Honda Element Owners Club banner

1 - 20 of 55 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
594 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just received my Crutchfield catalog and wow, $4-$5,000 car component speakers. Beryllium, aramid glass -fiber woofer, adjustable crossover with 4500 combinations. Let me inform the uninformed. This is just a marketing ploy, they used that for many years long ago in home stereo. One company even used powdered diamond coated tweeters. The more expensive the material is, doesn't mean the better the sound. Accurate "Imaging" and "Soundstage", doesn't apply to car stereos. Most recordings are meant to be played back on two speakers in front of you, with you sitting in the middle (especially audiophile recordings). The best place for this in a car would be the middle of the rear seat, with two speakers located somewhere on the dash. Not, sitting to one side between two or more pairs of speakers, unless you're listening to "surround sound" or home theater. You have imaging and soundstage, but not what is meant when "audiophiles" use them.
Car stereo "high-end" is not how accurate the sound is, it's how loud and "clean" or how low it can play. Go listen to these systems and tell me about soundstaging and imaging. Compare it to your recollections of listening to "live" music, does it sound the same? Dont be confused.
Your car system's main component is the HU. It's equivalent to the receiver plus CD player of the home system. Compare your HU with a home stereo unit, notice the difference in size? Your HU has nowhere near the quality of components that a home stereo receiver has. Even home CD players alone, are bigger that a car's HU. There are very few, if any, who would buy $4,000 stereo speakers and run them with a $400 receiver/CD unit. Even though you may buy an external $1,000 amp, your HU is not "high-end", its the weakest link in your system.
Of course, there's the "ego" factor, it's prevalent in the "audiophile" world also. They fail to realize, or dont want to, its not how much you spent, it's how good the sound is. Save your money, buy good quality speakers and use an equalizer to "customize" the sound to your cars interior. It'll do the same thing as that 4,500 combination crossover (you'll never try all of them and you probably, wont know what you're doing).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
This is true....that's why the crossovers are one of the most important components of a system. I've heard $40 tang bang subs, dayton mid range, and vifa tweets out perform the $1000+ each speaker system just because the person knew how to set it up and tune it correctly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
594 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Yeah...but the Focal Utopia's come with a luxury aluminum carrying case :rolleyes:

So, what do you do with the case after you install the system? Looks like you could use it for a gun case :rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,542 Posts
Car stereo "high-end" is not how accurate the sound is, it's how loud and "clean" or how low it can play. Go listen to these systems and tell me about soundstaging and imaging. Compare it to your recollections of listening to "live" music, does it sound the same?

I can't say that I agree with this. The true world of high end car audio involves people that uses processors that create time delay and phasing difference to give a perceived center stage affect from the drivers seat. I have sat in cars at the IASCA Finals that from the drivers seat had unbelievable imaging. I got to listen to a Jazz recording that had a sax player that walked across the stage and you could actually hear where he was on the stage and you could also tell when he moved further back/forward. The imaging, staging and presence was absolutely amazing!! I believe your definition of "high end" does hold true for the average thumper on the street.....if people can hear it loudly and clearly from far away, they tend to think it's a high end system. I'm not looking to start a war by the way, it's just that I have experienced.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
519 Posts
ayt your "Let me inform the uninformed" statement is an example of the pot calling the kettle black.
You are very uninformed about car audio. I was very offened by your statements as I have been a sound quality judge for IASCA & USAC & been a car audio install since 1988. I took your statements personally.
Have you ever listened to any properly set up Focals? As you are telling people that Focal is just a " marketing ploy" you have to have some experence with them right?
"High End" speakers are not for everyone & you can have a very good sounding system in your car without spending thousands with "staging & imaging"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,181 Posts
Now now boys, play nice :D

My take on the whole high end car audio is also that it's mostly a waste of money from the simple standpoint that when I'm in my car I'm driving, which is a lot of noise, and the sound quality is going to be mostly lost in the fight. Don't get me wrong, the stock LX system is a complete joke, but for a couple hundred you can have new speakers, a small sub, and a good head unit and it'll more than satisfy 99.999% of the people out there.



