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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those who have the Base or Premium model, and want to improved the sound quality without laying down $500 for the Rockford-Fosgate "Upgrade", replacing the door speakers is simple and can make a night and day difference with the correct doors. Replacing the dash speakers is a little more involved.

The front door speakers can take either a 6x9 or 6-1/2 or 6-3/4 speaker. You will need Metra 82-8146 Speaker Mounting Brackets for the 6x9 or Metra 82-8147 Bracket for the 6-1/2 and 6-3/4.

The back door speakers can take either a 6-1/2 or 6-3/4 and use Metra Bracket #82-8148.

All four doors use Metra Wiring harness #72-8104.

The dash speakers are a 3-1/2", but if you replace those you will have to modify the opening below to "cover" to get the new speakers to fit. Once you do and get the new speaker is in and put the original speaker cover back on, you wont be able to notice opening has been modified. No one makes an adapter for the dash speaker wiring so you will have to tap into those wires. The side of the OEM tweeter that has to capacitor is the positive wire.

As i understand it, the Base model does not come with dash speakers. Have no idea about if wiring is there or not.

The 8" OEM head unit with the right speakers really sounds good. All in all, makes a huge difference.
 

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For those who have the Base or Premium model, and want to improved the sound quality without laying down $500 for the Rockford-Fosgate "Upgrade", replacing the door speakers is simple and can make a night and day difference with the correct doors. Replacing the dash speakers is a little more involved.

The front door speakers can take either a 6x9 or 6-1/2 or 6-3/4 speaker. You will need Metra 82-8146 Speaker Mounting Brackets for the 6x9 or Metra 82-8147 Bracket for the 6-1/2 and 6-3/4.

The back door speakers can take either a 6-1/2 or 6-3/4 and use Metra Bracket #82-8148.

All four doors use Metra Wiring harness #72-8104.

The dash speakers are a 3-1/2", but if you replace those you will have to modify the opening below to "cover" to get the new speakers to fit. Once you do and get the new speaker is in and put the original speaker cover back on, you wont be able to notice opening has been modified. No one makes an adapter for the dash speaker wiring so you will have to tap into those wires. The side of the OEM tweeter that has to capacitor is the positive wire.

As i understand it, the Base model does not come with dash speakers. Have no idea about if wiring is there or not.

The 8" OEM head unit with the right speakers really sounds good. All in all, makes a huge difference.
Nice! Can you share which speakers you ended up putting in? And do you have to take apart the door to swap the speakers or is it an easy switch?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nice! Can you share which speakers you ended up putting in? And do you have to take apart the door to swap the speakers or is it an easy switch?
You have to take the door panel off, but thats just a matter of two screws and popping the retaining tabs lose. Same with all four doors.

I got all of it from Crutchfields, The front doors I went with Rockford Fosgate R169x3 https://www.crutchfield.com/p_575R169X3/Rockford-Fosgate-R169X3.html?tp=91 and the back doors went with the R165x3 https://www.crutchfield.com/p_575R165X3/Rockford-Fosgate-R165X3.html?tp=78072

On the dash speakers I went with the Kicker 43DSC3504 https://www.crutchfield.com/p_206DSC3504/Kicker-43DSC3504.html?tp=96.., but again, you have to modify the opening to get these to fit properly. Takes a little but the finished appearance looks factory.

I also put in a Kicker Sub https://www.crutchfield.com/p_20611HS8/Kicker-11HS8.html. I tapped into the dash speaker wires for the input on the sub.

All in all a great sounding system for a couple hundred dollars and about 4 hours of work.
 

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You have to take the door panel off, but thats just a matter of two screws and popping the retaining tabs lose. Same with all four doors.

I got all of it from Crutchfields, The front doors I went with Rockford Fosgate R169x3 https://www.crutchfield.com/p_575R169X3/Rockford-Fosgate-R169X3.html?tp=91 and the back doors went with the R165x3 https://www.crutchfield.com/p_575R165X3/Rockford-Fosgate-R165X3.html?tp=78072

On the dash speakers I went with the Kicker 43DSC3504 https://www.crutchfield.com/p_206DSC3504/Kicker-43DSC3504.html?tp=96.., but again, you have to modify the opening to get these to fit properly. Takes a little but the finished appearance looks factory.

I also put in a Kicker Sub https://www.crutchfield.com/p_20611HS8/Kicker-11HS8.html. I tapped into the dash speaker wires for the input on the sub.

All in all a great sounding system for a couple hundred dollars and about 4 hours of work.

Thanks! Where did you end up mounting the subwoofer?
 

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When replacing speakers i also make it a point to add a few pieces of Butyl mat to the outside and inside doors skins and spray some Fluid Film at bottom of door to prevent rust.
 

