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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a '20 Limited with HK

As other's have mentioned, the HK is quite subpar. The overall sound is just not punchy. I have a subwoofer which I've tapped onto the stock HK amp 30pin plug under the passenger seat to wire to a Fosgate Amp to an ID shallow sub which was from my previous car.

Using a voltage meter, I figured out the rear speaker outputs.
If you look at the color coding for the hk amp
the Light brown's on the left are +B always hot, The Black on the 3rd column of pins are ground
On the right side of the 30 pin output, Ive tapped into 2 set's of top bottom wires one over from the end.
The outermost set is for the center channel speaker
Sorry, I dont recall the colors I tapped into.

Anyways, the voltage of these are super low. Output of these signals barely register a few millivolts. I plugged into the High Level Inputs on my amp, crank up the gain and have enough power to feed the sub, but there is barely any output.

Is there a better speaker location to tap into? Was thinking the only other location maybe to tap into is the factory HK sub on the rear right panel

BTW: i have a '18 WRX also with the HK factory setup. It is FAR better than what is on the ascent
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
basically i tapped into the rear speaker outputs from the 30pin plug from the factory HK amp. getting a small prong into the tail of the connector is such a pain.
 

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i think you need to convert the processed signal (aka pre-amped/HU signal) back to "line" signal, using one of those RCA line converter. not sure if your "high input" is the same
 

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I would tap the front door speakers that’s where most of bass signal is fed.Rear doors & third row speakers(if equipped) are heavily attenuated and are crossed over pretty high.
 

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Any impedance or sound impact from "tapping in" to working speakers like that?
 
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I'd say the tap into it with a high impedance input wouldn't do anything to the existing amp and speaker, but the amp output being loaded by speaker will not necessarily be the cleanest source as an input the the aux amp.
 

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For those of you who complain about the sound not being punchy enough or having enough bass, I have to ask what are you listening to and through what media? You need to play music with deep bass like hip hop to appreciate what this system can do. Just pumped some Outkast and Busta Rhymes through there (from Apple Carplay/Spotify) and it sounded AMAZING with deep punchy bass thumping entire cabin, and clear dynamic highs. Most rock music is pretty flat I will agree, especially if played on satellite radio. I really detest the audio quality from most satellite feeds.
 

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Not sure about the HK system but as for the RF upgrade, the wiring harness it comes with brings the speaker source cables down to the amp right from the head unit. That's what I tapped into.
 

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I think a lot of us complain about the sound system because we think it just doesn't sound good (many of us have discussed this multiple times over the past year and a half). I haven't had a system this poor in a car in probably a decade and a half. I listen to everything from jazz to classical to rock. Not so much country and top 40. There's not much mid-range, and it tends to sound really tinny. About the biggest compliment I can pay the system is that sound-wise, it doesn't sound any worse with satellite radio than it does traditional radio. A nicer sound system, or even just the ability to have a multi-band equalizer to help sort the sound out a little better, would make the car much more enjoyable
 

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I really detest the audio quality from most satellite feeds.
Thank you. I thought I was the only one noticing this.
In comparison, the premium’s non-upgraded sound system usually does well unless you get into some Billie Eilish bass. Then those speakers really bottom out 😂 (dont ask how I know)
 

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I think the HK system does sound very good if played from a local source and/or streaming source. It sounds much better to my ears just playing Pandora vs. XM. Country music is about all I listen to, and much of the good stuff has some very good lower tones that just don't come through on the HK system through XM. Pandora sounds better. An old school CD sounds even better still.
 

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For those of you who complain about the sound not being punchy enough or having enough bass, I have to ask what are you listening to and through what media? You need to play music with deep bass like hip hop to appreciate what this system can do. Just pumped some Outkast and Busta Rhymes through there (from Apple Carplay/Spotify) and it sounded AMAZING with deep punchy bass thumping entire cabin, and clear dynamic highs. Most rock music is pretty flat I will agree, especially if played on satellite radio. I really detest the audio quality from most satellite feeds.
No one should have to play a specific style of music for an audio system to sound good. A well-designed audio system should be able to reproduce all musical sources equally well. In fact, a definitive indicator of a poorly designed audio system is when some types of music sound good while others do not.
 

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No one should have to play a specific style of music for an audio system to sound good. A well-designed audio system should be able to reproduce all musical sources equally well. In fact, a definitive indicator of a poorly designed audio system is when some types of music sound good while others do not.
Other than to the extent that XM sucks and varies horribly, and other streaming music services play with bitrate and compression regularly.

