Car stereo - Focal?

treitz3

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 25, 2011
4,925
129
485
The tube lair in beautiful Rock Hill, SC
Hello all and good evening to you. I have spent the majority of my time getting to the point I am at with my main rig at home. Now that I am close to being "done", as I feel any move will be just a waste of money and a lateral move for just a different flavor? I am moving on to the next "want" on my audio journey.

I have a 2004 Chevy Silverado 2500HD that I would like to install/design a very nice sounding system for. Normally, I do not even turn on the radio when I am driving but that is about to change. I'd like to bring my standard cab truck up to current technology, as it relates to audio and the advances with convenience (Streaming Tidal, Bluetooth, GPS, etc.). I have listened to probably 40 sets of speakers in the past couple of months and not one of them really impressed me.....until I heard a set of Focal (of all brands) in a Honda Accord the other day.

I was finally impressed by a car audio speaker! My goal is to have a car audio system that would give me *most* (80-90%) of what my rig at home is capable of. I believe this might be a realistic and achievable goal after hearing the Focal's. The system I heard was the 2 way Focal speaker setup, with an appropriate amplifier. No sub was used in the audition. The doors were dampened and no additional gimmick or product was used. Just a Kenwood Excelon Reference receiver (DDX9907XR) set to a flat response (no EQ used), an unknown class D, 5 channel amplifier and the 2 way Focal speakers.

Not a bad sound at all, not ear piercing with outstanding punch for a driver that size. The mids were actually surprisingly good (for a car speaker). Even at high to really high SPL levels? They didn't seem to break up, although they are nowhere NEAR as refined as the home rig.....but alas, this is car audio. Different beast, different world. They were clearly and without hesitation the best I have heard so far...

I am looking at getting the 3 way Focal speakers (ES165KX3), a JL Audio 12" thinline sub (12TW3-D8), a 5 channel JL Audio amplifier (VX10005I) and I will build my own sub enclosure (tight fit in a regular cab). The receiver has pre-outs and is ready for high-def audio playback. When you add in the wiring and everything else needed for the install, I am looking at a price tag of about $6,500-7K. Here are the Focal speakers I am interested in...

1612483898431.png

I know this mat be a long shot on this forum but I thought that it wouldn't hurt to ask...

Given your experience, is there anything here for a decent car stereo system that you would change without breaking the bank/budget too much? If so, why, if you do not mind me asking.

Three points before you answer -

1 - I HATE boom at the bottom
2 - I am more interested in sound quality (musicality/accuracy) over any other aspect
3 - Brand names and price mean nothing to me, other than staying within a reasonable budget. It's ALL about the end result as to what hits these ears.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks in advance for any input/experience you may have to offer.

Tom
 
  • Like
Reactions: ack

Steve Vu

New Member
Oct 26, 2020
24
6
3
39
Speakers which you heard are only the entry level in car audio. You can start with:

1. Sony RSX-GS9
2. Helix P-Six Dsp mk2
3. Micro Precision 2 way series 7 speakers
4. Micro Precision Z subwoofer
5. Monster cables

With this system, I beleive you will feel better than systems you heard so much. You have to need the pro installers in car audio, who know how to tune dsp.
 

musicfirst1

VIP/Donor
Mar 8, 2015
341
167
345
59
Canada
As my home stereo costs WAY WAY more than my car, I can attest that this Focal car speaker system is the Bomb. I had the Focal EX 165 K2 speakers in my Toyota Matrix and they sounded GREAT!! Much, much better than the factory stereo I have now in my new Audi A3.. The kevlar drivers in the midwoofer and tweeters were simply awesome. Like you, I heard many competing similar priced component speakers and the Focals beat them all for me.
 

treitz3

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 25, 2011
4,925
129
485
The tube lair in beautiful Rock Hill, SC
Thank you for the responses. @musicfirst1 - The one thing I really like about the Focal crossovers is the ability to change the crossover components to home audio grade (I have the ability to make them secure, just and just as attractive as the originals, albeit larger). I was planning on utilizing (after all is said and done) behind one seat, the sub. Behind the other would be both crossovers, completely redone and upgraded with components that are upgraded and that will fit behind the seat.

