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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Id like good comps but cannot do my own install and would rather pay a little more for the hardware than to pay alot more for expensive install and door mods.

Car is a 323ci. Looking to run passive 2-ways, in the 300-400 dollar range, with 50-100 wrms each, likely crossed over at 75 or 80 hz.

Suggestions? I was considering Focal Access 165 but the installer is really pushing them yet doesn't have a functional sound board. I also suspect these are overpriced and going to hurt my ears. I like highs but I have yet to read about any Focals not sounding shrill or too bright.
 

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What would be perfect are the Focal 165vrs shallow mounts. The Access line isn't that impressive(overpriced?) but you may not be willing to pay the price for the vrs components and a professional install?

I was in this same situation recently and wanted the vr model, especially the lower price. I finally broke down and got the shallow mounts and couldn't be happier. The Focal brightness can easily be toned down via crossovers, treble control, and a good sub. I ended up rationalizing my expense by asking myself, what price can I put on my enjoyment of music in my car when I drive 30-35K miles per year?

Good luck on your journey and enjoy the ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You are right in that I don't want to spend a tonne. But the Access line seems like it may be pricier than its worth. It's a legendary name and I figure they cash in on the name with their entry level.

I will def get a professional install I just don't want major mods for fitment. How much are the ones you suggest? If its 400 vs 300 for the access I see that as worth it.

Will 6.5" fit? Also are you suggesting the brightness can be tamed with the passive x-over or will I need to run them active so I can cut the gain on the tweeter? Where I would like to save a bit of cash is on processing and amps. Also want this to be a single amp system if possible so my preference is to get a good sized 4 channel and run the mids/highs passive.

Also what kind of sub(s) did you go with?

Thanks for the recommendation.
 

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Good questions. It pays off to research what you're getting into when replacing your factory sound system.

First suggestion...plan on spending DOUBLE whatever you first thought you'd put into a good sounding system. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Focal Access...look up their speaker lines on their website and shift upwards into their polyglass speakers. Their shallow mount 6.5" components fit into the factory stock locations with no cutting and no spacing rings. There is room for them to breath but it's a tight fit.

Cost for Focal VRS 165 components? $599-$649 USD. This was the biggest stumbling block for me. I'm cheap. Your paying Focal for their R & D into creating a shallow mount mid-bass speaker that fits into a narrow front door.

Their crossovers can be tamed down -3 or -6 db's when installed and you can simply tune down the mids and treble with your head unit controls. Many people complain about the brightness of Focal speakers but I like the clarity and detail.

4 channel amp? Not a bad way to go. Thousands of choices. I like the Arc Audio ks300.4 which drives my front components and I bridge my back 2 channels to push a JL 12w3v3 sub with 350 watts rms. The bass doesn't shake or pound but it will rock. There are a lot of sub choices and options out there that may sound better but this works for me.

Make sure you use sound deadening in your doors, trunk, and rear deck. It's hard to get bass into your cabin so you may want to remove your rear speakers and maybe even vent your bass through your ski-pass? You can simply put one of your back seats down when driving without rear seat passengers.

I ended up spending 2 1/2 times what I had originally planned on and had to go through some steps/stages to finally get what I wanted. I'm already looking into a seperate mono-amp and considering another sub but that's the nature of this game.

Expensive? You bet. Enjoyment level? Priceless!

Enjoy the trip. You're just getting started.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks buddy. I'm going to try a few other dealers in the area who hopefully have some setup so I can actually demo them.

I'm running a pair of JL stealthboxes right now off of 200 watts bridged. I'm going to get A 4-ch that hopefully when bridged gets me in 300-400 wrms range. I like the JL IB setup but I'm thinking of eventually switching to a bigger sub with more impact. For now i will make due. They actually are good at getting bass where you need it even though they struggle with low low frequencies. I could also just swap the drivers for DLS or if my budget allows later, a pair of CMass and run them I IB, but I don't want to have to run more than 1 amp for simplicity and space considerations.

Im hearing good things about Arc but not common in Toronto, certainly not as common as JL or Alpine. May be hard to get something like that. I found a zapco dealer here and I may go that route instead, but I think I'll be stuck with relatively low power for my subs unless I run a separate amp later if and when I update the subs.
 

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What about the drop in e46 2 way components from audiosystem?? I have used them recently and they are a great set of drivers.
 

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The option on a budget would be some MB Quart Q's (QSC or QSD) used on ebay. These are built like a tank and sound great with a little EQ. You can usually find them for $125 - $250 used on ebay. The new MB Quart Q's are suppose to be nice too but I have not heard them and I believe they go for somewhere around $300 - $350. Another easy drop in would be the old Diamond Audio Hex 600 set which can also be found on ebay but lately I have not seen any cheap. The Focal Slim mounts are nice too but I think they compromise some output to get their shallow depth. If you want to get the most bang for your buck ebay rocks and I usually can use these until I'm ready to upgrade and still get most is not all of my money back.
 

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One of the things to keep in mind when you're buying your speakers too if you have an issue justifying cost; if you spend $250 on mediocre speakers now you may regret it and spend another $300+ on a second set...just do it right. I spent probably $1000 between several sets of speakers before I finally just bought the $600 ones I was putting off buying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks guys
Excellent suggestions! I'm going to try and check these out at local dealers if possible to get a sense of them if they are sold here.
Gotta decide once and for all. I totally agree about rethinking it later and spending dbl. I'm thinking like that about the stealthboxes. They sound great with some songs but just so weak I constantly think about how I could have done better with a cheap 12" sub. I'm torn between upgrading the drivers in the stealthbox or go with a new sub entirely. Even a properly tuned 8w7 or sundown will destroy what I have now. Components are first though I'll have to live with clean but light bass
 
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