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Old 08-31-2013, 10:01 AM   #1
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Simple Focus Mk3 audio upgrade

Most people find the output of the 6 speaker "premium" sound system in the Mk3 Focus to be lacking. Basically it's the bare-bones stock speaker system ith two add-on tweeters. The features of the Sync head unit: irius, bluetooth, hands-free and USB are fine but the amp on this HU is very weak which makes just upgrading the speakers unsatisfying.

Goals of the upgrade: Use the factory HU. Use the factory wiring (without cutting if possible). Not spend a ton of cash. Not looking to win a competition here, just want some clean sound: a real premium system.

There's talk of the factory HU squeezing the lows and highs at upper volume levels to protect the junky factory drivers. I'm an old geezer and really don't need to listen to music super-loud anymore. As long as I can get good performance at moderate volume levels I'll be satisfied.

I was looking at doing a similar setup for the Focus as these guys did to their trucks:

At the time, I couldn't find a plug-through wiring harness, but Wylee came through with the perfect harness that's easily adapted to a small amp.


Polk DB6501 6.5" Component Speaker System
Polk DB651 6.5" Coaxial Speakers
Alpine KTP-445U Amp
Parrot harness adapter

I found these forum posts helpful in the speaker upgrade:

The speaker replacement procedure is well documented in the posts above.
Here's a few comments:

I didn't have to cut any factory wires by reusing the factory speaker mounts that are built into the factory speakers. A razor blade and cutters make quick work of the cheap driver.

The polarity of the incoming speaker wires inside the door aren't marked (two black wires). I used a battery to check it at the driver and marked the wire post on the mount.

Here's pic of the new speaker in the factory mount:

And here's the new speaker installed. I grabbed the speaker input at the driver mount, ran it back to the crossover and from the crossover back to the 6.5" and tweeter. The crossover was a bit loose and clunked when I closed the door so I had to stick a bit a foam around it.

As soon as I seen the poor quality of the factory drivers, I immediately ordered a set of coaxials for the rear. Here's a comparison of the Polks with the stock driver. Yeah, it's 2013 and that's a whizzer cone on the FoMoCo.

New coaxial driver installed in the salvaged speaker mount.

Installed in the rear door.

After doing the front speakers, swapping the rears was a piece of cake. They aren't that expensive and the new rears make the whole system sound better.

I ended-up driving the car with the factory amp and new speakers for a few days. Yes, the new drivers are much better than stock with superior frequency response and clarity, but even with the efficient high-sensitivity Polk speakers it's very easy to clip the stock amp at modest volume levels. We need MORE POWER! Luckily that's easy to accomplish.

Amp Upgrade

I found these forum posts helpful in the amp installation:

Adapting the Parrot radio harness allows you to do all the tedious soldering on the workbench instead of inside the car. Right now it's $45 on Ebay and it's money well spent. I didn't cut any factory wires for this installation.

Here's the Parrot harness with their specific bits cut-off and removed. The plug at the left goes into the radio, the one on the right plugs into the HU harness.

And here's the harness with the Alpine amp wires attached. Just match the wire colors. Make sure you setup the amp for speaker level inputs and you should probably crank-down the gain knobs as mine ended-up almost at MIN.

Back inside the car, here's what's behind all those buttons. :) It's only 4 screws to remove the HU.

And here's the amp installed. It fits absolutely perfectly under the factory HU. You couldn't ask for a better fit. I just pushed the amp back flush with the vents and used a piece of super servo-tape to fasten it against the bottom of the HU.

I dug out some of my old speaker building tools to help set the amp levels. Using a test CD, I found that on the old system 80 db of pink noise (static) required a volume setting of 12 on the HU. Now with the new system, the volume setting is 9. The idea is to stay away from the volume top end and hopefully avoid the low and high frequency chopping of the HU. If you crank the amp up to far, the volume control is too coarse on the HU. So far, it seems to be working well. About the highest setting I regularly use is 10 and it seems to sound fine at that setting.

Wrapping Up:

I only have a few days on this install but I'm really enjoying how it came out: it was a relatively easy install, it's completely stealthy and it's 100% better than stock. The cost came out to $325 which is reasonable.

There's also a nice upgrade path. The Alpine amp has switchable high-pass filters, so adding a powered sub would be easy. Turn on the HPFs at 80 Hz to give the 6.5" drivers a break from the subsonics and have a powered sub in the back doing the low work. As long as you don't need to rattle the neighbor's windows, a 8" or 10" sub in a sealed box wouldn't take up much room and would add another octave or two to the lower-end frequency response of the system.


Check out my 1/7/14 post on how I added a powered subwoofer to this system.

Last edited by DoogieB; 01-07-2014 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 08-31-2013, 12:55 PM   #2
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Good job! Nice write up too.
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Old 08-31-2013, 02:39 PM   #3
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Using that alpine amp was a great idea. I think I may pick one up.

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Old 08-31-2013, 03:23 PM   #4
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Wow - fantastic write-up and nice work on the install. You just made it a ton easier for anyone else to do the same upgrade. Thanks.
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:47 PM   #5
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Hello, I'm new to this forum and I was wondering how hard it would be to add subs with this set up?

Could you run another 2ch amp for the subs without another high low converter?
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:39 PM   #6
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Just getting around to check on this thread. Thanks for the pics and writeup!

I hope to get mine in next weekend. I'll be splitting the rear channels before the amp to make use of the HPF. I've got an amp and 10" sub from my last car and I ordered an LC2i about the same time I ordered the Parrot harness.

Last edited by wylee; 09-02-2013 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:08 PM   #7
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Great write up!
I hope to do this in the future.
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Old 09-07-2013, 04:36 AM   #8
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Where did you get the Parrot harness from?
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:54 AM   #9
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Search for "FOR-11CK" on Ebay.
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:30 AM   #10
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Simple Focus Mk3 audio upgrade

So if I wanted to I could use that harness to run to a line out converter instead of having to cut into my factory wiring correct?

Want to add a line out converter with equalizer and then a 5 channel amp to run the fronts and a sub
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