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Hassen

Hassen's Ford Focus 1.6 Tdci Build Thread

448 posts in this topic

So found a few amps and wouldn't mind some advice about them:

1. Infinity Kappa Four

http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_17780_Infinity-KAPPA-FOUR.html

2. Polk Audio PA D400.4

http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_39894_Polk-Audio-PA-D4000.4-PAD4000.4.html

3. Alpine PDX-F6

http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_26219_Alpine-PDX-F6.html

Am I right in thinking that my current speakers would handle anything from 120-150W rms without any trouble given that they are rated for 80W nominal and 160W max power? Guessing that getting closest to the 160W mark would be ideal?

Thanks

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Ive made up a chart to give you an idea of the sound pressure levels from the front speakers for the power in

91db -( 98)- 1w

94db - (101)- 2w

97db - (104)- 4w

100db - (107)-8w

103db- (110)-16w

106db- (113)-32w

109db - (116) - 64w

112db - (119) -128w

So if you measure the output of the speaker at 1w at 1 meter you get 91db, each doubling of power means a 3db increase, because humans can hear wisper quiet sounds to very loud sounds we cannot tell the difference between different levels of loudness in absolute terms and with 64w in its 109db, and at 128w 112db, going from 64w to 128 sounds a big difference, but you will not notice it (as much as you might think) in absolute terrms, (only realative to other sound/ noise) this may be enough to drown out the high-speed noise, if not you will be dissapointed, and this could be an expensive upgrade

in brackets are the db chart for speakers with 98db (1w at 1meter) efficiency (like the ones i use (not in my car - they have 136db potential!), in fact i have 100db ultra-high efficeincy ones) - the 98db ones are louder at 32w than the 91db ones at128w -

So if you want to go louder you really need to go for more efficient speakers as you only have another couple of decibels more potential from the front speakers whatever amp you use

Active vs passive - in the passive (2way) system one amp is used to power the woofer and tweeter, a passive x-over is connected between the amp and speakers the low frequencies are fed to the woofer and the high frequencies to the tweeter because the amp has to handle all the frequencies intermodulation distortion is present, the passive x-over has to handle the full power from the amp, and losses occur, other distortions like phase are introduced

in an active 2-way system 2 amps are used (one for the tweeter, one for the woofer) the amps are connected directly to each speaker, so there is no passive x-over to overload, lose power, or introduce distortion, headroom and power handling are increased, the crossover is electronic, and splits the sound before it is fed into each amp - so fine control of realative volume and frequency are possible (easily and without power losses) - some amps have (midrange) x-overs built in (sub x-overs are common)

Often the woofer gets a more powerful amp than the tweeter

So basically an amp upgrade is not going to make a big difference (i will try to find those amps for you anyway) to loudness and you need to do something more radical like replace your speakers with more efficient ones (they are nice speakers- your just never going to have your ears bleeding though), fit infrasonic filters and integrate the frequencies with the sub, and/or go active

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I had to read all that a few times but I think I got it all now. Great to be learning new things. From what I gather and want to achieve, there will be very little difference for a fairly big outlay on a new amp. I am looking at a SQ setup rather than an SPL as you might have gathered. So, I think I am reaching the limits of what can/need to be done for the current setup. Major thanks for writing all this down and explaining it in simple terms. Really appreciate it :)

At some point, if I get the itch and money, I will probably get the Audison Bit Ten just to see what's the fuss about because I keep seeing it being used in builds for Soundman Car Audio, which I am addicted watching these days!

https://www.youtube.com/user/soundmancaraudio

Also, today, I spent a bit of time trying to tune the car to my liking as I thought there wasn't enough bass while driving. After about 1 hr of messing with knobs and using an rTA app, I was able to tweak it to my liking. That is until I get bored and decide to mess with it again :P

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Small update: Hyrule had the nice heater knobs and he very generously posted them to me for me. Absolute legend! Got them today and installed them without any trouble. Definitely brings up the interior. Also, the tactile feel for the knobs is much nicer than the previous rubber/plastic ones :)

Tools used:

IMAG2013_zpshqvpmqzh.jpg

Stock heater knobs:

IMAG2011_zpsa1wzhlnf.jpg

Stock knobs off:

IMAG2014_zpsmfcur3mp.jpg

New shiny knobs: IMAG2015_zps16goh04i.jpg

New knobs lit up:

IMAG2017_zps6iqtsdfy.jpg

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Love those knobs much better than stock I have the same but red.

