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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone here use Focal? I just upgraded my home 2 channel from the Martin Logan Claritys to the Focal Electra Be....

I was thinking of going FOCAL with my car audio too, anyone with Focal on here?
 

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I have the access A1 165A components and I like them. The ultra expensive W-cone focals really sounded fantastic but I didn't have 1.2 Grand sitting in my wallet at the time. The berylium tweeter is just as articulate as my aluminum tweeter but silky smooth as well. And this was on sale for something like $500 off. There is a $450 or so list model as well, and it sound a bit better too, mostly because of the titanium dome tweeters.

The only thing I don't like about the Focals is that in really cold weather the rubber gets too hard for them to put out any sound from the woofer. This has only happened twice in Seattle so far, but in places like Chicago or Montana this would make the winters seem even longer, because it would happen for days on end in the weather there. If you have even a partially heated garage it probably wouldn't happen, but I have to park out in the cold streets, since there are very few garages or even driveways for the 80 year-old houses in my neighborhood.

It has something to do with the butyl rubber surround, because my sub is also a bit affected by this, but less so since it isn't inside the really cold doors. Since it actually moves a bit, playing it at a gentle volume would warm it up. But the Focals are rock hard, so I don't dare play them since it would probably overheat the voice coil before it thaws out the surround.
 

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If you like your Focal home speakers, you'll love the Focal car speaker line. The amps aren't anything groundbreaking, and there are better product lines out there for that.


However, if you have the Electras, I wouldn't waste your money on anything less than the Polyglass line, and even better the K2 Power line(make sure it's the 'upgraded' line, there were power handling issues with the first K2 line). Of course, if you really want to match the sound of your Electras, the Utopia Be would be the way to go, as they share the same type of tweeter (Beryllium).


That said, if you don't find your Electras "too harsh" or "not warm enough", you'll enjoy the detail the Focal car line provides.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
i actually have some VTL tubes to warm up the sound on the electras so to speak.

Now back to car stuff, i was looking at the line, I am not a sub guy. I do not want to sacrifice any trunk space, and I do not fancy bomming vehicles.

So I would focus on the 4 speakers in the car and tweeters. I wont buy Focal unless it is the Utopia Be line, I do not like the look of the other tweeters. Question is.. how would these fit on my door and where would the tweeters go etc... like do i have to get the grilles they sell on there and have the shop do some special cuting and mounting of the new grilles and like would these even fit in the door etc.. and where would the tweeters go.... they look quite big. the Be r just speakers right? for the car line.. not like s sub woofer or anything...? I am not familiar with car audio at all.

what price range r we talking about here? 1 or 2 K ? if thats the case thats doable.
 

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You can put a small sub in the back jack area without losing any trunk space. I have a big sub myself, but I don't use it for booming. Even though the sound is plenty exciting inside the car, you can only barely tell that I have a sub if you are standing right next to the car. I would rather have my $250 Focal A1s with a small sub than the $1500 Focals without a sub. Just because certain kiddies abuse subwoofers doesn't mean that you have to do the same with yours. I cannot imagine how loud it is inside the car for the guys boom-booming down the road. Or perhaps they have deliberate ports to the outside to let the sound out.

No matter how expensive of a speaker you put into the doors, they are going to roll off on the bass around 50-60 hz. There isn't enough air space inside the doors for a sufficiently large woofer to get acceptable low end performance. Besides, the sheet metal doors are an extremely bad "box" for a speaker that puts out low bass.

If you get the high end focals, you should specify that the installer does some extra work to stiffen interior door panels. Acoustimat alone is not enough, there needs to be some metal, hardwood, or fiberglass stiffening work done so that the woofers don't excite vibrations inside the doors. I have temporarily solved my problem with styrofoam stuffed into the door pockets, but it looks like hell.

The 6.5 round models should fit and you can keep the perfectly nice stock grilles, but you will probably want to replace the head unit with something much better than the stock unit to get the most out of them. You are talking anywhere between $2,000 to $3,000 for the top-line drivers, a small sub in the jack area, and a new head unit and enough power to make it work well. The high-end focals are less efficient than mine.

You don't have to spend big money on expensive amps. There is not a significant amount of difference between $120 300 watt RMS amps and $450 300 watt amps. I tend to go with ones that have not wasted money on gimmicky styling and lots of ads.

I would be somewhat resistant to the store upmarketing you to 3-way components. They probably don't sound much better that the two-ways, especially since the Focal drivers have exceedingly good frequency response, that doesn't need to be "fixed" with a midrange and the resulting extra crossover point. You have to find a non-stock location for the midrange on the doors somewhere, and it may be hard making this placement in a spot where the high-mids from the mid driver and the low mids from the bass driver appear to be coming from the same position.

If you do go this 3-way, I would insist on a listen yourself inside your car (with the mid temporarily taped into position) rather than believe the hype from the salesmen.

The upper-end Focals really do sound fabulous, but I really don't have that kind of money myself.
 

