Found a local high-end installer, and here is what I did:
Previously I had upgraded my front & rear speakers (2 pairs) of Focal Performance 165AS powered by the head unit and while they sounded much better than the OEM speakers, I knew they could sound even better! And I'm now ready to take the next step of upgrading the rest of the system, (while retaining the stock Touring/Elite head unit).
My research included multiple trips to three local Car Stereo/Installer Shops, hours & hours of on-line research and many conversations with our resident Car Stereo expert (IronChef - big thanks!). So today I revisited my favorite of the three shops and talked with a super knowledgeable guy, who linked up his iPhone thru my USB port and did some pink noise tests and together we came up with the following system:
1) The Audison APF8.9, which is a DSP Amp that puts out 85w x 8 channels:
Channels 1 & 2 to power the front tweeters (A pillars)
Channels 3 & 4 to power the front woofers (Door)
Channel 5 to power the rear left speakers, using the Focal passive crossover
Channel 6 to power the rear right speakers, using the Focal passive crossover
Channels 7 & 8 are Bridged to produce 260w x1 - enough to power the Sub and eliminate the need for a second amp!
2) The Audison AP 8, shallow mount 8" Subwoofer, which will have a Custom Box made to fit in the passenger-side rear cubby cut-out. The sales guy had a video, where he recently installed one of these in a McLaren, and said it is an awesome sounding sub, so I'm taking his word for it, as this was about double what I was expecting to pay for an 8" Sub. Note: one of the other three Car Stereo stores also recommended this same Audison sub.
3) The OEM Subwoofer will be removed and the Audison DSP Amp will be mounted in that area, I like this as it keeps the OEM look.
4) All four doors will have sound-deading fully installed, along with Fast Rings which (I had never heard of), but are these foam pieces that go all around your door woofers to further insulate / isolate the speakers themselves for better sound.
5) Audioson DRC MP panel will be used to control the Overall Volume, Sub Volume, Fader, Balance and several alternate DSP presets.
6) New Wiring, Cables, Labor & DSP Set up, its interesting (to me) that they hook a computer and a sophisticated software to refine the crossover frequencies, the loudness, the time delay factors and a slew of other things to dial in the exact sound and sound-stage so it is perfectly balanced for the driver (that's me!)...
Also I'll update the thread title (and remove "Proposed") as soon as I get it done and will also post photos and update on how it sounds...!
Now THAT's what I've been looking for to compare my upcoming upgrade. Here's the proposed build simplified. I've kept the shop and location private for now. This is a consolidation of 3 different build options from basic two amps (4 channel for front and rear speakers, mono for the subs) to multi channel amp for independent power of fronts and rears with DSP.
"Replace the front and rear door speakers with a good value speaker like a Pioneer or Alpine. Eliminate the center and small rear surround speakers in the cargo area
Integrate to the factory radio, build a box for the 2 JL 12" subs in the spare tire area along with amps being mounted in this area as well. Will consolidate the equipment the best we can but we will plan on remove the spare tire, cargo compartment, and factory sub like we discussed.
The front tweeter and door speakers get their own channels to mimic how they come from the factory, with independent output adjustments for the tweeters. We retain the factory time alignment processing as well as the factory crossover points and just do some new basic speakers in front and rear.
For amps we move to the newest JL VX series amps which have an onboard digital sound processor which allows us to totally tailor the sound. We not only have output/volume controls but we now have a full eq for the front/rear/and sub so we can really dial in the sound and fix issues with peaks/dips in the frequency range. Still plenty of power like the slash series just now with more control. "