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Old 07-18-2011, 07:46 AM   #41
Tony407
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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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Old 08-02-2011, 10:46 AM   #42
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Any plans on upgrading the center channel or are you just going to continue running without it?

Thank you for all the info and time you've put into documenting everything!
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:12 AM   #43
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What is the size of that center channel speaker?
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Old 08-03-2011, 04:38 AM   #44
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Quote:
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Any plans on upgrading the center channel or are you just going to continue running without it?

Thank you for all the info and time you've put into documenting everything!
I'm not sure. I'll wait after I finish the rest of the install and see how it sounds.

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What is the size of that center channel speaker?
I'm not sure what size the center channel is. I'll try to measure it when I have time.

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Old 08-03-2011, 03:02 PM   #45
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Tony, this info (esp. all the pics) is absolutely fabulous...will be a huge help if I decide to mess with my system (once I get my car).
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Old 08-03-2011, 04:38 PM   #46
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Glad everyone is liking them!! Hopefully they'll be useful to others.

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Old 08-07-2011, 12:53 PM   #47
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Hi Tony,
I am deciding whether or not to get the MFT/Sony system package for my SEL. Which one do you think would have better sound, I get a 6-speaker system and then change the speakers aftermarket (but that's as far as I will go, wont add amp or anything else) vs just the stock Sony system? Thank you very much
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Old 08-07-2011, 01:15 PM   #48
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Hi Tony,
I am deciding whether or not to get the MFT/Sony system package for my SEL. Which one do you think would have better sound, I get a 6-speaker system and then change the speakers aftermarket (but that's as far as I will go, wont add amp or anything else) vs just the stock Sony system? Thank you very much
Wish I could help. There's a ton of technology in the MFT (when it works) that is worth the upgrade alone, if you have use for it. I can't compare the stock stereo vs. the Sony. If you could get MFT w/o the Sony that might be an option, but I don't think you can do that. This is something that a TON of people on this forum have grappled with. Sorry I can't be more help.

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Old 08-07-2011, 01:19 PM   #49
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Thanks for replying, Tony.
However, my question is if I get 4 new aftermarket speakers to replace the stock ones, do you think it would be better than sony system?
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Old 08-07-2011, 05:29 PM   #50
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Quote:
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Thanks for replying, Tony.
However, my question is if I get 4 new aftermarket speakers to replace the stock ones, do you think it would be better than sony system?
I found the biggest difference when I disconnected the center channel, which was producing some distorted, shrill high notes. I didn't realize this was the case until I did this, and the results surprised me. Of course, this is fairly subjective.

I did notice a difference in SQ when I replaced the front speakers with the JL Audios, but it was not as pronounced as I thought it would be. I suspect the Sony's system biggest fault lies in amplification and (possibly) equalization. I don't think the Sony speakers are that bad actually, with the center channel being an exception.

I will also make an educated guess and say that changing the sub, or at least providing more power and less (or more) equalization to it will make a huge difference as well.

I realize you're asking a simple question and I'm not really giving you a simple answer. Truth is, what my ears hear (or don't hear) might be different than yours. There are a few others who have swapped the Sony speakers out, I'd love to hear their input as well.

In a nutshell? Maybe. Was it worth the big bucks I spent replacing the Sonys with JL Audios? Not quite yet. Getting rid of the crappy center channel (or maybe it wasn't the speaker per se, but the amplification and/or equalization) was a much bigger improvement - and it was free! What I think will make a huge difference is when I eventually add my own amp(s) to replace the Sony one, in which case I think my JL investment will start to pay off.

Tony


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