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CRF-Rider

Does such a head unit exist?

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CRF-Rider

Does anyone know of a marine head unit on the market that is active capable and has zone control built in?

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pook77

A lot of people are ditching head units in favor of the WS420SQ/BT.

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Nitrousbird

Alpine CDA-118m

Alpine has discontinued their marine lineup, though these units can still be found new very easily. The MC20 remote is also dual zone.

There are a lot of reasons not to ditch a head unit for an EQ. There are a lot of things in my setup that an EQ alone couldn't do.

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martinarcher

IMO a head unit is obsolete. A smart phone coupled with a good zone control system like the WS420/ZLD si the way to fly. We have an Alpine headunit in the boat that turns on with the stereo switch, but that's all it does.

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shawndoggy

Does anyone know of a marine head unit on the market that is active capable and has zone control built in?

Active capable and zone control would mean that you'd have at least five sets of preamp outputs (Cabin High, Cabin Mid, Tower High, Tower Mid, and sub). If you really want to go active I'm with the other guys.... use an EQ as your source unit and then send that to something like a JBL MS-8, Audison Bit-One, Rockford 3Sixty, or Arc PS-8.

I know that chucktronics (Lodi, CA) is installing PS-8s in high end systems, so they might have some feedback.

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Nitrousbird

IMO a head unit is obsolete. A smart phone coupled with a good zone control system like the WS420/ZLD si the way to fly. We have an Alpine headunit in the boat that turns on with the stereo switch, but that's all it does.

Your EQ only setup can't:

- Do remote volume, track, etc. control out in the water, like a transom or floating remote can

- Can't control a Sirius/XM tuner (not all lakes have cell/data service)

- No crossover control

- Can't accept USB input, for music on a thumb drive or direct connect of a smart phone

- Can't charge a phone; requires a separate charger and use of a 3.5mm headphone jack

- Can't leave the phone either hidden away or safely mounted on the dash while controlling it elsewhere on the boat

All of the above features I use with my setup and would have to get rid of if I went to an EQ-only setup.

Bass volume is easily accessed on the head unit without looking. As for tower control, either use a fader or install this.

What can an EQ do that a tower control knob + decent head unit can't do? I get the applications for EQ only installs, but they aren't the end-all solution by any stretch.

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shawndoggy

Your EQ only setup can't:

- Do remote volume, track, etc. control out in the water, like a transom or floating remote can BLUETOOTH

- Can't control a Sirius/XM tuner (not all lakes have cell/data service)

- No crossover control AMPS have this

- Can't accept USB input, for music on a thumb drive or direct connect of a smart phone BLUETOOTH

- Can't charge a phone; requires a separate charger and use of a 3.5mm headphone jack iSimple IS43 = No bigge, BLUETOOTH eliminates cord

- Can't leave the phone either hidden away or safely mounted on the dash while controlling it elsewhere on the boat bluetooth can do this

All of the above features I use with my setup and would have to get rid of if I went to an EQ-only setup.

Bass volume is easily accessed on the head unit without looking. As for tower control, either use a fader or install this.

What can an EQ do that a tower control knob + decent head unit can't do? I get the applications for EQ only installs, but they aren't the end-all solution by any stretch.

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martinarcher

Your EQ only setup can't:

- Do remote volume, track, etc. control out in the water, like a transom or floating remote can

- Can't control a Sirius/XM tuner (not all lakes have cell/data service)

- No crossover control

- Can't accept USB input, for music on a thumb drive or direct connect of a smart phone

- Can't charge a phone; requires a separate charger and use of a 3.5mm headphone jack

- Can't leave the phone either hidden away or safely mounted on the dash while controlling it elsewhere on the boat

All of the above features I use with my setup and would have to get rid of if I went to an EQ-only setup.

Bass volume is easily accessed on the head unit without looking. As for tower control, either use a fader or install this.

What can an EQ do that a tower control knob + decent head unit can't do? I get the applications for EQ only installs, but they aren't the end-all solution by any stretch.

I said IMO for a reason. It's my opinion for my boat. You may need a head unit for yours, but I can't think of anything I can't do with my current set-up.

I run a bluetooth receiver connected to my WS420.

-With a waterproof case (heck they even make lifejackets for phones now) I can control the tunes from anywhere. Volume, track, EQ, speed actuated volume control.....there's an app for all of it. If you don't like your current app there are better ones. :)

-With the music apps these days, I dumped my XM subscription a few years ago. We have crappy service at our lake, but the apps I use allow offline storage and a great at learning your tunes and saving them locally.

-My crossovers are in my amps and tuned to not require an external crossover or headunit.

