2013-2020 Subaru BRZ
How to upgrade the stereo system in your BRZ
In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your BRZ's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. We'll tell you all about:
- The factory stereo system
- Removing the factory radio
- Removing the factory speakers
- Adding more bass
- Other options for your BRZ
Then, use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your Subaru BRZ.
Overview of the Subaru BRZ
While there's something wonderful (lots of things, actually) about a car with gobs of horsepower, there are plenty of grins to be had in a light, well-balanced car with just the right combination of motor, manners, and moxie. Like, for example, the Subaru BRZ (and its fraternal twin, the Scion FR-S).
The BRZ is a sleek, sporty, rear-wheel drive 2+2 designed for people who really enjoy driving. Cat-quick, impressively agile and thoroughly entertaining, the BRZ is the kind of car you can't help but enjoy, whether you're driving to work on a weekday or autocrossing on a weekend.
If you decide you want to add more power under the hood, you won't have to look hard for aftermarket performance parts. If you want to add a more powerful stereo system, though, you won't have to look at all – you're already in the right place. Crutchfield can help you find the gear you need to make your BRZ sound as sweet as it drives.
The BRZ's factory nav system isn't that hard to replace (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The factory stereo system
The BRZ's factory 8-speaker stereo system features a touchscreen receiver with all the bells and whistles you'd expect to find in a modern car, including navigation, HD Radio™ reception, Bluetooth® connectivity and connections for Apple® and Android smartphones. The features are nice, but most reviewers have panned the system's sound and functionality with the same amount of brio used to praise the car's handling and overall performance.
The good news is that you can upgrade to a better receiver that's easier to use (and a lot easier on the ears) without losing any of the functions you like. You will lose the factory USB and AUX connections, but just about any aftermarket receiver will have those nowadays, so that's no big deal.
Removing the factory radio
The 2013 - 2015 factory receiver can be replaced with a wide number of single-DIN (2" tall) or double-DIN (4" tall) receivers. When you order from Crutchfield, you'll get a deep discount on the dash and wiring kit that connects the receiver to the car's factory wiring and allows the new stereo to fit the dash perfectly.
To install a new double-DIN receiver, you'll need the factory brackets. If you're replacing the stock receiver, they'll obviously be there. If you're replacing an aftermarket unit and the old brackets are long-gone, you can obtain a new set from a Subaru dealership.
Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions
Removing the receiver itself is pretty easy. Starting at the lower corners, pry off the four clips that hold the receiver trim panel in place. Even if you're using a proper pry tool, it's never a bad idea to use a piece of paper to protect the dash finish. With that out of the way, remove the four 10mm screws that secure the receiver to the dash, disconnect the harnesses, and remove the receiver.
For 2016-up models, the process is basically the same, but there's an extra step. You'll have to pry out seven clips holding the passenger's side dash pad panel and remove that panel before you can remove the receiver's trim panel.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 10mm socket, ratchet, and extension
Read our Car Stereo Buying Guide for shopping tips and advice.
Removing the factory speakers
The BRZ has speakers in the dash, the doors, and the rear side panel.
A through-the-glass view of a dash speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The BRZ's tweeters and midrange speakers are conveniently located under grilles in either corner of the dashboard. The tweeters are attached to the grille, while the midrange is in the opening. Getting to them is merely a matter of prying up the grille, releasing two retaining clips, and disconnecting the tweeter harness.
Replacing these speakers, which are wired in parallel, isn't terribly difficult, but it's not a "plug and play" operation, either. Few things are. The stock tweeter is just a tad under 1-1/2" and the mid is a 4" model, so you could install a set of component speakers in this location.
You'll need to fabricate a bracket (or use one of our universal brackets) to hold the tweeter in place, and you'll also want to use a set of Posi-Products connectors to hook the tweeter into the factory wiring. You could splice here, of course, but Posi-Products give you an easier, more durable connection. In a car that's likely to be driven with a certain amount of enthusiasm, that's a good thing.
Depending on the speakers you choose, you may need to trim the corners a bit to get the mids to fit into the factory opening. You also might need to acquire your own mounting hardware. Some speakers come with the screws you need, but some of them don't. Be sure to check the packaging before you start working.
Tools needed: Panel tool, small flat blade screwdriver, 10mm open-ended wrench
The BRZ's 6-3/4" front door speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Behind the BRZ's door panels, you'll find 6-3/4", 2-ohm speakers. Removing and replacing them isn't especially difficult, but there are a couple of things you'll want to know before you start.
You'll need to remove the door panel, of course, and while this isn't hard to do, you will want to work carefully and patiently when you're prying the panel away from the door. There are ten clips that hold the door in place, and you don't want to break any of them.
You'd think a set of aftermarket 6-3/4" speakers would fit right in, but that's actually not the case. Better speakers require bigger magnets, and there just isn't room in the BRZ's door. You can install 5-1/4" or 6-1/2" speakers, but even then, you'll need to cut off the back of the plastic factory speaker grille to create enough space for the new speaker. You'll need a mounting bracket and a wiring harness to install the new speaker in the opening, and they're both included free with your Crutchfield speaker purchase.
Tools needed: Panel tool, small flat blade screwdriver, #2 & #3 Phillips screwdrivers
You'll need to remove the seat cushion and side panel to get to this speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Rear side panel speakers
The BRZ's factory system also includes a pair of 4" speakers behind the rear side panels. Same-size replacements are easy to find and they're not hard to install.
The hardest part of this job will probably be moving around in the BRZ's decidedly cramped rear seat area while you're removing the lower seat cushion and side panels. Doing this work outdoors might be a good idea, simply because light and ventilation will make the job a lot more pleasant. Because it's dark and cramped back there, you'll probably want to have a task lamp handy. And you'll definitely want to be patient and work carefully.
A wiring harness is not available for these speakers, so you'll want to order another set of Posi-Products connectors to tap into your BRZ's factory wiring.
Tools needed: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, 10mm socket, ratchet, and extension
Read our Car Speakers Buying Guide for more information.
The trunk gives you a bit of room to add boom (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Bass in your Subaru BRZ
As you might expect, the BRZ doesn't offer a cavernous amount of space for a sub enclosure. With the folding rear seat up, the trunk dimensions are 12" H x 42" W x 31"/24" D, so while there's some room, there's not much. If you fold the seat down, there's obviously a lot more room to work with.
Of course, the BRZ is designed to carve up country roads, not cruise along boulevards at 5 mph with the stereo cranked. For most owners, we're guessing that more compact subs will suffice. JL Audio offers a custom-fit Stealthbox enclosure for the BRZ, which houses a 10" JL sub and fits in the trunk on the passenger's side. It's wired for a 2-ohm load and can handle up to 400 watts of power.
Other options for your BRZ
There are plenty of other ways to improve your Subaru BRZ. Here are some of the ways Crutchfield can help.
Add an amp
Replacing the BRZ's factory amplifier with an aftermarket amp will really help you get the most out of your new speakers. It's located under the rear cargo floor, on the driver's side. Space is tight, so a Class D amp would be the best fit in this location. Larger amps can be mounted in the cargo area. You can learn more about adding amps to your car in our Car Amplifier Buying Guide.
Like many sporty cars, the BRZ can be a noisy little bugger. If you want to hear more of your new stereo and less road and wind noise, the Dynamat 10435 Xtreme Door Kit is the perfect way to seal in sound. This heavy-duty insulating material is easy to install, and it really makes a difference.
Installing a security system in your BRZ isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's less complicated than it could be. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your car (and your new gear) to a professional installer.