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Cory

Thoughts On My Stereo Components for the new BU…

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Cory

I want to get people’s thoughts on my modest stereo project. I should be receiving my new 2013 VLX in the next four weeks, so I’m starting to think about my stereo installation. I ordered the boat with a pair of alpha II tower speakers (no amp), 4 factory add-on RF speakers (two in the bow and two in the cabin) w/o the amp, the head unit and four cabin speakers (stereo pack 1), and the sub + amp. I also only ordered battery option 1 (one battery and a perko switch) because I want to maximize the space under the dash for storage.

Caveat: I’m not an audiophile, but I enjoy music as much as the next guy. I’m not trying to hear the stereo while wake boarding. We keep our boat at our summer home on a residential lake and I have year round neighbors to worry about. My last boat had sound pack 1. I also added a pair of tower speakers and a 10” sub both driven by an XD400/4. The sub was receiving 200W and each of the tower speakers were receiving 75W. I was happy, but want a little more this time.

What I’m Thinking: I’m think all JL Audio class D amps for power savings since I only have one battery. JL audio amps have built in remote volume control and having independent volume control of the tower speakers is very important to me. So, I’m thinking of:

  1. Drive sub with either the XD600/1 (400W at 4 ohms) or the JX500/1D (300W at 4 ohms)
  2. Drive tower speakers with an XD400/4 in bridge mode for 200W per speaker (I’ll probably turn the gain down cause that seems like a lot of power on the tower). I’ll run a remote volume control to the helm for quick muting of the tower speakers.
  3. Drive the 4 additional boat speakers with another XD400/4 (75 W per speaker). I’m thinking of running another remote volume control and configuring the amp so that the volume knob will control just the bow speakers. No need to blast music up there (and draw juice) when no one is sitting up there.
  4. Just leave the four standard cabin speakers running off the head unit

Any thoughts? Is 300W enough to drive the 12” sub speaker, or should I step up to the XD600/1 to get 400W. RF’s website says the 12” sub is only rated for 300W rms anyway? I also think that the power savings of a class D amp is only achieved when pushing the amp. The smaller JX500/1D would be more pushed that the XD600/1, so I assume I’d get more power savings.

Finally, I want everyone to remember I’m not an audiophile and please consider that I was reasonably happy with the very modest setup on my previous boat, though I do want a somewhat better system this time. Will I be having to add a second battery?

Thanks.

Edited by Cory

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shawndoggy

I like the XD series too. I've had four and still have three.

Under no circumstances would I leave any of your speakers powered from only from the headunit.

You could do this:

XD 400/4 -- bridged to towers (with RLC for volume)

XD 400/4 -- run in parallel on all channels so two speakers on each channel.

XD 600/1 -- for sub.

You could also run an XD700/5 instead of the xd400/4 and xd600/1. Might save you a few bucks. Would be "only" 300w for the sub, but that's plenty for personal listening, especially if you threw the money saved at an upgraded sub in a ported box.

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Cory

Why not? I guess if I did what you suggest, then the speaker resistance would drop to 2 ohms and I'd get 50W even per each of the 8 cabin speakers, but would loose independent volume control of the bow speakers...

Under no circumstances would I leave any of your speakers powered from only from the headunit.

You could do this:

XD 400/4 -- run in parallel on all channels so two speakers on each channel.

Edited by Cory

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Cory

I looked up the XD700/5, but at 4 ohms the sub channel only gets 180W, which I don't think would be enough. I pretty sure the RF 12" sub is 4 ohms. I'm disinclined to switch out the sub, but will be replacing the P400-2 sub amp.

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Cory

If I don't run any of the speakers off the RF head unit, do I need to terminate the speaker outputs on the HU somehow? I assume I would be driving the JL amps with the RCA outputs from the HU.

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Bradley Thornton

I would do 2 batteries if not for sure a onboard charger. Make sure that battery is a good one. Have a back up plan in case the boat doesn't crank.

Maybe a bad idea but could you do it with 2 amps with 1 being a 5 channel.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-ROCKFORD-FOSGATE-P1000X5D-1000W-Full-Range-5-Channel-Car-Audio-Amplifier-Amp-/230893091085#vi-content

Edited by Bradley Thornton

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shawndoggy

Honestly you won't hear the difference between 200w and 400w on the sub. You need 10x power to double output. Using an xd 600/1 would give you a path to upgrade your sub to something a little nicer in the future though.

Why not? I guess if I did what you suggest, then the speaker resistance would drop to 2 ohms and I'd get 50W even per each of the 8 cabin speakers, but would loose independent volume control of the bow speakers...

