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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Audio Upgrade in RHD RS (NOT the US version)

I finished the subwoofer install a few days ago and now the other audio upgrade parts have arrived. I'm hoping our non-US version RS system is wired similarly to the ST as I've already completed upgrades on that model.

Anyway, I thought I'd start a separate thread for any Aussies considering audio mods since the US version is so different, with the abomination-masquerading-as-a-sub, amp and fake engine noise generator in the boot.

The shallow-mount 12-inch JL Audio sub install was straightforward (see separate thread http://www.focusrs.org/forum/30-foc...ative-option-hidden-custom-sub-enclosure.html):

Vehicle Car Trunk Family car


The new parts are:

Electronics Technology Electronic device Camera Cameras & optics


Amp - JL Audi HD900/5, really compact and one of the first genuinely audiophile quality class D amps. 4x100w rms plus 1x500w rms for sub. Intend to fit under the passenger seat; there is a bright side to our Recaro shell seats being mounted high and with no adjustment! I'll just need to build a small mounting platform above the rear aircon vents. Hopefully the speaker cables are easily accessible behind the panel on the passenger side of the transmission tunnel as they are in the ST. I'll let you know.

Front speakers - Hertz Mille Legend MLK 1650.3 components. 6.5 inch 125w rms woofer. 35mm tweeter. Insanely massive crossovers (see photo). Hope there is lots of room inside the the doors, if not they'll go beneath the driver's seat. Lovely accurate, dynamic speakers, EISA's Speaker system of the year 2016. Just a tiny bit expensive though (I got a good deal)...

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Rear speakers - Hertz Mille Pro MPK 165P.3 6.5 inch woofer 115w rms. 25mm tweeter. Less bloated crossover.

Apart from the sound, one of the things I really like about Hertz is that each component is laser etched with a QR code which you can scan to confirm that it is a genuine product. I saved about 30% by buying direct from Italy so it's important to know you're not buying counterfeit products.

4 AWG power cable. 12 awg to subwoofer, 14 & 16 to speakers.

Doors will all be lined in dynamat (well, similar but cheaper local version) sound deadening material. The boot is already done of course.

I'll be spreading the install out over several days due other commitments but I'll post anything I think might be useful.

Cheers.

Update 1- Checking Amp Location

First proper look at how the amp will fit under the passenger seat. I knew that the transverse rod of the slider mechanism might be in the way and also that I'd have to mount the amp over the aircon vents. It looks like it should slot straight in (phew).

Fitting under here (the seats have no height adjustment):

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View from front showing slider bar obstruction:

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From rear showing vents and clearer view of slider bar:

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From the rear, just sat on sockets as spacers for rough height check. Clearance increases as the seat is moved towards the rear. No probs:

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The wire connections are towards the front of the car and tucked well back from the passenger's feet.

The amp gains etc are located behind the black fascia facing to the rear of the car. This will be easily accessible for adjustments but the amp is far enough forward that it won't be seen or kicked by a rear passenger.

Good cooling. I won't be blowing hot air out of the vents, even in winter in Adelaide it'd be minimal and wouldn't upset the amp. The cold air blasting out in summer can only help.

Looks like it should be easy to fit, although you wouldn't be able to get a larger unit in that space without cutting and reshaping the slider bar somehow. I'm going to take the seat out for access when I actually install the amp.

Update 2 - Checking Speaker Wiring Access and Colours

Very happy to confirm that the speaker wires are very easily accessible, in the same place as in the Focus ST.

The passenger side (RHD Aus/UK cars) transmission tunnel panel is most easily removed by just pulling outwards on the front bottom edge, below the small pop fastener cover. There is no point in taking the little panel out to get to the pop fastener as the head of the fastener almost fills the cavity and you can't get a panel removal tool behind it anyway.

Once you have pulled the side out by an inch or so to free the pop fastener, simply pull the whole panel towards the front of the car to remove it.


Vehicle Car Automotive exterior Bumper


Here's a close up of the panel so you can see the way the tabs are oriented, requiring you to slide the panel forward to remove and rearward to reinstall.



