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Subaru Legacy/Outback 2005+

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  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Not at nabisco, it's at the "other" forum (though there are aux-ins for Forester/WRX models at nabisco). We ought to give that other forum a nickname too! LGT? Lacy GT? Lacy Underall? (10 points to the first person who can reference that last one).

    Craig
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    Caddyshack???
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Caddyshack???

    Ding ding, we have a winner!
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    Sweet. Now I have, let me see here, uh, 10 points total. Excellent.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Hmmm. Nickname for the other place... Legit.com? Letusbe.com?

    Creative juices not flowing today...

    Ken
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    So I finally got around to installing an FM modulator in my Legacy GT wagon last evening. Up until now, I had been tolerating the use of a Belkin FM transmitter. The sound on the transmitter was actually not too bad. I had also soldered on an antenna extension to help boost the signal, but between occasional static and a jumble of wires, I finally decided to put my foot down and get to business.

    I followed the copious number of instructions available over at LGT.com and overall the process went fairly smoothly. The only accident I had was burning the tip of my thumb on a soldering iron after I modified the power cable on the FM Modulator. Ouch! Those things get really hot!

    I used an Audiovox FMM100A Modulator that uses an on/off switch. The overall sound quality is much clearer and stronger compared to the FM transmitter I had been using. It’s nice to hear pure silence with the modulator powered on and the tuner dialed into the right frequency. The only noise I seem to hear comes from when my iPod spins up it’s hard drive to access more songs. While it’s not CD-quality, it’s an acceptable solution until some of our more EE-savvy friends finish the direct AUX-in modification for the stock HU.

    Some things I noted that might help some others:

    - Budget a lot of time the first time you take apart the center console. The parts are held in by plastic clips and come out with some force, but the pieces are fragile and easily scratched. The learning curve is pretty steep and the process becomes relatively easy the second time around.
    - I used a plastic scraping tool from our kitchen to remove the chrome ring around the shifter to minimize scratching.
    - I used the 90-degree bend of hex-keys to pull up the trim around the shifter.
    - Cover the area around the gated shifter with a towel prior to removing the headunit to prevent scratches.
    - Use caution to not drop the two screws that hold the HU in the back – it’s easy to lose them forever in the jumble of cables and insulation.
    - Once the HU screws are removed, start with the hazard light harness on the back upper right.
    - I used double adhesive Velcro strips to attach the modulator to the center AC duct directly behind the HU. Some folks use the ABS unit below, but I wanted to stay clear of that unit.
    - I drew power for my modulator from the back of the cigarette lighter on the center console.
    - I drilled two holes in the bottom of the center box to run the modulator switch and RCA/minijack cable into the storage cubby. I cut small slits in the “carpet” to allow these to come through.

    Ken
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    And thanks for sharing the tips.

    Sorry to hear about the finger. They gotta get hot to melt metal.

    -juice
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    If you're electrical/electronical inclined, you could rig an auxillary input for the XM or iPod.

    I doubt the gain in sound with a stock headunit is worth that trouble, assuming you buy a GOOD fm modulator and not a crappy $20 radioshack unit.

    Too bad the climate control is integrated... if it wasn't, you could do what I did. I have a Clarion DRZ865 mp3/wma deck and for the last year have been connecting my mp3 player to the auxiliary input. Or sometimes I just put in a burned mp3 cd.

    But I'm thinking about getting a $99 module that controls an iPod as if it were a Clarion changer. http://www.crutchfield.com/S-P8RJ5114HLd/cgi-bin/ProdView.asp?g=227550&I=020EA1251B

    Wicked cool.

    ~Colin
  • sweet_subiesweet_subie Posts: 1,394
    This is good. i went & talked to a professional electronics store & discussed. here is the solution for $350. you not only enhance the audio quality but also accepts Aux inputs for XM or MP3.

    http://www.jlaudio.com/press/CleanSweep05.html

    6) CleanSweep™ also integrates a stereo auxiliary input circuit for adding an additional stereo source such as a satellite radio tuner, MP3 player, aftermarket source unit, or any other audio source to the system.

    http://www.jlaudio.com/press/pdfs/CleanSweep_05.pdf
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Make sure you understand what this does -- it's essentially a fancy line-out converter that will take the speaker level leads from the factory radio, signal process them to remove any unwanted equalization (based on a calibration) and then make the cleaned up signal available for amplifiers. It also provides extra line-in capabilities going to the amps. It DOES NOT provide a true line-in to the head unit, which is what we are all seeking! When using the CleanSweep's line-in, it passes the signal to the amplifiers which means you cannot control the volume using the factory radio (in fact, the factory radio is pretty much irrelevant at that point). The CleanSweep includes a separate volume knob for this purpose.

