Originally Posted by Linchpin
You are partially right in that unless music is DTS 5.1 encoded it only has L and R. But most, if not all, music uses spatial panning with vocals and some instruments panned to center. In order to properly mix sound (I have a DAW) you need a pair of good neutral studio monitors properly placed at ear height and pointed towards a focussed listening position. In my studio the focussed point is about 2 metres out from my monitors. The problem in car is that unless the speakers are placed out by the front bumper they are so close they are literally on opposite sides of the driver or passenger. They are also not symmetric. Those who grew up with ear buds implanted in their ears tend to believe that sound should have clearly defined L and R fields as opposed to being spatially panned to create a wall of sound with a strong centre.
Try listening to the audio system in your living room with speakers 8 to 10 feet apart sitting one foot in front of the plane the speakers are in and a great system will sound like sh- (rhymes with pit).
Definitely agree with this which arguably makes the car environment the ideal place for 5.1(excepting limited source material) due to the ability to time align and level match with typical surround DSP controls. I wonder why Ford and Sony eschewed any form of DSP when for the last decade or so it has been widely available. Oh, I forget, this is an economy car. Seriously it's easy to expect more as the Focus, in my opinion, has an uncommon degree of luxury for it's class.