Little things big difference

Sent from my iPhone using Ford OC

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I had to read all that a few times but I think I got it all now. Great to be learning new things. From what I gather and want to achieve, there will be very little difference for a fairly big outlay on a new amp. I am looking at a SQ setup rather than an SPL as you might have gathered. So, I think I am reaching the limits of what can/need to be done for the current setup. Major thanks for writing all this down and explaining it in simple terms. Really appreciate it :)

At some point, if I get the itch and money, I will probably get the Audison Bit Ten just to see what's the fuss about because I keep seeing it being used in builds for Soundman Car Audio, which I am addicted watching these days!

https://www.youtube.com/user/soundmancaraudio

Also, today, I spent a bit of time trying to tune the car to my liking as I thought there wasn't enough bass while driving. After about 1 hr of messing with knobs and using an rTA app, I was able to tweak it to my liking. That is until I get bored and decide to mess with it again :P

Yes, the db is the sound pressure level - so increasing the amp power from 64 to 128 only increases sound pressure level by 3db - not much in absolute terms but it may make a difference in realative terms (eg the extra db may help to drown out road noise)

i found a budget "non premium brand" amp with a similar spec to the premium brand ones you listed (which are very good/ well chosen) -

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BOSS-AUDIO-SYSTEMS-CHAOS-CX800-1600-WATTS-CLASS-AB-4-CHANNEL-POWER-AMPLIFIER-/351147352672?pt=UK_In_Car_Technology&hash=item51c2036260

it has 4 amps, all with 150w rms into 4 ohms, so would get the maximum out of your front speakers, you could use only 2 of the amps in passive mode, use the other 2 for something else (rear door speakers or extra shelf speakers) or configure the amp for active (the amp has built-in x-overs) using all 4 amps for the front speakers - this would optomise the front speakers

The specs on the amp is as good as the premium brands, imo, but at a lower price (perhaps you just pay for the name)

PS - the amp has class AB operation - less efficient than class D (class D is probably ok/ better for subs) but the sound quality is better - this is a high fidelity amp suitable for your high-end full-range speakers

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Cheers FOCA. Had a look at the link you sent and it does look promising and would definitely suit the speakers. Have to read up a bit about Boss Audio systems. My plan would be to use the external crossovers that came with the speakers and use the amp to power the front speakers in passive mode and my rear 2 Vibe slick speakers. Here is a diagram of how it is currently wired:

Wiringdiagram_zps37e45b1a.jpg

C.O = Cross Over

T = Tweeter

Any way I could further improve this setup? Any suggestions how to tweak the setup?

At present, I have left the cross over as Flat for the front speakers and let the passive crossover do the work in separating the frequencies. The gain is set at about 3/5 of the way and the Bass Boost is at 1/2 way.

As for the subwoofer amp, the gain is set at 3/4 of the way and the Bass Boost is at 1/2. So far no distortion in the sound until I reach 25-27 on the volume on the receiver. By then, I can't stay inside the car lol :)

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The budget (£118) Boss audio amp has a higher spec and better sound quality than the £350 infinity - t hat is because the Boss has a class AB output stage and the infinity is class D

Class AB has a better sound quality than class D

I dont think there is much you can do without changing components - what is the sub crossover frequency? the levels are meaningless - try changing the subwoofer crossover frequency, and phase - check the realative and absolute phase of all the speakers