If independent control of the bow speakers is critical, get an xd 600/6. Run the bow speakers on two channels, run the dash and rear cabin speakers in parallel, and then run the mid cabin speakers on their own two channels. (I run an xd600/6 and xd 600/1 on the cabin speakers and sub in my boat).

That's plenty of power for your speakers to sound good. 2ohm load on that amp is fine.

Edited by shawndoggy

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Cory

I do keep jumper cables in our boat. But, we keep our boat on a lift at our dock. We don't drive our boat out to the middle of the lake, turn off the engine while we swim/eat/drink and listen to music. If we aren't actively cruising or surfing or boarding, then we are back at our dock. We do all the lounging on our property/dock and we have outdoor patio speakers on our cabin. We don't really use the boat stereo unless we are underway in the boat, in which case the engine is on and charging the battery. That's why I didn't think two batteries were necessary for us. I'm open to the possiblity that I may be wrong...

Edited by Cory

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shawndoggy

If I don't run any of the speakers off the RF head unit, do I need to terminate the speaker outputs on the HU somehow? I assume I would be driving the JL amps with the RCA outputs from the HU.

Either you could rewire all of the speakers (what I would do) and just disconnect the current connections at the speaker (insulating the connectors so they don't short), or you could snip them at the HU (again insulating the snipped wires) and connect your amps to the existing speaker wires from there. Either way would work.

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Nitrousbird

I'm going to have to give my "spend less and get more" suggestion.

Polk D4000.4 for the in-boats. 4 channel amp, will run 200x4 @ 2ohm. That will run all 8 in-boats at 100 watts each.

Another D4000.4 for the towers. 125x4 @ 4ohm.

For the sub, D2000.2. Bridged to a single channel it puts out 500x1 @ 4ohms.

Total cost: $250 each for the 4000.4's and $160 for the 2000.2. Should meet all of your power needs nicely for a lot less money than the JL stuff. The amps are compact, good looking, sound great, marine rated, and some of the best bang for the buck amps out there. I currently have a D4000.4 and a D5000.5.

Edited by Nitrousbird

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Nitrousbird

Oh, and if you don't care about marine rated, PPI sells versions of the Polk amps as well. The P900.4 is the D4000.4 equivalent, selling @ $190. The P600.2 is the D2000.2 equivalent, selling @ $140. Basically, you could get all of your amp needs done for $520 shipped.

http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_38336_Precision-Power-PPI-P600.2.html

http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_38338_Precision-Power-PPI-P900.4.html

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Cory

Nitrousbird,

I'll take a look at those amps, but my reasons for selecting JL amps were 1) built-in support for remote volume control (independent quick volume control of the tower speakers is of high importance to me; and 2) I'd like to go with class D amps. I'm never opposted to spending less and getting more though... I'll check out those amps your suggest and see if they meet these two needs/desires.

Edited by Cory

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Nitrousbird

Nitrousbird,

I'll take a look at those amps, but my reasons for selecting JL amps were 1) build in support for remote volume control (independent quick volume control of the tower speakers is of high importance to me; and 2) I'd like to go with class D amps. I'm never opposted to spending less and getting more though... I'll check out those amps your suggest and see if they meet these two needs/desires.

All of the amps I listed are Class D. If you need independent volume control of the towers, you could always just get an EQ (Wetsounds 420 or Exile Zone Controller @ $200, or the Clarion EQ @ $55) or just go with one of these @ $40:

http://exileaudio.com/store/index.php/install-accessories/add-ons/tower-speaker-volume-control-kit.html

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Cory

After looking at those volume control options, I think I prefer the simplicity of the JL volume control feature. Routing the low level RCA signals back and forth across the boat doesn't seem like a great solution. While I know others seem to rave about EQs, they don't appeal to me (can't really say why). Perhaps I simply don't like the clutter in the helm area (not a great reason) or merely my lack of experience with EQs.

All of the amps I listed are Class D. If you need independent volume control of the towers, you could always just get an EQ (Wetsounds 420 or Exile Zone Controller @ $200, or the Clarion EQ @ $55) or just go with one of these @ $40:

http://exileaudio.com/store/index.php/install-accessories/add-ons/tower-speaker-volume-control-kit.html

Edited by Cory

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Bradley Thornton

I do keep jumper cables in our boat. But, we keep our boat on a lift at our dock. We don't drive our boat out to the middle of the lake, turn off the engine while we swim/eat/drink and listen to music. If we aren't actively cruising or surfing or boarding, then we are back at our dock. We do all the lounging on our property/dock and we have outdoor patio speakers on our cabin. We don't really use the boat stereo unless we are underway in the boat, in which case the engine is on and charging the battery. That's why I didn't think two batteries were necessary for us. I'm open to the possiblity that I may be wrong...

