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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering an audio system upgrade in my Focus. I've read a ton of threads about it, but none of them really answer my questions. This is my first car and the first time I've ever thought about car audio, so my vocabulary and knowledge are both slim. This is a learning experience as well. If anyone has any good source that goes over the basics of everything, throwing it my way will be greatly appreciated.

So far I've gathered that I want to keep my stock head unit for no other reason than I'm not going to modify anything that can be seen. Especially the head unit. I want components in the front, as I have stock tweeters and coaxials in the back. I want a subwoofer. I'm not looking to spend an arm and a leg, but I really don't know prices of anything. I'd hate to give a budget that is so low that can't even be remotely met.

What are my options as far as improving quality goes? I've read a little about crossovers, LOCs (are they the same?) and amplifiers, but I don't know if these things can be used with the stock head unit. I saw one thread about putting an amp behind the face of the stock head unit and it looked like it was supposed to be there. Stuff like that is what I'm going for.

When I look through Crutchfield, I get overwhelmed. There are so many options that to me look the same other than price (I know they aren't). How do I know if the speakers I'm looking at are any better than the stock ones in my car? Is there a certain number or measurement or rating that tells how good a speaker is?

From what I can see, and this could be terribly wrong, the Focus is only lacking a subwoofer. It has tweeters and speakers for the midrange(?), but no subwoofer for the for the thump. What is the best type of sub for what I'm looking for? Will the sub need its own amp and LOC?

Are crossovers popular to use in your average Joe setup, or are they mainly for the big boys?
 

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Vince your Moderator
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Much depends on your budget. What is your budget?

You will need a LOC, some kind of Xover to supply a low frequency signal to the sub amp and a sub in an enclosure. You will also need a wiring kit that has a power, ground and a two channel RCA cord.

Some new amps have an auto sensing circuit that you can use an existing speaker wire to remotely turn on the amp and to take the place of the LOC, Xover and RCA's
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's just it, I don't know how big of a budget I need to do what I want. How much would I expect to spend to replace all of my speakers and add a sub, amp, LOC, and whatever else is required to make all of this work? I don't plan to win competitions or anything. I just want clarity and some thump when I want it. I hope I'm not being too vague.
 

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You have the Sony sound system? Sync? Navi? We need details. But I'll progress and give general advice that would suit any vehicle.
I saw one thread about putting an amp behind the face of the stock head unit and it looked like it was supposed to be there. Stuff like that is what I'm going for.
Sounds like this amp to me. That's a great choice. It's extremely efficient and its small size means you can mount it behind the factory head unit. It will accept the regular speaker wires out from your factory head unit as an input, then output speaker wire of course. So in other words, clip the factory speaker wires and this amp will sit in line (or you could buy the parrot harness to prevent cutting factory harness like in that thread). Then you can use a LOC to grab signal for your sub amp (depending on the amp you buy, it may even accept speaker wire inputs so no LOC needed). Then a regular amp kit will have all the wiring you need. Pick out a sub, box and amp. Replace the speakers with whatever you want. A component set will come with crossovers (no, crossover and LOC are not the same thing). As for budget.... WITH NO LABOR... I'd say $750 would be minimum to get something decent. And that's with like one 12" sub and small sub amp. If you're looking for big bass, then tack on some more obviously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My Focus is an SE model, so I think that cuts out Sony. I have sync and no navi. 6 speakers. And $750? What's the bulk of that price?
 

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Nothing is the bulk. It all adds up.

$125 subwoofer
$150 sub amplifier
$150 speaker amplifier
$45 sub box
$150 front component speakers
$80 rear speakers
$50 wiring kit

Can you get cheaper stuff? Of course. But I wouldn't recommend it. The above pricing is for big box mainstream stuff. Not even high end...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm not disagreeing with you, I just wanted a breakdown of what I should be expecting to spend on this project. You hit that part right on the head. Thanks!

How do I know if the speakers I'm looking at are any better than the stock ones in my car? Is there a certain number or measurement or rating that tells how good a speaker is?
 

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Nope. You'll always run into spec-heads that want to stare at thiele/small parameters and claim that speaker A is better than speaker B because blah blah blah. It's a waste of time. I don't care what the numbers say. NONE of that reflects on what sounds best TO YOU. And you're the one listening to it everyday and paying for it. Get out there and log some listening time. If you like the sound of the $100 Polk speakers better than the $150 Alpine speakers, then there's nothing to discuss. Buy em up and be glad you liked the cheaper ones.

The stock speakers are nothing special. If you're paying the above amounts, you should be getting something higher end than what came stock. lol
 

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Vince your Moderator
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T/S parameters do make a difference when it comes to ported or sealed + enclosure size, sensitivity, etc.

Audio 101 there.
 

