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2022 Outback Wilderness, Primative plates, Focal speakers
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This week we installed new FOCAL speakers in the 2022 Wilderness and it's a huge night/day difference over the factory (Toyota-sourced) speakers. Everyone has different likes in audio. For home stereo, I prefer a flat & accurate British sound (KEF and B+W speakers) and Focals get you more in that arena.

Highly recommended ...

Front Door - FOCAL ICU 690 speakers - super fast 6x9 woofer replacement, discreet tweeter mounted in (supplied) bullet enclosure on the door ledge in the small front quarter window area. This is the third car I've put Focal Integration series speakers in they are a joy. At 93db for the first watt they take the factory amp further and you get a 2-6 db jump over the factory units. The bass is tight and accurate and the soundstage (with tweeters on the door ledge) is a delight.

Rear Door - FOCAL ICU 165 speakers - these are more traditional 2-way coaxial design, as the busy back door panel design didn't leave any good options for mounting a discreet tweeter. In a conservative moment, we returned the Focal 130's and went with 165's. Fast install — drops right in the factory spot with a Metra adaptor ring (82-8148).

For now, I'm not going to do a subwoofer. My last two cars had subwoofers with Focal Integration speakers, but I'm happy with the way the 6x9 woofers sound with the factory amp (bass at -2).

When the internet cried about no H/K audio option in the Wilderness, I said to myself "this would be a great system to add Focals to".

EDITED TO ADD PHOTOS

Vehicle Speedometer Car Motor vehicle Automotive lighting

Vehicle Car Grey Automotive design Steering wheel
Car Vehicle Automotive design Automotive exterior Vehicle door
 

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2021 OB Touring, 2011 OB Premium
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I am curious as to the cost of the Focal speakers. Everything I've read about their home and studio products tells me that they are VERY expensive. But then again, if money is no object to desired sound. . .
 

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2022 Outback Wilderness, Primative plates, Focal speakers
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not crazy — I'm less than $650 in for speakers and installation.

That puts you in pricing neighborhood of any dealer-installed audio upgrade (think Volkwagon's Dynaudio kits, or Subaru's Fosgate kit) and a bit less than what a full factory upgrade would cost (Bose, Mark Levinson, JBL, Bang+Olufsen, etc).

This solution doesn't get you a subwoofer (you can add a free-standing Fosgate box for the rear cargo area for around $500 including install), but to my ears it doesn't need one ... and that's coming from a person that had an aftermarket subwoofer in my last 2 cars. I'm going to live with it for 6+ months before I think about a sub. Nice to know it's an easy add-on later.

Cost aside, it's the sound. No Harman product (Harman/Kardon, JBL, Infinity, Lexicon) is in league with Focal, except maybe the Mark Levinson systems Lexus uses.
 

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2021 OB Touring, 2011 OB Premium
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Not crazy — I'm less than $650 in for speakers and installation.

That puts you in pricing neighborhood of any dealer-installed audio upgrade (think Volkwagon's Dynaudio kits, or Subaru's Fosgate kit) and a bit less than what a full factory upgrade would cost (Bose, Mark Levinson, JBL, Bang+Olufsen, etc).
That's not as steep as I thought for Focal products. I'm pretty happy with my stock HK system (besides, my ears are shot and I'm about as deaf as a post), but I did tweak the EQ a bit.
 
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Cost aside, it's the sound. No Harman product (Harman/Kardon, JBL, Infinity, Lexicon) is in league with Focal, except maybe the Mark Levinson systems Lexus uses.
Unfortunately, since Samsung bought up Harman, the quality of the Mark Levinson system that's used has gone downhill from what a friend of mine who works as a Service Manager at a local Lexus dealer was telling me. He was very disappointed with the latest systems in their new gen LS, GX, and LX, flagship vehicles.

I would say the Bowers and Wilkins system in the Volvo xc90 and the B&O system that audi uses in the a8 are among the best I've ever heard in a car. Bose's panavision was pretty good in the Cadillac that had it, but by no means would I call Bose HiFi.

Funny you said you wanted a British sound, but go with Focal, a French brand. (not knocking your decision, Focal makes fantastic equipment and is one of the few to continue to do so without a parent company, like Harman/Samsung, overseeing their development). Back when I had a mini cooper S, I put Focals in it, was a phenomenal setup! I sorta miss that car.
 

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looking forward to the photos. Im thinking of running a 3 way setup of AudioFrogs using their 6x9 in the doors, 2.5s in the dash and tweeters in pods. I also just saw that Karma audio just released their 6x9 midbass. so I could look into those as well. I need to determine what I want to do for amps and DSP... I need some info on where to get the signals from the radio and if I need load resistors for the factory radio to make sure it doesnt freak out.
 

