In the fall of 2018, Focal introduced the latest generation of its Utopia speaker solutions at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Wayne Smedile from Paragon Sales & Marketing knew right away that their dealers needed to experience these new flagship drivers to appreciate their clarity and realism. So he ordered a 2018 Tesla Model X the next weekend and put a plan in motion to have a demo vehicle ready for KnowledgeFest Long Beach in February 2019.
When a new product line launches, it’s common for availability to be limited. Wayne worked with Nalaka Adikari from Orca Design & Manufacturing, the U.S. importer of Focal speakers and Mosconi electronics, to get the products he’d need in time to meet his goal. The Tesla’s system was intended to showcase the new top-of-the-line Focal Utopia M speakers, and it needed to make an impact. It couldn’t be “pretty good.” It had to be awesome!
Wayne and Aaron Davis from Paragon consulted with Orca’s Alan Hulsebus, award-winning installer Sage Weir and industry veteran Gary Bell from Define Concepts on the system design, woofer enclosure and factory integration details. Wayne, Aaron and Mike Rios, the Paragon sales rep from Las Vegas, completed the installation over three weekends leading up to KnowledgeFest.
The system design is simple in its elegance. For speakers, the system would use a pair of the 10-inch Focal Utopia 10WM subwoofers, a pair of 8WM woofers in the doors, two 3.5WM midrange speakers in the dash and a set of the TBM tweeters in the A-pillars. The system would be powered by a pair of Mosconi PRO 5|30 amplifiers and a D2 100.4 for the rear-fill speakers. Signal processing would be handled by a Mosconi 8to12 Aerospace digital signal processor.
Defining the Starting Point
The first order of business was to reverse engineer what Tesla had done with the factory-installed audio system in the Model X. The team used an AudioControl DM-RTA to measure the frequency response both acoustically and electrically, measuring each output channel from the factory source unit. Once they understood what they were working with, they tested to determine at what volume level the signal distorted to maximize the amount of clean signal they had to work with. They also tested each of the factory speaker output voltages to make sure they wouldn’t be overdriving the processor’s source input.
Hands-On Sales Begin with Installation Knowledge
The installation process started with the team removing the stock door speakers and installing more than 36 square feet of Dynamat Xtreme sound deadening in the front doors, along with a layer of Dynaliner. Next, the team fabricated new mounts for the 8-inch Utopia 8WM woofers out of ABS plastic before bolting them into place.
A set of the Utopia 3.5WM midrange speakers would replace the stock drivers on the dash after the team modified the mounting locations to accept the bigger speakers. They added Dynaliner and Blackhole Stuff behind the speaker to help to control the energy coming off the rear of the cone.
Last and certainly not least, a set of Focal Utopia TBM tweeters was integrated into the A-pillars. The tweeters are mounted flush with the trim panel and concealed by the original grille. All the speakers in the Tesla are completely hidden from view.
Next, the team set to work on the subwoofer enclosure. Constructed from MDF and finished in Line-X bedliner, the vented enclosure fills the small cargo area behind the rear seats, yet fits under the factory trunk panel board. The pair of Focal Utopia 10WM subwoofers fire rearward toward the back bumper, as do the vents. Wayne can still load product samples and supplies in the back when visiting retailers with no loss of bass performance.
Frunk Amp Rack
From a visual perspective, the amp rack in the frunk (front trunk) is the highlight of the installation. The Mosconi Pro 5|30 amps are mounted side by side and located vertically against the back of the cargo area. A two-piece trim panel wrapped in Alcantara surrounds the amps and trims out the floor. A strip of white LED lighting integrated into a shelf on the lower panel illuminates the amplifiers.
The Pro amps are configured so that one powers the left midbass driver with a pair of channels bridged, then a dedicated channel for the mid and the last channel for the tweeter. The subwoofer channel of each amp is connected directly to one of the subs in the back. Of course, the second amp powers the other side of the vehicle. The Mosconi digital signal processor and D2-Series amplifier for the rear speakers are concealed but remain easily accessible for system calibration adjustments. A Mosconi Hi-Res Bluetooth AMAS96K was also installed for high-quality direct-to-processor wireless streaming.
Tool for the Trade
Wayne takes a great deal of pride in the fact that he and his staff at Paragon Sales & Marketing have extensive installation experience. Their hands-on knowledge allows them to help retailers sell, install and configure products and solutions that offer excellent value and performance.
The Tesla made its debut on schedule at KnowledgeFest Long Beach in February 2019, where there was always a line of people around the car waiting to hop in for a listen. Since then, Wayne has had the opportunity to demonstrate the audio system to more than 300 car audio enthusiasts, and more importantly, people new to the industry. The work done on his Model X leaves a lasting impression on everyone who hears it.
You can learn more about the Focal Utopia speakers used in this Tesla by visiting the Focal America website. Likewise, information about Mosconi amplifiers and processors is available from the Mosconi America site. If you ever have the chance to audition this Model X, we strongly suggest you take advantage of the opportunity. We hear it sounds amazing!