You can remove the little fastener cover from the panel now, as you'll need access to push the pop fastener back into place when refitting. The cover needs to be levered out from the forward edge first and then pulled towards the front of the car to remove it, due to the tab shapes.

The wiring is now very easy to get at. You need the largest vertical loom:

Vehicle Auto part Automotive wheel system Automotive tire Automotive exterior


Electrical wiring Wire Auto part Technology Electronic component


When it's time to cut/splice, the wires you need are coloured:

LEFT FRONT + WHITE
LEFT FRONT - WHITE WITH BROWN STRIPE

RIGHT FRONT + WHITE WITH PURPLE STRIPE
RIGHT FRONT - WHITE WITH ORANGE STRIPE

LEFT REAR + BROWN WITH GREEN STRIPE (becomes White with Green stripe later in the loom & at spkr)
LEFT REAR - BROWN WITH YELLOW STRIPE

RIGHT REAR + BROWN WITH WHITE STRIPE
RIGHT REAR - BROWN WITH BLUE STRIPE

You can probably see some of those colours already, below the loom wrap. Each pair is twisted together so it's all pretty obvious. You'll need to unwrap the loom to expose more wire length to work with, of course.

I'll be cutting the wires an inch or two above the connector and soldering my wires for connection to the amp onto the end of the wire above the cut.

If you plan to use the original speaker wiring to run from your amp to the speakers, just connect the correct amp channel outputs to the appropriate wires below the cut in the loom.

If you need larger gauge wiring from the amp to the speakers (for higher powered systems) you'll just run new wires from your amp through the molex connectors at the doors directly to the speakers. In that case the wires in the loom below your cut will not be used. Edit: see Update 5 on page 6 of this thread ref connections from amp to front speakers - much easier solution available ;)

In either case, any new wires spliced into the loom can be run under the edge of the carpet at the bottom of the panel opening.

I'll update when I actually do this to make it clearer.

Update 3 - Stupid #*%×@%€ Molex !

(Edit: most people will not have to wire through the molex as the factory wire to the front speakers turns out to be 14 AWG and can handle 300wrms!).

Like most modern cars, the RS has a Molex connecter where the speaker wires exit the car body to go to the door. This is an efficient system to use from a manufacturing point of view as, on the assembly line, the door internal wiring can be completed separately before fitting to the car body by simply plugging the two parts of the molex together.

It's a pain for subsequent audio mods though.

I intended to pull the molex from the car and drill through both halves to allow 16 awg speaker wires to pass through. I've done this on previous cars. The connecter to the front door looks like this (the rubber boot has been pulled back slightly to reveal the molex clips):

Lock Door handle Wetsuit Door


Remove the block by pressing on two black lock tabs on top and one at the bottom. Pull and twist the block out of the hole it's mounted in (gently). You'll find 2 or 3 inches of slack in the loom so you can pull the block out that far:

Auto part Pipe


Unfortunately, the molex block is deeper than I expected and more difficult to dismantle and drill in situ. In this photo I have unplugged the speaker wire input connecter from the back of the molex:



My revised plan is to cut the two factory speaker wires going into this molex plug (white and white+brown) and connect my new wires from the amp at that point.

Update: wire cutting not required (see Update 5 on page 6)

Vehicle door Automotive exterior Bumper Auto part Vehicle


On the exit side of the molex I'll cut and replace the original wires going to the speaker. I think that's the black & black+purple stripe pair but I'll confirm the colours and polarity when I remove the mid-woofer from the door (turns out that the wires are both black but the positive is marked with a purple dab of paint at the speaker connection - check before you cut it off).

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The short length of smaller gauge wire passing through the molex won't degrade the signal to the speakers significantly, even with the extra soldered connections.

Update 4 - Fitting Amp and Wiring

Took the seat out to fit the amp. Just one captive bolt to disconnect the electrics, then the 4 rail bolts. I discovered that, if I folded the seat fully, I could just lift it up onto the rear seat out of the way. This avoids the possibility of scraping trim or paint when taking it out of the car. This only took 10 minutes.

Trunk Vehicle Auto part Car Automotive exterior


The front of the amp is fastened to the top of the rear aircon vents with extra strong velcro, the rear is mounted on a fabricated metal frame which allows unrestricted airflow. It's very securely fixed but can be quickly removed without taking the seat out if ever required. All connections and controls are easily accessible.