The vibes are just cheap speakers and not up to the quality of the focals - the system might sound better with the vibes turned down

Listen to a pro studio setup or a high-end domestic hi-fi then listen to the same music i your car to set up the EQ - if you do this it might work better with different music/ tracks if you find youself changing the EQ for different music tracks all the time

Passive crossovers are not as good as active ones - details are in my previous post(s) - if it was my setup i would ditch the passive x-overs - i would be happy to suggest x-over frequencies

Audio proccesors (the bit ten) are for shaping high-end systems - it would be the last thing you buy after you already had everything else - it cannot fix many deficienceis in the system - There is a saying "you can't polish a !Removed!" (i dont mean your system is a !Removed! - it means sometimes, any amout of E-Qing, prossesors, graphics and fiddling cannot fix some things + it also makes things more complicated )

If you are (reasonably) happy with the system as it is why change it - you could spend 10x as much to get it 10% better - it just depends what you want

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What you said makes perfect sense and I don't think I will be changing components. I like the Focal very much and I'm trying to get the most out of them, that's the reasoning behind me asking all the questions.

The sub woofer cross over frequency at the moment is at 80Hz. Reckon it should be higher? I can definitely hear the bass, but it doesn't "thump" as much as I would like it to. If that makes any sense to you :)
I have all the speakers wired properly in phase and made sure to double check them.

As for the Vibes, I totally agree, they are cheap and do tend to muddy up the clarity of the sound coming from the Focals. I tend to turn them down low and can barely hear them. Maybe at some point, when funds allow, I will get a set of Focal PS165 for the rear.

With regards to listening to hi-fi setup and then eqing the car system, thats exactly what I been doing to my car. I also got a test cd disc that was about 1hr long with different frequencies etc. I should probably post the link in here. It was a free cd that had a torrent link. Is that allowed on the forums btw?

With regards to passive/active x-overs: If I were to go active, I am guessing, and correct me if I am wrong, that I would need all 4 channels on the Baupunkt amp to drive the 2 woofers and 2 tweeters up front? I would then leave the rear Vibe speakers to be powered by the headunit amp.

I totally agree with what you saying about the Bit Ten. I think I should get the basics right and then see if it needs anything else. And agreed about the money spent. Like everything in life, you get to a point that you get diminishing returns and very little to show for it.

Next step, when funds allow, would be to get more Silent Coat for the floor and also, Dodo mat-a CCF and MLV layer for the floor pan as well. This should in theory reduce the road noise coming from ambient surrounding and tyres, which would help make the car a better listening environment. I reckon that will probably happen sometime next year now :)

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Hi , Hassen, your setup looks great. Great Work I agree with FOCA's advices. But I think class D are totally ok in the listening envirement of a car. Think voltage drop are a bigger concern - class D delivers more power, using less current.

Choosing SQ - active crossovers with time-alignment sure will improve.

The prefab sub looks great. Love the pictures - fun to watch your progress.

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Thanks a million for the kind words. It took a while but I am glad I did most of it myself.

So, thinking that when funds allow, which might be a while, I will get the Infinity amp to replace the Blaupunkt one. Unsure whether I will then keep the Blaupunkt and go passive with the Focal speakers or use the Infinity Amp to go active with the Focal and power the rear speakers with the Blaupunkt amp. Guess I will cross that bridge when I get there.

Massive thanks for all the info given as I have learnt a lot and know that there is still more reading and learning to do. Love how this sound upgrade project started with me knowing very little with the basic stock components in the car and now I have something that I am quite proud out. It still surprises people when they hear it for the first time and that makes me smile :)

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Hi , Hassen, your setup looks great. Great Work I agree with FOCA's advices. But I think class D are totally ok in the listening envirement of a car. Think voltage drop are a bigger concern - class D delivers more power, using less current.

Choosing SQ - active crossovers with time-alignment sure will improve.

The prefab sub looks great. Love the pictures - fun to watch your progress.