100% free webcam site! | Awesome chicks and it is absolutely free! | Watch free live sex cam - easy as 1-2-3
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
594 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I can't say that I agree with this. The true world of high end car audio involves people that uses processors that create time delay and phasing difference to give a perceived center stage affect from the drivers seat. I have sat in cars at the IASCA Finals that from the drivers seat had unbelievable imaging. I got to listen to a Jazz recording that had a sax player that walked across the stage and you could actually hear where he was on the stage and you could also tell when he moved further back/forward. The imaging, staging and presence was absolutely amazing!! I believe your definition of "high end" does hold true for the average thumper on the street.....if people can hear it loudly and clearly from far away, they tend to think it's a high end system. I'm not looking to start a war by the way, it's just that I have experienced.
Actually, what you're stating is my point. I wouldn't spend that kind of money on speakers, an equalizer or sound processor would make a bigger difference. Now, you can set up the system as above, but what about the other listening positions. You have only one ideal place and that is the driver's seat. Take that recording to an Audio Salon and listen to it on "high end" home speakers, you'll definitely hear the difference. You will hear what accurate soundstaging and imaging is about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
594 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
ayt your "Let me inform the uninformed" statement is an example of the pot calling the kettle black.
You are very uninformed about car audio. I was very offened by your statements as I have been a sound quality judge for IASCA & USAC & been a car audio install since 1988. I took your statements personally.
Have you ever listened to any properly set up Focals? As you are telling people that Focal is just a " marketing ploy" you have to have some experence with them right?
"High End" speakers are not for everyone & you can have a very good sounding system in your car without spending thousands with "staging & imaging"
You have misunderstood me. I'm not saying that Focal speakers are not good. What I'm saying is that you dont need beryllium to make a great tweeter. Its just an expensive metal and you pay for it. Have you listened to "high end" home systems? Your car system wont even come close. (Digital music cannot compete with Analog, so if your expertise comes from CD's, you haven't heard how good music can sound.) For one, speakers are designed to work with the listening enviroment. A car's interior is not an ideal "room". You have little control over where the soundwaves go. Also, sound emanating from your doors, is not the ideal position for you music source. Different frequencies travel through the air at different speeds. High frequencies travel faster then lower ones. As an example, if your tweeters and mid/bass are the same distance from your ears, the high frequencies will arrive first. That's why you need a device to delay the HF, so that the sound is coherant. In home speakers, its designed into the crossover or the design of the front baffle, so you dont need unnecessary "electronics" from "polluting" the sound. The less you have between your source and the speakers, the "purer" the sound. With any decent speaker, you'll have a soundstage and imaging. What the tweeter is made of, is not going to improve that, its the design of the speaker and where you mount it. What you think is accurate, which is what I'm alluding to, is far from it. I'm not saying it doesn't sound good, but its "high end" for car audio, but not "high end". Instead of spending $4,000/pr. on speakers, what, $10,000 for your total system, I would take that money and find a reputable car stereo installer and have him "custom" install a system to suit your needs. If they're knowledgeable, you'll have a better sounding system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
594 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
When I started this thread, I wasn't thinking about cars that were going to be entered in contests. We all know that in competition, unless your car is "unique" or "special", you're not going to win. But these contests, don't just take the car with the "best" sound, how its installed and how it "looks" are also important. The audio systems in these cars are meant to sound impressive ,but are built for "show", not for the road. I meant that for someone who's installing an audio system that they will listen to while driving around everyday, have no need for such speakers. Just because a speaker uses exotic materials doesn't guarantee that its better. Even if you have money to burn, its a much wiser investment to have someone with experience, custom install your system. Spend the money on custom enclosures and a graphic equalizer or sound processor. They can "fine tune" your sound to your tastes and for your car's interior. You'll have a much better sounding system.:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
519 Posts
Your replys prove my point about your understanding of car audio. You keep avocating the use of eq's thats the last thing you want to add to any audio system "if you are in search of true "high end" sound" IE staging,imaging,tonal accuracy,etc. The proper way to use on eq is to get your system sounding as good as possible with the installation. Then ad an eq after you have gotten it to sound as good as it gets at that point, & then only use it to cut frequencys "NOT BOOST". If you have to boost something then there is something wrong with the install or the gear you installed is not capable of the sound you are looking for.
Having said that most people will be happy with a decent set of upgradded speakers & a sub as Twilightzero stated.
But for the love of God don't anyone that reads this buy one of those in dash tinker toys with sliders to use as an "eq" They the drop signal strenght so that is seems like your really doing something when you play with the sliders.

ayf you are 100% correct that you don't have to have expensive exotic material for a speaker to sound good.
But if you take your install to the level that the speakers are the weak link & you still want more then maybe a speaker with exotic materials is right for you.
A moving metal box is a horrible place for a sound system but it is what it is & that is the challenge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
594 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Your replys prove my point about your understanding of car audio. You keep avocating the use of eq's thats the last thing you want to add to any audio system "if you are in search of true "high end" sound" IE staging,imaging,tonal accuracy,etc. The proper way to use on eq is to get your system sounding as good as possible with the installation. Then ad an eq after you have gotten it to sound as good as it gets at that point, & then only use it to cut frequencys "NOT BOOST". If you have to boost something then there is something wrong with the install or the gear you installed is not capable of the sound you are looking for.
Having said that most people will be happy with a decent set of upgradded speakers & a sub as Twilightzero stated.
But for the love of God don't anyone that reads this buy one of those in dash tinker toys with sliders to use as an "eq" They the drop signal strenght so that is seems like your really doing something when you play with the sliders.

