McIntosh PF-2824I and PF-4113I first glance

2015-03-27I now have on hand a Clarion/McIntosh PF-2824I and PF-4113I head units. These are fitted to higher end Subaru Legacy vehicles produced between 2005-2008. It includes MP3 and WMA support (why they didn’t support AAC instead of WMA beats me), a dual row VFD display and a more integrated look than the previous version (PF-2551I).

The PF-4113I is the Japanese version of the PF-2824I with a different tuner and a MiniDisc player. They are built around the same hardware platform (most components are the same including the PCB), however unfortunately run slightly different firmware. Unlike the previous model of McIntosh head unit in 2003-2005 Legacys, there is no easy way to convert the PF-4113I to European or American FM bands without hacking or replacing the firmware. There does appear to be a Micom firmware upgrade port on the side of the main board in the unit, however it appears that the microprocessor is of a mask ROM type and therefore cannot be flashed with new firmware.

It does use the same FM tuner module as many older McIntosh units, so if the firmware were to be sorted the necessary tuner mods are very simple.

Under the left hand seat is the EF-1259I amplifier. Unlike the old EF-1080I, this amplifier does not contain any EQ or crossover components as all this is now done in the head unit.

McIntosh Secret Key Combinations

After a bit of reading I’ve found that many Subaru head units have hidden options for changing settings. I couldn’t find much information on this unit so I spent a few moments trying various combinations to see what happens. Here’s the list I’ve discovered so far. If you discover any more please let everybody know by posting it in the comments!

To use these key combinations, switch the ignition to ACC and make sure the head unit is powered off.

Radio Location

Press the following to change the radio tuner region.

2 + AM is EXPORT (North America)
5 + AM is AUS & EXP

Here are the differences between these modes:

Location AM Range AM Step FM Range FM Step
Australia 531ā€“1620 kHz 9 kHz 87.5 – 108 MHz 100 kHz
Export 540ā€“1610 kHz 5 kHz 87.5 – 107.9 MHz 100 kHz
Aus & Exp Same as Australia

Note that switching locations will erase the radio presets.

5 + AM is JAPAN

Display firmware version

Press 5 + 6 + FM


PF-2824I (Japanese manufactured):
M 4.20

M 5.60
G37.00 0.37

Disc 1 on the display lights in both cases too. If anyone has details for Chinese-manufactured versions of the radios please let me know.

Button and Display Test

5 + 6 + press RPT twice

Button test that displays the name of any button you push as well as the tuning up/ down.
Use the volume knob to toggle the display test feature which illuminates every display element and LED. When in display test you can use the tune knob to toggle a checker board pattern to more easily view display state. This will make any phosphor burn very obvious!

To exit this mode switch the ignition off.


In previous McIntosh models this was an analogue circuit built into the amp or head unit. It’s now all software controlled so can be changed between a number of presets or bypassed completely. This is very useful if you buy a replacement unit, so you can have it sound like the original if it needs to be replaced.

Press the following buttons and T/B:
2 + 5 + T/B THROUGH MODE (bypass)

I haven’t investigated the frequency response of each setting, however after a very quick listen the sedan options appear to have more bass than the wagon (quick bass boost option if you have a wagon!) and the cloth seat options appear to have a little treble boost. While it’s intended to compensate for the acoustics of the vehicle interior, purists might prefer to bypass the EQ altogether.

Loudness Control

Unlike the other settings, this must changed while the unit is powered on.

To toggle loudness, press 5 + 6 + T/B.

The default setting is on.


Press 1 + 4 + CD to enter some sort of diagnostics mode. This displays the following:

H01 A1 256

Use tune to scroll through various options. As far as I can it seems to be read only. It also plays the current CD and the volume control works normally while in this mode.

14 thoughts on “McIntosh PF-2824I and PF-4113I first glance

  1. James 3 September 2015 / 12:44

    Hi. I am thinking about purchasing a Subaru Outback circa 2005/6 without the McIntosh sound system. I do not really like aftermarket head units, but would consider a McIntosh unit since it would fit in with the trim. Is it possible to hack the existing unit or would I need to buy a McIntosh and try and get it fixed? Looks like it is a code thing on the McIntosh, so maybe worth a go? I know nothing about hacking radios šŸ™‚

    • nzlamb 7 September 2015 / 20:04

      I’m not sure about the standard radio in the BPE. I believe it’s made by Kenwood in JDM ones, so it’s quite a different design to the McIntosh which is from Clarion. I do have a Kenwood unit from a pre-facelift BP wagon that I’m going to have a crack at soon.

  2. Jaisah Webb 30 May 2016 / 20:21

    Hi there I have the PF-4062I. Am I able to change the EQ etc with that stereo? Displaying the firmware version was the same (Press 5 + 6 + FM) but theres no “T/B” button on this model so I cant get the EQ things to work.

  3. Jaisah 31 May 2016 / 09:57

    Hi there, I have a MnIntosh PF-4062i and I’m wondering if you know any commands for it? The command to display firmware version worked (Press 5 + 6 + FM) but none of the other ones. I want to change my EQ to something a little bassier and I hate the cutoff frequencies. Some songs will sound full and bassy while others have no bass at all.

    • nzlamb 10 January 2017 / 14:29

      This is the first-gen BP radio and has a fixed analogue eq in the amp. They moved this to DSP in the head unit for the facelift versions (’06-’08).

  4. Jonathan 7 June 2016 / 10:20

    Thanks for this. Have just bought a japanese import 2007 3.0 L Outback so have the PF-4113l . Have you found any user manual/more secret code details? Im thinking of switching out the clarion/mcintosh head unit for a touchscreen head unit, is the mcintosh amp able to be connected into any head unit?

  5. su8lime1993 13 August 2016 / 23:13

    Kia ora nzlabm,

    I’m considering changing my PF-4113I head unit for a double din head unit with built in gps and usb input but i would like to use the factory amp and/or speakers if its possible.

    I figure the best place to start is to find input/output connection diagrams and a block diagram for the amp (like the ones you posted here: ) but i haven’t had any luck finding them for this amp and i’m hoping you might be able to help?


    • nzlamb 10 January 2017 / 14:31

      Pinout is in the service manual šŸ™‚

    • Stuart 23 February 2022 / 12:26

      I have the same pf-41131 unit and want to connect Sony head unit touch screen did you manage to find out any idea how to install double din unit?

  6. Chris29 30 March 2018 / 05:48

    I have bought a McIntosh PF 41131, not knowing, that the FM frequency range does not match with the European standard ( 87-108 Mhz ).
    Is there a chance to modify the tuner ?

  7. dave 2 August 2018 / 08:28

    hey there i have one of these units in my subaru legacy touringwagon my problem is my climate control module is not luminating see cant see anything so i cant adjust my climate control can anyone help me

  8. KellyHAnderson 3 September 2018 / 11:11

    I have a PF-2551i. Does anyone know any secret codes to change the fm range to a NZ capable range? I’m a bit over listening to flava šŸ˜‚

  9. MICHAEL 22 January 2022 / 02:37

    Has anyone any updates regarding this head unit and AUX, FM modifications?

  10. vsnares 22 March 2023 / 11:10

    Hi! I have a problem with my McIntosh PF-4113I.
    the sound from CD is absolutely great, but AUX sounds like garbage.

    I’ve already tried different cables, different sources, and even tried CeNet Clarion adapter, but still, the sound is like with a lo-fi filter with such bad quality.

    do you know what this could be?
    any ideas?


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