How To Select A New Audio System?

Discussion in 'Electronics Q&A' started by MonacoMike, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    I am at the beginning stages of trying to decide what I need, want, and can afford. I am trying to learn about what is out there and what it can do. What is just gratuitous technology and what will be convenient to have 5 years from now.

    My boat has 4 areas with speakers, the cockpit currently has two 6 1/2 in the side of the arch and overhead in the arch. There are two speakers in each the main salon area, the main fore stateroom area and the rear stateroom area.

    My thinking now is we will not have any sound in the rear stateroom area and will have two zones, the cockpit and the salon/main stateroom combined as they are open to each other. This is subject to change as I learn more.

    One of my friends has a Wet Sounds system that is just unreal in sound volume and clarity with 6 speakers and sub in the cockpit of a Chap 327 SSX, I want close to that in the cockpit, though not sure where additional speakers would go. In the cabin we like to listen to jazz, piano and classical, looking for crisp clarity here but do not need near the volume.

    I have no idea how to even begin to to select components such as speakers, amps, subs, and how they need to be paired. Then the head question comes up, what do I need to stream and bluetooth? What other features are cant miss?

    I am sure I will add additional questions as I go through this. My goal is to put this in place over the winter for next season...

    MM
     
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  2. Wylie_Tunes

    Wylie_Tunes Active Member

    682
    Oct 26, 2012
    Lake Wylie NC area
    N/A
    N/A
    One key to quality sound, is ample and quality wattage to the speakers. Volume, like the speed, is always controlled by the pedal so to speak. Think of a little 4-banger Opal and big v-8 Benz, both running about 200 KPH on the autobahn. The little Opel is pegged, where as the Benz is cruising and has plenty of pedal left to go faster. In audio, we call this headroom. More amp wattage available then the speaker needs, means the amp settings are low and we get the desired volume without having to max the volume dial. Low amp wattage and we have to max the volume dial to get the volume we want.

    Additional speakers in an area is another way to improve both volume and sound quality. By bringing the sound stage closer to the listener, you get more volume with the main volume dial set at a lower lever. This means better sound quality over all.

    Larger speakers is also another way to improve both sound quality and volume. Consider stepping up to an 8" speaker in a couple or all existing speaker locations if you can.

    Wet Sounds, JL, Kicker and Fusion offer heads with true zone control.

    Woofer: How much bump do you want? A mild 10" with a few hundred watts rms can round out a nice system, but can lack the depth and output for a higher output full-range setup or those that are just bass-heads. In most cases, the boat will dictate the woofer setup to some degree.

    Id first work out the woofer and speakers. Once you have this, then the amp(s) choices fall in line.
     
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  3. ttmott

    ttmott PhD in OCD GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 3, 2012
    Space Coast Florida
    2006 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM11
    I'm with you on music; in fact just listening to Diana Krall on the way home this evening. With that said I enjoy tight music reproduction with a good staccato capability. When I hear a cymbal I want the hear the entire musical range of that cymbal. My opinion is you get that with amplifiers that can produce greater power than the speakers are essentially rated; that means at nominal volume levels you are in the lower power range of the amplifier and naturally the delivery is cleaner because of the head room of the amp. And complement the amplifiers with speakers that deliver tight db across the frequency range and are matched to seamlessly cover the complete frequency range. A "boomie" base gives me nothing and does not replicate that great jazz base drum or string. So, that is tuning and equalization capability to match your ear and sub. I think you probably agree the acoustic environment in a boat is less than ideal especially in open cockpits and the difficulty in setting up the sub-woofer in a tuned enclosure (have to use an "infinite baffle" sub-woofer) is a compromise at best. With all that blather aside I would focus the economics on very good speakers and amplifiers then secondarily on the head unit and wiring. Most quality marine head units have all the output capabilities to feed five or more channels, multiple zones, have separate sub outputs / control, and their output specifications are very good. Look, for example, at the Clarion M608; great value for what it gives. For speakers, personally, I'm a JL M Series fan; they carry a premium cost but also they deliver that tight crisp reproduction; again, this is where I would focus the bulk of budget. I have JL amplifiers but there are a lot of good ones out there. Consider an amplifier dedicated to each zone sub-woofer and another for each of the speaker zones; however, for two zones one could also consider a couple of five channel amplifiers. Now, on my boat I achieved what I desired in sound reproduction but I blew a wad on it. I have a Multi Zone Fusion Apollo RA770 head with NMEA 2000 remotes which is completely over the top BTW and for the bridge (Zone 1) two JL M770 component speakers, two JL M770 coaxial speakers, and one JL M101 infinite baffle sub with a single JL M400 4 channel for the speakers and one JL M600 1 channel for the sub. This is duplicated for the cockpit (Zone 2) below. I'm not saying this is a recommendation for you but I guarantee for your style of music it is the Mac Daddy.....
    Tom
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  4. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    This place is so awesome, I have learned a lot already! Thanks to both of you. Wylie, I have been reading several of your posts today. Thanks so much for all you share.