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It was more in reference to the folks that want to come into my store and tell me that 6.5" speaker A will play deeper bass than 6.5" speaker B because it has an Fs of 30Hz versus 32Hz of the other one. Oh but then again, speaker B will play louder because it has a sensitivity of 95db versus 94db of speaker A. Then it just goes back and forth for an hour. Dude. That's all s#it you're NEVER going to be able to notice once installed. The icing on the cake is that they're powering them with a $99 head unit 90% of the time.

If you want to build your own vented box for a couple different subwoofers, great. Grab the T/S's, some box modeling software and have at it. But don't spend 40 hours staring at a piece of paper debating over a pair of $100 door speakers. There's not going to be some magical number which dictates this $100 Alpine speaker is better than this $100 Polk speaker. Get out there and let your ears decide. That's life 101 there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What makes a sub good? What's the difference between 2, 4, and 8 ohms? Difference in wattages? RMS? Do I want high or low wattage with polk db6501 door speakers? What frequencies should I shoot for?

EDIT: I definitely don't want to get too much subwoofer so that it completely overpowers everything else. I'm not sure if that is ever a problem or not.. And if I add a sub, will it be compatible with the EQ settings on the stock head unit? I don't think I've ever seen anything that covered that.
 

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Vince your Moderator
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When it comes down to the main speakers, it's all in the install and techniques of the installer. Raw drivers from Madisound and Parts Express are always a great option. If you ever have a chance to listen to Silver Flutes do so. The best budget mid period IMO. I have a pair of 8's sitting in the closet that will be a part of my next upgrade if my current front stage ever gives up the ghost.
 

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Now that I've given you a ballpark of what you might be looking at.... what's your budget? Was $750 too much? Or could you afford $1200? More? And who will be doing all this work? You? Or are you paying a professional?

The best budget mid period IMO.
For the money, you ain't lyin. You'd be pretty hard pressed to find something comparable under 30 bucks. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well I thought $750 was a little on the high side, but what do I know? I found what I think is most of the stuff I need minus the sub amp last night on amazon for $382.55. It's not a concrete list, but just a start. How does it look? Oh, and I'd want one of those Parrot harnesses so I don't have to mess with anything from the factory. #1 goal here.

Polk DB6501
Polk DB651
Alpine KTP-445U
Kicker 10C124 Comp 12"
and a sealed box

I'd rather not pay anyone to do it. I like the feeling of accomplishment, and I think I can do it with the forum's help.
 

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Yeah I looks like the guy in this thread had the same factory setup as you have. So it shouldn't be difficult following him. Other than that, it's a simply amp/sub install.

I'm not going to nit pick what product you pick out. But I would tell you if you picked out garbage. I'll say I'd get the Kicker 10C122 paired with the CX300.1 amp. The Kicker Comp is a solid choice for the price (like 60 bucks). It is an old model (new old stock I guess), but hey. Whatever. You won't find something significantly better for 60 bucks.

Oh and as for having too much bass, you can always turn it down. Unfortunately, you won't have independent subwoofer control on your head unit. Yes, you can turn bass down, but it will effect all your door speakers as well. Maybe the best way to control the subwoofer on the fly is with a bass knob. (model 12CXRC for the 300.1)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah I looks like the guy in this thread had the same factory setup as you have. So it shouldn't be difficult following him. Other than that, it's a simply amp/sub install.

I'm not going to nit pick what product you pick out. But I would tell you if you picked out garbage. I'll say I'd get the Kicker 10C122 paired with the CX300.1 amp. The Kicker Comp is a solid choice for the price (like 60 bucks). It is an old model (new old stock I guess), but hey. Whatever. You won't find something significantly better for 60 bucks.

Oh and as for having too much bass, you can always turn it down. Unfortunately, you won't have independent subwoofer control on your head unit. Yes, you can turn bass down, but it will effect all your door speakers as well. Maybe the best way to control the subwoofer on the fly is with a bass knob. (model 12CXRC for the 300.1)
I can't find a 10C122. It's discontinued everywhere. Is the 2 ohm version better than the 4 ohm?
 

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Wit Da Silva Bullit
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I don't know how much help this will be..

But this is my setup.

10" kicker cvr102(I paid 75)
http://www.amazon.com/KICKER-CVR102-CVR-COMP-VR-WOOFER/dp/B004JBNKCG

1600w pioneer cs amp.(paid 75)
4.0 farah capacitor.(paid 40)
Rca inline converter(20bux, which I installed inside the rear passengers side door panel)

I installed myself. Took me about an hour. My amp came with a bass knob. Which I don't even touch...and it amplified my stock speakers clarity of sound and bass. They are strong enough. I have the thump I want. Not to obnoxious and loud enough to enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You say better match... What should I stay away from as far as amps? Just whatever is the correct wattage that had good reviews? That's basically what I've been doing so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I want to just add the sub at first because bass is what I'm lacking the most. What all do I need with a factory system? On my list I have a sub, enclosure, and amp. I'll need an amp wiring kit thing, but what else? I'm starting from absolute scratch.
 
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