I disagree, it may be ok for some that just want to make a noise - but when you want to achiveve hi-fi quality sound in your car - class A-B is better than class D for sound quality classD compromises sound quality for efficiency (better efficiency/ worse sound quality) - classD is OK for subs (because the distortion caused by classD is less noticable at sub frequencies)

They used to say you did not need CDs in a car and tapes (you know, the crappy, hissy compact cassette) were good enough due to the acoustics in a car!

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Thanks a million for the kind words. It took a while but I am glad I did most of it myself.

So, thinking that when funds allow, which might be a while, I will get the Infinity amp to replace the Blaupunkt one. Unsure whether I will then keep the Blaupunkt and go passive with the Focal speakers or use the Infinity Amp to go active with the Focal and power the rear speakers with the Blaupunkt amp. Guess I will cross that bridge when I get there.

Massive thanks for all the info given as I have learnt a lot and know that there is still more reading and learning to do. Love how this sound upgrade project started with me knowing very little with the basic stock components in the car and now I have something that I am quite proud out. It still surprises people when they hear it for the first time and that makes me smile :)

The infinity amp is overpriced at £350, and the total harmonic distortion at the rated output is 1% thats (bad) brobably due to the cass D output stage - translation = its crap

The much cheaper BOSS amps are 0.01% total harmonic distortion at the rated output (exellent quality) - i looked at scores of amps to find an affordable one (or range of amps) with i very high spec (including superior class AB output stages ) at an affordable pric- this amp/ range of amps blows many much more expensive amps away (in terms of quality)

Im not looking at brand names but at technical specs

You could get 2 boss amps, and this active boss x-over -

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BOSS-AUDIO-SYSTEMS-CHAOS-CX800-1600-WATTS-CLASS-AB-4-CHANNEL-POWER-AMPLIFIER/351147352672?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3Dba62e49d31b646dc9c2e4c2f53cdff5d%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D20131017132637%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D321433206636

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Boss-2-3-Way-Electronic-Crossover-Remote-Woofer-Level-Control-Boss-Audio-Bx55-si-/321433206636?hash=item4ad6e97f6c

for less than 1 overpriced (and inferior) amp - and that would mean you have more left over for another set of focals -

so you could have the seperate active x-over (with fine control of the system) + 2 four chanel amps so the front and rears would be active, 8x (an amp for each woofer + tweeter!) 150w = 1200w so awesome power, headroom and clarity - and a fraction of the price of an equivelant system

PS - yes your sub x-over frequency is low, try 100 to 200hz, see how it sounds, you may need to turn the bass down

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The infinity amp is overpriced at £350, and the total harmonic distortion at the rated output is 1% thats (bad) brobably due to the cass D output stage - translation = its crap

The much cheaper BOSS amps are 0.01% total harmonic distortion at the rated output (exellent quality) - i looked at scores of amps to find an affordable one (or range of amps) with i very high spec (including superior class AB output stages ) at an affordable pric- this amp/ range of amps blows many much more expensive amps away (in terms of quality)

Im not looking at brand names but at technical specs

You could get 2 boss amps, and this active boss x-over -

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BOSS-AUDIO-SYSTEMS-CHAOS-CX800-1600-WATTS-CLASS-AB-4-CHANNEL-POWER-AMPLIFIER/351147352672?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3Dba62e49d31b646dc9c2e4c2f53cdff5d%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D20131017132637%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D321433206636

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Boss-2-3-Way-Electronic-Crossover-Remote-Woofer-Level-Control-Boss-Audio-Bx55-si-/321433206636?hash=item4ad6e97f6c

for less than 1 overpriced (and inferior) amp - and that would mean you have more left over for another set of focals -

so you could have the seperate active x-over (with fine control of the system) + 2 four chanel amps so the front and rears would be active, 8x (an amp for each woofer + tweeter!) 150w = 1200w so awesome power, headroom and clarity - and a fraction of the price of an equivelant system

