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View Full Version : Polk vs JL Audio vs Focal?



sarge_in
03-17-2009, 04:53 PM
Hi All,

I am looking to upgrade the speakers in my Honda Odyssey, and looking to spend about $200 - $300 for the speakers. I have narrowed down my choice to Polk MM6501 ($199), JL Audio C5-650 ($289) and Focal 165V1 ($249). Unfortunately none of the pairs are available for listening in one location, so it is difficult to compare them. What do you all recommend between these (ignore the price differences, i just want the best sound in this range).

To me so far, Polk sound pretty good (I also have db651 in another car, and have liked those, though the mids seem to be lacking somewhat). JL sound pretty good too, a bit fuller voice that may help me get by without a sub for a while. Focals sound quite clear, and are the ones recommended by 2 different car audio dealers (none of them sell Polks).

And what do you recommend for the rears? I can move the stock fronts to the back, or get some new coaxials, perhaps same brand as the fronts, whatever they are?

And lastly, what amp do you recommend? I am not a very loud listener, but would like to get a clean sound. Perhaps some 4-channel something in the $200 range? Dealers have recommended MTX 7404 / Alpine / Kenwood (dont remember exact models). Any recommendations here?

Thanks!!

thevic24
03-17-2009, 04:56 PM
1: focals
2: jl's
3: polks

i would go with the focals

MBrock4u
03-17-2009, 05:04 PM
Get you a nice alpine amp, and go with the polk momo's. Those momo's are very nice with a really natural smooth sound.

07ramjam
03-17-2009, 07:54 PM
Out of those Id say the JL's.I had a chance to listen to the C-5s and they were very nice sounding.To my ears they had a very neutral sound.

I seee your in the OC.When youre ready to buy go to Mobilesoundworks.com.They have some great prices and pretty good customer service.They are in Santa Ana.

07ramjam
03-17-2009, 07:57 PM
One more thing.If you want to hear some of them go to Goldstar audio.They have a bunch of different brands(Focal,MB,Morel,Alpine).They also have some pretty good prices.They are in Irvine.

DidUHearThat?
03-17-2009, 07:58 PM
I vote for the Focals as well. I love old Polk home audio stuff, but the MOMO's never sounded good to me.

Go witht he focals, Morel or Boston Acoustics Pro's. The JL's and polks aren't in the same leauge as those.

MBrock4u
03-17-2009, 10:41 PM
Won't argue with you there on Boston's. Very nice. I run the Boston G-5 and just love the sound quality. Always a good speaker with Boston.

RowJoe
03-17-2009, 10:57 PM
I'm going to disagree and say...

1) Polks
2) Focal
1,000) JL

JL isn't that bad. Yes, I know they're overpriced, but it's not like you're getting complete garbage with JL.

azbass
03-17-2009, 10:59 PM
Id personally go with the JL's great speakers.

d-REW
03-17-2009, 11:44 PM
go with the focals but be sure to give them at a 100 watts each min and they will be set. o had some on lower power and they were ok. my v2's were the same as far as rear fill look into some focal access or something like that.

sarge_in
03-17-2009, 11:50 PM
Thanx for all the replies! Seems the votes are split between Polk and Focal :), and 1 for JL.

Yes I did go to Goldstar, and while they have a great selection, they did not have the JL C5-650 on display. Fortunately, Newport Auto Sound did, and once I heard them together the differences became quite clear. C5 did sound nice when I had not heard the Focal, esp the mids and some lower freqs making me think I could do without the sub for some time, but once I heard the Focal 165V1 (very clear n bright too) I knew I wanted something in between the two. This Focal was too bright for my taste, and I could imagine fatigue within 15-20 mins of listening at a good volume. Tried the MB Quart, Pioneer and Hertz too, out of these Hertz were a sure second - not as bright as the V1 and not as un-bright as JL. But the best of the pack happened to be the Focal 165KF. Though even this is slightly brighter than my ideal, it was a very good balance. But as expected, they are more expensive than the all the rest. So now I have to decide whether I am willing to spend that much. :crazy:

The last remaining, of course, is the Polks. None of these audio shops are Polk dealers, so couldn't listen to them. Fry's carries them, and while the DB6501 sounded excellent, it is difficult to compare across shops coz of several other variables. I know they have the silk tweeter, so the highs will not be as harsh - but I wish there was a shop which had both Focal and Polks. Will be going over to Fry's again sometime to listen to it again..

Look forward to any more comments / suggestions!

kizz
03-18-2009, 12:38 AM
I have jl xr 6.5's and i like them ok, i wish i would have gotten the c5's in stead tho. I happen to like jl audio and think they are clear speakers with good midbass. jl is my vote

cbrei1023
03-18-2009, 09:51 AM
1. Focal
2. JL
3. Polk

Ive heard the those Focals installed in a car and some JL ZRs installed in a car and the C5s in a demo room. Havent heard the polks. My vote would go on the Focals because I have heard them in a car and they sounded very nice. Good, accurate reproduction. An employee at tweeter had them in his dodge nitro and he let me run them through their paces. I listened to a few different types of music. Pink Floyd, Metallica, Mozart, and Breaking Benjamin. The midbass was very good and had a nice kick to it which I really like in mid-bass. I can say pretty much the same thing about the ZRs. Just they are 600 bucks I think and not on your list (very nice tweeter btw). If the C5s are anything like the ZRs they are great and would get my vote over the Focals but I havent heard them in a car.

sarge_in
03-23-2009, 01:53 PM
I am leaning towards the Focal 165KR. These new ones claim to have a better tweeter, so think I am gonna go with this.

Whats a good place to put the crossovers? Do people adjust them often, so better to install it somewhere behind the dash perhaps with easy access, or are they set-it-and-forget-it kinda deal (so I can put them in the doors)?