The 4-gauge power cable runs through the large rubber grommet where the main loom goes into the engine bay. I took the glove box out (5 torx bolts) to access this and also because I wanted to feed the new speaker cables through to the door molex from this area. However, the grommet can be reached without removing the glove box. It's to the right of the fuse box It helps if you are a contortionist. I used an old soldering iron to melt a small hole in the grommet from the engine bay side and then opened it out with a stanley knife (very carefully) before feeding the cable through.

Space Compact car Vehicle


For the amp remote power trigger wire, I used a piggyback fuse holder (aka add-a-fuse) from F85 in the passenger compartment fuse box (used for aircon, moonroof, heated seats etc).

I cut the factory speaker wires in the location described above.

Vehicle


I soldered the new wires on and fed them behind the carpet down to a slit I cut below the passenger side right seat rail location before connecting them to the amp inputs:

Trunk Auto part Technology Vehicle Car


Speaker wire connection to factory loom tidied up:

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The power and speaker input wires connected up:

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Intend to fit speakers and finish wiring tomorrow.

See later post on page 6 for final update
 

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Be interested in how much clearance is in the doors for those mids. Be a while til i get to mine but figure if you can fit those in reasonably easily my KRX2 mids ought to drop in :) Can't be stuffed buying new speakers anymore just shift everything from car to car to car and becoming insanely bored with the process... Love what you've done with the sub looks slick. Don't know whether to replicate or just run the wedge box I've run for ages. Sub don't like sealed boxes as i just read. Might be time for a change ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I definitely saw a thread where someone fitted the Focal KRX2s in an ST, which has identical doors. The tweeters are wide but shallow, like the Hertz ones, and they also fitted inside the factory tweeter covers. Actually, just found it, all you need to know is here:

mediapimp's Stereo Install

Very nice choice, I seriously considered those as well. The MLKs need 2.7 inch mounting depth, shouldn't be an issue.
The shallow-mount subs are usually sealed box only (ported not recommended) hence the smaller box volume that fits under the boot floor. I prefer SQ over SPL anyway, which is the main reason to choose sealed rather than ported, as I'm sure you're aware (just mentioning it in case anyone else reading this needs to know). This is still going to be seriously loud in the RS.
 

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I like how the box fits in there, but it doesn't look like you can put the factory floor back in with that grill on there? I also went the same route you did with a custom built box, mostly out of MDF with a moulded bottom out of fiberglass. I used the 13.5" JL shallow mount sub though and managed to make the box itself the same height as the factory floor, and inset the sub so that I can still put the factory floor back in to make it 100% stock looking. It's not quite as pretty as your box, as I added foam to the top to prevent any rattles from contact with the box on the factory hatch floor. Unfortunately I don't have the amp that I ordered yet, as the manufacturer had a bad batch and had to cancel my order, so it's all just slapped together with an old amp that I had kicking around. Eventually the factory amp will be mounted in the spot where the white foam is, and the sub/speaker amp will be mounted on top of it. I also just wedged half the factory foam back into place just for now to keep anything from moving around and to keep the air pump in there just in case, this is also just temporary though. I have some white foam at work that I will be using to create a new foam storage compartment area to keep all that stuff. Again, not as pretty as yours, but it sure sounds awesome (even with the crappy amp) and it's 100% stock looking when the floor is back in.

Trunk Vehicle Car Auto part Subwoofer
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Hi Brandon. I started the other thread ref my sub after seeing your sub box solution, which I liked. I just wanted to show what I'd chosen to do as an alternative, and why. More details are in that thread:

http://www.focusrs.org/forum/30-foc...ative-option-hidden-custom-sub-enclosure.html

but here is the finished job with the floor back in:

Land vehicle Trunk Car Vehicle Auto part


I wanted to conceal the enclosure but I deliberately left the grill uncovered as I hate the muffled effect of putting carpet (or worse, the hardboard+felt underlay+carpet boot floor panel of the RS) over the top. More importantly, with these subs, powered with the correct amp rating (200-500w rms for the sub channel, as you know) I'd be worried about the heat build-up as well. This is definitely an issue if you also have an amp of that power under the floor with no ventilation (see the safety warnings in the user manuals). My amp is going in the nice cool area below the passenger seat. I do wish I'd used the shallower mount TW5 model sub you have though, then the grill wouldn't be above the boot floor level at all. Still, it only extends 1 cm above the floor so it doesn't impact load capacity, you can place items onto it, it's more of an aesthetic irritation. I just happened to have the TW3 model already. Other than the speaker grill, everything will still look OEM.
 

