New Focal Component Speaker,Sub, and Amp Installed on 2015 Leaf (Updated)

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Jun 6, 2017
After reviewing all the post here I finally decided to upgrade the speakers on my ‘15 Leaf, I noticed distortion in the speakers once the radio is turned to the halfway mark just to get decent amount of mid bass from the stock speakers. Reading all the posts that mentioned that the stock speakers were 2ohm speakers, I went in search for aftermarket 2 ohm speakers which were somewhat limited in selection (at least for lower priced speakers). I finally found some Focal speakers which I have always heard were awesome speakers when I was younger (when I couldn’t afford them). I saw that some people chose some Infinity speakers which were 2 ohm also, but I’ve had used Infinity speakers in the past and were good but still not as good as Focal speakers (I understand it's a big price difference between the two to compare). I took the plunge and bought two sets of the Power 165KR2 component speakers which were 45% off from Crutchfield (could not pass up such a deal even though they might be last year's model). Since I was spending that kind of money on the speakers I decided to do the install right and get some dynomat and the F.A.S.T speaker foam rings to help with deadening the doors.

The install took me about a total of 8 hours just because I took it slow and methodical so I get it exactly correct. The doors were easy to remove and the original speakers came right off. I took my time to determine where I can locate the crossover (not too big) in the doors which was a bit of a challenge for the front door, the rear door had a little more space. For the front door I was able to modify some plastic spacers to provide the door panels with reinforcement against the door frame. The way I modified the spacers actually holds the crossovers by themselves against the door panel and not actually screwed into the door frame. For the rear door I found some space in the upper front portion of the door panel where I just used velcro strips to hold them against the backside of the door panel and not screw it into the door frame either. Because the crossovers are installed on the door panel and not the door frame I had to install some inline spade connectors on the speaker wires from the crossover to the woofer and the stock speaker connector to make it easier to remove the door panels in the future.

I took even longer to figure out where to install the front tweeters because the set comes with some mounts that can actually sit on top of the door to angle the tweeter towards the listening position (but did not look very stock of course), I did not want to go through the trouble to run wiring from the door to the pillars to the stock tweeter locations (did not want to drill through the sidewall of the door jam). So I decided to install them flush to the door panel in the upper corner of the door panel near the dash. That area of the front door panel is not very flat so the install of the tweeter is not exactly flush but should be ok once I properly secure them to the door (I will explain later). The rear door panel was also time consuming trying to decide where to install the tweeter (of course flush mounted too), same issue as the front door; not too much flat area to install the tweeter. I wanted to install the tweeter forward of the inside door handle and the B-pillar but that area is not very flat for a nice flush install (since its just hard plastic with no padding like the front doors to fill any gaps to compensate for the curvature of the panel). Just a little lower from there was a flat surface but I secured the crossover in that location on the backside of the panel so no can do there for the tweeter. I finally decided to install tweeter just below the door hanel and above the window switch, at least right there the surface is perfectly flat for a flush install. I got lucky that a 1 ¾ hole saw was very close to the hole size required for the tweeters, just needed to do some minor work with a grind wheel on a dremel to slightly enlarge the hole for a perfect fit.

For the woofer installation I applied dynomat around the speaker opening only and not the entire door since I didn’t want to add too much weight to the car and undo the weight savings I had with my suspension and wheel upgrade (check my other post). I installed the F.A.S.T rings on the rear of the speakers, the big center piece in the door behind the speaker (as much as possible since the cross beam is in the way). I used the left over dynomat that I cut out from the speaker hole and applied it to the cross beam and anything else I can get to through the speaker hole. I installed the woofers with the supplied mounting brackets (FOC from Crutchfield) and used the speaker connector adapter (FOC from Crutchfield). No clearance issues at all with the window mechanism or the crossbeam in the door.

Overall the install went great with no issues popping up, was even surprised that after it was all done and tested the speakers all sounded great and all in phase with each other. So with all my do diligence with the intermediate spade connections for the wiring, I made sure each side of the connections had the opposite connectors so I will never cross the connections in the future if I have to remove the door panels again for any reason. The wiring probably took a good amount of time to make sure I had all the correct lengths and no reversed wires, but I think the tweeter install took the longest just to make sure I was satisfied with the tweeter position I chose before I made the cut out for the tweeters. The ultimate question, sound quality; the speakers sound crisp and clean compared to the stock speakers. The tweeters are very crisp (maybe too harsh, might need to adjust the tweeter settings), the woofers sound clean but I think I lost some bass at low volume. But when I crank it up (just a little pass the halfway mark from the max volume) the woofers provide great tight bass with no distortion what so ever. Did not want to crank it up further since it’s recommended to breakin the speaker a bit before cranking it up. Very satisfied with the speakers and the install, well worth the money. Now I just have to wait to see how the speakers breakin and see if I will want to add an amp to drive the speakers and/or powered subwoofer just to add some bass at the lower volumes. Still not like what I have in my Range Rover Evoque with the Meridan sound system (low volume midbass/bass wise, still gets distortion at high volumes). Depending how these speakers sound at the end I might consider upgrading the Evoque speakers with Focal speakers too!!!

I am still technically not done yet with the install because I could not correctly secure the front tweeters to the door panel because I could not remove the tweeters out of the mounting cradle they sit in, so they are just sitting in the hole in the door panel and I can just pull them out by hand for now unlike the rear doors where they are secured with the provided rear bracket and additional silicone around the cradle and the panel . I called Crutchfield right after I was done and they are sending me a replacement set and I will have to re-install the front tweeters and woofers (maybe if serialized).

