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STEREO SYSTEM UPGRADE EXPERIENCE IN FF

Discussion in 'FF/GTC4Lusso/F12/812S' started by ka50b, May 8, 2019.

  1. ka50b

    ka50b Rookie

    Dec 28, 2018
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    zhiyuan ma
    I am a bit unhappy with my 2014 FF audio/entertainment system and decided to go for something better and could be enjoyed while driving. The head unit for 2014 and earlier FF was a Chrysler/jeep unit which is super outdated, it is a Harmon Kardon product that I believe first came out in 2009 or so. As we know the OEM head unit has no Bluetooth audio connection and the resolution is 480x248. Come on it is 9012 now and an Apple watch has 448×368 resolution. BTW also it only displays 256 colors or has that kind of feeling when we use Windows 95 in 256 color mode. So basically it is a piece of crap and I don't find a reason not to throw this thing out of our rides.

    My first thought on this upgrade is finding something has high resolution, with apple car play connection and integrated navigation system. I have looked at all the 2DIN unit and there are two kinds of units available on the market. First, the traditional unit from Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer. I compared their products find only Kenwood makes HD(1280X800) units, other brands still stick with 800x600 Display. I have considered the Alpine Halo 9 unit which has the 9-inch screen,looks not bad right?I tried it and played with it, the screen response is slow and the 800x600 screen doesn't give you that iPhone level exquisite look,feels like something cheap, so I passed that one. I finally go with the Kenwood Excelon DNX996XR unit, can't find anything better than this in the market. I prefer to have a navigation system insider in case my phone ran out of battery. There is a Garmin system inside and it just works, no magic here. This head unit retails about 1400$ and about 2200$ installed. The other alternative is the android unit, I did some quick study, those units are mostly made in China from some generic factory and it is pretty cheap. They don't have any better screen available compared to Kenwood, the best one I found has a 1024x768 screen. From some audio shop in China mentioned that if you want to have a HiFi system in your car, stay away with those android head units.
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    It took about the entire day to install this and I was trying to have steering wheel control to work with this unit, however, we tried the adapter used for previous Kenwood product and doesn't work. Kenwood said they are still working on it now, the adapter for Ferrari steering wheel control right now doesn't work with those new units. Anyway, for me, it is acceptable for losing the steering wheel control, I barely know it's even there.
    Now I can use wireless Apple car play on my FF and that is so easy for day to day navigation need. This unit supports 3 camera input and it cost about $950 to have the extra front and rear camera installed to the system.
    I didn't do it if someone interested to do it, I think that's a good option.
    [​IMG]
    The unit fits in the car well and looks normal. The screen is a little bit bigger than the OEM one, I believe 6.75 vs 6.5.

    After installing the unit, I found the sound quality of the audio system has been significantly improved. As people modify their audio system, the aftermarket unit especially the flagship model will be a much better audio source for the audio system. That makes sense in this car.

    Now I am thinking why not have a better sound system in this car that I can enjoy while driving and save some gas by not trying to drive crazy and enjoy the exhaust noise. ( BTW I have full FI exhaust system in this car and it sounds epic). I don't have previous aftermarket car sound system experience only the experience in HIFI home audio and HIFI earphone. I did a quick study, actually, the choice is not too much when you are considering a good HI END system in your car. Focal Utopia M Line is a good choice and Dynaudio Esotar 2 is another good way to go. Others may choose Morel Supremo system. I don't find many tradition home audio tycoons are making aftermarket car speaker, There is Brumster branded and tuned system as well as B&W and B&O, However, actually, there isn't any real High-End car speaker from those big names. When you see the unit from BENZ Brumster system and it just cheap generic speaker shelves and which has been highly possibly sourced from those Harmon Kardon 4' inch speaker that has been used on many cars. When you spec the HI-END 3D surrounding system. you 'll get more cheap speakers on your car and hidden under the fancy laser cut metal panel. The myth is car manufacturer found out they can fit cheap stuff under the fancy cover and spend some money to tune it well to suit for most the people, that is just one-time cost and they can reduce the cost of all component in the system to make money. There is some people compare those Brumster speakers in Benz forum, I have attached the picture, left HK, right Brumster. I mean Brumster and some other big name they are really making some High-End home audio system, The cheapest Brumster all in home audio system cost $40000, and the signature line cost well over $500000, it doesn't make sense to have any real Brumster speaker inside your $5000 so-called best High-End system in the car .so never expect some real stuff hidden inside the fancy cover of modern luxury cars audio system.

