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Old 12-22-2021, 12:05 AM   #1
DavidZemon
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Validate my shopping cart for updated audio system?

Let me preface this with: I'm not an audiophile - I just bought this car to race SSC. But... the sound system is complete garbage. AM radio / bad record player garbage. And that head unit... frustrating as all get out (right-end of the screen is non-responsive).

I have a 2013 BRZ, btw.

So, I'm not looking to get "high end" speakers or the fanciest/loudest head unit ever. I just want something that doesn't make my ears bleed or my brain steam every time I sit in the car.

Here's what I'm hoping will work nicely, based on the research I've been doing here and via Crutchfield's (automated) suggestions:

Head unit: Sony XAV-AX150
HU supporting pieces:
- Metra 95-8202 dash kit
- Metra 40-LX11 antenna adapter
- Metra 70-1761 receiver wiring harness
- Metra ISOPK screw pack
- iDatalink USB2 Adapter ACC-USB2

Door Speakers + Dash tweeters: Rockford Fosgate R165-S
Supporting pieces:
- Scosche SAT6 speaker mounting brackets
- Metra 72-8104 speaker wiring harness (x 2)

Dash Mid: Kicker 46CSC354
Supporting pieces:
- None? Will these just mount up? Crutchfield thinks not...

Rears? Crutchfield doesn't think there's anything that fits, but info online says they're just 6.5" speakers? I'd love some help here.

Amp... Does my car have an amp separate from the head unit? Where would it be so I can confirm whether or not it exists? If it does.... is there a chance it could be responsible for part of this terrible audio and therefore also need replacing? Could it be that the speakers are fine and it's entirely the amp?

For reference to the kind of audio quality that I'm a-okay with: my wife had an '08 Civic (base model) which was "fine" by me. Sure wasn't great, but it got the job done just fine. This BRZ is really sounds like something is wrong or maybe even disconnected.

Thank you for any and all help.

Btw, I'm comfortable with wiring diagrams and soldering. I would much prefer to not permanently modify the car in any way though, such custom speaker mounts that require cutting door cards and the like.

Cheers,
David
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Old 12-22-2021, 12:33 AM   #2
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Headphones?
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Old 12-22-2021, 12:55 AM   #3
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I'll try to look it over more later.

For starters, yes, there is a factory amp. It's in the trunk, driver's side, just behind the rear seat, forward of the spare tire under the carpet.

Some details are in this link, which addresses a completely different issue, however, it might be worth trying to make the bypass harness discussed there. That harness would be the cheapest option to make at least, and a side benefit with the bypass option is you could remove the amp for weight savings

https://www.ft86club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=145959


I would also suggest considering just changing the headunit first before going all-in on the entire car. Sometimes, the factory units add their own flavor to the sound, as well as lack enough user adjustments to compensate.
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Old 12-22-2021, 09:56 AM   #4
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Headphones?
That would be the simple choice, wouldn't it? Headphones make me feel VERY disconnected from the world though, and that's not something I want to be when driving on public roads.
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Old 12-22-2021, 09:58 AM   #5
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IMO,

replacing the factory amp and the door speakers will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
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Old 12-22-2021, 10:02 AM   #6
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I would also suggest considering just changing the headunit first before going all-in on the entire car. Sometimes, the factory units add their own flavor to the sound, as well as lack enough user adjustments to compensate.
That's a REALLY good point. And I absolutely hate that factory head unit with a fiery passion.
So, I've just gone ahead and purchased the XAV-AX150 and will get it installed once it arrives. For $250, that's a no-brainer.

Thank you for the info on the amp, too. I'll have a look next time I head to the garage to verify. Bypassing the amp would be a-okay by me, especially if there's a couple Metra harnesses (one for each side of the amp) that I could solder together. I'm sure the total volume of that Sony head unit will be fine for me.
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Old 12-22-2021, 10:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EAGLE5 View Post
Headphones?
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidZemon View Post
That would be the simple choice, wouldn't it? Headphones make me feel VERY disconnected from the world though, and that's not something I want to be when driving on public roads.
Not to mention it's illegal in at least 16 states in the US so you'll want to check that out.
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Old 12-22-2021, 10:15 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by DavidZemon View Post
That's a REALLY good point. And I absolutely hate that factory head unit with a fiery passion.
So, I've just gone ahead and purchased the XAV-AX150 and will get it installed once it arrives. For $250, that's a no-brainer.
Yea, I would definitely try that first. I switched out my original 2013 basic unit with a 2014 FRS Pioneer unit with NAV and that alone was a great improvement, enough I didn't feel the need to go any farther. I may still replace the 2014 because the NAV update is stupid expensive from the dealer.
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Old 12-23-2021, 01:11 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by DavidZemon View Post

Amp... Does my car have an amp separate from the head unit? Where would it be so I can confirm whether or not it exists? If it does.... is there a chance it could be responsible for part of this terrible audio and therefore also need replacing? Could it be that the speakers are fine and it's entirely the amp
Yes it does and it's absolutely terrible. It's in the trunk under the foam right behind the back seats. If you're not an audiophile, the stock speakers actually not bad, they just severely lack power. Your best bet is to just get some 6.5" component speakers, ditch everything in the dash, put the tweeter with an adapter in the 3.5" spot, and just don't worry about the rears at all. You won't hear them while driving and it's not really worth going through the hassle of wiring them.

