues as many high-end manufacturers have amps that far exceed their rated specifications and are not part of CEA at this point. But one must understand that amplifiers are more than just an “amplifier”. You must take into account the wiring flexibility, quality of built-in crossovers, proper heat dissipation, and the possibility of a low quality signal due to inferior parts. These qualities of an amplifier also contribute to its reliability, which many consider very important.

    What size wire is needed for the power / ground wires for my amplifier install?
    The size of wire needed is determined by the amount of current being drawn by the amplifier. It is important to remember that both wires should be the same size; and that the ground wire needs to be properly grounded. Below is a link to great calculator that should help understand wire sizing…
    Here is a NASIOC thread discussing good grounding locations, followed by a link discussing proper grounding in general…

    How can I stop my headlights from dimming?
    The Big 3 mod (see the question and answer below for more information on that) should be done first as it helps the majority of problems, and should be done regardless, if there are any electrical concerns. If that does not correct the problem, you may need to upgrade your battery or alternator. Another possibility is using a “cap” or “stiffening capacitor”. Before replacing anything, an assessment of how much power you are pulling from the electrical system should be done to make sure what is appropriate.

    What is the Big 3 mod?
    Big 3 mod link coming soon from Levi…

    Do I need a cap?
    See the question above about stopping your headlights from dimming.

    Where can I purchase a high-amp alternator?
    (Taken from the Vehicle Charging section of the Amplifier FAQ) - One direct method for WRX owners to buy a new HO alternator is…
    Two other places that have consistently done good work are…
    A third option for replacing the alternator along with a lengthy discussion on this topic can be seen here…

    Why does my friend's (insert other car company here) OEM stereo sound better than my aftermarket one?
    In general, sound quality simply means to replicate the original sound as accurately as possible. However, for many people, that isn’t necessarily what sounds good to their ears. One could take the same car and have 20 different people sit in it and listen to the exact same thing and you would likely have 20 different reactions to it. Simply put what sounds good to you is what is important (unless you plan on competing). This is why it is so important to listen to a set of speakers before buying them. Only you know if they will sound the way you like them to. One important note though is that install quality is as much if not more of a factor in how a system will sound as the actual equipment used (speakers can sound quite different in a store than in a car). A $2000 set of component speakers just screwed into the door will quite possibly not sound as good as a $200 set securely mounted on a properly deadened door. There are many more factors in the concept of a good install (proper wire sizing, proper power, proper crossover points, proper enclosures, etc.); all of which contribute to what can become a good sounding system. The old saying for car audio goes that the results of a system are 70% install and 30% equipment.

    How do I do sound deadening in my doors? Is sound deadening important? Can I get away with just doing a part of the door/trunk/deck? What's the deal with closed cell foam? What options of closed cell foam do we have? What are my deadening product options?
    Sound deadening mat works by adding mass to an area and lowering its resonance point (i.e. it reduces vibrations and rattles). For speakers mounted on doors, if the door is vibrating while the cone is moving, the sound waves are not strong as they should be; which results in lower sound quality and output. Mat does not help lower road noise however. For that problem, foam such as Ensolite helps decrease road noise. Ensolite is “closed-cell” foam, which resists moisture and is much less likely to form mildew. The two biggest problems with deadening are the added weight it puts into the vehicle and the time / effort it can take to be installed. Rick from RAAMAudio (a highly respected NASIOC registered vendor) has made an excellent deadening thread for the STi, which can be applied to any of the sedan models, and to any open trunk (wagon / Forester) with some slight modifications. It includes products that can be used and different levels of deadening to be done depending on your goals with approximate amounts of materials you will need…
    The link below has a in-depth comparison of the various sound deadening products available…

    How do I get rid of alt whine/system noise?
    Alternator whine is typically the result of a grounding problem. The link below shows options on how to help diagnose many of the most common causes of alternator whine…

    Why does my radio and dome light no longer work? Where are the fuses for the radio?
    It is most likely that a fuse was blown. There are two fuse boxes for most Subies, one in the cabin and one in the engine bay. The fuse(s) that might be causing problems are? (**NEED MORE INFO).

    How do I stop someone from stealing all my car audio stuff?
    Unfortunately, you can’t. Adding a car alarm can help keep many would-be thieves at bay though and is a worthwhile investment for some added piece of mind. An alarm can work in many different ways such as disabling the starter, warning an individual by either voice or chirp, or a full alarm noise to alert near-bye people. These options can activated by simply touching the vehicle, walking near the vehicle, breaking a window, opening a door/trunk/hood, or putting ones hand inside an open window or sunroof (depending on what model and options you choose). At some point a complete car alarm FAQ will be done to give more detail, until then this link has more information on car alarms...

    **Special thanks to Daishi00 and LastResort for their work on cleaning up the questions and providing links and answers.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    JEEZUS CHUCK!!!! My head is gonna explode.

    Good info though

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    United States

    Links to help you along


    I cant find the radio code, and its not in the car either or on the card itself in the manual.

    I like the oem head unit as it matches well with the interior and dont want to fiddle with anything yet, i just want the radio running for when i start driving the car soon, i cant live without music in the car. I might switch to an aftermarket deck later but for right now i want this thing working, i tried every possible senario online, except having someone with a decoder help me out.

    here is the unit info:

    Mercedes Alpine unit

    A 003 820 6086
    Model No: CM2396
    Serial No: AL 2396 T10 74492 B

    Anyone who can help me with the 5 digit code, i will be so grateful.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Call Mercedes. They are the only ones that can help.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by weshole View Post
    Call Mercedes. They are the only ones that can help.
    This. If its a lock code like my car has, (and i have to type it in anytime i unhook the battery), the only way to recover it if you lost the card is to call the dealership. I dont know details of your car but have you searched the glove box for a card? because i found mine in with all the warranty info and stuff, not in the manual...

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