PS - yes your sub x-over frequency is low, try 100 to 200hz, see how it sounds, you may need to turn the bass down

I beleive THD less than 1% on the Kappa 4 - means 0,05% :

http://eu.infinitysystems.com/infinity-product-detail-eu/kappa-four.html

As for the Class AB vs Class D, at home in a very good listening environment - maybe you are right. Class A - for sure. Still - I own a Pioneer home cinema receiver, with class D - and I beleive it collected top results in every review I have read. And I like it too :)

In a car - with lot of roadnoise etc - and perhaps playing mp3's - spotify - I do not believe it would be an hearable improvement using class AB over class D.

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I beleive THD less than 1% on the Kappa 4 - means 0,05% :

http://eu.infinitysystems.com/infinity-product-detail-eu/kappa-four.html

As for the Class AB vs Class D, at home in a very good listening environment - maybe you are right. Class A - for sure. Still - I own a Pioneer home cinema receiver, with class D - and I beleive it collected top results in every review I have read. And I like it too :)

In a car - with lot of roadnoise etc - and perhaps playing mp3's - spotify - I do not believe it would be an hearable improvement using class AB over class D.

Ok - i agree with most of that - for most people class D fine and has efficiency advantages when running in a car enviroment, but look at the spec/ quality of the focals - i think that car owners wantling to turn their cars into a high fidelity/ quality enviroment would benifit from the (even slight) quality edge that a class AB amp has over a classD - in my experience a classD amp can get a bit harsh/ gritty at the top end when driven hard at high volume levels, and many musicians, sound engineers, hi-fi enthusiasts etc would hear the difference, i realize manufacturers' are continuing to develop classD designs to bridge the gap to class AB - but for me, class AB has the edge in quality

The difference may be small, and the difference between different speakers (sound quality wise) is probably bigger but with class AB amps available for less than a classD, its a no-brainer (for front speakers at these power levels) for subs or very high power (eg competition) systems,(power/ efficiency over quality) classD may be the way to go

- people debate class D vs class AB -

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/class-d/195448-class-ab-amplifier-vs-class-d-amplifier.html

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Ok - i agree with most of that - for most people class D fine and has efficiency advantages when running in a car enviroment, but look at the spec/ quality of the focals - i think that car owners wantling to turn their cars into a high fidelity/ quality enviroment would benifit from the (even slight) quality edge that a class AB amp has over a classD - in my experience a classD amp can get a bit harsh/ gritty at the top end when driven hard at high volume levels, and many musicians, sound engineers, hi-fi enthusiasts etc would hear the difference, i realize manufacturers' are continuing to develop classD designs to bridge the gap to class AB - but for me, class AB has the edge in quality

The difference may be small, and the difference between different speakers (sound quality wise) is probably bigger but with class AB amps available for less than a classD, its a no-brainer (for front speakers at these power levels) for subs or very high power (eg competition) systems,(power/ efficiency over quality) classD may be the way to go

- people debate class D vs class AB -

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/class-d/195448-class-ab-amplifier-vs-class-d-amplifier.html

You have good arguments - I do not disagree.

Thinking only money and SQ - Class AB would be preferable.

But in a car with stock electrical system - Class AB delivering 40% of its power consumption in to the heatsink. Voltage drop could compromise sound quality. For me this is a bigger concern - than the difference in SQ between Class AB and Class D. I can not hear the difference - not at home - and probably not in the car.

But maybe, as you wrote - using Class D for sub and Class AB for the front set - is the best choice - a good comprimise of cost, voltage drop and SQ?

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Update:

Last week, I managed to put some Silent Coat on the underside of the car bonnet. This helped reduce the vibrations and also reduce the noise coming from the engine as well. You now have to really strain your ears to hear the engine purr.

