Fluidic Verna ICE’d – Mosconi+Rainbow+ Gladen+Focal+Kenwood+Dampmat+AIV
It all started around the 2nd week of August 2015 when I felt the music system in my car definitely sucked and it needed an immediate upgrade with a budget of 20-25k Rs.
The plan was very simple, swap out the stock weak stuff’s such as speakers in the car with some good old stuff’s I had from my other car like a sub and an Amp and buy new speakers just for the front and connect it all to the stock head unit by way of Hi-Low converter. Simple right ? Well not quite, I actually wanted the car to sound a lot better than it actually was but after doing ton’s of research ( over many months )and with a lot of help from Navin, my way was not going to get me what I really wanted with my ICE build (which was good SQ with good Bass).
End result I sold all the old stuff’s and got everything completely new, changed even the head unit. There is no 2 ways about it, like Navin told me “your music system is only as good as the weakest link”. Eventually like all who get bit by the ICE bug, I over shot my budget pretty quickly too- but deep down I consoled myself by saying, hey in the end it may sound much better with the extra expense.
If you see my previous posts you’ll know I did most of my shopping online and some through Harmonixx because I don’t have any good dealers nearby to audition or do anything at all. I don’t know if it’s luck or if the courier service in our country has improved, but I was happy and surprised to see all my toy’s arriving safely. Also if you are on a tight budget please be patient and look for online deals, they are a way lot cheaper than what you buy from some dealers and they are authentic and carry invoice and warranty as well. Just make sure you confirm with the seller before purchase, as the prices are really yummy which most dealers can not match so obviously they say stuff’s like they don’t honor warranty etc. BS, because you can always return it if it’s broke( not literally ) under warranty.
So let’s get on with the pics shall we.
All the Goodies
The Mosconi’s stylish AS 100.4, 4 Channel amplifier – She’s so elegant, instantly fell in love the moment I saw her. She’s not all beauty too you know, she’s won the Best amplifier EISA award in 2011.
Uncovered ( or undressed ) the 100.4 AS
100.4 AS rear side
The fan is housed here, which is super silent BTW
The cooling fins on the left bottom
Focal 165 AS tweeters and crossovers
The Focal 165 AS speakers Front.
The Focal 165 AS speakers Back.
I thought the build quality of the 165 AS was good. Of course it only lasted till I received my 165 FX which completely blew the AS out of the water. BTW the 165 FX also won the best speaker EISA award in 2014.
The stunning 165 FX mid bass build quality.
165 FX rear, awesome built.
The Rainbow Beat 1+ mono channel amplifier
The Rainbow Beat 1+ mono channel amplifier
Rainbow Beat 1+ Input side
The mighty Gladen RS 12 Subwoofer
See the huge magnet and awesome build quality
First the Doors were completely stripped. The door pads, plastic cover and speakers removed.
The Dampmat Exceed 9’s were cut into shape to be stuck on the inner and outer side of the doors.
The Dampmats stuck on the inner side of the doors.
Then the Dampmat’s were stuck on the outerside of the doors., just enough to cover the holes.
The rear seats removed completely
The stock head unit removed
The MDF plank being measured that will hold both the amplifiers plus cross overs
The MDF is then covered with a foam and carpeted in black to match the boot interior.
The inner door pads being stuck with a carpet like material to reduce vibrations.
Now damping the Boot. First the inner side of the boot was damped
Second the outer side was damped. This is where my damping material got over and they put their cheap damping sheet. This was my mistake, his cheap is not actually cheap cost wise. The installers cost for these sheets
were equal to my damp mat Exceeds ( which is actually supposed to be more expensive than these STP’s ). Anyways just remember buy your own sheets, it’s much better and cheaper than what an installer would give you.
Then the boot was coated with a foam like material
Finally the boot was carpeted to match
Finally the boot was carpeted to match
The wiring. It should be noted that the Power cables and speaker cables were not drawn together but were on totally opposite sides to avoid any kind of interference.