One should do you just fine but you will need a onboard charger. Reason is the alternator is made to keep the battery good with the normal things on the boat when you add 3 amps the odds are it what get a good enough charge to hold the right amps and over time will kill the battery. As the battery goes out it can also damage the starter. Just my 2 cents.

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Nitrousbird

After looking at those volume control options, I think I prefer the simplicity of the JL volume control feature. Routing the low level RCA signals back and forth across the boat doesn't seem like a great solution. While I know others seem to rave about EQs, they don't appeal to me (can't really say why). Perhaps I simply don't like the clutter in the helm area (not a great reason) or merely my lack of experience with EQs.

???? You simply route the RCA output from the head unit into the volume controller (which is likely 3' away, so add a couple bucks for a short RCA line). Then you take the RCA that was attached to the head unit and plug it into the volume controller. It would be less work to install this than it would be to run the wire for the JL amp.

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shawndoggy

nitrous, the "head unit" is really a black box that's in the observer's compartment of the new boats. So there's an RCA run to the helm for EQ, and three runs back to the observer's compartment for the amps. Maybe a fourth run of an rlc if the OP wants that to control his amps.

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Cory

I may be missing something here, but the HU is under the glove box and it's just a simply remote that is at the helm. The tower volume control would require (I think) running RCA cables around the bow to the helm (twice). That's a long run at those levels. Seems like noise could be introduced into the system.

???? You simply route the RCA output from the head unit into the volume controller (which is likely 3' away, so add a couple bucks for a short RCA line). Then you take the RCA that was attached to the head unit and plug it into the volume controller. It would be less work to install this than it would be to run the wire for the JL amp.

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Nitrousbird

Ahh, I didn't realize the head unit was just a remote interface in the newer boats. I'm used to conventional head units. Still, I'd rather save an a**-load of money and run a pair of RCA cables (which will take the same amount of time as running a single cable for the JL controller). But that's just me - I am very bang for the buck oriented.

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shawndoggy

I may be missing something here, but the HU is under the glove box and it's just a simply remote that is at the helm. The tower volume control would require (I think) running RCA cables around the bow to the helm (twice). That's a long run at those levels. Seems like noise could be introduced into the system.

It's no biggie Cory. It's how everybody does it on the big systems. Get nice RCAs and route them away from noisy stuff, and 99 times out of 100 it'll sound great.

You'd need four RCA runs. One from observer's compartment to EQ, and three from EQ to amps. You could also add a RLC to your interior amp to give control over the bow speakers, which would add a fifth run. Obviously you could pull them all at the same time.

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Cory

While this discussion hasn’t dissuaded me from using JL amps (the simplicity and quality of their built-in remote volume control really appeals to me), I do think I’ve been convinced to not use the black box to power any of the cabin speakers. I’ll need to spend sometime this weekend thinking of the exact setup to accomplish this. I'll consider your suggestions Shawndoggy.

Edited by Cory

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Cory

Any thoughts on powering the RF 12" sub with a JX500/1D (300W @ 4 ohms) vs stepping up to the XD600/1 (400W @ 4 ohms)?

Edited by Cory

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shawndoggy

I don't have any great reasons for picking the 600/1 over the JX except that it keeps all of your amps looking the same (intangible aesthetic benefit) and it gives you more power if you ever decide to upgrade with a nice dual four ohm voice coil sub.

I'd focus a bit more on the sub (replacing it with something better or at least putting it in a real box) because that seems to be a weak point on factory installs, but that's just me.

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Slyexe

Hey Cory, not so much into critiquing your setup, but I am just wondering where you are from because I have some good sources for JL Audio stuff so if you are around my neighborhood I could probably help you out.

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oceanbu

I do keep jumper cables in our boat. But, we keep our boat on a lift at our dock. We don't drive our boat out to the middle of the lake, turn off the engine while we swim/eat/drink and listen to music. If we aren't actively cruising or surfing or boarding, then we are back at our dock. We do all the lounging on our property/dock and we have outdoor patio speakers on our cabin. We don't really use the boat stereo unless we are underway in the boat, in which case the engine is on and charging the battery. That's why I didn't think two batteries were necessary for us. I'm open to the possiblity that I may be wrong...

What about resale? You might never go out to the middle of the lake but what about the next guy? I'm not a stereo guy so I don't know but maybe someone else can chime in. Would a potential buyer be wishing that it had that second battery?

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