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Subaru Forester: Audio & Entertainment Systems



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I swapped out my stock stereo on my Forester. It's pretty standard, nothing out of the ordinary. The antennae just plugs in to the back of the stereo, same as my Mazda, my wife's Legacy, etc.

    Do you have the in-glass antennae? Maybe that connection cracked?
  • I have a 2001 Forester. The other day, the car's battery was draining out (car wouldn't start). The in-dash lights worked but were very dim. Then I heard a slight whirring sound coming from the factory instaled AM/FM/CD player. Anyone ever hear about a CD-player being "stuck" in play position? (There was no CD in the unit). Thanks.
  • I have a 2007 Forester x model. Is it possible to swap out the standard factory installed sound system for an ipod friendly model ?? I don't want to compromise my warranty so is this something Subaru can do ? Does subaru sell an ipod ready sound system for the 2007 forester x ? Thank you.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I believe it's still a double-DIN sized opening, isn't it?

    I did so on my 1998 model, to put in a 6CD changer out of a WRX. The harness fit plug-n-play.

    So it might be easier if you used a Subaru stereo, perhaps from a newer model that has features you want.
  • georgiamangeorgiaman Posts: 16

    I have a 2005 Subaru Forester 2.5X. Everything else on this car is great except that the AC cannot keep up with Georgia summers. So I am planning to get the Windows tinted. But I noticed that the factory-installed radio's antenna is embedded in the rear quarter window. If I use metallic film to tint that window, will it hurt the radio reception? I am looking at Scotchtint FX-HP 35 film.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It shouldn't, given the film will be on the inside, so the antennae will still lie outside the tint film.
  • My DH drove my Subaru last week. He said when he got in, he just turned the radio off. Since then, I can't get it to come on. He tried changing out the fuse, no luck. It is just dead, like it's not getting electricity to it at all. Any recommendations? I generally drive 45 miles at least each way to work, so silence is a little deafening.
  • arnabcarnabc Posts: 27
    okay, so the one thing i really dislike about my new forester (premium package) is the less than premium sound on the default audio system. what are my upgrade options?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, it may be cheaper to replace vs. fixing it. It's fairly easy, too, if you can do-it-yourself (search for instructions).

    The dash openings are double-DIN sized, so it's fairly standard and leaves you lots of options. I put a 6CD changer from a WRX in to my old 98 Forester and it was a cake walk.

    In fact it went so well that I did the same thing for my wife's 2002 Legacy, which was actually a little harder (one out-of-the-way bolt made it harder).

    The harnesses were all interchangeable so it was plug and play. It was easier than I expected.

    I bought both used for $110-150 or so IIRC.
  • arnabcarnabc Posts: 27
    has nobody updated their sound systems on the 2.5x premiums? or looked into the various options?

    does simply getting the tweeter package improve things significantly or would i be better off replacing the speakers entirely? (can't replace the head unit having just invested a lot of money into the subaru ipod interface.)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Mine are still stock.

    What I've heard, in general, is that the tweeters are worth it. Subwoofer is debatable, you can probably do better for the price of the OE, but it won't be as integrated.

    To be honest Subaru's audio stuff is really only so-so, even the upgraded stuff. It's just not their strength.

    I think they'll soon add audio upgrade options - it's a rumor for the next Legacy.
  • red927red927 Posts: 118

    Did you ever check if you get sound from the rear speakers when in the enhanced SRS mode?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No, we had a crazy weekend and we drove the van around the whole time.

    My wife will be out tonight taking the kids to Dance, maybe someone else can check on that?

  • I just purchased a new Forester from dealer stock. The radio is satellite radio compatible, which means that the dealership wants to sell me a XM unit for $390 plus installation. Are there any compatible alternatives?
  • Yes you can purchase a receiver independently and have an audio shop install for you. I paid $150 for my installation and about $80 for my receiver.
  • red927red927 Posts: 118
    After several weeks with a new radio (6CD Changer w/SRS), I have now started using the radio without the enhanced surround sound. It just sounds better. I have also noticed that in irder to hear the radio, I have to boost the volume up to between 18-22. That is ridiculous. The radio in my wife's Outback LL Bean is too loud at volume 8.

    I broke down and called Subaru Customer Service at about 1:00PM and expressed my dissatisfaction. The rep took down the information and said that he would research this and get back to me later this afternoon. I said OK.

    Much to my surprise, he did call me about 6:15PM with a response. He said that I would not be happy with what he found out. I got the "that's the way its supposed to be" response. In all fairness, the rep told me that the technical department guy told him that he was also not satisfied with the quality of the sound system in the car. He said he knows because he has one too. I mentioned that it would have been better if Subaru put the new HK system in the high end Foresters for 2009. He said he didn't disagree.

    The Customer Service rep said that he was going to e-mail the manufacturer my questions and if he gets a response from Panasonic then he will contact me.

    Although I am not pleased with the answers I received, I am pleased with the time it took to get an answer.

    I'll keep everyone posted.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, not all radio volumes are the same.

    My van sounds right at around 18-20 or so.

    My Miata I have to crank up to 30 to hear when the top is down. 22 the rest of the time.

    My old Subaru only needed 6 or 8. My wife's new Subaru needs more, though.

    They all use different scales.
  • I ran across this forum while doing a search on factory audio systems for the Forester 2.5xx.

    I was thinking about installing the factory Sirius satellite radio, until I found out the price tag was $390.00! Considering that the existing factory system is less than stellar, I am now considering just doing retrofitting it with an aftermarket system from Crutchfield or some other supplier. The current factory system is the double DIN type "B" unit, with a 6 CD changer and aux inputs for an Ipod and satellite radio. (By the way, does anyone know who makes this for Subaru?)

    I haven't yet tried to dig into the dash to see how the cabling is configured for the system, and I hate butchering cable harnesses and chassis mounts. I was curious as to whether anyone on the forum has had any experiences, either negative or positive, with an aftermarket system.

    I am an audio engineer by profession, so I know how to tackle the technical issues, but I'm unfamiliar with the wiring configuration of this particular vehicle (especially the control interface)

    As others have noted here, Subaru is not particularly known for their audio systems, but I love the car otherwise (OK, the road noise it a little excessive). The major weakness of the existing factory unit is the FM band. In a congested RF area (I live in Chicago), it has terrible problems with intermodulation and signal overload.

    Given all this, it would seem that I might be better off just chucking the existing system and replacing it with something which (hopefully) has better performance. However, I don't want to end up with bastardized system which makes a mess of the dash.

    I would welcome any comments from those who have "been there, done that".

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, it's a double-DIN opening, so you have tons of options.

    If I were going to go through that much trouble, I'd probably install one with a GPS. You may want to consider that.
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