With the automotive world heading towards luxury and green vehicles, it’s refreshing to see automakers still tending to true car enthusiasts. Subaru has kept true to themselves and their fans with the WRX throughout the years. Raw, athletic, and aggressive, the WRX is one of the few vehicles on the market that is still focused on the driving and driver engagement. While our 2019 WRX has been slowly making progress in regards to performance, we wanted to enhance the driving experience further. We opted for the OEM Audio Plus system as a new sound solution for our D’GARAGE. This system provides benefits from the factory unit, but there is more to it than just good music. Text by Bassem Girgis DSPORT Online Content

Watch This Video to Learn More About System 500 From OEM Audio Plus

OEM Audio Plus

As the name implies, OEM Audio Plus specializes in sound system that are designed to replace your factory units without leaving many traces. This system is engineered to use all of the factory locations so it could serve as a direct replacement and a true plug-and-play. OEM Audio Plus systems are vehicle-specific, specializing in Toyota, Subaru, Scion, and now Ford (more manufacturers to come). What we like most about the company, however, is their sound tuning measurements. Each system is tuned specifically for its vehicle using six microphones that focus on the driver, while still providing clean, crisp, and clear sound for everyone in the vehicle.

The Parts

As we’ve mentioned, the OEM Audio Plus system is a plug-and-play solution. Aside from the 8-inch quad-coil subwoofer in the trunk (adds 11.1-pounds of weight), nothing else is visible. For our WRX, both the front and rear speakers were replaced, as well as the two 1-inch soft dome tweeter speakers on the dashboard. The quick-sync wiring harness runs through all of the factory locations, and plugs in to the battery and on the back of the head unit. Finally, a multi-channel DSP power amplifier brings the magic and ends up finding a home under the passenger seat. The basic system comes with the wiring harness, subwoofer, two 1-inch tweeters, and the DSP power amp. Adding the speakers can make quite the difference, and if you decide to add a second sub, you will be doing yourself a big favor.

The Magic

The 8-inch woofer is constructed from genuine carbon-fiber with a 100W RMS (200 peak) and a sensitivity of 88.9dB. While the sub-woofer makes a world of a difference, it wouldn’t be possible without the multi-channel 32-bit DSP power amplifier. This amp is 360 Watts RMS that incorporates real-time system diagnosis to ensure music is delivered trouble-free. The special tuning on this amp converts analog signals into digital signals by way of four analog-to-digital converters. This allows for signals to be precision-adjusted, a luxury not quite accessible with an analog signal. The 32-bit DSP makes for a great, clean sound without needing to draw a huge amount of power.

The Installation

While you can always have the OEM Audio Plus guys (or just about any automotive audio store) finish the installation for you, OEM Audio Plus said that over 90-percent of their customers end up doing the install on their own. The wiring harness is simple, starting from the battery’s negative terminal, then routing through the radio (head unit), then the amp under the passenger seat, and finally ending at the subwoofer in the trunk. Once you get past the discomfort of removing your head unit and some trim panels, you should be able to do the installation with no issues. The wire is run under trim pieces, so the final result should show no traces of audio system upgrades, but the music should say otherwise

Our Experience

The first thing you’ll notice when you start blasting music on your new OEM Audio Plus system is how clean the sound is. While the factory system may feel restrictive in terms of volume-to-sound quality, the OEM Audio Plus unit is extremely balanced. Installation seemed straight forward. If you follow the videos OEM Audio Plus has for this procedure, you should face no issues. We first tested the system without any of the door speakers replaced, then with four speakers added, and the difference is quite noticeable. Basically, the added speakers provided an even cleaner and crisper sound to our music. We highly recommend replacing the door speakers while you’re at it. However, if you decide to go with the most-basic system, you will still enjoy music at a whole different level. I’ve personally experienced how a Toyota Tacoma sounds like with the OEM Audio Plus system and two subwoofers in the back, and the result was the best sounding system I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. If you have the ability to add a second subwoofer, you will not regret it. Of course, the subwoofers in the Tacoma sit inside the cabin, so the experience in the WRX should be slightly different. Best of all, the sound tuning truly shows in the WRX. By nature, the WRX is a raw, loud vehicle. While we love it for that, it could take a toll on the quality of your sound system. The tuning expertise from these engineers can be heard through the roughest of conditions. Even with an exhaust system, our music is still clean, clear, and loud when we want it to be.

The Verdict

Not only is the OEM Audio Plus system a great option for the WRX, it is almost needed. Before this, I had to find a certain volume for specific types of music, but with this system, I have the freedom of listening to music on my own terms, knowing I get quality sounds every time. While you will experience a world of difference with the basic-system, we recommend adding the door speakers. They simply clean the sound further and provide a better overall experience. Be sure to choose quality music sources to truly feel the difference. Playing music off of YouTube won’t sound as good as if you play it off of a CD. The OEM Audio Plus System 500 carries a price tag of $1,499.

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