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    you can pick these up for 10 Dollar lol.
    The 3D surround concept is from AV world not HIFI world,
    If you spend $1000000 High-End system, there would not be any 3D surround, it just stereo. You don't need 23 or 26 speakers in your car, 7 is well enough for any Hi-End Car audio system. Those car company put some many speakers in cars just for marketing purpose and use some number to impress people who don't know how HIFI audio system works, plus every speaker is so weak and they need to fit so many inside. Also if you have those 16 channels OEM AMP, that means every channel get little power, because they used the low-quality speaker and it doesn't need much power.
    That is a Brumster signature line, real artwork and still stereo, no surrounding here.
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    Let us talk about the FF
    FF there is standard sound and the JBL sound upgrade. There is no difference in speaker quality, JBL is not the old JBL, just a brand by Harmon Kardon. You get 8 HK speakers in basic audio system with 640W AMP no subwoofer, you get 15 HK Speakers,1280W AMP with a Subwoofer in the trunk,
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    Here is the diagram for the JBL upgrade system. you get the 6.5 woofers,3.5 midrange speaker and tweeter and a subwoofer. Beware if you have that JBL system, you have a 3 ways crossover speakers and if you have the basic system, you have 2 way cross over speakers. This is very important when you purchase new speakers. in the basic system like in my car, there are 2 tweeter and 2 6.5 inches woofers in the front doors and 2 tweeters and 2 6.5 inches woofers in the side of rear seats. So that means you only need 2 sets of 2way component speakers needed to be replaced and if you want you can add a subwoofer in the trunk area where the JBL system subwoofer located at. if you have that upgraded system, it will be more expensive to do the new system upgrade. There are 3 midrange speakers on dash plus 1 tweeter,there are 2 tweeter and 2 6.5 inches woofers in the front doors and 2 tweeters and 2 6.5 inches woofers in the side of rear seats,2 midrange speakers in the roof. Also including that subwoofer box in the trunk, that makes the total 15 speakers.
    That means you might have needed multiple AMPs to do an active setup. for the active system, it is easy to understand, when you buy AMPS, it will say 4 channels or 5 channels, that means you will connect each speaker direct to each AMP channel and bypass the crossover box,5 channel amp the last channel is normally for the subwoofer,
    so for that 14 speakers, you 'll need some AMPs really to power them. Otherwise, you can run the passive setup, the component speaker you bought will come with a crossover box, so each crossover box connects 1 tweeter, 1 midrange speaker and 1 woofer. 4 channels will be able to power that 12 speakers and you can save some space and money. The sound quality of the active setup is better but more expensive to do so.

    Here is the example for 2way crossover system that you need for the basic system
    you can see you will get 2 crossover box, 2 tweeters, and 2 woofer

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    Here is the example for 3-way crossover system

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    besides the 2 tweeters and 2 woofers, you will get 2 more mid-range speaker makes a total of 6 speakers a set
    if you want to do an active setup, you can purchase the speaker separately and do not need to stick with the kit

    So now it is time to choose the speaker, I went with Focal Utopia Be 165 WRC 2way component speaker and have it active.so the 4 speakers that went to the front door will need 4 channels in AMP to power them.

    For recommendation, I would say if you want the best, consider active at first and just buy separate speakers and several AMPs, you don't need to stick with component speakers kit.
    Focal Utopia M is the way to go! it is the high-end system made by focal and you have speakers from focal Utopia M product line to fit in your FF
     
  2. ka50b

    ka50b Rookie

    Dec 28, 2018
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    zhiyuan ma
    So you are buying the speaker now, we are using focal utopia m line as example
    First Start with Tweeter
    For the basic system, you 'll need 2 pair of tweeters.
    For the JBL system, you will need 2 pair or if you want to replace the tweeter in mid of dash, you 'll need 1 more.
    Focal TBM
    Utopia M Series 1" Beryllium 'M'-profile inverted dome tweeters
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    They are like $1750 a pair. 2 pair will run you $3500, Real one is expensive though,

