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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Did you order the Fosgate audio upgrade?
What do you think of it....? Any suggestions for tweaks?
Worth the money?
Plans to attempt any other audio improvements?
 

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I didn't even know about the upgrade. I certainly wasn't offered it. I got the touring though, is it something for the other models and comes standard on the touring?
 

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Based on a couple of other forum members, the RF upgrade is a bit underwhelming. It's supposedly noticeably worse than the HK upgrade, and I was not impressed by the HK system during my test drive. I'm sure it'll still be better than stock speakers, but if audio quality if important to you, I'd recommend looking into a local audio shop and spend the equivalent there - you'll get a much better sound system for the same price.

Personally, I'm keeping the HK upgrade as part of my Option 23 upgrade on my Limited. Although I don't find the HK system impressive, I can live with it and don't want to spend more to change it to a different system. (Main reason I got Option 23 was for the pano roof.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I didn't even know about the upgrade. I certainly wasn't offered it. I got the touring though, is it something for the other models and comes standard on the touring?
It is offered as an accessory on the Models without the moonroof/HK sound system....If you have the moonroof it is not available....
 

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Based on a couple of other forum members, the RF upgrade is a bit underwhelming. It's supposedly noticeably worse than the HK upgrade, and I was not impressed by the HK system during my test drive. I'm sure it'll still be better than stock speakers, but if audio quality if important to you, I'd recommend looking into a local audio shop and spend the equivalent there - you'll get a much better sound system for the same price.

Personally, I'm keeping the HK upgrade as part of my Option 23 upgrade on my Limited. Although I don't find the HK system impressive, I can live with it and don't want to spend more to change it to a different system. (Main reason I got Option 23 was for the pano roof.)
This is exactly why I opted for #23 myself. The Pano roof.
 

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If I end up with the standard audio system, I'd probably give the RF system a shot. It's about $330 online and that isn't too bad for a DSP/amp and two 6x9s. If I went with a aftermarket system, I'd likely install a DSP anyway for better calibration ability. The RF DSP is already tuned for the Ascent, which makes a nice plug-n-ply upgrade in theory. I'd guess I'd be happy with the results since I mostly listen to podcasts these days with an occasional music binge.

...and then the bass bug will hit me and I'll start over. lol.
 

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I have the RF upgrade. It is front-biased (by design), the effect is really quite magical. It sounds like the speakers are right in front of you, but they're down in the door. I haven't needed to tweak anything.
Was it worth the money? Meh.
The lack of deep bass is really weird. They really should have added a subwoofer to the package, or add it for an additional cost. I contacted Rockford Fosgate for a recommendation, but they just said that they haven't made a subwoofer for the Flex41 amp (the amp the RF upgrade uses).
 

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So if you ordered Option 23 which system do you get? On previous legacy I had harmon and thought it was good. Thanks
 

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So if you ordered Option 23 which system do you get? On previous legacy I had harmon and thought it was good. Thanks
With #23 on Limited you get:


Harman Kardon Quantum Logic audio with voice activated Navigation by tom-tom (includes voice activated climate control), Panoramic dual glass moonroof (front opens, rear is fixed) with power sunshade, Cargo area cover
MSRP $2950


I get my info from:

2019 Subaru Ascent 7 passenger research webpage
 

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I have the RF upgrade. It is front-biased (by design), the effect is really quite magical. It sounds like the speakers are right in front of you, but they're down in the door. I haven't needed to tweak anything.
Was it worth the money? Meh.
The lack of deep bass is really weird. They really should have added a subwoofer to the package, or add it for an additional cost. I contacted Rockford Fosgate for a recommendation, but they just said that they haven't made a subwoofer for the Flex41 amp (the amp the RF upgrade uses).
Have you gotten a chance to look at the amp/DSP (under the seat?)? Does it have RCA outputs for a potential subwoofer installation?
 

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Have you gotten a chance to look at the amp/DSP (under the seat?)? Does it have RCA outputs for a potential subwoofer installation?
There's no RCA output. The amp is the same that Rockford Fosgate uses in some other vehicles (Flex41 ecopunch) and I found a photo that shows the connections:


In the Ascent, only the harness connections are connected to cables. The other connections are covered by a plug similar to what covers the USB ports on the center console.

I contacted Rockford Fosgate support to ask for a recommended subwoofer, and they replied with the following:
there isnt a sub out on the flex 41 at this time. so any sub can be added, just need to use a line out converter and run it to an amp and sub of your choice.
 

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There's no RCA output. The amp is the same that Rockford Fosgate uses in some other vehicles (Flex41 ecopunch) and I found a photo that shows the connections:


In the Ascent, only the harness connections are connected to cables. The other connections are covered by a plug similar to what covers the USB ports on the center console.