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2020 Onyx Autumn Green
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Interested in pics as well if you’ve got ’em. I’m still looking for upgrade options for my 2020 Onyx and this seems like a good solution. Drove to Tahoe recently and even the kids were complaining about the awful stock sound 😁

Regarding the ICU 690‘s, are you saying you got a separate tweeter for the dash wedge area - “discreet tweeter mounted in (supplied) bullet enclosure on the door ledge in the small front quarter window area”? Also, what drove the decision to switch from the 130’s to the 165’s in the rear - was it the lower profile of the 165’s?
 

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2022 Outback Wilderness, Primative plates, Focal speakers
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
We went with the ICU165's in the rear because there was no obvious place to put the separate tweeter on the door panel.. After pulling the panel and inspecting the rear configuration/supports the opinion got stronger. Crutchfield took the original speakers back without issue and the ICU165's (with coax tweeter) went in the factory spot the Metra adaptor (Crutchfield gives you for free).

I'm always against putting the tweeters low down (because you don't have ears in your ankles, lol) but it just had to do in this case. The ICU165's have a +3 db tweeter gain switch on the speaker and (after a good debate) decided to switch it on before mounting to the door. Adds a bit of 'air' to the backseat audio and helps compensate for pant legs the will be in the way of the dispersion.

We drove over Cameron Pass yesterday into Steamboat Springs and I'm further convinced this is a slam-dunk audio upgrade. I'm photographing a wedding today but will have a week of mountain adventures and will get a good inside glory pic so you can see the tweeters in context (everything else is invisible).

This is my first Subaru and I was really impressed at how well it did under full load with SpaceCase on top and Thule T2 on the hitch. We're going to have so many great adventures in this car!

Wheel Tire Cloud Car Vehicle
 

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2022 Outback Wilderness, Primative plates, Focal speakers
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here's the rip-roaring (lol) Toyota woofer that came out of the front door ...
Wheel Car Tire Vehicle Automotive tire
Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Automotive tire


Repeating, this is the same speaker that Toyota put in the rear deck of my 2015 Corolla. Could the magnet possibly be any smaller?
 

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21 Ascent Touring RIP 20 Limited XT
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Here's the rip-roaring (lol) Toyota woofer that came out of the front door ...
View attachment 521171 View attachment 521172

Repeating, this is the same speaker that Toyota put in the rear deck of my 2015 Corolla. Could the magnet possibly be any smaller?
Man, that’s pathetic. I really don’t understand why they don’t offer the HK (not that it’s amazing, but at least it’s serviceable for most people) system in the wilderness. I get the onyx since they are trying to push people into the limited and touring, but the wilderness is supposed to be the big boy in the lineup.
 

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Here's the rip-roaring (lol) Toyota woofer that came out of the front door ...
View attachment 521171 View attachment 521172

Repeating, this is the same speaker that Toyota put in the rear deck of my 2015 Corolla. Could the magnet possibly be any smaller?
The magnet "could" be neodymium, which is smaller, given the greater magnetic field it can generate for its size (but I doubt it).
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The only premium Subaru system I've heard is the old McIntosh systems they included on the LLBean Outbacks. While it was cute to have an iconic McIntosh faceplate in a car, the sound was nothing to get excited about. The majority of these premium-brand sound system upgrades are a joke any audiophile.
 

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'22 OB Limited XT Abyss Blue
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Unfortunately, since Samsung bought up Harman, the quality of the Mark Levinson system that's used has gone downhill from what a friend of mine who works as a Service Manager at a local Lexus dealer was telling me. He was very disappointed with the latest systems in their new gen LS, GX, and LX, flagship vehicles.

I would say the Bowers and Wilkins system in the Volvo xc90 and the B&O system that audi uses in the a8 are among the best I've ever heard in a car. Bose's panavision was pretty good in the Cadillac that had it, but by no means would I call Bose HiFi.

Funny you said you wanted a British sound, but go with Focal, a French brand. (not knocking your decision, Focal makes fantastic equipment and is one of the few to continue to do so without a parent company, like Harman/Samsung, overseeing their development). Back when I had a mini cooper S, I put Focals in it, was a phenomenal setup! I sorta miss that car.
Seeing that you brought up the Volvo's XC90's Bowers and Wilkens vs the Subaru's OB's Harmon Kardon systems, I happen to remember a YouTube car review that compared the two. And I agree with your assessment of the B&W system. A $4k system.......

Start listening at 26:45, hang in there for a few minutes of chatter between the comparisons of the Subaru and then the Volvo, but you'll soon be able to easily hear the difference:

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Correct, no amp added — that's the beauty of Focal's Integration series - SUPER efficient. I'm going to guess they're 5db louder than the factory speakers. If you remember your Audio 101 class, you have to double your amplification for every 3db. So to gain even 3db is like getting twice the amplifier size. Hey, now we're cooking with gas.
 
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