ayf you are 100% correct that you don't have to have expensive exotic material for a speaker to sound good.
But if you take your install to the level that the speakers are the weak link & you still want more then maybe a speaker with exotic materials is right for you.
A moving metal box is a horrible place for a sound system but it is what it is & that is the challenge.
You and I think differently. Let's say you design a speaker that has a "flat" frequency response in an anechoic chamber. When you install that speaker into a door or a custom enclosure, the freq. response will no longer be flat. That is due to the size, shape and whatever is in your car's interior. To get the frequency flat again, you need to either boost or lessen certain frequencies. To customize the sound to your liking, you would need to do the same. It would be better to boost a certain freq. range than to have to lessen several, so it depends. I also dont mean the <$50.00 equalizers, I mean the ones that sell for $400+. The reason you want a flat frequency response, is that you will hear the music as it was recorded. If you took a response curve of the competition systems that you judge, I'm pretty sure none of them will be flat. A flat frequency response, will sound "dull".
If you reread my initial post, I mentioned that the HU is the "weak" link, not speakers. (I dont know what they use in competition, so I am ignorant in that aspect.) I have a double din HU with GPS, it plays DVDs, CDs and it has a tuner. All of this in a package, 8"x5"x6" (approx). I have a Denon unit that plays DVDs,CDs,but has no tuner or GPS and no amplification, and its four times the size. So I know that the "guts" of the HU, is a simple one. Because of the cost, I know that it doesn't have a high end disc player. The most important component of a car system, is the HU. This is what plays the discs and sends the "signal" to the amp and on to the speakers. What I dont understand, why arent there "high end" HU's? (If there are, excuse my ignorance).
I dont know what the rules are for competitive car audio systems. If I could "cheat", this is what I would do. First, a DC to AC converter. I would then install a separate preamp/amp/tuner that was designed for a "high end" home system and would use an "audiophile" quality CD player. Then I could install whatever speakers I'd desire, because there would be no "weak" link.
Of course, this would not be cheap, maybe $30,000+.
Just to clarify things, I didn't mean systems that would be used for shows or competition. I meant upgrading the system, in a car that would be driven and a system that would be listened to on a regular basis, with "high end" components. No matter what components you install in your car, any changes to the "enviroment" is going to affect the sound. Lowering a window, carrying other passengers, position of the seats, etc.... It is an enviroment which is not consistent. There is nothing wrong with upgrading, but to install an exotic system for everyday use, is a waste of money. Now, if you're building a "show" car for competition and contest, then my mouth is sealed.:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
519 Posts
You are 100% right about a flat response it sounds like garbage you want a smooth sound curve with less then 3db difference per 3rd octave.
I agree if you use $4000 speakers & a $200 HU you are barking up the wrong tree & wasting money. But you still don't have to compete to use high end speakers having said that your equipment needs to be on par through your system.
There are high end HUs on the market you just don't normally see them on display in stores. Alpine,Sony,Clarion,Pioneer have all offer non magnetic copper chassis HUs with burr brown DA converters. But in the real world they don't sell that well & you see the HUs with all the lights & gadgets & most people love flashing lights for some reason.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
I am a focal dealer ... and have had the honor of installing the Utopia Be No7

WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

The response of that speaker is amazing ... We through every curve ball possible at that crossover to make it sound "bright" (tingy, harsh, ****ty, whatever you would consider it) and we couldnt do it

The install was in a 08 CTS V ... we did the Be no 7 in the Front and No 6 in the rear powered with the Focal Solid Amps and an Eclipse CD7200MKII Radio as the audio source and an Avic Z3 as the Nav/Vid source ... frickin AMAZING ... We rarely get the joy of installing something that awesome we cherished our time with that vehicle. I wish every customer had the desire for the awesome audio. But those are getting rarer and rarer.

Great product, even the "entry level" from Focal is incredible and well worth the money. We sell alot of the K2's and Access series speakers.

