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#1: 09-08-2005, 09:15 AM
Plug n Play Aux-in mod for 2005/06 radios
jazzymt's Avatar
Title: The Gadgeteer
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Location: Tucson, AZ
Car: '05 OBP LGT
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The Why:
As several of you already know, there is no auxiliary audio input on the factory radios for the 2005/06 Legacys & Outbacks. This is a fairly common situation. What's not common, is for those of us with the 6CD changer & automatic climate controls, they are an integrated unit, with no way to separate one from the other. That means we can't even replace the stereo with an aftermarket deck to get what we want either: A clean auxiliary input to listen to our mp3s/ipod, xm or navigation.

The What:
For those of you not already familiar with centerpunch's aux in hack, essentially he created a clean aux in line by soldering wires onto the lines carrying the audio for the CD player in the factory headunit & played a silent CD so that he could listen to that source without hearing two things at once.

I've developed a plug 'n' play version of his idea...which consists of a small circuit board that utilizes the ribbon cable between the CD changer and the amp inside the stereo, piggybacking onto the CD audio lines by plugging that ribbon into this board and the ribbon that comes with the board back into the amp.

The board in question has an 1/8" stereo jack (a standard headphone jack) that you can plug into it whatever you want (I'm using an XM, but an mp3 player, carputer or ipod work equally well) - the elusive "Aux-in". Users have sucessfully installed many of these boards now and the thread that follows is full of their reviews.

The How:
I'm currently managing orders by purchasing directly from me using the paypal links below or by visiting my new website. The cost is $55 for the "Basic Kit" (including 2-day shipping, 75min silent cd, 2" 14pin ribbon cable & a downloadable copy of the installation instructions). For $63, I'll also include a 6' gold plated 1/8" stereo to RCA patch cable (male to male), serving as a complete "Install Kit" for most basic installs. For $78, you'll recieve a deluxe "Pro kit" with a PAC ground loop interupt and a 1/8" stereo to RCA patch cable. If you'd like to get more information from me or ask me a question first, feel free to PM me (include your email address if you want) and I'll be happy to answer your questions as best I can. I have boards in stock to ship USPS priority for orders until further notice.

$55 - Basic Kit$63 - Install Kit$78 - Pro Kit

Orders to Canada must use the website to order because of additional shipping charges.

WRX/Impreza/Outback Sport owners should use the website so they can request the correct vehicle option.

The Instructions:
And if you still really want more info, you can download the full PDF install instructions (much more detailed than anything on this forum).

The regular disclaimers apply: It's possible the board, or your install methods will damage your car, interior, or stereo and void the applicable warranties. This is purely for hobby/ educational/ novelty value and I'm not responsible for any damage it does to you, your car, stereo, dog or relationship. If you don't know what you're doing, be afraid, don't do it, get help, or whatever is the most applicable answer for you. This mod requires a lot of dissassembly and there are little screws & expensive parts you can scratch, break or loose, but it requires no soldering, cutting, splicing, sanding, melting, mixing, painting, etc. It is a true plug and play solution.

You can get more info by browsing through the first few pages of centerpunch's "iPod Direct-connection" forum and you can see some of the pics from my prototype install here:

More pictures from the my first production board install here on this thread:

The FAQ:
Will this work on other Subaru's? YES. This will work on STi/WRX/Impreza/Outback Sports, Foresters & Bajas. It has been tested and does not work in Tribeca's. It works for many years and models from 2002 thru 2006. For anything other than 05/06 vehicles - you need to use the site to select the appropriate year & model. Compatible radios are listed there.

Will this work on non-US radios? Yes, it will work with Canadian radios. It will not work in the McIntosh radio, and it will not work in the standard radio with metric climate controls (C instead of F) - European, Japanese, Australian, etc...sorry. I wish it did.

There is no loss of function of the changer correct? Correct, all the board does is piggyback another audio signal onto the CD out. Your whole stereo functions 100% normally if you have nothing plugged into the aux port. Also, since there is no soldering/cutting, if you decide you don't like it later, you can always unplug it and reassemble your radio to be 100% stock, like nothing ever happened.

