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  1. #1

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    Default Polk vs JL Audio vs Focal?

    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!!

  2. #2

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    where r mm components $200??

  3. #3

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    mm components up front bi-amped w/ cadence ia4. dbs in rear. $500 done

  4. #4

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    mm @ Sonic Electronix

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarge_in View Post
    mm @ Sonic Electronix
    Their prices are decent, but I don't believe their authorized dealers. So hope you don't have problems. I bought a Hifonics amp from them a few years ago and the only warranty was through them. Luckily I never needed it, but something to be cautious of.

    Polk will probably be your best budget speaker, most bang for your buck. I haven't heard any of the speakers your interested in but from my experience with JL, they do sound rather good, but wouldn't buy them due to every salesman jamming them down my throat over every other speaker I asked about. Plus they're a bit pricey.
    1993 Ford Ranger super cab:
    Pioneer Premier DEH-P880PRS
    MB Quart QSD216
    in need of amps and subs

    Home:
    52" Sharp Aquos
    PolkAudio Monitor 10's
    Harmon Kardon HK3375
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    Owner and co-designer of www.basicholdem.com

  6. #6

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    Yes I realize they are not authorized. But I found one local car audio shop that can come quite close to those prices, so I will be going with them. The only issue with that is, they are not Polk dealers. So I can get JL or Focal from the dealer at these low prices, but for Polk I either get them from Soic or pay much higher to get from Fry's or Crutchfield.

    Which is why I was looking to see if JL or Focal are close or one is better than the other.

    Interestingly, my experience has been the opposite with 2 dealers I spoke to. I went in both places thinking about JL, but both recommended to get Focal, which got me questioning like u were questioning JL!

    Would still like to hear from someone who has listened to one or more of these (or other suggestions in this range)!

  7. #7

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    focaL over jl. polk overall even from crutchfield

  8. #8

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    I have compared my polk momo comps against the focals. I prefered the momos overall. The focal however has a smooth tweeter.

    The mm's are the newer version of the momos and supposed to be slightly better.

    The rest of the setup depends on what you want. Bi-amping is great if ure focused on sq and want to tune each speaker independently. If you just want to listen to some music and hear nice sound, then the mm's up front with maybe the mm691 at the back amped off a good 4-ch amp would do.

  9. #9

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    Thanks all! I also went to a local store that had JL and Focal, 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.

    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..

    Arun - which Focals did you compare the momo's to? Is the MM even brighter than Focal? That would make them almost unbearable to me! Though I thought Polks are smoother coz of the silk tweeters..

    Look forward to any more comments / suggestions!

  10. #10

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    i was in the same boat u were about a month ago also,i was lookin at the same speakers u are.i wanted jl but couldnt hear them anywhere either plus i have a jl 500/5 sitting in my closet from a previous system so i wanted to stay jl but my problem came in when i looked at subs i have a nissan titan and wanted to keep my leg room in back so i looked at their tw5 sub but it sounded like crap compared to the much cheaper punch shallow mount so i decided not to go jl any way back to ur situation.i heard the focals aswell and they sound good as for the polk i wasnt too impressed they sounded good but focal was better as for jl i never got a listen.if u live around houston try car toys or mobile one,mobile one would prolly be ur best bet they carry alot of stuff i usually go there to pick out new decks.i on the other hand went with alpine cuz i worked a deal with my bro for some he bought and nvr used for a HTIB i replaced.u might wanna take as look at boston pro 60's too they were another choice i had

  11. #11

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    Arun - which Focals did you compare the momo's to? Is the MM even brighter than Focal? That would make them almost unbearable to me! Though I thought Polks are smoother coz of the silk tweeters..
    Most components come with tweeter level on the xover. Eg the momo crossover has three settings 0 / -3 / -6. I am bi-amping my momos and the tweeter setting is at -6. Most outlets where you audition the speakers would have this at the factory level which is 0. At this level sure, it would be very bright. You need to ask the sales person to turn this down when you audition. I strongly suggest that you listen to the focals again with the tweeter attenuated. Also generally metalic tweeters (aluminium / titanium etc) will always be brighter than slik dome tweets. I prefer silk domes, in general.

    I compared the momo's to the focal polyglass series 165 v1 after setting the tweeter level to min. IMO, the tweeter on the focals are very good. Smooth and airy. A bit laid back if anything. I really liked them and they scored over the momo tweets. The focal tweets are a aluminium/magnesium, but they must have done something right cause they dont sound shrill like normal metal tweets.

    However the momo's beat the focals hands down in the mid bass driver. The focals play down till 60hz the momos go down till 40. Both figures as per the company spec sheets. This means that you would get more bass punch out of the momo's / mm's (you do) and you can set your HPF for the mids lower on the polks. I have my mid HPF set at 63hz. On the focals I would have to HPF at 80hz. Also keep in mind that 80% of the sound you hear will come from the mid driver.

    I would suggest that you listen to the focals again with the tweet level down. Check the polk website for a dealer / retailer near you and hear the MM's, with the tweets at -3. You dont have to buy from the auth dealer / retailer, just audition.

    Good Luck. Would like to hear your opinion once you have done this audition.

  12. #12

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    Yes I did have the Focal tweets turned down to minimum, and as I mentioned I found them still slightly brighter than my ideal. But this was for the 165KF...the V1 was TOO bright even with it turned down all the way (the HU was putting out flat).

