Praise for the little Focal 13ws Utopia subwoofer - Maserati Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-11-2019, 07:47 PM Thread Starter

InnerCircle
 
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Praise for the little Focal 13ws Utopia subwoofer

The 2006 GS Spyder recently had some hifi installed. An Alpine CDE-HD149BT receiver with Sirius. Audison speakers throughout except for the sub: https://www.audison.eu/ They fit, and are very high efficiency making the most of the receiver's 18wpc. They have very little bottom end for various reasons including design, mounting area, and electrical setup. They seem to want 80 to 100hz crossovers which is not uncommon for 6.5"or 5.25" drivers in auto applications.



The initial installation ran through installing a dedicated subwoofer amplifier, a JL Audio XD300 XD300/1v2 - Car Audio - Amplifiers - XD - JL Audio, mounted in the area formerly occupied by the CD changer. It was wired to the OEM subwoofer. The OEM subwoofer is a dual-voice-coil model, which explains the four wires leading to it. The reason it is dual voice coil is that it then uses two channels of the Auditorium OEM amplifier, for the equivalent of about 35 watts into that speaker, versus half that for all of the other speakers. Bass drivers need more power. The JL give the right amount of power for this application --- the Auditorium does not.


By installing the dedicated subwoofer amp, the Auditorium amp is relieved of two of its six or eight outputs (I am not sure if the tweeters are run on separate channels, they probably are not). In theory that should allow it to better serve the channels that remain in use.



Hoping that the factory subwoofer driver (speaker) would work well with all the other new parts, I left that alone. The two voice coils were paralleled and driven in parallel -- the amp is good down to 1 ohm loads.


Overall: Sound quality was fair. Clarity was fair. Imaging was good to very good, front-back and side-to-side. Bass was indistinct and not tuneful (pitches were not rendered). The "thump" quality of the bass (think kick drum) was slow to the beat and with overhang, indistinct. One might say tubby. It was not loud, and it certainly was not deep. I could hear nothing that sounded to me like sub-50hz information. I could not make it better adjusting the bottom two or three bands of the 9 band, built in parametric equalizer, nor with the crossover system including various roll-off points and rates.


The Focal subwoofer ALMOST fits the oem opening -- the opening needs to be shaved about 1/8" all around. The oem screw receivers ALMOST fit but don't force it -- new holes are needed and new screws. The Focal cover ring and grill are essential as the speaker has more cone travel than the oem driver and the oem grill will interfere with (hit) the driver as it works.


The sound with the Focal installed was revelatory. The entire sound picture -- all frequencies except perhaps for the top two octaves -- became focused, timely, articulate, clear. (The top two octaves were very good before and after. Better integrated into the entire sound picture, after.) The bass was very timely, excellent pace -- see the missives published by Linn and Naim lovers for more on that point. The bass is reasonably deep, perhaps to 40 or 45 hz, covering all of the frequencies of the electric or acoustic bass. I am hoping that with the reserve power available, and the capacity of the speaker for low distortion output and significant excursion, I may be able to equalize a bit better to go a little lower than 40hz.



It is not a thumper. It will disappoint drum and bass enthusiasts, probably reggae enthusiasts at least prior to the first splif. For jazz, most classical (forget the Organ Symphony), C&W, bluegrass, it is on the money and as good, clear and loud as one can wish for.



It write this to offer the opinion that tuneful, articulate, relatively deep bass capability makes all of the music sound better, as it has here for me. The Focal speaker can be bought for about $350 delivered. The amp is about the same price. The factory enclosure is up to the job (it does not rattle or otherwise ruin the bass output) though it has size limitations that will preclude 30hz bass and lower, maybe 40hz bass.


I am not aware of any other driver in production that would present an alternative to the Focal driver. There is a 5" subwoofer on ebay for a lot less that is also a lot less efficient. Someone may wish to try that and report.
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-12-2019, 03:32 AM
 
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There's a few alternative options in the 4 1/2", 5" and 5 1/4" range at parts-express.com. I build custom speakers and they are a great source for just about any size or type of drivers you could imagine. With that said the focal is an amazing little driver and certainly one of the best if not the best option in that size. There are less expensive options there that will have similar performance if you go by the specs.

I have a million projects going on right now but building a sub for the Maserati is on my list of things to do. I upgraded all the speakers, added a 4ch amp and a 7" Android based headunit last winter and I love it but I know how much better it will be with even a small sub. I also have a Spyder and I'll be building a custom box that goes in the area where the top is stored.

- Tom

Check out my DIY YouTube Channel @ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbq..._as=subscriber
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-12-2019, 11:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tcrote5516 View Post
added a 4ch amp and a 7" Android based headunit last winter
What model HU did you end up getting, and have you noticed any "bugs" I was considering between the andoid units and a Sony XAV-AX100. I would prefer the android route, but have concerns about the potential bugs (delays in response, slow boot time, etc)
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-12-2019, 04:41 PM Thread Starter

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ebay 5.25" subwoofer link

Here is the ebay item mentioned in the original posting as a possible alternative. Note it is quite deep, I would measure before ordering. It is also VERY inefficient, and won't take a great deal of power. Based on the efficiency difference alone, I would guess the Focal sub would sound more lively and engaged, and would have more dynamic range. But this is much cheaper: https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-5-25-Su...-/160909374997


here is another: https://www.ebay.com/itm/150970448043
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-13-2019, 06:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Sanmiam View Post
What model HU did you end up getting, and have you noticed any "bugs" I was considering between the andoid units and a Sony XAV-AX100. I would prefer the android route, but have concerns about the potential bugs (delays in response, slow boot time, etc)
I wen't with an off brand (but it's very popular) ATOTO which is not typical of me but the reviews were great. After owning it for a year I'm very pleased. It's lightning fast, boots up in literally 2 seconds!!!! Response to touch, multi touch, GPS are all flawless, reliable and fast. I've never had to restart or reset it, never freezes or anything.

Here's a video of what I did to make the head unit fit:

Here's a vid of the amp and the install:

- Tom

Check out my DIY YouTube Channel @ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbq..._as=subscriber
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-14-2019, 03:56 PM
 
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That was precisely what I was planning on doing (and coincidentally enough, the same unit I was looking at).

With the ATOTO unit, is there a menu option to permanently turn off the internal amp? As I will be running external power I have no need for it, and being able to disable it would save me the time of having to relocate the heat sink as you pictured.

The video is greatly apprecaited!
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-16-2019, 12:40 AM
 
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There's no way to disable the amps unfortunately. I'm not using the onboard amps either but I kept part of the heatsink anyway just to be safe in the event it was also being used to cool the processor.

- Tom

Check out my DIY YouTube Channel @ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbq..._as=subscriber
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