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Wow thanks Wombat! You're a legend. ;) Yeah I'm a SQ guy also, the DLS mag sub i've hauled around for a while, while ported, is awesome for the job at the volumes i listen at. I'm loath to change but love the neat look you've achieved. I've built a MDF box before for a previous 'solution' but never played with glass. Learning curve there but hey if we're lot learning we might as well sleep all day :)
 

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I'm not far from you, Athelstone!
 

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Hi Brandon. I started the other thread ref my sub after seeing your sub box solution, which I liked. I just wanted to show what I'd chosen to do as an alternative, and why. More details are in that thread:

http://www.focusrs.org/forum/30-foc...ative-option-hidden-custom-sub-enclosure.html

but here is the finished job with the floor back in:

View attachment 57105

I wanted to conceal the enclosure but I deliberately left the grill uncovered as I hate the muffled effect of putting carpet (or worse, the hardboard+felt underlay+carpet boot floor panel of the RS) over the top. More importantly, with these subs, powered with the correct amp rating (200-500w rms for the sub channel, as you know) I'd be worried about the heat build-up as well. This is definitely an issue if you also have an amp of that power under the floor with no ventilation (see the safety warnings in the user manuals). My amp is going in the nice cool area below the passenger seat. I do wish I'd used the shallower mount TW5 model sub you have though, then the grill wouldn't be above the boot floor level at all. Still, it only extends 1 cm above the floor so it doesn't impact load capacity, you can place items onto it, it's more of an aesthetic irritation. I just happened to have the TW3 model already. Other than the speaker grill, everything will still look OEM.
You're right, the sound does get muffled a little bit under the carpet, but it wasn't muffled as much as I thought it would be. It's quite loud even running only 200w rms right now, can't wait to push 500w rms through it with my proper amp! I checked out the box build thread you did, very nice work! My fiberglass skills are nowhere near as good as yours, you did an excellent job there. The final product with the grill sticking through the carpet looks excellent as well, doesn't look out of place or anything!
 

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Love your work guys....these look very professional! Much envy :)
 

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Again, if you need a hand with any audio stuff, I'm a retired old fart now, so plenty of time spare to help out:)

Awesome, thank you very much.
 

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If I wanted to add sound depth without going crazy, what are the options and best value price points?

Can't say the sound is very compelling...our Tiguan is miles better bone stock!
 

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I'm not far from you, Athelstone!
Again, if you need a hand with any audio stuff, I'm a retired old fart now, so plenty of time spare to help out
Wombat you're such a good guy I must ask do you have a real name? Calling someone wombat is interesting ;) Anyways, you should pump these enclosures out and make a few bucks in sure plenty of lazy bastards would pay ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wombat you're such a good guy I must ask do you have a real name? Calling someone wombat is interesting ;) Anyways, you should pump these enclosures out and make a few bucks in sure plenty of lazy bastards would pay ;)
Hi Ian, name's Bill, we've exchanged a few PMs if you remember....mInd you, given that you're nearly my age, perhaps you did forget! Now, what was I going to say...umm...oh yes....I wouldn't be confident about guaranteeing a good fit for cars I haven't actually moulded from. The box is bulky and heavy for delivery too. Anyway, it's not difficult and I'd encourage anyone to give it a go. I'm not much of a handyman really, if I can do it anyone can. Happy to help out locals though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
If I wanted to add sound depth without going crazy, what are the options and best value price points?

Can't say the sound is very compelling...our Tiguan is miles better bone stock!
Hi mate. I think I'm getting an undeserved reputation as some sort of audio guru based on the subwoofer thread. I'm really not. Just an enthusiast. I was an Air Electronics Analyst in the Air Force so I've spent a lot of time dealing with audio analysis, acoustics systems, comms etc which probably led to this interest in/need for good car audio systems.