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[quote author=jdanielsg link=topic=66831.msg1147931#msg1147931 date=1168713888]

So I would focus on the 4 speakers in the car and tweeters.[/quote]

I honestly wouldn't even worry about the speakers in the rear doors. You don't have any rear speakers with your Electras, do you?

I wont buy Focal unless it is the Utopia Be line, I do not like the look of the other tweeters. Question is.. how would these fit on my door and where would the tweeters go etc... like do i have to get the grilles they sell on there and have the shop do some special cuting and mounting of the new grilles and like would these even fit in the door etc..
geewhizbang and I have a little differing opinion on this, but both agree that the install is key. The 6.5" midrange driver will be able to fit behind the factory door panely fairly easily. IMO- the best/easiest solution to the door install is proper sound deadening in the front doors. A minimum of two layers of sound deadening on both the inside and outside door skin, and an acoustic foam solution inside the door and on the inside door skin as well. The baffle the woofer is mounted to should be a minimum of .5" thick and SOLID (this might require some fiberglass work as geewhizbang discussed).

and where would the tweeters go.... they look quite big. the Be r just speakers right? for the car line.. not like s sub woofer or anything...? I am not familiar with car audio at all.
The tweeter might be able to go into the factory location with some fabrication of a tweeter pod, or in the factory A-pillar(this location can work very well with Focal tweeters).



You will want a sub of some sort, but a nice 8" sub tucked into the jack well should suffice to cover the low-end and help cover a bit of the mid-bass the Focals lack.


If you're using VTL tubes to warm up the sound of the Electras, I would be willing to bet you'll be able to hear the difference between car amplifiers as well. Honestly, you're probably better off talking to wherever you'd buy the Focals from and see what they recommend (as long as you can trust them).

You obviously enjoy higher-end gear, and car audio for you will a compromise between the sound quality you're used to and cost (as it is for many). I used to have customers that had $10,000 speaker cables with a $2000 car audio system that put a smile on their face, and customers that had $500 home systems that were critical of every nuance of their $15,000 car audio system and rarely happy.


Try to find a shop that is willing to work with you and will allow you to try out different products to make you happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you guys for all the advice, really appreciate it.

Yeah I can expect that deadening the doosr etc would cost a pretty prenny. Just because of the labour. The only reason I refuse to do it myself is the windows. The plastic skin can be taken off easy. There is another layer of plastic in there bolted on before you actually see bare metal and that is whats holding the glass up as well I have no idea how to do that properly last time I did it was disaster I had to get tints replaced etc.the glass kept falling down into the crevice lol. If not for that I could easily do all this myself. Well esp the deadning...part.

I am in Ottawa and there are definitely no good installers here, also I couldnt find out where in the world I could buy Focal from, I know where I can get the home stuff but I doubt they can get the car stuff in, anyone know where in the US, online or othersiwe I can get Focals? The website didnt bring up any distributors when I searched.

Ok as for rear and fronts. If I change out my speakers I would be inclinded to change all but maybe the rears I would go for the least expensive ones. No I only have 2 channel at home, but thats because its a total specialised listening area n such. For the car I do not expect any of the sonic qualities I experience at home, this is basically a toy car LOL its noisy and at highway speeds road noise will kill anything and everything, the only reason I am putting money into this is because I find it fun its a hobby. hehe while I am still young.. (25) I would like to be a boy racer LOL a few more years, then its done. I do intend to get a fuddy duddy range rover or a huge suv that can fit a double air mattress behind sometime real soon. (road trips)

How much do you think a set of Bes and tweeters.. so 2 drivers and 2 tweeters would cost me? I would then use the entry range for the back. I have seen people do the jack area sub, does it make a diff that I have a sedan and that area is closed off from me sound wise, as opposed to a hatch. Also is anyone here making those in mdf or anything? What about sub on the rear whinshield area.. that plastic piece

I will look up some threads and look more into what you guys have said.
 

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Maybe a little late but I thought would chime in. I have Focal's all the way around, Polyglass 130 V2's in the front and Polyglass 570 CV1's in the rear. They are powered by a ZapCo amp, whcih also powers a W3. I was really impressed in the store with the Focals, they sound remarkably like the B&W 601s I have in the house. I would definitely recommend them, I haven't heard anything I like better.

130s:


570's:
 

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The Utopia Be's are in the neighborhood of $1500 (US) for a matched component set, consisting of two woofers, two tweeters, and crossovers.


It's may take some work to find a authorized Focal dealer, but make sure you buy from one. Focal is probably one of the most speaker brands that has fakes being sold on the internet. More than likely due to the fact that they are highly sought after and expensive. You don't want to spend some good money on an inferior speaker masquerading as a Focal.


Maybe ask in the Canadian forum if there's a Focal dealer nearby??
 

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Most transistor amps sound about the same, almost independently of price. Good speakers or not, I don't think you can tell much difference between amps (as long as you don't bottom feed). But most moderate-priced amps are going to sound just about as good as the expensive ones.

