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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Based on what I've read here, the Rockford Fosgate upgrade isn't worth it. It does nothing for bass and does not change the weird EQ that Subaru uses.

The question is how to go about installing an aftermarket amp that does away with the EQ?

I know there are some units out there by Audison for example, that will take the high level outputs from the stock radio and re-EQ them. But the Audison unit is very expensive. I'm sure there's something out there that is less $ and works well enough.

I'd like to swap out the front and rear door speakers with new Focal coax units.

I have to measure the storage compartment under the rear deck. If I can fit a JL powered Microsub back there, that would ideal. Otherwise I could always build my own sub box out of MDF to fit the space.

I hate the muddy sound that comes out of the weirdly EQ'd Subaru base system.

Edit: It looks like the JL Audio Fix86 will work to take the high output signal from the OEM head unit and re-EQ and time align the signal.

http://www.jlaudio.com/fix-86-car-audio-processors-system-tuning-98103
 

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Keep in mind that because the OEM head unit has the Rockford Fosgate upgrade option, you should be able to access the line level outputs.

I personally would not have confidence that I would be happy with the set equalization provided by the Fix86 DSP. Not because it wouldn't perform it correctly, but because everyone has their own personal tastes when it comes to equalization and because of the specific acoustics of the vehicle. However, the Fix86 does appear to have an option to set your own equalization via a PC app. If this is the case, then it may work well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Keep in mind that because the OEM head unit has the Rockford Fosgate upgrade option, you should be able to access the line level outputs.
Does anyone know if the head unit indeed has a line level out? That would be great if it did.
 

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Does anyone know if the head unit indeed has a line level out? That would be great if it did.
The Rockford Fosgate option uses their relatively common Flex 41 DSP Amp which is used on a lot of vehicles as an audio upgrade. The Flex 41 almost assuredly uses line inputs. It connects to the head unit via a connection cable. Follow this connector to the head unit and you should find the location of the line out connections. Here is the installation instructions. Not a lot of detail but it shows the connections. There is a 6 pin and 10 pin connector. If you look at your head unit, it should be the connectors which currently have no cable attached.

I wish I could help more but I don't have any schematics. There are several people here who have downloaded the Ascent Service Manual from Subaru, perhaps they can provide a pin-out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My concern with the Flex 41 DSP, is it will apply the same weird EQ to the system as the stock system has. Basically there is a lot of roll off at each end of the spectrum with some mid-band suck out.

That's why I'm leaning toward something like the JL Audi FiX86, which will remove the stock EQ and time align the system.

BTW, I ordered this set of Focal co-axials from Crutchfield last night. It's a pretty good deal. I'm going to order a less spendy set for the rear doors.

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_091165KRC/Focal-K2-Power-165KRC.html
 

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My concern with the Flex 41 DSP, is it will apply the same weird EQ to the system as the stock system has. Basically there is a lot of roll off at each end of the spectrum with some mid-band suck out.

That's why I'm leaning toward something like the JL Audi FiX86, which will remove the stock EQ and time align the system.

BTW, I ordered this set of Focal co-axials from Crutchfield last night. It's a pretty good deal. I'm going to order a less spendy set for the rear doors.

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_091165KRC/Focal-K2-Power-165KRC.html
FWIW, I asked RF about the bass roll-off, etc. recently. They actually email back when you contact them.

1. Does the bass roll off as the volume is increased? (would like to know if a basic LOC is needed or if DSP is necessary).
1: No, the amplifier doesn't have any type of bass roll off.

2. I'd like to tap into the front speaker outputs of the FLEX 41 amp to feed the LOC. Are the speaker wires color coded with the traditional speaker wire colors?
2: No, none of the wires are going to be traditional colors.

3. Most people tap the rear speakers for an LOC. I'd like to tap the front so I can still get a signal to my amp if I fade the rear speakers out. Is it OK to tap the front? Will I be "stealing" any power from the front speakers this way?
3: You can grab the signal from the front or rear, your call.

4. Would you advise getting my signal from behind the head unit instead? If so, why?
4: Probably have better results before the amp, after the amp will have time alignment and other DSP settings that may affect the output.

I'm not 100% certain of the standard head unit rolls off the bass. I did read somewhere on the internet that this 8" Starlink system does, but I don't believe anything until I see it for myself. You might have to crank it past 50% to tell and I simply have not tested that. Also the FLEX41 amp might not have any bass roll-off, but is the head unit feeding it rolled off bass? That's something more specific to ask RF. Maybe the FLEX41 DSP fixes that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
4. Would you advise getting my signal from behind the head unit instead? If so, why?
4: Probably have better results before the amp, after the amp will have time alignment and other DSP settings that may affect the output.