I know there are several professional audio installers on the forum and it would probably be a good idea to start a new thread askIng this question. I think you'd get plenty of more expert opinion and I think lots of other forum members would be interested.

In my opinion though, the cheapest first option would be a simple swap of the front factory speakers with somethng like the Focal R165S2 which work well even without an amp and are $150 on ryda.com.au. Just leave the factory rears. The Alpine SPR 60C is better but $215 on RYDA. Focals are more accurate, laid-back and natural sounding, Alpine are brighter (more treble, harsher) and better for rock/metal etc. Go to Autobarn, or whoever has a wide, good quality range on display, and compare to see what suits your tastes. That's all that really matters. If you do go for this 'speaker only upgrade' chose a component set with high sensitivity (above 90 dB at least) to get max volume out of your factory head unit/amp.

The next step up would be to add a decent 2-channel amp to drive those front speakers only. That would cost another $150+. You'd need to do some wiring too. You might then feel that the bass is lackng.

If by "sound depth" you mean just bass, then a middle range class D mono block (small and powerul) like the Pioneer GM-D8601would cost about $200. Combine that with a 10 inch sub if you want tight, fast, accurate base or a 12 inch if you prefer lower and louder. You can buy a decent one in a slimline box if you want to save space for about $200. Full sized ported box if you want more volume. Any cheaper and you'd probably end up with muddy or lagging bass that would make your system sound worse, not better. The sub-only option would probably overwhelm your factory amped door speakers though.

Combine those options to achieve the next level of upgrade by installing a 4-channel amp, using 2 channels to drive better front component speakers eg. Focal PS165V are very good and half price on Ryda (or the Alpine SPR 60C if you want a brighter sound) and bridge the other 2 channels to drive a compact subwoofer. That might cost about $800 total but that's probably the best bang-for-buck stage of upgrade. From then on the law of diminishing returns kicks in.

Where do you stop? If you think you may want to upgrade the rear speakers later, it'd make sense to pay the extra $100 for a good class D 5-channel amp (4 channels for each of the front and rear speakers and 1 high power channel for the sub) Perhaps the Alpine PDR V75 at $500, or better still an Alpine PDX-V9 at $670 or JL Audio HD900/5 like mIne at $800. High end speakers like Focal 165KRX2s $700 or Hertz fronts like mine at $1000+? Do they really sound four times better than those $250 ones? I got mine very cheap but otherwise feel they're OTT for the RS. A quality 12 inch sub $300 -$1000? These are all Ryda, or Hertz Italy, heavily discounted prices too. You could spend 5 times these amounts if you were obsessed and rich enough. Maybe you could justify that in a Lambo, but in a Focus RS?

It's like performance upgrades; it starts with just a tune...then maybe an air intake.... intercooler...E85 tune... oil cooling...bigger turbo ...and so on. At least with power mods you can measure the gains in hp/tq, whereas sound quality (SQ) is subjective. You can measure sound pressure level (SPL) increases of course, if all you want is max loudness,

Sorry I can't give you a more straighforward answer; it's all down to personal priorities and preferences. Lots of people are perfectly happy with the stock system or just don't give a s**t about audio and just want to drive, which is fine, of course :)
 

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If I wanted to add sound depth without going crazy, what are the options and best value price points?

Can't say the sound is very compelling...our Tiguan is miles better bone stock!
I agree with wombat, the easiest thing to do is to get rid of those front speakers. I did that install first on my car with some Morel Tempo Ultra 602's, and the sound difference was night and day. To get any bass out of the stock speakers, I had to tune the bass to max. With the Morel's, I had to tune it back to the middle position and it had more bass than the stock had cranked way up. The ideal setup would be nice speakers all around and sub in the back, but best bang for your buck would be just replacing those front speakers. My Morel's actually sounded very nice on the stock amp too, they were just power hungry speakers and don't go as loud as I want. If you're not interested in listening to the music loud, then you could probably get away with just replacing the speakers, but if you want it loud then you'll want a 2ch amp to power them as well.
 
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