Whether it be upgraded inductors, resistors or capacitors? That is TBD.....but that's the plan.

With the receiver (or head unit), I can run CD or Tidal and apparently it offers hi-rez music capabilities as well (I'll have to find out what that entails). I am fine with CD's, although they will NOT come from my collection, they will be CD copies.

@Steve Vu . While I like DSD at home? A car system will NEVER give me what my home stereo offers. The noise floor is exponentially higher, there is no sound stage, no depth, height and everything is wacky in terms of acoustics and add to that? My windows are constantly down, regardless of weather. I appreciate your contributions on that aspect but "overkill" is my first thought on that.

Are there any dealers for demos that you now of on the East Coast of mainland USA to listen to the Micro Precision? I will not buy until I actually hear. I need to know first hand the potential of something before I splurge.

Tom
 

Steve Vu

New Member
Oct 26, 2020
24
6
3
39
Please research more on car audio and DSP. You will hear things which you do not think it can.

DSP means Digital Signal Processing, not DSD.
 

Attachments

  • 105557672_116983896733138_8398890513549620240_n.jpg
    105557672_116983896733138_8398890513549620240_n.jpg
    71.9 KB · Views: 6

treitz3

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 25, 2011
4,925
129
485
The tube lair in beautiful Rock Hill, SC
Ah, I mis-read that or somehow got confused last night.....I was reseaerching many things at once. Thanks for clarifying.

Tom
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
7,455
346
580
Metro DC
I expect blowback. No problem.
For all things car audio I - Crutchfield Audio.
 

cjf

Well-Known Member
Nov 19, 2012
348
18
358
Just adding a few other comments to this topic.

I would highly recommend doing allot of prep work to the door cavity where you intend to install the bass driver for the Component set. Add Dynamat to the steel door frame first. Build a thick wood mounting plate for the bass driver and bolt it to the door frame on top of the Dynamat. This is a good start at minimum if you want the best bang for your buck out of a setup like you have shown in the OP. I use to use 3/4" MDF but for a truck you might want something more water proof but with similar resonance reducing characteristics as MDF. It can all be prettied up fairly easily to blend with the rest of the interior if you take your time.

Going a step further would involve creating a Spray Foam cavity inside the door as well in an attempt to reduce the amount of open air space available to the driver and seal it off more (assuming your window will still work or allow for such a setup). It will help to tighten up the bass allot in doing so.

Lastly, dont skimp on power for the Component set. I used to try and have double the wattage the speaker was rated for if possible then just used the gain on the Amp to make it idiot proof (ie..full blast on the radio knob only causes non dramatic driver movement at your loudest listening level).

I had a similar setup (different brand of equipment though) in my old Honda S2000 and it worked very well. Never felt the need for a Sub afterwards. It wasn't cheap or easy to do, but worth it in the end..IMO
 
  • Like
Reactions: treitz3

HedgeHog

Well-Known Member
Mar 12, 2012
173
1
360
Richmond, BC
Just adding a few other comments to this topic.

I would highly recommend doing allot of prep work to the door cavity where you intend to install the bass driver for the Component set. Add Dynamat to the steel door frame first. Build a thick wood mounting plate for the bass driver and bolt it to the door frame on top of the Dynamat. This is a good start at minimum if you want the best bang for your buck out of a setup like you have shown in the OP. I use to use 3/4" MDF but for a truck you might want something more water proof but with similar resonance reducing characteristics as MDF. It can all be prettied up fairly easily to blend with the rest of the interior if you take your time.

Going a step further would involve creating a Spray Foam cavity inside the door as well in an attempt to reduce the amount of open air space available to the driver and seal it off more (assuming your window will still work or allow for such a setup). It will help to tighten up the bass allot in doing so.

Lastly, dont skimp on power for the Component set. I used to try and have double the wattage the speaker was rated for if possible then just used the gain on the Amp to make it idiot proof (ie..full blast on the radio knob only causes non dramatic driver movement at your loudest listening level).