That's exactly the issue. You have to stay away from the stock power amp since it does the weird EQ.

That reply also makes it sound like the signal off the head unit might be pretty clean, which is encouraging.
 

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That's exactly the issue. You have to stay away from the stock power amp since it does the weird EQ.

That reply also makes it sound like the signal off the head unit might be pretty clean, which is encouraging.
RF was telling me to put the LOC after the stock power amp (head unit), but before the RF amp, which introduces additional signal processing.

If there is bass roll-off ("weird EQ") from the stock head unit and RF claims that their system does not roll off the bass, that begs the question (s):
  1. Does the stock head unit have any bass roll-off at all? (some rando on internet says yes)
  2. Since RF claims no roll-off, does the FLEX41 amp/DSP correct the signal that it's fed from the stock head unit? Or, is the FLEX 41 fed a full-range signal to begin with? Another email to RF could clear that up.

After re-reading your posts, I see "weird EQ" means, "a lot of roll off at each end of the spectrum with some mid-band suck out". Can you please elaborate on that comment? That makes it seem like the whole spectrum is attenuated. Is it possible that the stock head unit isn't EQing as much as you claim? Did you run any scientific tests? What do you ears tell you exactly? Serious question - no hate.

...I decided to listen to music on the way home today and the RF system puts out serious bass! I listened to a lot of stuff, but hip hop tracks got the rear view mirror shaking. Kick drums and 808 sounds are reproduced wonderfully. This system has plenty of boom if desired, but not much in the very very low (electronic music) frequencies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
RF was telling me to put the LOC after the stock power amp (head unit), but before the RF amp, which introduces additional signal processing.

If there is bass roll-off ("weird EQ") from the stock head unit and RF claims that their system does not roll off the bass, that begs the question (s):
  1. Does the stock head unit have any bass roll-off at all? (some rando on internet says yes)
  2. Since RF claims no roll-off, does the FLEX41 amp/DSP correct the signal that it's fed from the stock head unit? Or, is the FLEX 41 fed a full-range signal to begin with? Another email to RF could clear that up.

After re-reading your posts, I see "weird EQ" means, "a lot of roll off at each end of the spectrum with some mid-band suck out". Can you please elaborate on that comment? That makes it seem like the whole spectrum is attenuated. Is it possible that the stock head unit isn't EQing as much as you claim? Did you run any scientific tests? What do you ears tell you exactly? Serious question - no hate.

...I decided to listen to music on the way home today and the RF system puts out serious bass! I listened to a lot of stuff, but hip hop tracks got the rear view mirror shaking. Kick drums and 808 sounds are reproduced wonderfully. This system has plenty of boom if desired, but not much in the very very low (electronic music) frequencies.
I'd have to dig through the forum to find the post. Someone posted up an EQ response curve showing boosted treble, "flat", and boosted bass. On all the curves it showed a dip at the low end, rising and then another dip at the 1000 Hz area before rising and the falling down again at the upper end of the response curve. It's by no means near neutral. The bass response on the rear door speakers rolls off more precipitously than it does on the front doors.

My ears tell me that tonally the system sounds ok when there is singing but it's missing "air". Sharper notes such as horns and cymbals are indistinct. Bass notes are just plain muddy and flabby. There is no real depth or solidness to the bass. It's all kind of one note bass. Yes, it can play loud and I can get stuff "shaking" but I'm not looking for loud mushy music.

Sorry if I can't be more describe it better. For reference, my home system consists of Bohlender Graebner planar speakers (kind of like electrostatics), ATI 5 channel amp, Sota Sapphire turntable with Grace 707 arm, Emotiva USP200 processor and a bunch of other stuff. I'm not an audio snob but I do like good sound. The Ascent is going to be my daily driver. I've never really had a really nice car stereo. This time I'd like a good system.
 

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I'd have to dig through the forum to find the post. Someone posted up an EQ response curve showing boosted treble, "flat", and boosted bass. On all the curves it showed a dip at the low end, rising and then another dip at the 1000 Hz area before rising and the falling down again at the upper end of the response curve. It's by no means near neutral. The bass response on the rear door speakers rolls off more precipitously than it does on the front doors.