All wires were neatly zip-tied
If you see my earlier posts you can see how big the 165 FX speakers were compared to 165 AS. Well that size was a big problem for the guy’s as they were struggling to fit the 165 FX in the front, it was so huge they needed to use two 1 inch MDF rings to place it on the door. Then they struggled to fit the door pad too in the front and only managed after they shaved of a little speaker cover protruding plastic from it.
A foam covers the rings to avoid moisture from seeping in. I’m not really sold on this as I did manage to see some water droplets on my speakers once I washed my doorpad. There is a water guard which you can purchase which I’m sure would be much better.
The 165 AS on the other hand just needed one 1 inch MDF ring to fit in.
The amplifiers and crossovers fitted on the plank
The Kenwood 515BTM finally fitted. Please note you need a dash kit which you need to buy separately so that your new head unit can easily fit in the stock position. I bought it from a guy called Hani online. The installer also sells it, but I found out that it’s too expensive from both these sources, it is cheaper to get it locally in some cities as per some customers. So please search before you buy as some sell it for as cheap as 800 bucks, where as these guy’s charge like 2000 bucks
So this is how the HU looks after the install.
This the Sub in sealed subwoofer box
Everything else such as speakers both front and rear are in stock location. The front tweeters are in the stock location while the rear tweeters are placed on the pillars just behind the drivers seat such a way it does not interfere with the front sound stage.
So how does it SOUND ?
To be quite honest I was very very anxious until my setup’s installation and tuning was completed. This was because I did not audition any of the products that I purchased and made my purchases only based on a lot of online reviews, owner’s, dealer and our own Sir Navin’s feedback and towards the end CMS’s help as well. The dealer also on one hand was totally discouraging my purchase of the Focals saying that it would be too bright even after the tune( He even showed me an RTA tune to justify his point ).
So obviously I was a little worried if all this was going to be pure waste of hard earned money if it does not sound good in the end.
But once I listened to it right after the install I was so relieved and happy that it sounded good. I mean it sounded good right out of the box even before tuning it. After the tuning, it was just perfect, sound stage was good and the rear components did not interfere with the front at all.
The Focal 165 FX are true class speakers, the mid bass pounds so hard I feel if it wasn’t for the damping, my door pads would have rattled like crazy. Also these tweeters are not bright as my dealer suggested in the beginning, after the install he didn’t say anything, so I guess he agrees that it sounds neutral too. There could be few reasons for this. First it could be because of the Mosconi Amps powering it, which is supposed to be a neutral amplifier. Secondly the 165 FX in reviews at least were said to sound totally different compared to their regular speakers, in that they sound quite neutral.
The Kenwood 515BTM head unit is not really top of the line in the kenwood range but it’s pretty good. It doesn’t have any lag and the user interface isn’t that bad at all. Only negative I found was, when you have polaroid glass’s on you can’t read the menu’s clearly. Also the screen seems a little washed out if sunlight hits it directly.
As per the dealer I also found out that only few Pioneer HU ranges in India support 3 way active speakers, now that’s cool. It’s really handy if you’re planning on setting up 3 way speakers in front.
The Gladen RS 12 sub hits hard too but you won’t hear the chest thumping bass in front because I didn’t cut holes in the rear parcel tray. I’m planning to do this much later since I’m pretty content with the Bass for now. 2 reason’s why I didn’t cut holes now 1) I didn’t feel like cutting the rear metal parts under the parcel tray just yet. 2) I have a baby in the car sometimes, so didn’t want it to affect her.
The only problem now are my audio files, MP3 320 Kbps and FLAC files just don’t do it any justice. The dealer played some loss less WAV files and the music was just amazing. So I guess I need to start collecting new Wav songs from now on.