    The closest Polk dealer I could find (Fry's) had the DB6501 and MM6501 on display. The DB sounded pretty good, but surprisingly I found the MM6501 there to be horrible - worse than some other $79 speakers there. I am sure it was an installation problem - I could see the tweeter grilles crumpled and perhaps pressed against the dome, and who knows what with the woofer (I wonder how they can sell those if they sound like that for a $320 pair!). They also did not have xover on display so I couldn't really play with that. I am sure it will sound great if it is connected properly, I just don't have a place to test it close by.

    Just coz of that, I may end up leaning to Focals if I can get the KF (or newer KR) in the $300 range from a dealer. If not I will probably go with the MM's from crutchfield becoz then the price differential would not be worth it (for me). And then if I end up not liking them, I know crutchfield has a good return policy.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by cadenceclipse View Post
    focaL over jl. polk overall even from crutchfield


    So you listened to all these sets?
    Alpine: CDA-7949
    Alpine: PXA-H600
    Alpine: CHA-S624, KCA-420i, KCA-410C
    Rainbow: CS 265 Profi Phase Plug / SL 165
    ARC Audio: 4150-XXK / 1500v1-XXK
    JL Audio: 10W6v2 (x2)
    KnuKonceptz
    Second Skin

  14. #14

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    Sarge, I think your doing the right thing by looking for shops to let your ears do the shopping. I wanted to let you know too that even silk tweeters can be a bit bright as well. I had some db's in the rear for a while & I found them a bit bright.
    Alpine: CDA-7949
    Alpine: PXA-H600
    Alpine: CHA-S624, KCA-420i, KCA-410C
    Rainbow: CS 265 Profi Phase Plug / SL 165
    ARC Audio: 4150-XXK / 1500v1-XXK
    JL Audio: 10W6v2 (x2)
    KnuKonceptz
    Second Skin

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarge_in View Post
    mm @ Sonic Electronix
    FYI, you can buy these through their store on ebay and use live.com cash back. Just got them at 14% off whatever price they had them listed for.
    Currently listening to innovation...

    2001 Nissan Maxima - For Sale
    Eclipse CD5030, Eclipse HDR109 HD Receiver, Eclipse PA5422, Eclipse PA5532, Polk SR 6500 (Front), Polk DB6510 (Rear), Image Dymanics IDQ10, active x-over setup

    2005 Toyota MR2 - SOLD
    Eclipse CD5030, Eclipse HDR109 HD Receiver, Blaupunkt THA 555, Polk SR6500

  16. #16

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    You know you can find all kinds of the last generation momo's on ebay and on the net for VERY good prices. I have my car maxed out with these with some CRAP amplifiers and they still sound great.
    HOME AUDIO:
    Electronics:
    HK 354
    Front Power: CARVER TFM-35
    Center Power: Audiosource Amp One
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    Center: CSi5
    Fronts: rti10s
    Rears: monitor 50s
    psw 125 + psw 505 = BOOM

    CAR AUDIO
    Infinity 6032CF's all around

  17. #17

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I went with the new Focal 165KR, and they sound AWESOME and CLEAR! Harshness is not a problem for me so far - I have the tweeters set at -3 dB for now, they can go down to -6 dB if required. In fact, I am thinking of taking them up to 0 dB and see how that goes. I got a pretty decent deal on the Focals from an authorized dealer, and decided to go for these.

    For the rears, I am getting the Polk MM651, so I guess it is a good middle ground havign Focals in front and Polks in the rear :). Hopefully the strong mid-bass of these will help while I am without a sub at least to some extent. Still need to get these installed, but enjoying the Focals for now. :)

    Cheers!

  18. #18

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    Congrats, am sure you will enjoy. Have you got your amp bought and hooked up?

    AWESOME and CLEAR
    will go to a new level once you amp the components.

  19. #19

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    Thanks! Yes I did get the amp hooked up - an Arc Audio KS300.4. The whole package is just great! And this is with stock radio...still researching on HU, trying to decide if I want a DVD unit or just CD. Can't wait to see what it sounds like after that

    Will eventually need to decide if I want a sub/amp as well.. Any good suggestions on these? Want to keep these basic, as I am not too heavily into bass (mostly listen to Indian music), so dont need earth-shaking bass :)

  20. #20

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    use arc bi-amped on focals, use rear speaker $$ on hu, 4get dvd, get quality, new eclipse cd5030. then quality sub like sr or eclipse;)
    Polk MM6501 kick panels, Eclipse cd7200mkll and SW9122 Bomb Box, Cadence A4, A7, CAP5, JL8W3V3

  21. #21

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    All good advice, if it was a sedan :). Being a minivan, need an ok (not great) rear speaker for people sitting in back, and a DVD for the kids. Nav would be nice too. Am thinking between the new Kenwood dnx7140 or 9140, or Alpine W505, or new Eclipse AVN726E or Pioneer F90BT. Which one do you think will have the best sq? Would also like the iPod mp3s to run through HU DAC's if possible as well as display album art. I know Alpine does it, but do any of the others? Which unit would you recommend from the above list?

  22. #22

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    Hey Sarge have you thought of Boston? I have the Pro60's (very expensive) but you could go with the SL's for $220 through woofersetc.com. They're a really good online car audio dealer authorized in just about everything. I bought an Alpine PDX-1.1000 off them almost 2 years ago and never had a problem with it yet!! Plus they have pretty damn good customer service also. Might wanna check 'em out see if they have anything you might want. They're prices are pretty lowered from Crutchfield.

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