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When replacing speakers i also make it a point to add a few pieces of Butyl mat to the outside and inside doors skins and spray some Fluid Film at bottom of door to prevent rust.

I know nothing about car audio mods, so please bear with me. What is the reason for this? Because replacing the speaker introduces air moisture? Or the concern is dissimilar metal corrosion?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks! Where did you end up mounting the subwoofer?
I mounted it in the cargo area. It's a low profile sub and has a quick disconnect so it's simple to remove if needed.

Did you need to add a amplifier as well?
I did not. I'm more about sound quality than cranking it up. The head unit has enough volume for my needs. The sub is powered so it has a built in amp.
 

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I know nothing about car audio mods, so please bear with me. What is the reason for this? Because replacing the speaker introduces air moisture? Or the concern is dissimilar metal corrosion?
This mat adds extra weight the panel and gives the door a more premium feel when shutting it....get more of the thud sound instead of a open tin can sound....although the Ascent already has pretty decent sound to it. I had to replace my rear door handles and added about 3ft x8" piece of mat to outside skin of each door and does sound better as i tested it after completing the 1st one. This mat also can improve speaker sound as most speakers use the door cavity to help produce sound. I did this to the front door of my legacy and the sound improved dramatically...the bass sounds much tighter. I've also done this on my Yukon and was better but not as dramatic as the Legacy. If you do this don't buy the name brand stuff it's a major ripoff.
Keep in mind this mat can make it harder for paintless dent removal.


The fluid film just adds protection as i live in the rust belt.
 
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Did you need to add a amplifier as well?

On older car changing the speaker usually resulted in needing to improve the amp as the speakers sounded terrible when cranked above 1/2 or so....most new cars have a decent amp and can support better speakers....but the engineers at harmon/kardon did a pretty decent job with the Ascent and i'm not touching mine. The speakers are matched well the stock AMP.

Also an amp is not all about ear bleeding sound....Speakers need to be matched to the correct sized amp or sound will be bland overall when low and when turned up high it will wash out.

This compact pioneer unit is nice as it can be tucked in under the dash and works well with mid level speakers. The stock amp on the Ascent might have more watts than this and if so probably already has decent speakers. Just because the speakers might have a paper cone doesn't mean they are terrible sounding. If anything i'm planning on adding a small sub to my Limited model.

https://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Car/Amplifiers/GM+Digital+Series/GM-D1004
 

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On older car changing the speaker usually resulted in needing to improve the amp as the speakers sounded terrible when cranked above 1/2 or so....most new cars have a decent amp and can support better speakers....but the engineers at harmon/kardon did a pretty decent job with the Ascent and i'm not touching mine. The speakers are matched well the stock AMP.

Well, remember that the different trim levels have different head units and speakers.

  • BASE/PREMIUM/LIMITED: 6 speakers
  • TOURING: 14 speakers (including the subwoofer) and 792 watt equivalent amp, and Harmon Kardon Surround

The 14 speaker HK setup is an option on other non-Touring trims, but not standard.
 

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I gotta be honest... the Ascent has the nicest stock radio of any car I've had the ability to drive on a regular basis. I dont have the Rockford Fosgate upgrade... and I still can't believe how sweet it sounds when cranked up into the low 20s.

I'd love to hear how much better any sub-$500 upgrade (the cost of the Rockford Fosgate system) could make it sound!
 
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I gotta be honest... the Ascent has the nicest stock radio of any car I've had the ability to drive on a regular basis. I dont have the Rockford Fosgate upgrade... and I still can't believe how sweet it sounds when cranked up into the low 20s.

I'd love to hear how much better any sub-$500 upgrade (the cost of the Rockford Fosgate system) could make it sound!
Agreed the stock speakers in the Premium sound pretty darn good. I am intrigued though by what the OP did. However I am no audiophile, and I can't even tell much difference between high end open back headphones. I might switch out those speakers for the heck of it because I am still in the midst of gear acquisition syndrome for my Ascent.
 

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I had a Ford Explorer loaner for a few months (while Ford was waiting for parts for the Takata air bag replacement for my Fusion) and it must have had premium sound - it kicked hard and sounded very clean. I was all set to buy an Explorer afterwards, but after reading reviews ended up with the Ascent Premium with 8" LCD (not sure if that matters in terms of speaker upgrades). Never had a car with good audio in it, but after having the Explorer the Ascent's stock (non-premium) audio sounds like garbage.

The Subaru website shows that the Premium Sound is an option for the Premium edition car, but there wasn't a single dealer anywhere in my area that had that option available, so I bought it with the understanding (to my wife) that we would upgrade the sound in it.

I just want to clarify a few things. I'm comfortable wiring stuff up and have done some home stereo setups but never a car.
@pduncan
The "head unit" speakers you referred to, what are those exactly? Did you replace those?

Also did you have to run any new wires from the dash (audio or power wires for the sub, or larger gauge wires for the door or anything)?

You mentioned the base model not coming with dash speakers. As I understand it there's two speaker configurtations when purchasing the Ascent. Standard and premium. If you had dash speakers, does that mean you had the premium sound? Where would I look to see if I have dash speakers?

Since you clearly know much more about this than I do, and since it seems pretty affordable, I'm probably going to order this same configuration you mentioned.

Thank you!
 

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I have a Premium without the Rockford upgrade. My plan is to install Focal K2 Power 165KRC 6.5" speakers in the front and a less expensive pair of Focals in the rear doors. I'm not sure what to do about the dash speakers. I need to find something that will match tonally.

The JL Audio FiX-86 OEM Integration DSP looks like it would work well to make all the necessary time delay and DSP adjustments, and override the awful factory equalization curve.
FiX-86 - Car Audio - Processors - OEM Integration - JL Audio

Of course I need a subwoofer. There's not much room in the back under the storage compartment cover. Someone posted that the JL 8" Microsub should fit, but to me it looks like you won't be able to close the storage box compartment cover all the way because the grill sits up too high. https://www.crutchfield.com/S-B0uBm0Nq4NT/p_13693133/JL-Audio-CP108LG-W3v3.html?XVINQ=DST&XVVER=G02&awcp=1t1&awcr=164108232702&awdv=c&awkw=&awmt=b&awnw=g&awug=9032515&gclid=Cj0KCQiA37HhBRC8ARIsAPWoO0xy22t1KMxMKOr6U9wQQ3JjgfKkgGA0SLRPf2cNuf7r0aY1nNs9lkUaAsD9EALw_wcB

Also with the microsub sitting under the closed storage compartment cover, I'm afraid the bass will sound muffled. I suppose I can drill holes in the cover and recover it with acoustic cloth but that's extra work.

Alternative I could just install a small Rockford Fosgate 10" or 12" sealed wedge enclosure that would sit on top of the compartment off to the passenger side. Using quick disconnects, I could easily remove the sub if I need the room to carry stuff. https://www.crutchfield.com/p_575R11X12/Rockford-Fosgate-Prime-R1-1X12.html

The final component would be a multi-channel amp that would sit under the storage compartment cover.
 

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I gotta be honest... the Ascent has the nicest stock radio of any car I've had the ability to drive on a regular basis. I dont have the Rockford Fosgate upgrade... and I still can't believe how sweet it sounds when cranked up into the low 20s.

I'd love to hear how much better any sub-$500 upgrade (the cost of the Rockford Fosgate system) could make it sound!
Must be getting old (37), I don’t think I’ve played it over volume 10! Coming from a guy that had JL and Kicker in every other vehicle

Loved my JL microusb, the great thing about it is that it had quick disconnects. Can install or remove in seconds if you need the space.

But I agree the stock sound system sounds pretty good!
 

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When replacing speakers i also make it a point to add a few pieces of Butyl mat to the outside and inside doors skins and spray some Fluid Film at bottom of door to prevent rust.
Do you need to remove speaker then put mat into doors ? or remove the panel of door ? Thank you
 

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When replacing speakers and not using an external amp I've always used Polk speakers. One of the advantages is they have a high sensitivity rating which means they produce more sound with the same power (or the same sound with less power) which helps them on stock radio amps.

I too must be getting old though as this time I just paid for the Rockford Fosgate upgrade rather than saving $150 or so and doing it myself! I'm happy with the upgrade and the overall tones and balance sound pretty good. Bass isn't huge, but I haven't liked thumping bass since I was 18 (and built a custom 15" subwoofer box).
 

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When replacing speakers and not using an external amp I've always used Polk speakers. One of the advantages is they have a high signal to noise rating (SN) which means they produce more sound with the same power (or the same sound with less power) which helps them on stock radio amps.

I too must be getting old though as this time I just paid for the Rockford Fosgate upgrade rather than saving $150 or so and doing it myself! I'm happy with the upgrade and the overall tones and balance sound pretty good. Bass isn't huge, but I haven't liked thumping bass since I was 18 (and built a custom 15" subwoofer box).
Geezer club checking in! I grew up in the era of Grunge, Gansta Rap, and Boy bands (as far as mainstream music is concerned). But I'm still considering installing a subwoofer.:devil:

You mean 'sensitivity', not S/N, but I know you know that. :grin:
 
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