This was definitely NOT the case even 10 years ago, but all of the amps use similar designs and even chipsets. Buy one with the specific features you want, but I wouldn't be anywhere near as obsessive about the amp as I would about getting door vibrations damped down. It is a huge problem in the Mazda 3, and it is going to take a creative, extra effort solution to solve it. There would be more benefit from $200 of extra install work on the doors than spending the same on a fancier amp. You are going to get a lot more distortion coming in from buzzes in the doors, while a $120 200 to 300 watt 2-channel amp for the front is going to quite adequate in output and distortion that woud be barely distinguishable from something costing 3x as much.

My system uses the stock locations for both the tweeter and the woofer. I still think that there is little or no benefit to a midrange driver when using such high quality drivers as the W-cone polyglass focal woofers.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
[quote author=dehoff link=topic=66831.msg1148272#msg1148272 date=1168734784]
The Utopia Be's are in the neighborhood of $1500 (US) for a matched component set, consisting of two woofers, two tweeters, and crossovers.


It's may take some work to find a authorized Focal dealer, but make sure you buy from one. Focal is probably one of the most speaker brands that has fakes being sold on the internet. More than likely due to the fact that they are highly sought after and expensive. You don't want to spend some good money on an inferior speaker masquerading as a Focal.


Maybe ask in the Canadian forum if there's a Focal dealer nearby??


[/quote]

Yeah I need to decide how high end I want to go, all depends on what I am getting for my 2nd car. And how much deadening would cost me.

Yeah I dunt think I would have much luck with Canadians LOL but I will call up my hifi dealer maybe they can find out. I have a focal dealer just not for car stuff, but maybe they can also bring in the car stuff.

Those speakers look very deep/thick do you have pictures of how they fit?

Thanks again guys :)
 

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You can order mail order from a reputable online dealer and bring them into a shop in canada. WoofersEtc, CarToys and a few others have internet websites, though their prices are pretty close to list.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
[quote author=geewhizbang link=topic=66831.msg1148710#msg1148710 date=1168754233]
You can order mail order from a reputable online dealer and bring them into a shop in canada. WoofersEtc, CarToys and a few others have internet websites, though their prices are pretty close to list.


[/quote]

other than the shops you metioned which I assume you think are good places, any others? Thanks
 

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It looks like WoofersEtc does more discounting on the more expensive stuff. The price on these are very reasonable, and they are a large site. It is highly unlikely that these are fakes; they would have been shutdown very quickly.

I have not found any other links. CarToys sells at list.

Focal doesn't have the best marketing guys in the US. Their english website has a link to list distributors, but it doesn't work correctly.

http://www.woofersetc.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=1168
 

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Focal has awful marekting and customer service in the U.S. It's the reason one of the local shops just dropped them, and why I dropped them from my former shop.

I don't believe there are any authorized online dealers for Focal, so I would check to see what kind of warranty they offer on the Focals (especially after seeing those Utopia Be's are $3,485!!!). If they only offer their "in-house" warranty and not the factory Focal warranty, chances are the speakers are gray market or B goods. While this may not be the worst thing in the world, some products in gray market and B goods form are nearly destroyed (JL Audio amps and speakers come to mind- the sellers cut out the serial numbers under the dust caps and glue them back on, take apart the amps to remove the serial numbers and damage the amps in doing so, etc.). This is one of the reasons why many manufacturers are campaigning against internet sales of their products.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
yeah the BEs they have come with the amp tho.. which I do not want. Will have to see what my options are.
msg u guys again later when I am closer to doing something thanks
 

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[quote author=geewhizbang link=topic=66831.msg1149818#msg1149818 date=1168829503]
The link I provided earlier is for the same speakers without the overpriced amplifier.
[/quote]


That link is for the discontinued Utopia 165W. The K2 Upgraded would be the replacement for that.


Still a very good component set, but doesn't compare to the Utopia Be's.




Ummmm.... guys, I think you're confusing the CrossBlock crossover with an amplifier there. The Utopia Be's do not come with an amplifier. There is an 'Active' set that has no passive crossovers, but it would require 4 discrete amplifier channels and some sort of time alignment to get the same results as the CrossBlock crossover.

I know the crossover alone for the 3-way set is ~$2,500, so obviously the crossover for the 2-way set is probably in the neighborhood of $1,500 by itself.


Here's what all those knobs do:

TWO WAY CROSSBLOCK
As used by the two way utopia beryllium sets no. 5 and no. 6

It has 4 control knobs S1, S2, S3, & S4

S1
This controls the lowpass mid/bass speakers crossover frequency.
The slope is set at 12dB/octave.
You have 10 choices 1-10
1=highest 10=lowest

S2
This controls the Q factor of the midbass speaker and helps boost the midrange if a non ideal location is used.
you have 8 choices.
1=max 8=standard linear setting.

S3
This controls the highpass crossover frequency of the tweeter.
The slope is set at 12dB/octave
You have 7 choices 1-7
1=highest 7=lowest

S4
This controls the tweeter level in 1dB steps.
You have 8 choices 1-8
1=maximum 8=minimum
 
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