I may get the Polk db651 for rears (~$70)...Focal axials are almost double (~$140)

Also, whats a good amp to power these? (I posted a similar q in Amplifier section).

SQChevy
03-25-2009, 11:33 AM
Go with the Focals. I've enjoyed their whole line and they make a solid product.

livinloud89
03-28-2009, 12:03 AM
I would totally recommend the Focals....I personally have them in my car and they sound amazing. Definitely go to Gold Star Audio in Irvine....that where I had all my work done and Jay was very knowledge, prices were great, and PR did an flawless install.

Check out my set up.

http://www.caraudio.com/forum/showthread.php?t=384772

agrogasboy
03-28-2009, 01:27 AM
Not meaning to jump on this thread...

I've also been recommended to get focals by a local shop... but then i've also heard that focals are too "bright" and that it's difficult to listen to for extended periods of time... any truth to that?

gqjeff
03-28-2009, 01:57 AM
I am leaning towards the updated version of the K2P's myself.. They will be driven with a sundown 100.2.

Haunz
03-28-2009, 03:24 AM
The best thing you can do is consider the installation and choose the speaker based on it's paramaters and what will work best for your application..

DidUHearThat?
03-28-2009, 03:25 AM
Not meaning to jump on this thread...

I've also been recommended to get focals by a local shop... but then i've also heard that focals are too "bright" and that it's difficult to listen to for extended periods of time... any truth to that?


No.

sarge_in
03-28-2009, 10:08 PM
Got the Focal 165KR installed, and they sound AWESOME!! The tweeters are currently at -3dB (they can down to -6 if required) and they sound great to me. Very clear and not harsh at all - to me at least! I wound not hesitate to get these again!

Thanks for all the suggestions!!

Now to decide if this will suffice me or do I need a sub, perhaps later down the line :) Any suggestions as to what go well with the Focals?

Ferendon
03-28-2009, 10:15 PM
The rumor about Focals being too bright is very true... at +0dB.

Brian_smith06
03-28-2009, 10:19 PM
if you can get those jl c5 comps that cheap i would probably go with those. if not get the focals. but with all 3 choices you cant really go wrong.

i actually liked the jl c5 comps over the jl zr comps too if that helps?

but keep in mind sq to somebodies ear will vary from person to person, some like a shiny tweeter while others it will sound really harsh to. i personally dont like them bright

Brian_smith06
03-28-2009, 10:21 PM
nevermind. looks like im a little late

DidUHearThat?
03-28-2009, 10:32 PM
Most people don't understand how to use thier eq's or understand the loudness curve of the human ear. At high SPL levels you have to turn down the highs to compensate for our hearing curve.

Every time I've had somebody tell me thier tweeters are too bright/harsh I dialed thru thier eq settings and found they had the highs jacked up. I then have to explain to them, at low volumes you turn up the highs and at high volumes you have to turn down the highs.

Turning the highs down is easy. But you can never add in clarity that wasn't their to begin with.

gqjeff
03-28-2009, 10:40 PM
I too am a new K2P owner. I will let you know how I like then also. I should have my amp late this week but the car is getting some tranny repair right now. It will be a few weeks as I have more deadening to do. The dc level 4 10" will be here mid next week too...

DidUHearThat?
03-28-2009, 10:57 PM
The rumor about Focals being too bright is very true... at +0dB.

At what volume? Is there something preventing you adjusting the highs to -2 at high volume?

SQChevy
03-30-2009, 10:20 AM
Focal subs work well...I had some of the Access 15's and they did very well. They were paired with the Be line.

victor.atm
03-30-2009, 02:10 PM
if your looking for some good speakers i recomend db drive

sarge_in
04-06-2009, 05:25 PM
Thanks for this info - I am discovering this first-hand with the Focals. At 'normal' and little higher volumes, I keep my treble at +1 or +2 and they sound good. When I go loud, I find setting treble to 0 balances the highs without being harsh.


Most people don't understand how to use thier eq's or understand the loudness curve of the human ear. At high SPL levels you have to turn down the highs to compensate for our hearing curve.

Every time I've had somebody tell me thier tweeters are too bright/harsh I dialed thru thier eq settings and found they had the highs jacked up. I then have to explain to them, at low volumes you turn up the highs and at high volumes you have to turn down the highs.

Turning the highs down is easy. But you can never add in clarity that wasn't their to begin with.

bigaudiofanati2
04-06-2009, 05:28 PM
I have the polk speakers but the lower version of them and they are great. I am getting ready to upgrade to something better but would not go with focal or JL I would say polk mm series are great I have heard them before and they were amazing. I am going to go with image dynamic speakers next but the polks will suit you just fine.

sarge_in
04-06-2009, 05:36 PM
Thanks, but I already got the Focal 165KR and they sound AWESOME! I am sure MM would have been great too, but I just decided to splurge a bit as I am not the kind who upgrades often (or so I like to think ;) ).

I may be getting the ID sub though...read great things about those...

bigaudiofanati2
04-06-2009, 05:37 PM
Get A Audison Amp To Go With Them And It Will Be Pure Goose Bumps

Ferendon
04-06-2009, 05:47 PM
I have the C5s and the V1s right next to each other on my sound board. I think the V1s are better for rock/metal type stuff, but the C5s will do a it better if you're rolling without a sub.

sarge_in
04-06-2009, 05:51 PM
LOL I got the Arc Audio KS300.4, and it sure gives me goose bumps aplenty!

Did I mention I am getting the MM651 for rears. I know people recommend against rear fill aroun dhere, but being in a minivan I need some rear speakers, and got the MMs for a good price!

Am trying to decide whether to get a separate amp for the sub (whenever I put it in), or run everything off the single amp? Or perhaps the MMs for the HU?