Search for the "How to use oem wiring to add an amp" or whatever that thread is. You'll be able to use that repinned harness to run power to your door speakers (via an aftermarket amp). The tweeters you will have to wire your self from the amp up to the dash, but don't worry, it's not that difficult. Easier than running speaker wire to the doors, that's for sure. The only other thing you might need is a decent headunit (the one you listed seems nice, but doesn't seem to have crossover capability, correct me if I'm wrong) or a DSP (miniDSP, Dayton 408) so you can control the speaker level and crossovers. You can run passive crossovers that come with the component kits, but they usually kind of suck IMO and almost always make the tweeters too loud. It's best to run them actively.

You can also try the Toyota OE series kit from Powerbass. From what I understand it should fit our cars, even though it's not listed as such, and it's completely plug n play. The only issue is this will basically just be a speaker only upgrade and you may find yourself having the same underpowering issues.

Outside of that, if you're willing to take a day or two and run a few wires, the tweeter replacement and/or component setup with an amp will definitely do you right. I bought a component set for my old car and ended up just using the tweeters because I was satisfied with the door speakers after they were powered. I was also running a sub too, so keep that in mind. The door speakers won't be bass monsters, but do pretty well above 80hz.

Last edited by soilent; 12-23-2021 at 01:53 AM.
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Old 12-23-2021, 01:14 AM   #10
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Yea, I would definitely try that first. I switched out my original 2013 basic unit with a 2014 FRS Pioneer unit with NAV and that alone was a great improvement, enough I didn't feel the need to go any farther. I may still replace the 2014 because the NAV update is stupid expensive from the dealer.
The HU only controls the dash and rear speakers, so it *might* improve the sound of those, but you'll still have to deal with the flubby, distorted bass from the under powered door speakers. The door speakers more than anything benefit the most from some aftermarket amp power.
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Old 12-23-2021, 07:18 AM   #11
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The HU only controls the dash and rear speakers, so it *might* improve the sound of those, but you'll still have to deal with the flubby, distorted bass from the under powered door speakers. The door speakers more than anything benefit the most from some aftermarket amp power.
Yea, I get that. For the most part I'm not much of an audiophile so it would take a massive improvement for me to notice. Frankly, before I spent much money on speakers I'd spend it on sound proofing. To me, until you do that any improvement to quality will just get washed out.

That said I don't listen to music on 11 either so there is that!
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Old 12-23-2021, 07:54 AM   #12
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The HU only controls the dash and rear speakers.....
Actually, the door speaker amplifier, and in turn, the door speakers themselves are fed by the front signal, same as the dash speakers so they DO fade with the dash speakers.

However, nobody has asked the question if this car was purchased used or new and if the audio system has already been modified.
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Old 12-23-2021, 08:06 AM   #13
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However, nobody has asked the question if this car was purchased used or new and if the audio system has already been modified.
Car was purchased used a month ago. Previous owner believes it is stock. Definitely OEM hu. I looked in the trunk and found what looks like it's gotta be the OEM amp, right where everyone said it would be.

Thanks all for the input so far. I'm taking it in and will start making plans for next steps after the new hu is installed.

I'm not sure what you guys are talking about when it comes to volume... Listening to a talk show going 80mph with a loud exhaust and I still had the volume less than half way up. This thing might sound like it came out of the 70's, but it's plenty loud for my taste.
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Old 12-23-2021, 11:33 AM   #14
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The following diagram shows how the dash and door speakers are wired. The dash tweeter and mid-range speakers are both 4 ohms. These two speakers are also essentially wired in parallel with the input to the trunk amp. Together, this presents a 2 ohm load to the HU (assuming the input impedance of the trunk amp is somewhat higher than 4 ohms - which is likely). So, the HU front speaker outputs are driving all six speakers with an amp between the head unit and the door speakers. This means that with factory wiring, whatever adjustments (tone, balance, delay, etc.) that you apply to the front HU output will be applied to all six speakers (Not ideal). If you want to deal with the dash and door speakers individually the best approach would be to run new wiring from the HU to the doors thus bypassing the factory amp in the trunk (FYI: Running new door wires is a bit of a challenge).

The rear side panel speakers are driven separately, directly from the HU and are identical to the dash midrange units with two exceptions:
1. The mounting brackets.
2. The fronts have an additional low-pass filter capacitor to block the high frequencies that the tweeters should handle.


(Thanks to @MugsBRZ for the speaker pictures.)
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Last edited by LimitedSlip; 12-23-2021 at 11:46 AM.
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