IMAG2020_zpswzkhhoqu.jpg

Also, I recently became a premium member of FOC. Got my Halfords discount card and 2 FOC stickers. Took me a while but I finally got them onto the car. Top tip for putting stickers/sunstrip: use soap and water, put it on the area of the window that you will be applying the sticker. Apply your sticker and then with a credit card, take out the air bubbles. Since the soap and water are still under the adhesive, you can move the sticker as much as you want until the water evaporates. Much easier to put a sticker and a lot easier to take out air bubbles. Hope this helps.

The pictures of the sticker are not great as that window is tinted and you have to be close to the car to see it. I like things subtle and this definitely suits me.

IMAG2021_zps0opzbtdo.jpg

IMAG2030_zpsasklg7jr.jpg

IMAG2028_zpsbfb82b60.jpg

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hi hassen great setup, how easy was the door speakers to swap?

as you have 2 amps 1 for your sub and the other is that to power the crossovers you have in the doors? is the second amp necessary?

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Hi Vince. Thanks for the kind words :)

For the door speaker swap, the way I did it was that I unplugged the wires and used a small hacksaw to cut out the stock speakers leaving the ring that I used to mount the new speakers. The other option is to drill out the rivets and thus you can get the whole thing out. You will need to get some adaptor rings then to be able to fit the new speakers. Check out Mr_Spock build thread for pictures drilling out the rivets and my own thread for the hacksaw method. Pictures makes more sense. Both ways I think are fairly straight forward.

Regarding the amplifiers, I have the front pair and the rear pair of speakers running off the 4 channel Blaupunkt amp. Thus, I had to get another amp for the subwoofer. I could have gone with a 1 amplifier setup, which was the case until recently with the front speakers powered by the amp and the subwoofer as well in bridged mode. The rear speakers were being run off the headunit but in this case, I couldn't control front/rear fade. If I gather correctly, the outboard crossover still need to be wired to an amp to get the most out of the speakers.

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Update:

Got myself a blanking plate off Ebay. Will follow the guide by Lenny and try to fit it tomorrow. Fingers crossed all goes without any issues :)

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Hassen

Did you put that sound insulation under the bonnet yourself? What did you use? I'm looking some sound insulation for my focus but don't know what to go for.

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Hassen

Did you put that sound insulation under the bonnet yourself? What did you use? I'm looking some sound insulation for my focus but don't know what to go for.

I put it myself. Very simple to do but time consuming. It's a vibration damping material called Silent Coat. I have links in this thread where to get it for the cheapest online delivered. The market leader is Dynamat and this is as effective but costs a bit less.

Mind you now that this will only absorb vibration and to a very limited extent airborne noise. What do you actually want to achieve and for what purpose is a good starting point of what type of material that would suit you best.

Feel free to ask questions and I did a fair bit of research on this subject and it will save you a bit of time Googling :)

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I put it myself. Very simple to do but time consuming. It's a vibration damping material called Silent Coat. I have links in this thread where to get it for the cheapest online delivered. The market leader is Dynamat and this is as effective but costs a bit less.

Mind you now that this will only absorb vibration and to a very limited extent airborne noise. What do you actually want to achieve and for what purpose is a good starting point of what type of material that would suit you best.

Feel free to ask questions and I did a fair bit of research on this subject and it will save you a bit of time Googling :)

My focus is the mk2.5 1.6 zetec. Now the petrol is quiet as it is but I have added a new under try that has helped and for I added it to keep under as clean and protected as I can but Under the Bonnet is bare lol! :) So I want to add some noise insulation for the look but also to aid in a wee bit of sound deadening as well. I cant find any OEM stuff (maybe from a diesel would fit) but since Im buying it i thought there might be bettwr sound stuff other than OEM material but anything will do as long as its tidy looking and doesn't bake the bank.

Thanks

:)

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Others might be able to chip in but I think the soundproofing that's in the diesel would fit the petrol. Don't quote me on it though. Also, maybe an engine cover if you don't have it already. I am not sure that Silent Coat would cut down a lot of engine noise. It will stop vibrations from entering the cabin though.

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