    In the end, you could achieve the same thing by hooking up your iPod directly to an amplifier with a gain/volume control in between, such as provided by the $30 Belkin Auto-Kit (or just use the iPod's slightly noisier headphone output and the iPod's own volume control).

    The true benefit of the CleanSweep is that you can use it to clean up the factory speaker signal, which may have pre-canned equalization. The Legacy/Outback radios, and other Subaru radios, have a preset bass-reducer equalization that kicks in at high volume levels to keep the factory speakers from distorting. If you are going to install amps and high quality speakers downstream of the head unit, then this is unwanted. However, if you're keeping the factory speakers, you're probably better off with the preset eq curve.

    So the upshot -- if you're spending at least $1200-1500 on good amps and speakers (amps are required with the CleanSweep) and want to retain the factory head unit, the CleanSweep is a great idea. For any other purpose, it's not really needed. In fact, the radio in my 05 XT gives unmolested sound up to about a volume level of 17, and this would be suitable for my purposes when adding amps. The bass-reducing eq kicks in above volumes of about 20 or so. I honestly could get by with a volume range of 0-17, so I would not even benefit from a clean sweep when adding amps and speakers. However, people who want a volume resolution less than 1/17 may want to look into it.

    BTW, the VP of JL Audio, Manville Smith, is a poster over on the other Legacy forum and is a heck of a nice guy. He drives a GT and of course, has a pretty nice audio setup!

    CRaig
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Cool Ken! Sounds like you had a normal share of injuries....

    Did you use the Metra adapters?

    Hopefully I'll get the direct line-in capability going in the next couple weeks, depending on how Mike's work goes on the other forum....

    Craig
  • sweet_subiesweet_subie Posts: 1,394
    Craig,

    I thought it is a cleaner way to connect my IPOD to factory unit. If i keep factory stereo/speakers & not add amps, are you saying Clean sweep is NOT needed ?

    any other cleaner way to hook IPOD/MP3. I am happy with factory sound.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Craig,

    Yes, I used the Metra adapters. They were relatively inexpensive (something like $20) and worked perfectly.

    Now that I'm fairly comfortable getting in behind the center console, I'm seriously considering buying one of Mike's boards if the installation doesn't involve some fancy soldering.

    It seemed like Mike was fairly close with the exception of getting the CD mute function resolved. I wasn't sure if he had connectors mounted to the board, however.

    Ken
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Krisshna,

    Craig summed it up, but with Clean Sweep, you're basically using the factory HU as an audio source (CD or FM). It intercepts the signal from the HU to the speakers and gives the added bonus of an AUX-in.

    I exchanged some emails with the Clean Sweep people and it's not worth the money if your sole purpose is simply to add a line in. Like Craig wrote, you no longer can control volume and other settings from the HU. Also, with Clean Sweep you need to add your own amplifier to drive the speakers. Since the stock HU has an EQ curve adjusted for the stock speakers, chances are the resulting sound (if you simply added a Clean Sweep and a basic amp) would be rather flat.

    Clean Sweep, IMO, is a great product if you are replacing the stock speakers and adding your own amp but don't want to change the appearance of your factory HU. It's simply overkill for adding an AUX-in.

    Ken
  • sweet_subiesweet_subie Posts: 1,394
    thanks, ken. very helpful.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    any other cleaner way to hook IPOD/MP3. I am happy with factory sound.

    Are you happy with the quality when listening to FM radio? If so, then just get a wired FM modulator like Ken and I did. It is inexpensive, works quite well, and is a straightforward install. Further down the road (within a month I expect), we should have a direct line-level aux-in which will provide the best possible sound quality (basically as good as CD). However, it will have a bit more complexity.

    Craig
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    That was a good summary Ken!
  • ssmintonssminton Posts: 155
    I have been using a "wired" FM modulator for XM since my audio guy got creative enough last January to splice it in. Before, the "plug" was not yet available for the VDC radio. Don't know the status today. My current audio quality through XM is similar to the quality of digital FM stations. I do notice that when I am cruising at higher speeds on a nice day with the sunroof open, I prefer a CD or MP3. This is just due to the volume gain lost through the XM system. I can't seem to get it "loud" enough without distortion to fully enjoy in a noisy ambient enbironment. I use the XM Commander product.
  • chumchum Posts: 11
    Craig - Is this the same device that mvigeau is working on or something different? I'd much rather wait for a direct-in that allows me to use the phantom "Aux" button than an FM modulator.

    chad
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Chad,

    Yeah, that's the one!