I had a similar setup (different brand of equipment though) in my old Honda S2000 and it worked very well. Never felt the need for a Sub afterwards. It wasn't cheap or easy to do, but worth it in the end..IMO

Sorry, I have to interject. MDF is a no-no for car doors. People use HDPE or other plastic since it won't absorb moisture. Same deal with spray foam. There are other brands of dampening besides Dynamat (they were the originator but lots of alternatives). Applications to outer door skin and on the door after removing the trim panel is desirable. Some add it to the inside of the door panel too.

Fast Rings are also recommended for speakers to prevent sound leakage.

If you have a water proof sheet that covers a large opening, a plastic baffle can be made to cover it up to ensure the door enclosure.

As mentioned above, if you want better control, go active and skip the passive crossover. A lot of DSP amps can tune crossover points and time alignments and it makes a difference.

BTW, the gain is for impedance matching not to crank it up.

Check out youtube vids...lots of excellent ones: Car Audio Fabrication, Five Star, Matt Schaeffer, etc.

Good luck with the build!

Cheers,
HP

Edit: revised spelling of HDPE from HPDE and Matt Schaeffer's name to add the "c".
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: treitz3

treitz3

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 25, 2011
4,925
129
485
The tube lair in beautiful Rock Hill, SC

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
4,410
1,669
628
Marina del Rey, CA
I had Focal K2 components + Audison Class AB for many years with an Alpine head unit and JL audio stealth box. I tuned the treble down a notch still but very good sound.

I’ve been thinking about Dynaudio or Scanspeak with the same Audison for my BMW, but the install is quite complicated and I just start to give up bc of all the stock dsp/electronics. Your Chevy will be much easier.
 

HedgeHog

Well-Known Member
Mar 12, 2012
173
1
360
Richmond, BC

I take it that these are the fast rings you are talking about? If they are, what do you attach them too? I see they are self adhesive...

Tom
The kit comes pre-cut into 3 parts. IIRC, the outer ring goes around the front of the speaker; outside and not over the mounting holes. The middle ring goes on the back. And the inner circle goes on the door to kill off some standing wave. They have double-sided adhesive so one just sticks them on.

The foam is a close-cell type so water would just bead off (lots of people worry that they become like sponges).

A few OEMs are using similar seal from speaker basket to the door panel.

A few of those Youtube videos have done installs in Silverados or similar GM vehicles. Worth a gander.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
7,455
346
580
Metro DC
Crutchfield actually guide you through the installation of you car stereo and se;; you the necessary parts.
 

cjf

Well-Known Member
Nov 19, 2012
348
18
358
Sorry, I have to interject. MDF is a no-no for car doors. People use HDPE or other plastic since it won't absorb moisture. Same deal with spray foam. There are other brands of dampening besides Dynamat (they were the originator but lots of alternatives). Applications to outer door skin and on the door after removing the trim panel is desirable. Some add it to the inside of the door panel too.

Fast Rings are also recommended for speakers to prevent sound leakage.

If you have a water proof sheet that covers a large opening, a plastic baffle can be made to cover it up to ensure the door enclosure.

As mentioned above, if you want better control, go active and skip the passive crossover. A lot of DSP amps can tune crossover points and time alignments and it makes a difference.

BTW, the gain is for impedance matching not to crank it up.

Check out youtube vids...lots of excellent ones: Car Audio Fabrication, Five Star, Matt Schaeffer, etc.

Good luck with the build!

Cheers,
HP

Edit: revised spelling of HDPE from HPDE and Matt Schaeffer's name to add the "c".
Perhaps you missed this part of my reply?

"I use to use 3/4" MDF but for a truck you might want something more water proof but with similar resonance reducing characteristics as MDF."

Anyway, it was one example of many possible options. The point being, don't mount $2500 or even $500 Component sets onto the factory door panel and expect the flimsy steel door shell to do you any favors.

Same goes for spray foam example. But with that said...I used both and the world didn't come to an end, my doors never rotted out nor any other crazy possibilities one could come up with.

If you treat the truck like a submarine then obviously adjust any of the above accordingly :)
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing