Discussion in 'Linea 1.3 MJD' started by dr_shiva29, Jan 7, 2011.
I ordered it online. It was $3.8 +$5 for postage (total INR 411.49).
Great! The wait begins now... Enjoy
ICE UPGRADE BY A NEWBIE :confused
STAGE 1 (INTRODUCTION)
I had read a lot about the infamous audio system in FIAT GP & Linea and knew beforehand what I should expect once the Silver Line landed in my stable. The first impression after the car came home was "Hmm...Not bad as claimed to be" and felt relieved that I will not be spending any money for the upgrade. Met a close friend one day, who has in depth knowledge in cars and music and he too confirmed that the music system was bad, but not too bad. I felt relieved and promised to spend the money constructively on something else.
STAGE 2 (TWIST IN THE TALE)
I go on a 5 hour trip to Salem and load the USB with songs from all genres. Sister was excited too as she dumped all her stupid songs for her entertainment. The drive was enthralling but for the first time felt the music was just FLAT! There was no emotion, no power, no ups and downs, no feel to the songs. It was just plain sound. And sound differs from music. A bud erupts in my mind to upgrade the ICE.
STAGE 3 (NAIL ON THE COFFIN)
Went on a trip to Pondy and my co-passenger asks me to shut the music system and continued to listen to his iPod. Insulted and dejected, decided to check out the ICE Upgrade thread on TFI.
STAGE 4 (LOGISTICS)
Dedicated a budget of 10k. Finalized to upgrade the front to components and rear doors with co-axials. Amplifier and Subwoofers were for maniacs who thought loud is the way of life. FOR ME, CLARITY IN MUSIC WAS SUPREME. Felt proud of being not a maniac but the concept (or rather misconcept) was changed while discussing ICE upgrade with one of my friend. He explained in simple terms that music is a combination of high, medium and low frequency signals. Achieving clarity means, to be able to listen all 3 frequencies which constitute the complete music. So, for high, I should get a tweeter and woofer for the mids (will be taken care by the components) and for the low, the compos are fine but subwoofer will be best. So, a sub woofer was not only for thumpness but also for clarity!!! Again, if the signals are not projected in the best possible way, the music will still sound up to its potential. So thats how an amplifier was thrown in to the equation. Another piece of advice which I read over the internet was that as soon as we hear some bad music in the car, we always blame the speakers but that is not the case. The culprit is the amplifier in the HU and most of the times, the OE HUs compromise on the built-in amps as they are bidding for the lowest price!! Which means for cost cutting, most sound companies providing the OE music system, playy with the amps. This further strengthened my desire to go for the amplifier for my car.
STAGE 5 (THE SET-UP)
Increased the budget to 25k. Have I gone crazy?? But after reading may posts on TFI, one thing I understood and that was that if you want the best, be ready to spend and if money is a constraint, be happy with what you get. Little did I know how much I will end up spending!!!! Decided on the set-up as Front Compos, Rear Coaxials, 4-channel Amp and a 8 or 10" sub.
STAGE 6 (THE HITMAN)
The search for the right installer began and would have visited many over 15 days. Jeewajee was outright rejected and so was Radiowarehouse. Carz Spa was good but have noticed that he does not take responsibility if he goofs up anything with your car. Decided to skip them as well since electronics have a higher tendency to develop issues. Called up Technokrat, but they have an air about themselves which I was not confortable with. They just refused to listen to my requirements/taste in music and put forth 2 packages each worth more than 80k, which also meant letting go of the OE HU. Thats when @Teky recommended me Power Zone. Did some search on this guy (Saravana Prabhu, installer and proprietor, Power Zone) and must say I am still to come across one negative post about him. He was applauded for his meticulous work, neat install, customer satisfaction, and straight to the point talk. Called up this guy and he was very friendly to start with. Fixed up a time to meet-and-discuss and after difficult negotiations to reach his place (read saving my car from the crazy two-wheelers in lanky narrow lanes). He understood my taste in music, my requirement and my budget. He offered me 3 options, the first to suit the budget, the second to suit my musical need and the third to push his need. The third was turned down. The difference in the 1st and 2nd option turned out to be 100%!!!! That is, 25k now became 50k. He recommended:
Focal Solid 4 Amplifier
Focal 165 VB Polyglass Components
Focal 165 CA1 Coaxials (Access Series)
Focal 27 V1 11" Polyglass Subwoofer
Wiring (Copper for better conduction)
Irrespective of the expensive recommendation, I had decided to get my upgrade done by Saravana. The reason being for the installation to be perfect, three aspects should be considered:
1. Technical knowledge
2. Music knowldge (not to be a trained classical singer but to be able to appreciate music)
3. Install knowlegde
In most ICE shops, the 1st point will be taken care by the owner but point 2 and 3 by another person (mostly some underpaid installer). Ask this second person and he will have his own view about point 1. So, there is lack of amalgamation of all the 3 knowledge parts. With Saravana, I understood that he was the one selecting the products based on the customers taste, he has very good understanding of music (was able to dissect a song and pull out the notes) and his installation is top notch. This gave me so much confidence that I looked no further for another installer.
STAGE 7 (THE RESEARCH)
By now, I really didn't want to spend so much on just a music system upgrade in my car. Started looking for other options but my good or bad luck, I got to hear the polyglass very early in the research period. This helped me compare the Focals with anything else that came my way. Tried Kickers, JBLs, Sony, Morel, Infinity Ref, Auditors and Kenwood. Each was good in some aspect and bad in some but lacked the clarity that Focals gave. Infinity Ref came closest and might have overtaken the Focals in some aspects but changing to Infinity will means changing the whole combination. Again Infinity Ref amps require a hi/low convertor which I did not with Focals and were 5k expensive than the Solid 4 too. Nah!!! The fog of confusion just thickened further when the answer to the whole puzzle was solved during my browsing session. One car buff called Kevin in the US, mentioned that (verbatim) "Focal’s Polyglass Speaker cone fully exploits the remarkable properties of glass by covering the entire cellulose pulp paper cone with micro glass spheres. This greatly increases the cone’s rigidity without adding significant weight, which allows the speaker to respond to small and large inputs with speed, providing sensitivity, while retaining the stiffness to provide a strong, uniform sound." This guy went on to change his Bose to Focals in the car!!! I had made the decision.
STAGE 8 (THE KILL)
Installation started at 12.00 noon, 2 hours later than the scheduled time (blame it on the traffic and importantly my laziness) and got over at 5.30 pm. @Teky was present during the process and provided his valuable inputs which increased my knowledge too. Also present was another friend of mine who has no knowledge in music or cars but I had invited him to get his point of view from a lay man's perspective. Installation was done with lot of care, and my car did not lose its shine with even a millimeters scratch. No wire/screw residues were left in the car. Went for custom made sub enclosure as boot space was very dear to me. 10/10 for the installation. Cost me Rs. 50,500/-.
STAGE 9 (THE RESULT)
Saravana and I had already agreed that music should be clear and primarily for the front seat occupants and not too harsh on the rear seats as thats where my parents relaxed while travelling. The set-up was done by him in such a way that the music from the compos and the sub merged at a place a bit closer to the front seats and the rear seats will have an auditorium effect. Perfect! And this was validated by me when I listened to the music from the fronts and well as the rears. The sub did its task amazingly and merged with the music rather than standing out. In fact, there were couple of songs in which certain notes I had not noticed till that day. I am a trained musician (used to be a part of a professional music band in college days) so have a good understanding of music and knew what I should be looking for. Tamil, English or Hindi, music is music. The strums were perfect, the beats pleasant and the voice crisp. My friend also appreciated the flow of music which sealed the satisfaction. The doors didn't rattle at 14/15 volume level but that is something which I will rarely try, as I prefer music at the right volume to be appreciated enough. Was carried away couple of times and asked for the bass to be increased and man, the performance was flawless and at the same time punching. Mind you, it was not tight which again was something I never wanted. The overall effect cannot be equalled to a hatch-back equipped with an amp and a sub but then sedans have their pros and cons due to their size (this is something you have to accept if moving from a hatch to a sedan). Returned home a happy man, driving at snails pace
STAGE 10 (APPRECIATION)
Took my car to another friend's place who had worked in one of the top 10 acoustic firms in the US. He brought a CD with him in which he had some numbers (they were not songs, neither instrumentals) which were used for testing the speakers, in his erstwhile company. As soon as he put the bass number, my whole body felt a current pass through and the steering wheel just didn't stop rattling. It was not loud, not like a pulse but a continuous flow of low (or maybe ultra low) frequency signal, like a hum. I felt some rattle in the left door and thought of correcting it. My friend said he liked the set-up and to my relief, he confirmed that there was no rattle but the music was programmed like that. I asked him for a copy of the CD but he smilingly refused. Darn!!! We then played few songs and he explained me where the Focals performed well and where there was some room for improvement. But overall, he stated that the system was good and served its purpose effortlessly.
Now, the Silver Line is rocking and keeping me so entertained that I started wishing had my workplace been a bit father, I would have spent more time in the Car!!!
Good luck with all you ICE upgraders.
Great writeup Dr. Shiva accompanied by good pictures as well.
I love ur setup and to be perfectly honest, i dnt think the cost is at a higher side. The quality you have for the Money uve spent is perfectly worth it. Njoy the Nirvana.
Great Work done Sir. ::T
P.S Just temme where the hell did you get that boot mat. Ive been trying for long without ny success !!!!!
Congrats, thats awesome
It must be a pleasure to ear. And yes ICE bug makes one insane. you almost invested half the cost of nano for pleasure of ears in a car
But as one says its investment and expense, so keep enjoying the returns of your investments.
What did you use as boot mat?
Thanks Ansal and Viny for your comments.
True Ansal. Honestly, money was not a constraint but spending 50k on a car system was new. But am enjoying every note of the music now.
These are Cosmo Boot Mats, made specifically for Linea. Bought them for Rs. 250/- or Rs. 450/- (don’t remember well, but can check) in Chennai. If interested, I can ask the dealer if he can courier them to you.
I think that a worth while and a must buy for the given price
Can you share the dealers contact number.
Sir Yes Sir. Please do the honours.
The "SILVER LINE" in my life!
Great to hear that you're enjoying the music Shiva. We will have to catch up again and have a proper audition. Mine is getting done tomorrow, will update the ICE thread once the components are finalised.
A budget starting at 10K and ending at 50K - We're crazy about music rite?
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Sure teky, we will meet again. In fact I am looking forward to your ICE upgrade and was thinking to bunk work tomorrow to check out the installation(unfortunately cannot now ). And thanks for all the help extended. Much appreciated!
And crazy about our cars too!!
Separate names with a comma.