    Mike is using the phantom button to activate the relays on the aux-in switcher board, but that's an optional extra step (cool for sure, but a lot of extra and potentially risky tinkering). I would probably put in a separate switch/button to flip to the aux-in, or do some sort of auto-sense that will switch when it detects an aux-in signal (my current FM modulator does that). I wish Apple released the pin-out specs for the iPod dock connector, as that probably has it's own trigger that could be used to activate the aux-in. I tried getting the info out of them through my day job, and they would not do it unless I commited to an actual product. They are keeping that as proprietary as possible I guess.

    Craig
  • I recently purchased a new 2.5I Legacy sedan with the Limited Pkg. I am very happy with the performance ( only 700 miles so far) of this vehicle. Last nite while driving around the Dayton, Ohio area ( it was very humid) my front window kept fogging up inside. I had it set on outside air and it did not seem to matter if the AC was on or off. The input was set on incoming air at the head & the feet. I had to keep turning on the defroster to clear the windshield. Was wondering if anyone else has experienced this problem?

    Larry
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Larry,

    Have you tried cleaning the inside of your windshield? New cars de-gas quite a bit and the result is a film on the inside of the glass. The film gives moisture a place to collect and hence cause film. Try wiping down the inside of your windshield with some glass cleaner and microfiber towels.

    Ken
  • Ken

    Thanks for your suggestion. I will definetly try this.

    Larry
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Definitely not uncommon to fog up in humid weather. If you are bringing in outside air, this will carry in more vapor. I tend to leave my HVAC system on AUTO, and never see a fogging problem. Ken makes an important point about having clean windows, which may be the biggest factor.

    Craig
  • sweet_subiesweet_subie Posts: 1,394
    I had the same problem in my 1993 Legacy & in my 2001 OB & now in 2005 OB. Change the direction of air flow (from within to outside air or vice versa). problem solved.

    Subaru is great is some things & pathetic in others. this is one of the pathetic things that they can't fix.
  • soupboysoupboy Posts: 15
    to replace my 02 WRX Wgn 5MT (sad sigh...). Needed something more "adult" and with more room for our midget. I think I'm getting a decent deal - Blk Ltd Wgn 5MT for $26.1K. Amenities included are short throw shifter, Momo knobs, metal pedz, alarm upgrade, mirror upgrade and armrest ext - total MSRP of about $31.5K.

    On the audio front I'm debating whether or not to add the factory sub. I got it on my Rex but it seemed awfully boomy...not tight. I'm also interested in a cleaner iPod solution but will likely just go with the Monster FM/charger dongle until something truely better comes along.

    I get to keep my P1s off my WRX for the Legacy - same offset/bolt pattern. If anyone needs a fresh set of GT rims and/or a full APS uppipe and TBE (100% catless) for a WRX (or Legacy GT for the uppipe) let me know.

    $750 and one Ecutek reflash later I should have >300hp and >310 of twist to own unsuspecting ricers and krautmobiles! Also needs tint and a shave.

    Happy trails
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Congratulations and welcome! I think you've snapped up one of the very few remaining 5MT 05 GT wagons for a great price.

    The factory sub, IMO, is worth it. I have it on my GT wagon and recently had a chance to listen to an OBXT wagon without it. The difference in sound was noticeable and in favor of the factory sub-woofer.

    I also recently installed a wired FM Modulator on my stock headunit for my iPod. I had been using a wirless transmitter (Belkin) for some time. The sound quality from the wired unit is much better and has none of the characteristic noise from wirless transmitters. Very well worth it.

    Ken
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hurry while there is still some selections of 05s, the manual tranny is history on the GT wagons for 06.

    -juice
  • taddisontaddison Posts: 99
    FWIW, to my ears the sub-woofer in my 2005 Outback sounds a lot cleaner than the sub in my friend's 2002 model. I have always thought his sounded muddy, and was pleasantly surprised with the sound when I got my car.

    I don't know if the sub itself has changed, but if not then I think they must be feeding it a better signal from the new head unit.

    Tim.
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