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Old 07-18-2011, 06:46 AM   #41
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What I Drive: 2012 Sterling Gray Hatch Titanium

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Center channel

While I was at it I decided to check out the center channel. To be honest, I wasn't sure how much (if any) sound this sucker was putting out. I've tried to get my head close enough to hear it, but I really couldn't hear much.

To get the center channel out, I used my pry tool and carefully went around the grill in a circular pattern and carefully pried it out (notice I used the word "carefully" twice). It's wasn't hard, but it takes a little patience because I didn't want to break anything. It's in there pretty good.

Once I had it out I faced it towards me and was surprised how much volume was coming from it compared to the door speakers. I then disconnected it and was really surprised how much I noticed its absence. Which, I have to say, was a good thing. I always thought the Sony system in the Focus was mediocre at best, with one of my complaints being a harshness at higher volumes, with a moderate amount of distortion in the upper end. Once I disconnected the center channel most if not all of that was gone. GONE!! No more center channel speaker for me!!

So are you wondering how much presence around the dash/windshield area I would miss without the center channel? Yeah, me too. But I'm happy to say with the added clarity of the JL speakers vs. the Sonys, the center channel is not missed at all. Not a bit. Evidently the center channel is not a "true" center channel, meaning it's not receiving any sort of dedicated music material that's unique to it. I'm assuming all it is is just a summed mono signal. So it's been permanently unplugged.

I really didn't notice too much difference in sound quality when I had only done the driver's side speakers. However, with both sides now done I have to say the difference is quite noticeable. It's much more musical, detailed and articulate, and easier on the ears too. (The easier on the ears part is probably mostly due to the center channel being shut off now.)

Here's some pictures of the center channel speaker and the cavernous hole left in the dash when the grill is removed. The yellow arrow is pointing to the speaker connector. I took the photo through the windshield so the bottom of the photo is facing the front of the car:

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