Anyone replace just your speakers in your WRX?

Discussion in 'Subaru Impreza' started by T, Apr 14, 2005.

  1. T

    T Guest

    The Radio/CD player is decent but I was wondering if anybody had
    replaced the drivers with something off the shelf.

    I suppose I can cruise Crutchfield for what is suppose to fit but real
    life experience is hard to beat.

    (MY02 if it makes a difference.)


    TBerk
     
    T, Apr 14, 2005
    #1
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  2. T

    Bryan Lee Guest

    I put pioneer 6.5" 3-ways all the way around. I you will need a spacer for
    the front and "trim" the rear door. They sound alot better then stock. I
    got mine for $79 a pair from bestbuy and they installed them for $32 a pair.
    The downside it lets you hear how bad the factory sub is. The factory sub
    will start to distort before the doors. Any questions let me know. I have
    a '04 wagon
     
    Bryan Lee, Apr 14, 2005
    #2
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    S Guest

    Hi tberk!

    The OEM speakers are shockingly bad; even the "upgraded" speakers
    leave a lot to be desired. Rather than wear out my fingers on the
    keyboard, here is the text of a write-up on the WRX stereo that I
    posted on the ClubWRX forum a couple years ago. Should have pretty
    much everything you need to know, but if you have additional
    questions, don't hesitate to contact me directly!


    ByeBye! S.

    Hi Carl.

    Steve,
    I am purchasing a WRX sportwagon this week and am planning to install a stereo system
    I wanted to go with the Kappas but Crutchfiled says they won't fit.
    Is that untrue?
    I love the Infinity's.
    Thanks,
    Carl Jorgensen

    <<<<

    Mmmmm, yep, as far as Crutchfield is concerned, they won't fit; Subaru uses a non-standard mounting on the front woofers, and they are very shallow.
    However, after taking some careful measurements I determined that there was just enough room to squeeze in the Infinity Kappa 50.5cs 5 1/4 inch speakers. I had to fabricate a 1/2 inch thick adaptor plate, and trim plastic ribs inside of the door panel, but it worked just fine. The stock tweeter bracket accepted the Infinity tweeter w/o problems. I mounted the crossovers in the door pockets with 2inch velcro tape. I used Delrin plastic to make the adaptor (it was there), but 1/2 plywood would work as well. FYI, the stock wires to both speakers get full audio, the crossover to the cheesy factory tweeter is a tiny little capacitor on the tweeter it's self.
    I have been told that the 6 1/2 inch speakers will fit, but I suspect that the surrounds (the tallest part of the Infinity woofer) will contact plastic if you use a thick enough spacer to keep the window from hitting speaker magnet. But your mileage may vary.
    The rear speakers are fairly conventional 4 inch units. I installed a set of 42.5i Kappas here. I had to heat the door panel with a hot air gun (fancy hair dryer) and reshape the plastic a little to clear the tweeter, but unless you know it's been done you won't notice the slight bulge. Crossovers mount inside the door with double stick foam tape (wondrous stuff) and a zip-tie.
    I use an Infinity BassLink powered sub in the back. This puts out more'n enough bass for my tastes, but if you really wanna THUMP down the road you might want to investigate other subwoofer options; true to Infinity standards, the Basslink is very clean and natural sounding, but it doesn't produce heart-stopping thump action before the "limit" lite comes on.
    An Alpine head and 6 disk changer complete the package, but frankly the biggest "bang for the buck" will come from replacing those truly awful factory speakers. Crutchfield has OK prices and superb customer support. For a significantly better price try Ike Sound <www.ikesound.com>, or even ebay.
    IMO there are no finer speakers than the Infinity Kappas, and I've listened to many.
    If you need more info, don't hesitate to ask.


