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Love Morel but those are $500 here, so hard to recommend as a good value first upgrade. We must come across as spoiled rich guys :)
haha, yeah it's not an entry level price tag on those speakers, but I am just blown away at the difference in sound they have over the stock junk. You could probably go anywhere and buy $100 speakers though, and they would probably still blow the stock speakers out of the water. For my system, I've done the cheap setups in the past, and I've been mostly happy with them, but the RS is a car i'm going to keep for a long time so I don't want to cheap out on anything in it. Even though the components I bought have been expensive, I know they'll last a long time and sound amazing, so in the long run it's well worth it to me to pay a bit more for the premium stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Same :). My daughter drives the RS more than me and she had got so used to the upgraded system in the ST that she was really unhappy with the RS setup. Luckily, we don't have to rip out, or incorporate, the US system parts. Having fun!
 

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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 :)
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.
Cheers for the tips - know nothing about sound other than I don't like the RS sound.
Not that into volume, especially not into distortion. Don't think I'm looking for driving base (but can't say if I want more for richness?), for sure not doof-doof. And not tsth, tsth either all high frequency
Perhaps full, rich & enveloping.

Just saved <$1000 now I've pulled back from my leveling my ride height 20mm and call me conservative but I'm waiting to age my warranty and watching how breaks what...
Wheels, lighting and sound for now perhaps?
 

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Do you reckon the non-functioning rear door speakers might contribute to my audio dis-satisfaction...I assume they are supposed to actually make sound???
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 · (Edited)
looks like it's getting nasty, would it be at all possible to just re-pin the molex connector?
I'm sure it'd be possible and that would be the right way to do it, of course. You could probably drill through the molex as I originally intended too but I just don't think it's worth the possibility of damaging the molex due to the restricted working space. I have a medical condition that's making me increasingly clumsy. I can't get to the back of the molex from inside the car as you can in other models, the wiring takes a very convoluted route. Cutting into wires on either side of the molex is common practice in these cases and is certainly better than putting high power through the full run of low gauge factory speaker wire (or drilling new holes in the door and body like some audio shops).
I think I will have another look at this though. I had to put the car back together in a hurry because I forgot my daughter wanted to take it away for the weekend. I also had the front and rear door panels off with the mid woofers out to check depth and possible crossover locations - she wasn't impressed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 · (Edited)
Do you reckon the non-functioning rear door speakers might contribute to my audio dis-satisfaction...I assume they are supposed to actually make sound???
Weird. Is there no change at all when you adjust the fader settings? I could imagine a bad connection in one rear door but not both.

When I swapped my speakers I discovered that the front ones are 50w 2 ohm while the rears are 25w 4 ohm, so Ford have set it up to be very front biased (2 ohm speakers generally give higher volume than 4 ohm).
 

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Weird. Is there no change at all when you adjust the fader settings? I could imagine a bad connection in one rear door but not both.
Actually, I stopped on the way home from work last Friday at a car audio specialists to scope out the market and how I might relate to an upgrade. Of course 'subjective' came up and I left thinking about what and how to understand my issues with the stock sound.

I sat in the garaged car and experimented with a broad range of settings and different artists. Jack White, Adele, U2, Nick Cave, Megan Trainor, Garbage, Elvis, Screaming Jets, Oils, Pretenders/Hynde, Cowboy Junkies - Trinity Session

The biggest revelation - I was commenting about among other things, the poor surround enveloping feel with the fader central or thereabouts. Lots of front, some rear door tweeter and almost no rear door main (sorry if my terminology is not quite right). Ear right against it revealed there was audio but at almost inaudible levels.

With the fader set to all but one or two points from full rear I now have balanced front & rear sound - better.

More midrange and bass & neutral treble, better still but depth and roundness - resonance perhaps, is still lacking.

'Their' big bass' sub-woofer and bassy speaker were crass and ugly.

Rate my mid price Sennhieser earphones.

Budget, $1000 max, perhaps? Didn't expect to be shopping for audio. Go figure?
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 · (Edited)
I think you need to listen to Focal speakers, or similar. From your music choices you seem to value natural, accurate voice reproduction and midrange more than forward, bright, exaggerated sound. Focal are renowned for true-to-life sound.
I think most people prefer the feeling of the musicians being in front of them, as if the band were on a stage, with the listener in the audience. Hence most set-ups are front channel biased. Some owners don't have rear speakers at all. You obviously prefer being "in" the soundstage (surrounded). You could opt to forgo the separate subwoofer (or add a small one with its own monobloc amp later) and just get a 4 channel amp and decent (doesn't mean expensive) replacement component speakers for both front and back doors.
You need to find a dealer with a wide range of speakers on demo and then choose the sound you like, rather than letting the dealer, or other owners (like me :)), force their preferences on you.
 

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I wouldn't spend on the rears but i haven't run rears in years. Missus likes a little of the surround effect in her cough Cruze. I threw in a pair of semi ok Pioneer components in the front, left the rears connected to the factory setup. Tapped into the factory speaker wiring for signal to a little Pioneer 2 channel amp to drive the components, used the hopoff output on the amp to a small active sub also located in the boot (some of the rear spend could go to that, not optimum but within budget). Sounds respectable, but she's a doof doof type and the way i had to set it up offends my sensibility's. My 'thing' says bass should be seen and not heard, it should blend and not be in your face. She likes it in her face (dont read that too fast).

She can fade in some factory noise to give her 'fill' It isn't huge but better than nothing. A well setup front stage would do just as well but not an option for her. With the crossovers and sub volume set right it'd work pretty well. Factory locations used less than ideal though.

Err i hate talking about this stuff gives me a headache :) I still lust for Wombat's sub setup, if i ever get around to driving my RS i might even do something about it :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Yep. I like SQ, my daughter SPL. I snuck some less brassy speakers into this car so that I can enjoy some decent sounds. She has the bass up so loud when she drives it that she won't notice. Thank god for remote level controls for subs.
 

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Out of curiosity, do the Aussie RS's have artifical engine sound generated through the speakers????
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 · (Edited)
Out of curiosity, do the Aussie RS's have artifical engine sound generated through the speakers????
I'm not certain but I don't think so. Obviously there's no noise generator in the boot but I guess there could be one elsewhere. I haven't seen one so far. I have the glovebox out for the audio wiring and behind there is where I expected to find it, if anywhere. The US box is fairly substantial, so I can't think where it would fit otherwise.
Comparing the interior sound to outside the car when my daughter starts it, or drives away, I think the sound is genuine.
What do you guys think?

Update: I may be wrong. Synthesized sound seems to kick in about 2 secs after engine start. That may be just the exhaust valve opening for the start up though. Interior engine noise seems to have increased slightly, and dropped in pitch, after the audio upgrade. That suggests fake sound through speakers although it's not obvious when you put your ear to the speaker (over direct engine noise). Anyway, I don't find it annoying (my daughter likes the extra rumble). It doesn't increase with amp gain increase.
 

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might be a stupid question but how'd you get around the speaker wire to RCA?? I've never encountered a situation where I've done it
 
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