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I bought a 2002 Avalanche that 3 working speaker. The stock speakers sounded pretty good. They had what sounded like bass when listening club/pop music and were fairly well rounded. Not too tinty, not overly muddy in the bass frequencies. Now I will state that I don’t listen to my music very loud. Loud enough to hear over the engine and road noise.

With one front door speaker being dead, I wanted to replace it. I wanted something better than a 29.99 Boss speaker from Walmart. I called an Crutchfield advisor and asked for his input on a stock sounding speaker that had good bass. I understood that aftermarket speakers are more power hungry than stock and generally don’t sound as bass heavy. I was told what I was really hearing was distortion. He recommended Kicker 43CSC654 coaxial 6.5 speaker.

I installed them and thought they sounded almost as good as stock. They definitely sounded brighter because of the tweeter. The stock speakers in the rear sounded like they had deeper bass. So over the course of almost a year of driving the vehicle, I noticed I had a buzzing coming from a rear speaker and almost all of the bass was missing from the vehicle. I found the passenger rear speaker was buzzing and almost no sound from the driver side rear. I still had the Kickers working and there was bass, it was just being more of a punchy style bass as compared to a low note. When driving it felt like most of it was being drowned out by road noise.

I went around to local car audio shops to try out some of their speaker and found everyone carried almost the same things. Alpine, RF, Kenwood, and JL. I wasn’t too impressed with the offerings and went out of my area and found a dealer who had Focal. He had his demo board and I compared the Focal Auditor 6.5” against Alpine, Infinity, and a Sony. I am skeptical about demo boards since they will sound different on a wall at ear height vs in the door at ankle high. I liked the way the Focal auditors sounded. He also recommend to use FAST rings when installing these to get the most bass out of the speakers. So I took his advice and bought the FAST rings and Auditor speakers.

I took the Kickers out of the front and installed the Fast rings on the new Auditor speakers. I had one door with the Focal and one with the Kicker. I turned the radio to a rock station and my initial feelings were, “Wow!. These are so much brighter in the higher frequencies.” I kept listening and the Kickers sounded punchier at the bass frequency of the drums. Then came a long, low note and the Focal began to shine. Where the Kicker had a hard time playing that note, the Focal went low. I was impressed. I continued the installation process of moving the Kickers to the back and installing the Focals in the front. Both sets of speakers got FAST rings.

I turned the Avalanche on and continued listening to the rock channel. I faded the speakers back and forth, left and right to make sure they all worked. I normally had the stock head unit use the Jazz EQ to make the music sound better. I had to turn off the EQ. The Focals sound like they were already higher and deeper than the Kickers. With the EQ on they almost sound too tinty. I drove around with them and found that where the Kickers sounded like they had no mid bass before, now that is all I can hear from them. I had to fade them from 50/50 front rear to 75/25 front rear. It feels like their muddy mid bass was drowning out the clean, clear Focals. When turning up the volume the Auditors play clearly. The Kickers are sounding similar to a factory speaker; some high notes with lots of muddy mid bass.

I have never been a believer of once you have X brand you need to stick with X brand. I am starting to believe that there is truth in that. I will be buying another set Focal Auditor to replace the rear Kickers.
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