    Then midrange speaker,
    for the basic system, you don't need this, or you can if you want to have the sound coming from your dash just like JBL upgraded system.
    For JBL upgraded system. you will need 5 of mid-range speakers
    Focal 3.5WM
    Utopia M Series 3-1/2" midrange driver
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    This speaker cost $550 each, 5 will cost you $2750


    Now, it is the 6.5 woofer for mid and low-end sound
    Both basic and JBL system will need 4 of woofers
    Focal 6WM
    Utopia M Series 6-1/2" 4-ohm component woofers
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    This woofer cost $1600 each and you will need 4 of them. total will cost you $6400

    The last is the subwoofer
    both systems will need one if you want more you can get 2 subwoofers.

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    it costs $1250 each, you need one


    So now just for the speakers, we are looking at $13900 to purchase them for a complete JBL system upgrade. if you only want to replace the basic system. it will cost $11150
     
  3. ka50b

    ka50b Rookie

    Dec 28, 2018
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    zhiyuan ma
    For AMPs, I am not too familiar will all the AMPs on market, Mosconi is a good choice to go.
    to active power all the speakers you 'll need 2 AMPS for the basic system.
    a Mosconi 5/30 to power the 2 tweeters and 2 woofers on the front door and the subwoofer in the back $2000
    a Mosconi 4/10 to power the 2 tweeters and 2 woofers on side of the rear seats $1000
    So for the basic system, AMP will cost you $3000
    for JBL system you 'll need another 5 channels AMP to power your 5 mid-range speaker, that will be another $1000

    so until now parts along will be around 20k if you want everything to be the best.
    There is the cost of installation, sound deadening and custom subwoofer box and connect them all together with good cable.
    I think it will run 5k for the installation. so total will be about 25k

    Audio is expensive, never believe that pay 5k to a car company will give you something really good. no, they will just give you some more cheap crap speaker you already have and maybe a weaker subwoofer lol. They got make some profit on it so the real cost going to the system is pretty low especially they need to pay for those fancy laser cut speaker cover.

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  4. ka50b

    ka50b Rookie

    Dec 28, 2018
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    zhiyuan ma
    The FF doesn't have to much space to install the AMP and subwoofer, you will lose some trunk space for sure.
    this is mine and they raised the trunk floor in order to fit in the AMP, I still need to have a mesh cover for it.
    [​IMG]
    I don't know they made a red light around the subwoofer until I pick up the car. I will make it just normal white light.
    Inside that is a Utopia M subwoofer
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. ka50b

    ka50b Rookie

    Dec 28, 2018
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    The Focal 6WM is actually 1600 a pair
    so would save about 3200 on the system
     
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  6. vraa

    vraa Formula 3
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    Oct 31, 2003
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    Mr. A
    I LOVE THIS THREAD

    ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC INFORMATION
     
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  7. ka50b

    ka50b Rookie

    Dec 28, 2018
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    zhiyuan ma
    I have found the OEM system unit picture.
    There is one interesting stuff inside the OEM audio system. We have an EDPL speaker on B Pillar
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    which looks like that in our car
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    When we doing the new audio system, please remove or replace this unit. It will cause some bad tremble and the location of this unit is very close to our ear. so don't forget this guy.

    Those are the woofer units in our car, those speakers are from a JBL upgrades system, it is about the same as the basic speaker, Kevlar cone and small magnet, we can't expect anything good from here. the subwoofer is small but I believe it still better than those shallow mounted subwoofer in BMW and Benz.
    you can pick four speakers up for $300 lol.
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  8. cutlass

    cutlass Rookie

    Mar 22, 2009
    11
    What a great high end install . Aftermarket components are almost always superior quality to high end oem packages . Even the lower end Focal or Morel speakers at $200/300 a pair would sound much better than oem. It’s nice to see the highest end products used here.


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  9. spyderman

    spyderman Formula 3

    Nov 4, 2003
    1,459
    Toronto - Canada
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    Spyderman
    Great thread...I thought the art of upgrading your sound system in your car was long gone.
     
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  10. otakki

    otakki Formula 3

    Mar 24, 2016
    1,398
    Great write-up with pictures!