Focal is a great company
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
You are 100% right about a flat response it sounds like garbage you want a smooth sound curve with less then 3db difference per 3rd octave.
I agree if you use $4000 speakers & a $200 HU you are barking up the wrong tree & wasting money. But you still don't have to compete to use high end speakers having said that your equipment needs to be on par through your system.
There are high end HUs on the market you just don't normally see them on display in stores. Alpine,Sony,Clarion,Pioneer have all offer non magnetic copper chassis HUs with burr brown DA converters. But in the real world they don't sell that well & you see the HUs with all the lights & gadgets & most people love flashing lights for some reason.
You are correct, we have the higher end stuff on display in our board, but the customer cannot control them without us giving power to the unit... most shops wont put them on display for the fear of the units being damaged by the "tire kickers" that just come in and fiddle with settings and buttons and have no idea what they are doing
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
594 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
You are 100% right about a flat response it sounds like garbage you want a smooth sound curve with less then 3db difference per 3rd octave.
I agree if you use $4000 speakers & a $200 HU you are barking up the wrong tree & wasting money. But you still don't have to compete to use high end speakers having said that your equipment needs to be on par through your system.
There are high end HUs on the market you just don't normally see them on display in stores. Alpine,Sony,Clarion,Pioneer have all offer non magnetic copper chassis HUs with burr brown DA converters. But in the real world they don't sell that well & you see the HUs with all the lights & gadgets & most people love flashing lights for some reason.
See, I didn't know there were high end HUs. That makes a big difference. But still, if you're using this for everyday listening, I think its "overkill".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
594 Posts
Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I am a focal dealer ... and have had the honor of installing the Utopia Be No7

WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

The response of that speaker is amazing ... We through every curve ball possible at that crossover to make it sound "bright" (tingy, harsh, ****ty, whatever you would consider it) and we couldnt do it

The install was in a 08 CTS V ... we did the Be no 7 in the Front and No 6 in the rear powered with the Focal Solid Amps and an Eclipse CD7200MKII Radio as the audio source and an Avic Z3 as the Nav/Vid source ... frickin AMAZING ... We rarely get the joy of installing something that awesome we cherished our time with that vehicle. I wish every customer had the desire for the awesome audio. But those are getting rarer and rarer.

Great product, even the "entry level" from Focal is incredible and well worth the money. We sell alot of the K2's and Access series speakers.

Focal is a great company

Even though it's a superb product, spending $7,000 for two pairs of speakers, not including a high end HU and separate amps, is hard to swallow. Most people use their cars to get somewhere, not to listen to music. And though there are many who want better sound, it's not the highest of priorities. They buy wheels, drop or lift their cars, aero kits, turbos,etc.... I enjoy listening to music, but if I want to listen to a high end system, I do it in my living room. There, I can listen to "audiophile" quality LPs through my electrostatics. It's not how amazing it sounds, its how realistic it sounds.
Children of the "digital" age are not that interested in high end sound, just look at what they listen to, IPODS and MP3 players. Trying to convince them to spend money on something they dont understand is near impossible. How do you convince them to buy speakers that cost as much as a desktop and laptop combined.
There is a "niche" for exotics, but only for the rich or those who plan to show or compete.

If you want the "best" in an "audiophile" home system, you need to spend around $250,000 or more. The "best" will be your subjective choice, as there are many components that qualify. Even the "golden ears", these are people who are highly revered in this industry for their excellent hearing, cant agree on one system. Each component is the best that money can buy. The sound is the best that's available. Is it worth a quarter of a million dollars?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
594 Posts
Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Hey wrmx6, just saw the 03 turbo, carbon, etc. E. It's an awesome looking car. In a car like this, running Focal Utopias would be appropriate, although I noticed you've installled Memphis M speakers. If the Utopias are so amazing, wouldn't you put it in every car that you build?

It's a beautiful car, but its primary "purpose" is for show. You wouldn't drive it to go to the beach or to go and listen to a concert or to go shopping with it. When the weather's bad, I'm sure it stays in the garage. If you spend tens of thousands to modify a car, then spending thousands for speakers is no problem. But, to spend that kind of money on an everyday car is not practical.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
519 Posts
ayf your still missing something here. Your saying its overkill to spend that kind of money on a system that you drive everyday. For you it might be. But you seem to be bashing people that have the means to spend $10,000 on a system in a car & drive it everyday. Whats the difference with any other modification to a car? Is your E bone stock or do you own any other modded cars?
Using the logic that you are using 95% of the ppl on this board are wrong. No one needs a turbo,coilovers,anti-swaybars,intake,catback, or anything carbon fiber,etc. but I would bet that 99% of the ppl in this forum have or want at least one of these mods. I see it the opposite of you if I were able to spend $10,000 on a system in something I owned it would be the one I drive the most so I could get the most enjoyment out of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
519 Posts
I'm going to take a stab at answering for wrmx6.
When you build a show car you try & get sponcers I know Memphis has a sponsorship program I don't think that Focal does, they had a discount program for personal use when I had my 6,4,1 set. When building something like that you have a budget & Focals were not in the budget. When I worked at Tweeter I all ways showed Focal to anyone that was looking at speakers & never had anyone say that they didn't like them. Its just a matter of money.
Heck we drive Elements thats like saying all of us should be driving SCs. I for one would love to be able to afford an SC but it wasn't in the cards. I'll have one one day but it may be a long time.
 
1 - 20 of 55 Posts
Top