    MM
     
  5. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    So you have an amp with 600W powering only a a sub at 250W max?

    MM
     
  6. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    So if I have room I could replace the 4 6 1/2 in the arch with 8 inch and forgo find a location for other speakers while getting closer to the goal?

    I have what appears to be a molded in sub space in the cockpit lounge area that measures 11.5 inches. Will this be enough to get the sound I want? If I put a second sub in the cabin will that help?

    MM
     
  7. ttmott

    ttmott PhD in OCD GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 3, 2012
    Space Coast Florida
    2006 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM11
    Yes - plenty of "pedal" left as Wiley says.
     
  8. Wylie_Tunes

    Wylie_Tunes Active Member

    682
    Oct 26, 2012
    Lake Wylie NC area
    N/A
    N/A
    The amp is 400W rms to a 4 ohm woofer like the M10IB, so thats great head room. 300W rms to each, if you ran two woofers.
     
  9. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    The first sentience makes sense to me but I do not get the second part?

    MM
     
  10. ttmott

    ttmott PhD in OCD GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 3, 2012
    Space Coast Florida
    2006 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM11
    At 2 ohm speaker impedance it would be 600 watts rated continuous power at 14.4 volt supply
    At 4 ohm speaker impedance it would be 400 watts rated continuous power at 14.4 volt supply
    At 2 ohm speaker impedance it would be 500 watts rated continuous power at 12.5 volt supply
    At 4 ohm speaker impedance it would be 300 watts rated continuous power at 12.5 volt supply
    The JL M series subs are 4 ohms impedance.
    Two 4 ohm speakers wired in parallel has impedance at 2 ohms (Ohms law); so it would 600 watts shared which is 300 watts per speaker at a supply voltage of 14.4 volts DC.
    The amplifier power ratings are from the manufacturer's spec sheets as there is no "ideal" amplifier in which the RMS power rating can be definitively calculated.

    So you can see the effect of changes in voltage which further supports having ample head room in amplifier sizing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
    MonacoMike likes this.
  11. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    If I put 4 Wet Sounds Revo 8 and a Revo 12 FA sub in my cockpit what WS amps would I want? That is very confusing to me. Looks like 4 Revo 6 and Revo 8 FA sub would be great in the cabin, what WS amps here? And any explanation why to be able to select this stuff would be awesome.

    MM
     
  12. ttmott

    ttmott PhD in OCD GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 3, 2012
    Space Coast Florida
    2006 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM11
    Looks to me like the best fit in the cockpit would be the WS Sinister-SDX4 for the four 8 inch speakers and a Sinister-SDX2 bridged mono for the sub. Hungry speakers...… The SDX4 is rated continuous at 185 watts per channel at 4 ohm impedance per channel and the SDX2 bridged mono would be 1250 watts continuous at 4 ohms. Wiley Tunes would know better.
     
    MonacoMike likes this.
  13. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    Would those be just for the cockpit? Then I would need more for the cabin area?

    MM
     
  14. spikedaddy99

    spikedaddy99 Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    871
    Jun 11, 2008
    Prentice, Wi
    2005 500 DB
    QSM-11
    Damn dude, get this done before next month. I want to hear it!!
    Mike
     
    MonacoMike likes this.
  15. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    For some reason this thread just comes through as "$$$$$$.....$$$$.....$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$....$$$" when I read it. So strange.
     