    As promised, here is the straight and narrow on putting in aftermarket speakers, at least for a WRX wagon, WITHOUT having to modify the door panels. I'd expect the sedan to be pretty much the same; perhaps someone can give input one way or the other. I have fotos and drawings that I can put on my server if anyone is interested.
    I'm pretty sure I hit every auto sound shop in town over the weekend. There just doesn't appear to be a "bolt-in" replacement for the front speakers. Even the Fosgate driver referenced in an earlier post will require the installer to fabricate an adaptor plate. Altho there is adequate space in the tweeter pod, plan on building a custom bracket here as well. There is lots of room in the back, tho; most any 4in aftermarket will fit into the stock "adaptor", and I suspect that anyone wishing to do so will be able to fit a 5&1/4 coaxial without too much bother.
    Using my special and highly technical "internal clearance gauge set" (modeling clay and a steel ruler) I measured clearances around the speaker mounting locations on the passenger side doors (I'm assuming symmetry left to right; gulp ;-). There is 1& 9/16in of clearance behind the stock mounting points before you are into one of the mounting screws for the window. There is 5/8in clearance in front of the stock mounting at the closest point (the top screw) before you run into plastic.
    That doesn't leave much room for noisemakers, does it?
    After weighing the options, and measuring several "shallow" aftermarket drivers, here is what I decided to do:
    The 5&1/4in Infinity Kappas have a 2in depth. These will clear the window hardware if mounted on a 1/2in thick adaptor plate (trace the "triangular" stock speaker onto 1/2in thick material (I plan to use acrylic ((it's THERE in the junkbox)), but plywood would be an obvious choice), cut out, drill for stock mounting holes, mark and cut 5&1/8in cutout for the Infinity speaker, pre-drill mounting holes, etc.). If you take a close look at the Infinity speakers, you will notice that the rolled surround actually protrudes from the front a little. By my calculations, this will just miss touching the inside of the plastic, but I plan to trim a couple of the high spots just to be on the safe side. The tweeter will mount in the stock location on an appropriately shaped and drilled strip of sheet metal. The (rather large) Infinity cross-over will have to be mounted somewhere as well, but I haven't addressed THAT issue yet. Some older 4in Alpine speakers will fit in the stock mounting in the
    back. (will probably go to Infinitys later, but I already had the Alpines)
    Someone had mentioned using the 6 1/2in Kappas. Probably not unless you want to modify the plastic; those surrounds are gonna hit otherwise. Of course, if you don't mind heating and reforming the plastic, cutting the door panels, trying to match an aftermarket grille to the graceful curves of the panel, etc. you can probably fit pretty much whatever you want with an appropriate adaptor.
    All of this is still somewhat hypothetical; darkness and snow overtook me yesterday, and it's awfully cold/snowy/windy today with more on the way. As soon as it warms up enuf that the tools don't stick to my hands I'll finish things up and let you know how it went.

    We've had a few warm days, enuf that I finally finished the install. Here then is a summary, refer to the earlier post for particulars.

    I fabricated spacers for the front speakers from 1/2in delrin plastic. Plywood would have worked as well, but I HAD the delrin . . . I used some 1/2in wide double stick foam tape (originally intended for weatherstrip ?) and appropriate sheetmetal screws to seal/mount the speaker to the adaptor, and the adaptor to the door using the original mounting positions. Additionally, the screws that mount the speaker to the adaptor must be short enuf that they don't penetrate the adaptor and hit sheetmetal. The Infinity tweeter came with mounting adaptors that allowed the use of the stock tweeter bracket. The stock tweeter is screwed and glued to the bracket, but the glue isn't very strong, and it's pretty easy to remove. The stock tweeter's crossover is a tiny capacitor mounted on the tweeter its' self. As I didn't want to try and stuff additional wires thru the rubber wiring boot I had to find a place on the door to mount the Infinity crossover. After a few false starts, I decided to mount
    it at the back of the door "pocket". I accomplished this with some 2in wide double stick velcro tape; wooly side in the pocket, hook side on the back of the crossover. Works great so far, but we'll have to see how well it stands up to the summer heat. I pulled the stock woofer wiring loose, clipped off the connector, and removed the plastic "stiffener" and clips. I isolated the wires going to the tweeter and cut them close to the wiring harness, leaving just enough wire to enable re-installing the stock setup if desired. I soldered a 6ft length of 18ga speaker wire to the woofer, and installed the stiffener and clips as per the original. This routes the wiring neatly away from the window mechanism. I soldered a shorter length of speaker wire to the tweeter leads and applied heat-shrink tubing. Use electrical tape if you can't find heat-shrink, but I'm pretty sure you can get it at Radio Shack. I also soldered a length of speaker wire to the remaining two wires that used to go to the
    woofer; these are the speaker output leads from the head unit. I gathered all three cables up near where the original woofer/tweeter wiring exited the wiring harness, and bundled them together for about 2ft using electrical tape. I then wrapped a length of the double-stick foam tape around the bundle in a loose spiral. At least in theory this will keep the cables from rattling around behind the plastic. I drilled a 3/8in hole in the bottom of the door pocket, routed the cables up thru it, wired the crossover, and velcro'd it in place. Upon inspection I determined that some of the molded ribs on the inside of the door plastic were very close to the rolled surrounds of the woofers. I trimmed them flush with a sharp knife, determined a suitable routing for the wire bundle between the vapor barrier and the plastic, stuck it in place with the double-stick tape, and snapped the door plastic back in place. Nice, neat, un-obtrusive install; looks stock xcpt for the crossover.
    The install for the rear speaker is straightforward; the Alpine 4in driver fits right into the factory adaptor. I soldered on about a 4in pigtail, as the stock wires were pretty short.
    The Infinity BassLink Sub requires either a line-level (RCA plug) or speaker-level input, and a 12V 20A DC power connection. As the stock head does not have a line-level output (well, maybe on that connector for the factory sub . . . who knows), I ran the enclosed speaker-level input wires forward beneath the cargo area flooring, under the rear seats, under the carpet, thru the console, and up behind the head unit where I tied them into the speaker wires right behind the plug. (carefully strip 1/4in of insulation with sharp knife, solder subwoofer input lead, tape) While installing a bypass switch for the ABS I noticed an unused circuit (at least on my WRX wagon) that was destined for rear seat heaters/cargo power outlet. Input (always hot) and output wires were already in place, as was a 20A fuse. The output wire (red/black) was a bit longer than the rest of the wires in the harness, and ran up to an un-occupied relay socket. I clipped this wire, leaving a short length still
    connected to the relay socket (ya never know . . .), and soldered on one side of a 16ga extension cord cable (you'll probably want to disconnect the battery). The negative side of the cable received a crimp terminal, and connected to one of the studs holding the fuse box in place. This cable was run back along the right side of the floor beneath the plastic trim pieces (grab 'em and pull up to release), under the rear seat, cargo floor, etc. to exit beside the input connectors. Right now I have the sub sitting horizontally, held against the right side of the cargo area with a bungie cord, but eventually I will cut a piece of plywood to fit in and mount the sub vertically on it. Then I will be able to access the spare tire/tool compartment without having to move the subwoofer.
    My original plans included upgrading the head unit as well, but the improvement over the stock speaker setup was SO monumental that I have decided to spend the money for performance goodies instead, and do the head if and when the stock unit starts to give trouble.
    I hope this helps to answer some questions raised in this forum. Feel free to e-mail me directly if you have additional questions.