Anyway’s me and my friends who have listened to it are mighty impressed, mind you this is even before the speakers have run-in, no holes in the rear parcel tray and just ordinary 320 Kbps audio files. I may have just been lucky
Damage to WALLET
1) Focal 165 AS – 11,500 Rs
2) Focal 165 FX – 29,500 Rs
3) Kenwood DDX 515 BTM – 30,000 Rs
4) Rainbow Beat 1+ – 18,692 Rs
5) Gladen RS 12 – 13,570 Rs
6) Mosconi 100.4 AS – 39,190 Rs
7) AIV DB – 757 Rs
8) AIV 8 AWG wiring kit – 2,372 Rs
9) AIV cosmic RCA 4 Channel – 1,692 Rs
10) 1 Box Dampmat Exceed 9 – 11,000 Rs
11) Dash Kit – 2,000 Rs
12) Installation charges – 16,000 Rs
13) Extra cables + Mats + Sub socket + Damping – 7,000 Rs
14) Travel Expense ( To Bangalore ) – 7,000 Rs
Grand Total Damage – 1,90,273 Rs ( Please don’t ask what was my initial budget again )
Dealer / Installer Experience :
The dealer experience was quite a mixed bag to be honest.
I really appreciated the fact that he is on whatsapp 24X7 and clears all your doubts no matter what time you message him. But he tends to skew and highlight more of the stuffs he likes more and discourages what you think might be nice. So my suggestion, try to talk to more people like Navin and CMS here and get more opinions so you get a much clearer idea.
He say’s he has a lot of brands with him for auditioning but definitely this is subject to the item’s availability with him at that time. I’m doubtful if he will honestly let you audition the speaker that you have on your mind so best bet is to audition it in your friend’s cars.
When it came to purchasing items from him, he has some really good stuff’s but it’s priced high and he start’s giving discounts only when you buy many other items from him. He doesn’t like me negotiating but he wouldn’t price his item lower than others too, yeah go figure that one out. The same items purchased from motorheader.com separately was cheaper and they deliver it to your house as well and they have warranty too. But again the advantage here is he explains about each item to you and also gives warranty. He told me that he had repaired some customers stuff’s out of warranty as a good will gesture. If this is true, it’s worth that extra little cash.
My worst experience was when he started pricing the items as per his wish especially when it came to the pricing of the Gladen RS 12 sub. First he told me that the price was increased and told 17 K before the item even landed in India and said if the item is priced lesser he will refund the amount back. I later found out that the price on motorheader was much cheaper and informed him. He immediately spoke to the distributor and said the price is lower and I would just need to pay that much ( 12K i think ). Later just before I was supposed to pay him, he told me that Motorheader got the prices wrong and they were asked by the distributor to change it on their website, which was the case and the price increased to 14K. It is clearly a case of monopolizing and convincing the distributor to fluctuate the prices as per his wish and the items demand, which was really pathetic. How I can justify this is, the box I received had an MRP of 12K and my dealer blatantly just struck it off with a pen and wrote the new higher MRP on it. Yup, very authentic
Also he wouldn’t say the pricing and installation charges clearly. I’m also at fault here because I didn’t enquire about it clearly too since I thought in the installation charges of 16K most things would be covered. Unfortunately I was wrong and once I landed there I had a cough up some more cash for some extra work and stuff’s which he didn’t inform me earlier even after I asked him. He said I wouldn’t need to pay a single penny apart from the extra wiring, which was not the case.
So such things really spoiled the good experience I had with him. Although he insists it’s very customer oriented, such things tell a very different story and creates a bad image for the distributor as well.
Anyways now to the Installer. Their job was really good. Really neat job , no scratch’s on any of my items , very good wiring etc. And as promised they worked only on my car that day. One negative would be they soiled my seats and did not clean it after the work was done, apart from that their work was top notch, but then again my install was a pretty straight forward and simple one so I’m not sure if their installation charges( 16K + 7k ) were entirely justified. .It was very expensive and there was very little room for negotiation. Anyways I didn’t know anywhere else they do it better and cheaper than this so that’s that.
I hope this helps someone who is interested in satisfying their ICEing bug. A big shout out to Navin Sir, CMS and also dealer (to some extent) who helped me a lot at some important junctures where I would have surely bought something else owing to dealer pressure and my wrong decisions. Really thanks a lot guys.
In the end after everything was over they did a tuning by hearing and it sounded really good. I was pleased, but he again went and did something called an RTA tuning by placing some mic in the front. To be quite honest this was not at all necessary as I was pleased with their first tuning itself and did not feel any difference at all after this tune. If they are going to charge you extra for such a tune, please just avoid it.