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Subaru Forester: Audio & Entertainment Systems

tidestertidester Posts: 10,059


  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,271
    Can anyone recommend an aftermarket system for Subaru Forester that plays CD, has AM/FM radio and integrated in-dash 6 disc cd changer?

    This what I had in my old car:

    and I'd like to get a similar unit (ok, less cassette) for a new car. Subaru OEM one is very expensive, so I'm looking at aftermarket first.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    I would check out From my browsing, they seem to have an online tool that makes getting the right unit a snap.....
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The size fitment is single-DIN or double-DIN, the latter requiring that you remove the storage box below your current radio. I did this with both my '98 Forester and my wife's '02 Legacy.

    You can actually spring for NAV + CD changer, I've seen them for $1299 at Crutchfield. I know that's steep, but you're getting both, and all integrated. Search by model and they pop up.

  • I have a 2006 Subaru Forester 2.5X with a standard stereo system. I am getting XM Satellite Radio and have several questions.

    1. Does the stereo have an auxillary port in the back that I can connect directly to the XM Satellite Radio?
    2. Where is the best place to mount the XM Satellite Radio? Custom Mount between stereo and glove box, Cup Holder, Tape onto Dashboard?
    3. Has anyone used the FM Transmitter and was it effective?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The 07 models will get an aux input, but 06 models don't, as far as I know.

    07 models also get Sirius as a factory option, but you said XM.

    I think Subaru folks have used in-line antennae plugs, ask the Legacy guys because they do that a lot.

  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    I own the same car, beautiful Gold Pearl one. :)

    I beleive ateixeira is talking about the factory installed, integrated radios that come equiped for satellite, not after-market units.

    I mounted the control in the middle of the console, just back from the parking brake. It covers one of the seat heater switches, however it is easy to tilt the unit and reach the switch when needed. My unit is the Delphi SkiFi2.

    Before, when I had Sirrius, they placed the control unit inside the dash compartment, attached the slim unit with velcro to the back side of it. I just lifted the lid, and it was easy to see or grab (it had a long cord) or the passenger could use the remote. That worked well too.

    I have not seen a unit with a port on the back, but that doesn't mean they don't have one. Check the XM site.

    The sound is excellent. I have the woofer/tweeter package, and that sure helps, especially with CD's. They mount the woofer/amp under the drivers or passenger seat.
  • Thanks for the feedback. I have had my Subaru for almost 2 months and it is a joy to drive.

    I talked to the Subaru dealer (he gets this call several times a month) and there is no auxillary input in the standard Subaru radio. I am thinking about buying a satellite mount that goes into the cigarette lighter and that allows me to switch the satellite radio between cars. That way i do not put a sticky piece of tape on the dashboard or console.

    I am now looking at adding the tweeter and subwoofer/amplifier at a cost of $475 installed by the Subaru dealer. Any opinions on whether this will significantly"> enhance my sound or am I wasting my money?
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    Yes, it will. You do need to make sure to tell them to turn up the gain adjustments, more than half way. ;) I didn't and had to unbolt the holding bracket, dig it out from under the seat, and use a small driver to adjust them.

    If you do the mounting where I did, it will not be in your way, and those units, most of them I think, now unplug from their mounting, and you can take it inside and use them there, or in a boom box. :) This type you could also switch between cars. Mine is screwed down. It will make the cars resale better.
  • Thanks for the advice on the tweeter/sub-woofer and mountng on the satellite radio. I definitely will have them put the gain more than half way on the sub-woofer.

    My satellite radio is the Samsung Nexus 50 and the docking station has to be vertical. The mounting equipment included in the car kit will only work on the dash or vents. I really do not want to tape something to the car dash as I think it will spoil the look.

    I was looking at using the cup holder mount, passenger seat mount, or the cigarette lighter mount. The cup holder mount does not give me a good view of the satellite radio and I lose a cup holder. The passenger seat mount bolts onto the passenger seat and is an option I'm still considering but I'm concerned if it will be in the way when someone is in the passenger seat. The cigarette lighter will sit below the radio but will block the various dials that control the heating/air conditioning.

    Sorry I got so long winded. Thanks again for the feedback.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    How about you having them drill a tiny hole in the bottom of the dash storage compartment, and put the unit in there? Not like you are looking at it all that much while driving....
  • Well, I finally purchased a Pioneer 6800 stereo radio/cd from Circuit City with a detachable face plate and they installed the tweeters (did not get the subwoofer). The radio has an aux port under the face plate but I have to tilt the radio open to connect the XM satellite adapter. The radio plays in that position but I would prefer to have it in it's normal postion.

    In a post above, ateixeira mentioned removing the storage box below the radio for Nav + 6 cd changer.
    While I do not want to remove the storage box, I want to remove the storage door so I can plug in the XM Satellite adapter without tilting the radio.

    Does anyone know if the storage box door can be removed and can I do this or should the Subaru service department?

    FYI, the radio sounds great and really brings out the stock speakers I have in the car.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's just plastic.

    I have one with a lid, and one without. They came out of our Forester and Legacy, but I forget which came from which.

    I suppose you could remove it and saw a hole with a jigsaw or a Dremel, then pull the wires through there.

    Looks like it would fit an MP3 player, too.

  • I put the tweeter and subwoofer kit in my 2007 2.5x and what a difference.Sounds great. I also installed the 6 disc in the dash and looks great. I dont feel i wasted my money. If anything put in the tweeters, very easy to do yourself. :)
  • I need clarity about the sound system issue-is it better to purcahse tweeters and sub woofer or just get Subaru to install theirs -I have the 6 disc with four speakers. Thanks for the input!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I have the premium sound speakers (2 ways), and they are slightly better, but you can probably do better in the aftermarket for the price.

    The tweeters are good, though. I hear good things about them consistently.

  • I have standard Subaru speakers (no subwoofer), added the tweeters to my aftermarket Pioneer radio and the sound was great. The wife is now driving the Subaru and did not like the Pioneer radio so I put back in the stock Subaru radio and the tweeters still make a difference in the sound quality but not as much as when the Pioneer was in the car.

    I debated the subwoofer but did not put it in as I'm not a huge bass person. I agree that aftermarket speakers would be a better investment than the upgraded Subaru speakers.
  • Hi,
    We have an '07 Forester Premium version that's supposed to have 120 watts of sound. It sounds to me like about 5 or 10. The radio/CD unit says model "6 CD Changer C-123." Does anybody else have the same impression as me? Did we get the correct model of stereo?
    (I originally asked about this in the wrong forum.)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    120 watts means peak output, by the way. I'm sure the peak for sustained sound is much lower.

    Subaru isn't exactly known for great audio. They're passable, but audiophiles should go aftermarket, where you'll find higher quality and better value.
  • jefbakjefbak Posts: 19
    '07 Forester Premium purchased in January. All of a sudden I can only access CD1 Play/Eject/Load.

    The other 5 discs can no longer be accessed or ejected. They are stuck in the unit and I can't play them. All was working fine until now.

    Any quick fix for this or am I going have to get it serviced?

    :confuse: :mad:
  • knewtknewt Posts: 1
    My radio reception was working up until a week ago and then just quit. It's like the antenna cable was disconnected. I have gone over all connections and still can't get it to work. After the car is started, the radio kinda works for about 15 seconds then slowly fades out and all I hear is static. has anyone had any problems with the antenna amplifier?

    My car is a 2001 Subaru Forester that I have had for about 3 years. The only problems that I have had are the Knock Sensor and the radio. The Knock Sensor was easy to replace. Now if I can just get the radio working again...

    Thank you
  • 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.)
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