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This build was two firsts for us...as some of you may know, we have done a TON of Scion FR-Ss, but oddly enough, not a single BR-Z...and as a subaru owner myself, i always kinda felt like something was missing...UNTIL NOW!! :D

the other first was our introduction to the new Focal FLAX sandwich speakers. Now, you may think, hey they are focal dealers, whats the big deal here? but those that know personally know that my own listening taste often does not gear towards the brighter more detailed top end typical of Focal drivers, and instead, i prefer smooth, laid back highs found on speakers such as DLS or Morel. This is the reason that you dont see Focal speakers gracing our build logs other than the super awesome and super priced Utopia Be sets :)

This new technology from Focal though, promises a more subdued top end paired with super midbass and overall sonic performance...the technology was interesting and you can read more about exactly how they build the speaker here:

Innovative Technology | Focal America

I am not really a tech and spec guy, so my biggest interest was finding out of these new drivers delivered on their promise sonically. Having done a bunch of sq builds in FR-Ss with other speakers, this car would give me a very accurate idea of how the FLAX 165FX compared against other speakers such as the Illusion Carbon C6, and the Morel Elate and Hybrid lines.

so...lets get started, here is the car in all its World Rally Blue glory, just the way a subby should be :)







the goals were the system was pretty simple, this is what we like to call our basic level 1 SQ build:

1. achieve a nice level of sound quality throughout

2. maintain stealthiness and oem appearance inside the vehicle

3. take up as little trunk space as possible

lets get started:

The customer is waiting on the new pioneer NEX headunits to come out, so for now it is running off the Subaru premium navigation headunit.

first up is fuse holder mounting , with a custom made metal L bracket by Joey :)







the only modification done to the interior for now is the additionl of the arc audio remote bass knob:



now, lets take a closer look at the Focal FLAX PS165FX. the build quality is SUPERB like all focal products, and the cone really does look like nothing else in the world. the tweeter is a magnesium/aluminum inverted dome and looks quite cool as well.













onto the build, the FLAX set went into the oem mounting location. first, new speaker wires were run into the doors, and the entire door sound proofed with blackhole Tile on the outter skin, and a combination of foam and cld damper from STP on the inner skin:





adapter baffles were made and coated with several layers of trunk bedliner:





the baffle was then bolted to the car using oem mounting points and then the FLAX midbass was installed:







the outter door panel also got treated with some CLD damper to prevent resonance:



the same procedure was then repeated on the passenger side:













onto the tweeter mounting, i trimmed a pair of illusion audio tweeter mounts to hold the FLAX tweeter cup, and painted them black so the silver would not peer out through the grille, and then mounted the FLAX tweeters to them:





these were then bolted back into the car via oem hardware:









next comes a series of wiring pics as the bundle travesl from the front of the car to the back, ziptied and secured every few inches:

















 

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as they entire the trunk, the driver side wires are divided so all the signal cables go up towards the rear deck, the the not yet used cables for the upcoming rear view camera (to be installed with the NEX headunit) went to a point further back; the passenger side meanwhile, had the spekaer and power cables go upward, and the subwoofer wire go to the back side of the trunk, also note the Mosconi 4to6DSP mounted in a custom made metal bracket in place of the oem amplifier:





the rear deck was also sound proofed with foam and cld:





time for the finished product. here is the view of the trunk. a single sealed fiberglass side enclosure of about .5 cubft is on the passenger side, covered in dyed oem matching trunk liner. An audiomobile Elite 2208 8" subwoofer resides behind a matching painted blue grille. Simple, space saving and has a lil extra touch to it :)













as for the amps, here is the normal view of the trunk standing behind it with the camera held at chest level, not muching to be seen :)



duck down further, and two arc audio xdi amps is visible, mounted inverted to a beefy metal rack that is bolted to the rear deck. a 805 on the left sends 2x200 to the tweeter and 1x400 to the sub, while a 804 on the right is bridged powering hte midbass with an additional 2x200 watts. all the wires are routed neatly and passes in and out of factory beams and channels so nothing is hanging down. I can tell you now, after quite a few cars, that wiring this was NOT fun :D















a few build pics.

this is the mold we already had for the FT86 passenger side trunk, joey made a copy and test fitted it int he car:





then he fabricated the mounting ring baffle, attached it to the back side of the enclosure, and pulled puppy love fleece over the shape and applied resin:









then he made the snap in front grille piece that will be painted later:





when the resin cured and reinforcement dried, joey sanded the enclosure:



then it was wrapped in trunk liner, dyed darker, wired up and blackhole STUFF put into the box:



then the AM 2208 was installed and wired up, the painted grille pressed in place, and its ready to go. it stays in the trunk via combination of press fit, velcro and the factory rubber cargo mat.







this is the cricket bat of an amp rack that joey made, the long bar on the right hand side attaches to the car and mounts the two distribution blocks, here it is during painting and with the amps bolted in place:









and finally, i leave you with two pics of the mosconi 4to6 wiring, before and after the factory foam pieces went back in :)





so thats it...our first BR-Z done! :) honestly though, for us it was virtually no different than working on a FR-S...

for the other parts of the system, the 2208 sub continues to impress...i really makes itself known that there is a true subwoofer in the car, it blends extremely well with the front stage and provides a great amount of impact and extension for its size.

as for the rest, here is a quick review of the Focal FLAX PS165FX:

1. build quality and ease of installation: superb! the appearance of the driver is one that oozes high quality...installation wise, i appreciate the mounting slots on the mdibas instead of the holes to give you a bit more margin for error, while the tweeter mounting system is very well thought out...overall excellent and befitting a speaker in this 6-700 dollar price range.