On that note, besides my massive on phone collection, I have Google Play Music store higher resolution copies of select playlists locally. That helps create a more consistent listening experience. Also helps on long distance road trips.
 

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No one should have to play a specific style of music for an audio system to sound good. A well-designed audio system should be able to reproduce all musical sources equally well. In fact, a definitive indicator of a poorly designed audio system is when some types of music sound good while others do not.
Absolutely correct @pro10is

In audiophile terms it's called "flat response" where all frequencies can be reproduced at the same level as the original performance. Equalizers allow tuning for personal preference or can be used to adjust to flat response using a spectrum analyzer but only if there are enough bands, usually 8-16 or more.

The problems that everyone hears through the HK are common these days. Recordings are made with tons of compression to give more perceived loudness but it also kills the fidelity. It only gets worse when the low quality recordings are broadcast by stations who introduce even more compression turning the sound to mud.

Dig out your favorite CD's and give them a try. If you don't like handling the CD's, rip them using a lossless codec and put them on usb stick. It'll go a long way to making the audio experience a happier one.
 

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I've tried dozens of CDs (Honestly the only ones that sounded good were Kiko by Los lobos, Kerosene Hat by Cracker, and the Especially For You by the Smithereens-Not necessarily favorite albums, but ones that sounded good in the Ascent, so I keep those CDs with me in the car).

Regarding other sources I tended to rip audio at 192 (although I haven't done it in probably a year or two now), I think I may have done some at the level below that as well, but I always went above 128.

All sources sound great in the Meridian in my Jaguar, even satellite. In our MKZ, which has maybe the best audio system I've ever heard in my life (at least in a vehicle), everything except satellite sounds incredible. I don't know what Lincoln did with the processing, but satellite actually sounds worse than in the Ascent.

I will say I think the Ascent has good stereo and spatial separation, but the music just doesn't sound very true or dynamic. I think I mentioned elsewhere if it's done just as background noise it's certainly fine, but when you want to get into it, it just doesn't have that 'presence' that it does in my other cars.

It's a little unfortunate, because I'm finally coming around to liking the car in general, but there's nothing that can be done about the audio system. I wouldn't want to mess with the head unit because all the other functions are integrated pretty nicely.
 

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Absolutely correct @pro10is

In audiophile terms it's called b. Equalizers allow tuning for personal preference or can be used to adjust to flat response using a spectrum analyzer but only if there are enough bands, usually 8-16 or more.

The problems that everyone hears through the HK are common these days. Recordings are made with tons of compression to give more perceived loudness but it also kills the fidelity. It only gets worse when the low quality recordings are broadcast by stations who introduce even more compression turning the sound to mud.

Dig out your favorite CD's and give them a try. If you don't like handling the CD's, rip them using a lossless codec and put them on usb stick. It'll go a long way to making the audio experience a happier one.
I've tried using my CDs directly as well as ripping them using lossless FLAC. While some moderate improvement occurred over other sources, the deficiencies of my HK system were still all too obvious to my ear and I just can't stand listening to it.

Your excellent point concerning "flat response" where all frequencies can be reproduced at the same level as the original performance, is absolutely key, as it's something the HK system in its current form, lacking a proper equalizer, simply cannot do. No matter how good the original recording, the HK system cannot play it flat or neutrally. The induced mid-frequency harshness literally hurts my ears and I find it painful to listen to it for any extended period of time. To me, it's like nails on a chalkboard.

I've never blamed this exclusively on poor audio sources such as over-compressed recordings or XM, they definitely can and do make it worse, but the root source of the problem is the HK system itself which cannot reproduce a flat response over the full range of audio frequencies and therefore colors and distorts any recordings played through it, good or bad. Depending upon your hearing, your tolerance, and your tonal preferences, this may or may not sound objectional to you. In my opinion, it's intolerable no matter what source or adjustments I've tried.

As I implied earlier, it is a definitive indicator of a poorly designed audio system that cannot reproduce the original recording as it was produced to be heard. I don't expect any OEM vehicle audio system to reproduce a perfectly flat response, but the HK system doesn't even come close, and worse, it cannot be adjusted in its current form to produce anything that I find even reasonably acceptable, no matter what the source.

I'm glad others can deal with it on some level, but it's not for me. I would rip it out and replace it in a heartbeat if it weren't integrated with the vehicle's other electronic systems. I'll keep hoping for a software fix from HK or Subaru.
 

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The only thing I found that helped, and I think Robert mentioned it somewhere ( He's kind of like the all-knowing 'presence' for all things Ascent related), is that adjusting the balance a little bit rearward seems to help a little bit with overall sound quality.
 
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