  16. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    Love to, but not in the budget for this season, I feel Stee's pain as I just keep ordering more. In the last week I bought the parts to make the ice maker look like new, new Perko boarding lights, new SS horns and SS windlass foot switch covers. I forget just how much little stuff I did to my old boat to get it in top shape, $50 here, $150 there, and $75 over there. But like most folks here the details matter and it is well worth it...

    MM
     
    Craig likes this.
  17. Fly'n Family

    Fly'n Family Active Member

    686
    Sep 19, 2013
    TX / CO
    2002 Cruisers Yachts 3870
    2003 Boston Whaler Sport 130 w/40 hp Merc
    Twin 425hp Crusaders
    Hey Mike,

    This is what I did on deck...

    2 - JL Audio MX650 speakers
    2 - JL Audio MX M880 speakers
    4 - JL Audio MX770 speakers (two on the swim platform)
    2 - JL Audio M10B5 subs
    1 - JL Audio M1000/1 sub amp
    1 - JL Audio M800/8 dedicated speaker amp
    1 - JL Audio Media Master w/4 zones at the helm - 1 JL Audio transom remote - 1 JL Audio MMR wireless controller
    1 dual USB charging point at the helm - 1 dual USB charging point at the swim platform

    Must haves for me - kinda outside the system itself, that are "must haves"….the dual helm USB charging point and the MMR wireless controller.

    Wouldn't have done: wouldn't have bothered with the transom remote (the MMR makes it pretty much useless), and I would have figured out somehow to get a pair of the 8.8's on the swim platform instead of the 7.7's. Enough can't be said about the 8.8's - they rock.

    Incredibly crip, clean and concert quality system from low to blowing out one's ears - and the second sub (IMO) was a must. I purposely did a mix of 6's, 7's, and 8's because they all have a varying range of frequency between them. I also had the system professionally installed, with all new wiring run and haven't had a single issue.

    We used the existing space under the U-lounge for one sub, then created a new space for the second sub....with excellent results for both the helm and lower deck area. Cut out hole.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    MonacoMike likes this.
  18. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1

    Where are all the speaker locations other than the already mentioned swim platform? Was all that in the cockpit? I currently have just 4 speakers in the cockpit all in the arch.

    MM
     
  19. uplander

    uplander Member

    35
    Sep 5, 2016
    Erie, PA
    97 330 Express Cruiser
    7.4s
    I spent time listening to both WetSounds and JLs last summer. In the end I liked the overall sound quality of the JLs more. Both were very good; I just preferred JLs. A number of friends run Rockfords and they sound good as well.

    For my stereo I did not have room to upsize from 6.5’s to JLs 7.7s. Therefore I stayed with the original size.

    I much prefer the sound from JL MX6.5s to the JL M6.5s. Other than the 6.5 size, I think the M series are better. JL has a new line out that is replacing the Ms so the 6.5s in this line might be better.

    My stereo:
    Fusion UD -750
    JL M 1000x5 amp
    (4) JL MX 6.5s on the deck off the amp
    (2) JL M 10’s on the deck off the amp

    (2) Polk 6x9s in the cabin off the fusion. (Came with the boat and I haven’t been able to justify replacing yet).

    Sound quality is great.
    Bass really thumps if you want it too.
    All the sets of speakers are there own “zone”and can be adjusted independently.

    I never added it all up, but I think I’m around $2200; but I did the install myself.

    A word of caution if planning to move up in speaker size, the 7.7 and especially the 8s or 8.8 are a lot deeper than the 6.5; they may not work in existing locations.

    Have fun and good luck.
     
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  20. Fly'n Family

    Fly'n Family Active Member

    686
    Sep 19, 2013
    TX / CO
    2002 Cruisers Yachts 3870
    2003 Boston Whaler Sport 130 w/40 hp Merc
    Twin 425hp Crusaders
    Yes, those are just in the cockpit. I left the OEM ones in the cabin as I never listen to music in there. If I'm staying on the boat, it's because I don't want to drive home - so I end up throwing on a movie or something on my 32" flat screen and crashing.

    The two 6.5's are in the top of the arch - facing down - next to the down wash lights.
    The 7.7's and 8.8's are on the sides of the arch. The deck is a veritable concert zone when in the mood.

    Cut outs for speakers.jpg Speakers port.jpg Speakers starboard.jpg
     
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