2. midbass: once the speaker loosened up after about an hour or pink noise, the midbass performance is very very good. i would not call it an output and extension beast such as a focal KRX or a Morel elate, but high passed at 80 hz, it extended down naturally and smoothly and the impact was very very good...on par with the illusion C6 i would say, it is also very effortless and i couldnt really drive it into distortion even wtih 200 watts on tap. i think it will provide a great midbass anchor for any system, two way or three way. when coupled with a subwoofer, playing madonna's holiday intro really gave my check a good thumping. Nils Lofgren's keith dont go also was very enjoyable with the natural resonance of the guitar.

3. midrange: very balanced and smooth without any major peaks and dips. that is ultimately, what i like to find in a spekaer...just it power it up without any eq on it and see how it sounds, and truth be told, its was very good and i didnt have to address too many things on the eq. nice resolution, things just in general sounded like how they were suppose to sound, not too shouty, or lispy.

4. highs: this, as mentioned, was my biggest concern...and i have to admit, they were spot on in saying these are a different type of sound. its NOT harsh at all, hell often, firing against the windshield can result in even more highs, but in this car, once i got the gain balance right, it was again, smooth and natural, no blaring female focals, no painful cymbals...just nice...but it still has all the details that focal is known for. i would say it doesnt sound too different than the carbon C6 and the seas lotus reference, tweeters that i personally like, and they also look similar on the RTA, prety flat with a slight rise at the upper frequences from 16khz on.

overall, i am VERY impressed by these speakers, and i think you will see us using more and more of them in the future. they are still overall hotter uptop than the morels, but not at all in a displeasing way...and since i am one of those people who is very sensitive to highs (call my listening taste boring and flat perhaps hahaha), that means a lot :)

cheers,

Bing
 

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Gorgeous and beautifully integrated!! Awesome work guys!
 

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Zomg! Are those old red chonies to make that sub enclosure?!

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Xparent Green Tapatalk 2
 

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Great writeup. I really dig that amp mounting style!

I might be looking at Flax or Illusion Carbon 3-ways later in the year, but one of my hesitations was that they may be too hot, because I also prefer a smooth, laid back top end signature, so thanks for putting some of that to rest.
 

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Very cool. So have you and JOey gotten to the point where you can do an FR-S/BRZ build in your sleep yet?

Thanks for providing your impressions/review on the flax. They looked very nice at your last GTG and I have been wanting to hear some installed. Hoptologist, do the guys at Looney Tunez have any in yet?
 

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Doesnt mounting amps like that tend to make them run hotter? Have you had any problems mounting them inverted before? That is a great way to mount amps and save space so Im most curious.

Also curious as to how big a pain in the rear it was to run all those wires lying upside down in the trunk. :D
 

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Some amps actually do better mounted upside down. We have not had any issues with heat on any amps we have done inverted so far.

I think he fell asleep a few times doing the wiring. It's that relaxing..



Doesnt mounting amps like that tend to make them run hotter? Have you had any problems mounting them inverted before? That is a great way to mount amps and save space so Im most curious.

Also curious as to how big a pain in the rear it was to run all those wires lying upside down in the trunk. :D
 

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I love seeing more Subaru BRZs. :)

I'm surprised that the owner did not go with a three way setup for the front stage. The imaging is so much better with most of the frequencies above the dash. Were the rear speakers disconnected? Also did the owner keep the factory head unit?
 

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I love seeing more Subaru BRZs. :)

I'm surprised that the owner did not go with a three way setup for the front stage. The imaging is so much better with most of the frequencies above the dash. Were the rear speakers disconnected? Also did the owner keep the factory head unit?
i am still not sure what exactly the factory amp does, but i guess i need to find out...cause the rears are still playing and its very high level coming out of the back of the headunit :)

as for the 3 way thing i think budget is always a limiting factory, he came to us wanting us to install the OEM plus package :)
 

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i am still not sure what exactly the factory amp does, but i guess i need to find out...cause the rears are still playing and its very high level coming out of the back of the headunit :)

as for the 3 way thing i think budget is always a limiting factory, he came to us wanting us to install the OEM plus package :)
The factory amp powers the 6.5" door speakers and I think it relays power to the roof antenna. You should be able to bypass and remove it. The factory rears are powered off the headunit. If you disconnected the front 4" and tweeter then it may be giving full power to the rear speakers. The Fujiten factory head unit is junk.

I'd have pushed the Audison Prima three way set in place of the OEM Plus before the focal.
 
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