My ears tell me that tonally the system sounds ok when there is singing but it's missing "air". Sharper notes such as horns and cymbals are indistinct. Bass notes are just plain muddy and flabby. There is no real depth or solidness to the bass. It's all kind of one note bass. Yes, it can play loud and I can get stuff "shaking" but I'm not looking for loud mushy music.

Sorry if I can't be more describe it better. For reference, my home system consists of Bohlender Graebner planar speakers (kind of like electrostatics), ATI 5 channel amp, Sota Sapphire turntable with Grace 707 arm, Emotiva USP200 processor and a bunch of other stuff. I'm not an audio snob but I do like good sound. The Ascent is going to be my daily driver. I've never really had a really nice car stereo. This time I'd like a good system.
Nice home setup! My old JBL towers have been locked in a closet for 8 years. They're too big for our house, so I make do with a Mirage speakers in my home "theater". I also use various headphones (I like my Sennheiser HD600) with a tube amp when I can really sit down and enjoy. Upgrades will come sooner or later. We just dropped a lot of money on ordering a giant sofa, but at least it's going to be turquoise (we have a lot of gray/beige going on). Then I need a new mountain bike, and I've been holding out on the new 4k/HDR TVs... It doesn't end, so the stereo stuff (home and car) keeps falling lower in the list of priorities. I really want to get some Golden Ear speakers though!

If you've never had a 'good' car system, then by all means bypass the RF upgrade (although the imaging and overall tonal quality is pretty good) and get a nice DSP, amps, etc. There's really nothing like it, but it takes time and work. I will be completely satisfied if I just manage to install my subwoofer into the Ascent. Wish there was more time in life...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Nice home setup! My old JBL towers have been locked in a closet for 8 years. They're too big for our house, so I make do with a Mirage speakers in my home "theater". I also use various headphones (I like my Sennheiser HD600) with a tube amp when I can really sit down and enjoy. Upgrades will come sooner or later. We just dropped a lot of money on ordering a giant sofa, but at least it's going to be turquoise (we have a lot of gray/beige going on). Then I need a new mountain bike, and I've been holding out on the new 4k/HDR TVs... It doesn't end, so the stereo stuff (home and car) keeps falling lower in the list of priorities. I really want to get some Golden Ear speakers though!

If you've never had a 'good' car system, then by all means bypass the RF upgrade (although the imaging and overall tonal quality is pretty good) and get a nice DSP, amps, etc. There's really nothing like it, but it takes time and work. I will be completely satisfied if I just manage to install my subwoofer into the Ascent. Wish there was more time in life...
Well it sounds like you know what good sound is. I'm going to try and see if there's a dealer around here with the upgraded RF system. Maybe by adding a sub to it, I would be satisfied. It'd certainly be a whole lot less $$$.

Audio, Video.....it never ends lol......
 

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Well it sounds like you know what good sound is. I'm going to try and see if there's a dealer around here with the upgraded RF system. Maybe by adding a sub to it, I would be satisfied. It'd certainly be a whole lot less $$$.

Audio, Video.....it never ends lol......
You can buy a new RF Flex 41 for as little as $50 on eBay if you just wanted to test it. This does not include the wiring harness or speakers.
 

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Well it sounds like you know what good sound is. I'm going to try and see if there's a dealer around here with the upgraded RF system. Maybe by adding a sub to it, I would be satisfied. It'd certainly be a whole lot less $$$.

Audio, Video.....it never ends lol......
@TheLex Did you ever try the RF system out or upgrade your stereo in another way?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@TheLex Did you ever try the RF system out or upgrade your stereo in another way?
I haven't gotten around to it yet. Too many project. I do however have all the equipment ready to go. I'll update this when I finally get it done. First thing I'm going to do is to build a subwoofer . The rear parcel shelf under the lid is removable. I plan on getting rid of that and installing a proper sub box under the lid.
 

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I haven't gotten around to it yet. Too many project. I do however have all the equipment ready to go. I'll update this when I finally get it done. First thing I'm going to do is to build a subwoofer . The rear parcel shelf under the lid is removable. I plan on getting rid of that and installing a proper sub box under the lid.
Did you pick up the RF system or a different Amp/DSP and different speakers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Did you pick up the RF system or a different Amp/DSP and different speakers?
I'm not doing the RF system. It's a minimal change at best. I'm going to do separate 6x9 speakers in the doors and tweeters in the dash pod. I have a JL Audio multichannel amp. Also a DSP unit to tune the system with. Finally the sub will be in a custom box. It's a Stereo Integrity shallow mount sub.
 
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