Review 1 of 3|
from I forget the name...
Year / Model Reviewed:
2004 5WS / 5-3/8" Sub woofer
-Clean and hard hitting
-Only choice for replacing an OEM sub woofer of this size
I have one of these sub woofers in my 1991 Toyota MR2. MR2's with the "premium sound" system came with a 5-1/4" sub from the factory located behind the drivers seat. I wanted to put some real bass in the car, but I wanted it to remain stock looking. I also did not want to add much, if any weight. I considerd the JL Audio 6W0, but the added size wasn't going to work for me being I wanted to use the stock MR2 speaker enclosure.
I installed the sub and ran it off of a SoundStream Rub-Angina amplifier. This is a very small amp which put out about 100x1 @ 4ohms if I remember correctly. The source unit was an 2003 model Alpine, the CDA-9811.
My initial thoughts were that it was very good. It is built of the highest quality materials. It looks the part, but more importantly the looks are simply form following function. The layer / composite used for the cone is particularly interesting. Everyone sees the top part which is that grey/specled, hard and smooth material. But on the underside is this semi-clear thin layer of what looks to be some kind of pressed foam. The cone experiences nearly no flex so this material is obviously another manufacturing approach to the "light yet rigid cone".
It could hit certain frequencies well, but others just made for the sound of air. This being because the stock MR2 box in ported. Although the Focal is meant to be in a ported box, I didn't built one to spec's. Rather, I just used the stock one. As stated, certain frequencies were about 1 part bass and 3 parts air whisping through the port and heard as a resonating sound. As long as it was better than the stock sub I was going to be happy.
On the frequencies that it could hit well, it hit very well. You know it is not a large sub just by the way it behaves. No one is going to mistake it for a 10"...over even a 8" for that matter. But it is very good if you only want to add some bass and not a ton.
***Ok, now note that everything said above was while I was using the Alpine CDA-9811. Well, I tweaked and tested with that unit, on and on, and I never felt that it really sounded that good. Initially I had just wanted a very good head unit, but I didn't want to break the bank. Step to the present and just a few days ago I switched up the Alpine for the brand new Kenwood Excelon KDC-X979...Excelon's highest offering. With this new unit in place the sub sounds VASTLY different. It hits almost all frequencies cleanly and much harder. It is pounding out lows now that I didn't think it was able to. In all honesty it sounds almost (not quite) like I added another 5WS into the system. It is that much cleaner, louder and more dynamic.
Using the new head unit I have a whole new attitude to the Focal 5WS. Now I can honestly say that it is not a good, but rather a great speaker. I have sat in my car the past few days tweaking things and am just completely in awe of the difference the head unit made and how great this speaker now sounds.
So in closing, the Focal 5WS is an excellent speaker overall. But as is with any system, the source of your signal as well as its processing are critical to the end result sounding right.
Similar Products Used:
-There is no other sub in this size range