    If it wasn't for the intoxicating sound from this V12, I would also consider a stereo system upgrade. As a result, I haven't touched the audio system buttons for over a year.
     
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  11. Aarontaba

    Aarontaba Rookie

    Sep 28, 2017
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    Brian chen
    Any downside of the upgrade? Thank you for sharing.
     
  12. ka50b

    ka50b Rookie

    Dec 28, 2018
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    zhiyuan ma
    the only downside is the trunk floor has been raised and lost little bit storage space
     
  13. Aarontaba

    Aarontaba Rookie

    Sep 28, 2017
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    Brian chen
    do you lost any media function or system settings from the OEM system?
     
  14. ka50b

    ka50b Rookie

    Dec 28, 2018
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    Kenwood unit doesn't work with the steering wheel control button
    Otherwise, I don't think there is anything can be lost. The OEM unit basically has nothing to do with vehicle setting. also, I have 2 more USB port now.
     
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  15. Outrun

    Outrun Karting

    I’d love to change just the head unit in mine. Although my car is 2014, I just missed the newer car play unit. I have the headrest dvd screens for my kids and I know the system is Alpine.

    I wonder if anyone know if I can easily install a newer Alpine headunit and retain the factory functionality of the wheel buttons, headrest screens and interface to the sat Nav directions coming up on the tft screen by the Rev counter.

    Does anyone know if this can be done?

    The newer car play Ferrari unit is clarion so I’d lose the headrest screens and that’s a no go for me. Besides, it’s stupidly expensive for an average clarion unit.
     
  16. ka50b

    ka50b Rookie

    Dec 28, 2018
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    alpine will work with steering wheel control
    but i have no idea if it will work with the rest
     
  17. Bundy

    Bundy Formula 3

    May 18, 2011
    1,943
    Kentucky
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    Anir
    Amazing project. I used to do this in all my cars until I started buying Ferraris in 2011. Just might have to do this to our FF, which I hope to run to over 100,000 miles (at 22,000 now). Thank you for sharing your expertise and experience.
     
  18. Caeruleus11

    Caeruleus11 F1 Veteran
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    Jun 11, 2013
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    Wow! I am just finding this thread- absolutely fantastic install and such a detailed writeup, thank you very much for taking the time and effort to share with us. I'm glad you're enjoying it. Well done!! Bravo!!
     
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  19. ttforcefed

    ttforcefed F1 World Champ
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    Aug 22, 2002
    12,775
  20. ttforcefed

    ttforcefed F1 World Champ
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    Aug 22, 2002
    12,775
    do you find the kenwood is cumbersome and difficult to navigate? i have a kenwood flip double din in my 430 spider and its incredibly hard to move around and navigate. my pioneer 8500 is seamless and easy.

    a local shop used the pioneer in an FF and not only did steering wheel functionality remain they were able to add the front camera which the car did not have from the factory.
     
  21. Actualizer

    Actualizer Karting

    May 24, 2017
    108
    Qld. Australia
    Amazing expertise and hardwork ! Thanks

    I got my local amazing Ferrari Service team to get me an OEM AppleCarplay retrofit unit . Turned out to be a Clarion Unit.
    All parts and cables arrived from Italy after a couple of months.
    I am back to 2019 tech in my FF and it’s great. all steering functions work. Love the Navi updates and Siri voice control and text message read outs.
    The Clarion Unit comes with a 10 band equalizer so sound at least 30% better with stock speakers. I think I’ll update speakers now that you’ve inspired me with some thoughts.
    Here are some pics. I’m looking for a OEM Frame bracket for this.
     
  22. Actualizer

    Actualizer Karting

    May 24, 2017
    108
    Qld. Australia
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  23. Actualizer

    Actualizer Karting

    May 24, 2017
    108
    Qld. Australia
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  24. ANOpax

    ANOpax Formula Junior

    Jul 1, 2015
    295
    The Netherlands
    That looks like a vast improvement.

    I’m guessing that the equaliser will allow you to tune out the worst of the cabin responses. I had moderate success with the original HiFi unit in the car by using software based EQ in iOS.
     
  25. CrazyMD

    CrazyMD Formula Junior

    Mar 10, 2012
    391
    Southern California
    What’s the part number for that?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     

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