I contacted Rockford Fosgate support to ask for a recommended subwoofer, and they replied with the following:
there isnt a sub out on the flex 41 at this time. so any sub can be added, just need to use a line out converter and run it to an amp and sub of your choice.
Thanks for the info. I came across pictures after I posted. It's too bad about the disabled subwoofer
output, but adding another amp and sub might sound better anyway as long as you can keep the crossovers in check.
 

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The Ascent I test drove had the RF upgrade, so I connected up my phone and listened to podcasts during the drive. Speech was plenty clear without fiddling with settings, so I added it to my order. Is it the best use of $411? Maybe not, but it's good enough for my principal use, so I took the easy way out.
 

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The Ascent I test drove had the RF upgrade, so I connected up my phone and listened to podcasts during the drive. Speech was plenty clear without fiddling with settings, so I added it to my order. Is it the best use of $411? Maybe not, but it's good enough for my principal use, so I took the easy way out.
I think the RF upgrade is worthy if you value OEM quality and integration. You definitely get upgraded sound to the point that it only needs a subwoofer if you want that aftermarket "car go BOOM" sound.

https://www.ascentforums.com/forum/26-subaru-subaru/3619-rf-audio-upgrade-installed.html
 

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I normally install my own aftermarket speakers and equipment. This time I went the "lazy" route and just ordered them. The cost wasn't too much and just having it arrive already done was nice. Are they amazing? No. Are they pretty good? Yeah!

If you want premium auto sound you're not going to get it from a factory installed package anyway, so you'd go custom from the start. If you just want clearer audio and decent bass response, it's good enough!
 

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...If you want premium auto sound you're not going to get it from a factory installed package anyway, so you'd go custom from the start. If you just want clearer audio and decent bass response, it's good enough!
I've done aftermarket premium audio before, and I must say I am very impressed with the Harman Kardon system in the Touring. The only thing the head unit is lacking is a better EQ control, but the sound, clarity, bass... everything... is pretty stellar.
 

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Has anyone checked with Crutchfield yet? Usually, you can always do much better with aftermarket equipment for the same money as it would cost for OEM. The trick these days is that you can't replace the head unit anymore so someone would need to figure out the wiring harness to add an amp. Once that was done, the sky is the limit for a quality aftermarket primary amp, a subwoofer amp, and speakers.
 

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I've done aftermarket premium audio before, and I must say I am very impressed with the Harman Kardon system in the Touring. The only thing the head unit is lacking is a better EQ control, but the sound, clarity, bass... everything... is pretty stellar.
I agree for the most part, the HK system does a decent job. Audiophiles would demand more bass however, and want to add a better subwoofer and probably a subwoofer amp.

The equalizer is non-existent, what you get is only a three-way tone control: treble, mid-range, and bass. This is not enough to properly equalize the speakers and is a major weak point in the system. This could possibly be fixed via a software upgrade. No high-quality audio system should be without a proper equalizer and this is a glaring deficiency with the HK setup.
 

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I agree for the most part, the HK system does a decent job. Audiophiles would demand more bass however, and want to add a better subwoofer and probably a subwoofer amp.

The equalizer is non-existent, what you get is only a three-way tone control: treble, mid-range, and bass. This is not enough to properly equalize the speakers and is a major weak point in the system. This could possibly be fixed via a software upgrade. No high-quality audio system should be without a proper equalizer and this is a glaring deficiency with the HK setup.
Yep... though I did note that the system is capable of a lot more bass than it normally puts out. I think that SiriusXM crushes the heck out of most of the bass on most of their channels, but I have used some locally played (via phone) drum and bass tracks, as well as some of the higher quality ones on Google Play Music, and the bass hits hard enough to shake the entire car and nearly hurt.

Now of course, there's different desires for bass, such as hard hitting vs ultra low... and they usually don't come together, so, a custom setup is much better at getting the sound responses each individual wants.

No high-quality audio system should be without a proper equalizer and this is a glaring deficiency with the HK setup.
HK really really blew it on that. I'm baffled by that.
 

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Yep... though I did note that the system is capable of a lot more bass than it normally puts out. I think that SiriusXM crushes the heck out of most of the bass on most of their channels, but I have used some locally played (via phone) drum and bass tracks, as well as some of the higher quality ones on Google Play Music, and the bass hits hard enough to shake the entire car and nearly hurt.

Now of course, there's different desires for bass, such as hard hitting vs ultra low... and they usually don't come together, so, a custom setup is much better at getting the sound responses each individual wants.
Correct. There's plenty of bass for most people, but some, mostly younger buyers, like ultra bass. I do think it could use a bit more, I have the bass setting at max, but I'm an old time rocker and I grew up with a lot of bass, but before the days of massive subwoofers and dedicated subwoofer amps.

HK really really blew it on that. I'm baffled by that.
It's not too late, it probably requires only a software change to add a decent equalizer. If they're going to market the HK as premium audio, they owe us an actual equalizer.
 
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