    ByeBye! S.
    Steve Jernigan KG0MB
    Laboratory Manager
    Microelectronics Research
    University of Colorado
    (719) 262-3101
     
    S, Apr 14, 2005
    #3
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    CompUser Guest

    Is there an advantage to having the crossover
    accessible?
     
    CompUser, Apr 14, 2005
    #4
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    Bryan Lee Guest

    you only need crossovers if you are running componets speakers and amps.
     
    Bryan Lee, Apr 14, 2005
    #5
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    Mike Guest

    I have an '05 WRX and it seems they got smaller in MY05. The rears are 4"
    and the fronts are IIRC 5.24". I put correct size speakers in and it sounds
    good up front, but Best Buy didn't tell me at the time that they could have
    shoe-horned a larger speaker in the rear (or the front, for that matter). I
    think the rear would sound better a size larger, but if the speakers are
    good (which mine are) then the difference between 5-1/4 and 6-1/2 should be
    negligible.
     
    Mike, Apr 15, 2005
    #6
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    Bryan Lee Guest

    Larger speakers give better bass response. They move more air.
     
    Bryan Lee, Apr 15, 2005
    #7
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    CompUser Guest

    I was asking OP why he mounted the crossovers in
    the door pockets (vice just taping them up
    somewhere inside the door.)
     
    CompUser, Apr 15, 2005
    #8
  9. T

    S Guest

    Hi CompUser!

    Not really; kind of a PITA, actually. The Infinity crossover is
    physically fairly large, and I couldn't find a decent spot for it
    under the door plastic, hence the location in the pocket.

    ByeBye! S.


    Steve Jernigan KG0MB
    Laboratory Manager
    Microelectronics Research
    University of Colorado
    (719) 262-3101
     
    S, Apr 20, 2005
    #9
  10. T

    mulder Guest

    If you have the stock factory speakers the fronts are 5-1/4. If you
    have the "upgraded" factory speakers the fronts are 6-1/2. The upgrade
    includes spacers which can then be used to easily install aftermarket
    6-1/2's, although you do have to be mindful of the speaker depth to
    avoid interference with the door panel in front and the window behind.
    The spacers are not available as a separate part so you need to supply
    your own if you're replacing the 5-1/4's with 6-1/2's.
     
    mulder, Apr 20, 2005
    #10
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