Where is the aux-in btw? The RCA jacks (aux-in port) are soldered to the board. The board has a plug that accepts the ribbon cable from the cd changer and a plug + ribbon cable that plugs into where the CD changer was plugged into the amp. If you take a look at the install pics you'll have a better idea what I'm talking about.

Would I have to run a cable deep into the dash to connect? Yes...since the board is not only deep in your dash, but deep in your radio, that's where you would have to run a patch cable to.

What type of cable comes with the board? RCA? Stereo? Neither...because there are numerous possible ways to connect different audio devices, I have not provided an audio cable. To directly connect a device with another 1/8" stereo jack (like headphones), all you need is a 1/8" stereo to RCA patch cable (male to male). This cable is included in the "Install Kit". The "Pro Kit" also includes a GLI with your audio device. You can also put together your own configuration of cables and adapters using my website.

Would I be able to change sources easy enough (iPod and Sirius)? or would I have to disassemble everything to switch things out? What I would do is run a good 1/8" to RCA stereo patch cable from inside the stereo to somewhere convenient in your car, then you can easily change what you plug that end of the patch cable into, be it an XM radio or ipod. You could also run a headphone jack splitter and plug both in, and just use one at a time.

How does the sound quality compare to a line in fm modulator? I would assume it is perfect, is there any audible loss? I'm not enough an audiophile to legitimately qualify it as "perfect" but I would confidently suggest that it is "near-CD" quality. It literally connects your aux in device to the same point as the audio line levels for the built in CD changer, so I suppose it's as good/bad as your source. There is no comparison to an FM modulator. There are several other reviews of the sound quality in this thread that would suggest it is very good.

How does the loudness compare to the CD player or FM/AM Radio? Unfortunately, I have to give you another subjective answer, but with the line levels on my XM Roady2 out at 5 or 6 out of 10 it's easily as loud as the CD player and radio. I had to turn it down from where I had it set on my old stereo (8) and it's still much louder. As a result, the bass sounds stronger at lower volumes too. If you're using a portable audio device with a headphone jack, it's not going to be as loud or as good as if you use a docking connector or something else that will provide a (higher) true line level signal.

Will the silent CD repeat or continue to the next disc? You can use track repeat, but it will loose the "repeat setting" every time you turn your car off. If you use the aux-in regularly instead of other CD's (like me), I would just eject all the other CD's & then it will just repeat the silent CD automatically (forever).

Are the left & right audio lines still reversed? They were on the first version of the board, but the latest revision corrected this so that they are no longer reversed.

Can I make my own Silent CD? Yes. It's very simple to make your own CD. I posted a walkthru for making one using a freely available audio program here.

Does the stereo have to be the 6 disk in dash version, or will the base single cd version work too? The 1CD *does* work, and around 10-15 people have installed it in 1CD stereos just fine. There are 2 catches to the deal though:

1) Disconnecting the manual controls from the radio assembly is different & seeing as I've never done it, I can't help you much there (ie. it's not in the install instructions). Everyone's figured it out so far though and I believe it's simply a matter of 4 screws.

2) The 1CD player is not enclosed like the 6CD so it's easier to damage while you're handling it. If you're careful & take your time, I imagine you could install it just fine, but since it's an "install at your own risk" sort of thing, I prefer to give fair warning to anyone with the 1CD.

There is also an alternative available to 1CD owners that us 6CD people don't have - a dash kit that allows you to replace the radio completely. Seeing as the dash kit is around $60 plus whatever a new stereo costs, it's more expensive, but it's an option you might prefer...or a backup plan at least.

Be aware that this aux-in port is 'always on' to the if you're running it to something that doesn't turn off, and you have ground loop noise, you will hear it on every function, be it radio or that case, you would probably want a way to unplug the 'convenient end' of the patch cable from your source...or better yet, eliminate your ground loop. Whatever you do, plan accordingly. If using a device which draws its power from the vehicle such as XM, cigarette lighter adapter, etc., it is highly recommended to also purchase a ground loop isolator to prevent this problem. I highly recommend the PAC GLI available on my website, but others are also available from retail locations such as Crutchfield, Radio Shack and Walmart.

~more to come~
last updated 3/21/2007
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Last edited by jazzymt; 12-02-2011 at 11:37 AM.. Reason: canada shipping policy update
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