Any recommendations to get some more bass at the lower volumes?

Here are some pictures of the install.

Front Crossover.jpeg

Front Door Speaker Installed.jpeg

Front Door Tweeter Closeup.jpeg
Here are pics of the rear door.

Rear Crossover n Tweeter Installed.jpeg

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[attachment=0]Rear Door Tweeter Closeup.jpeg"]2[/ATTACH]


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    Rear Door Speaker Installed.jpeg
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  • Rear Door Tweeter Closeup.jpeg
    Rear Door Tweeter Closeup.jpeg
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Very nice job! I agree that the leaf has poor sound quality. Even my cheaper Toyota Prius C has a much better sound system than the leaf.
... more bass at lower volumes? I recently ordered the Focal BombA BP20 powered subwoofer to replace the Bose. It's on back order. I will give you an update once it is installed and auditioned. It should provide the thump you're looking for.
I looked at the Focal powered sub, just did not want to have such a large enclosure taking up the trunk space. The trunk currently fits two sets of golf clubs and two push carts when I walk the local golf course with my wife. Don't want to take up that precious cargo space.

I was just at the local audio shop and was looking at amp options and powered sub options. I got quoted an ARC Audio miniature DSP unit (fits in the palm of your hand) with PC SW to tune the audio to the cars interior, plus an ARC amp (150Wx4) that should fit in the location of the stock Bose amp behind the panel in the trunk. They had a special on the Rockford Fosgate 8" powered sub for $199 which was $100 off the normal price, and only had two left, so I had to pick up the powered sub before it was sold out for now. All said and done it will be about $1500 installed. I have been debating if I should try to fab the mounting for the amp behind the trunk panel myself or not. I can easily run wiring for the power and audio cables front to back and back again. I think $350 labor is well worth it instead of me spending maybe an entire weekend doing it, especially in the middle of the summer time in the CA heat. I'll decide next week if I will tackle it myself or just have the shop do the work.
I think that I have noticed after the speaker install, the front speakers have decent bass when I turn the volume up pass the half way point with the bass turned up but the rear speakers just does not seem to have the same amount of bass as the front. Same set of speakers front and back but such a difference and installed the exact same method, dynomat n FAST foam around and behind the speaker. Or is it just the HU limiting the amount of bass going to the rear speakers. I guess I never paid too much attention to the sound coming out of the stock rear speakers before the install.
I finally was able to spend some time to install the new line driver, amp, and Rockford Fosgate sub this weekend. Man what a difference more power has done to the Focal speakers, they sound so different then when just powered straight from the stock radio. I got the LC7i line driver from Crutchfield for a great price for an open box and got the 2 amp 4 gauge wiring kit along with the 9 wire speaker cable to run from signal from the radio to the LC7i and then back from the output of the amp back to the stock wire harness. I also chose to get a bluetooth audio harness to splice so that I did not have to cut the stock wiring harness. I put the LC7i under the driver seat and the amp under the passenger seat with the speaker wires running down from the radio to and from the LC7i and amp in the center console which had very little room but worked. I was able to find the one original hole in the firewall in front of the passenger seat to run the 4 gauge wire from the battery to just to the side of the passenger seat area under the carpet to install the fuse splitter to the LC7i, amp, and sub. It’ll be some work to get to it if the fuse ever pops but I have never really had an issue once installed. The little sub fits perfectly in the trunk with a hole cut into the left side of the panel to run the wiring through. Did not take too much usable room in the truck. My original idea of installing the amp in the stock location of the Bose amp was a no go once I took the panel off and saw the amp would not fit even though it the amp was pretty small.

Side note: The LC7i is sums the inputs together so that you get the full range to all four speakers since the rears seems to have a little less bass, but when I enabled that summing function the radio no longer had any fade control. Not sure if that is correct or not, did not read that in any of the documentation or reviews of the product. Will need to check this out.

Spent about 2 hours fine tuning the stereo and it sounds great, I almost do not need the additional sub since I can get a good amount of mid bass and bass from the door speakers, it just fills in the very low end which is just enough. What 150W RMS per channel can do for these Focal speakers are amazing. The sub is only 150W RMS self powered 8” drive.I wasn’t looking for seat of your pants bass but just enough to feel a little bit and overcome the road noise.I was concerned that the amp was 150W per channel and the speakers recommended 80W RMS but once tuned correctly it will never be overdriven. I would say this was well worth it and I can enjoy it everyday commuting to work.

Radio Harness Installed.jpeg
Distribution Box 3.jpeg
Amp under the passenger seat. The amp has a slight angle which worked perfectly for the slight incline of the bottom of the seat as it gets moved forward and clears perfectly also with no interference at all.

Amp under seat 1.jpeg

Amp under seat 2.jpeg

Amp under seat 3.jpeg
kikbuti, did you ever get around to installing the Focal Bomba powered sub?

whoiswho, what are your thoughts on the Rockford Fosgate (PS-8) powered sub?

I was looking into the Alpine PWE-S8 powered sub, but now I’m having second thoughts.

The Focal Bomba sub would add 25 lbs. That’s pretty hefty compared to the Alpine PWE-S8 at 10 lbs.

Focals are definitely quality, but worth it in weight? Thoughts?