-Sure, there's a 3.5mm input for the phone or you can use bluetooth. My headunit has a USB thumb drive hangign from it. I think I've used to twice if I forget the phone in the truck.

-Yep - We've got plenty of ways to charge phones on the boat. I've got a small 5V power supply and several micro USB cables onboard.

-I built a dash mount for the phone. I had it coated with a product called Liquipel when new as I knew it would spend a significant amount of time near and around water.

If a headunit works for you, cool. I find them cumbersome to go through menus etc to control zones and output levels as well as adjust EQ settings on the fly. The only knob on our Alpine that is as easy to use as my 420 is the volume and radio presets.

YMMV.

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Bill_AirJunky

I said IMO for a reason. It's my opinion for my boat. You may need a head unit for yours, but I can't think of anything I can't do with my current set-up.

Can you link your system with others if your rafted up?

I don't really feel the need to "go through menus etc to control zones and output levels as well as adjust EQ settings on the fly". I have the 420 & use it to control most things. The remote allows us to cycle thru songs or sources & adjust the volume level. Plus the phone or device playing the media has some control. Otherwise the only reason I look at the head unit is to setup the link with the other boats, whether it be via FM or whatever.

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martinarcher

TuneMob? I've not tried it but there was a thread a while back about it. We only raft at WOW's but I usually use the WS420 link cable if we need to.

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David

I would still want a conventional source unit. But that's purely personal. Most people don't need one.

The disco Alpine has a remote zone control (fader on the remote which is rare). Fusion has some interesting zone control schemes.

Oftentimes the HU menu or HU location makes the zone control too difficult to use.

I understand the need for the zone control as it is essential.

But I'm not sure why there is a need for 'active' if that pertains to having built-in high/lowpass filters. I can get everything I need from the built-in amplifier active crossovers. So maybe a bit more clarification on this point. May have misunderstood the meaning of 'active'.

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CRF-Rider

Active capable and zone control would mean that you'd have at least five sets of preamp outputs (Cabin High, Cabin Mid, Tower High, Tower Mid, and sub). .

Good point! Didn't even think to consider that. You probably just saved me a couple hundered bucks...lol.

I've been running a 3 way active setup for a few years now, but want a better crossover option. I'm using the BPF on the amp for mids/highs. I have a kenwood head unit and the clarion eq that I use for eq and zone control. Would ditching the clarion eq and adding an external electronic crossover be the most sensible option?

That Exile device is an attenuator?

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CRF-Rider

I would still want a conventional source unit. But that's purely personal. Most people don't need one.

The disco Alpine has a remote zone control (fader on the remote which is rare). Fusion has some interesting zone control schemes.

Oftentimes the HU menu or HU location makes the zone control too difficult to use.

I understand the need for the zone control as it is essential.

But I'm not sure why there is a need for 'active' if that pertains to having built-in high/lowpass filters. I can get everything I need from the built-in amplifier active crossovers. So maybe a bit more clarification on this point. May have misunderstood the meaning of 'active'.

.

No, I understand what active means. I have PA mids and super tweets (for in-boats). No in-passive x-over.

Edited by CRF-Rider

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Nitrousbird

Your EQ only setup can't:

- Do remote volume, track, etc. control out in the water, like a transom or floating remote can BLUETOOTH

- Can't control a Sirius/XM tuner (not all lakes have cell/data service)

- No crossover control AMPS have this

- Can't accept USB input, for music on a thumb drive or direct connect of a smart phone BLUETOOTH

- Can't charge a phone; requires a separate charger and use of a 3.5mm headphone jack iSimple IS43 = No bigge, BLUETOOTH eliminates cord

- Can't leave the phone either hidden away or safely mounted on the dash while controlling it elsewhere on the boat bluetooth can do this

Bluetooth is going to control your system volume? Do you really want your $600+ cell phone floating in the water hoping the waterproof case will protect it + doesn't sink. Amps may have crossover controls, but perhaps not as good as you want or hard to set accurately. Bluetooth also doesn't have the data rate of a hard connection and eats your battery. Not sure how you both hide the phone via Bluetooth yet control your music with just the WS420 (I skip tracks a lot).

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shawndoggy

Bluetooth is going to control your system volume?

YES. Not zone by zone, but volume for certain. Haven't you seen the speed based volume control apps?

Do you really want your $600+ cell phone floating in the water hoping the waterproof case will protect it + doesn't sink.

Lots of us have an old one that could be used in the floaty bag if that's a real requirement.

Amps may have crossover controls, but perhaps not as good as you want or hard to set accurately.

Didn't you just buy a tool for this?

Bluetooth also doesn't have the data rate of a hard connection and eats your battery. Not sure how you both hide the phone via Bluetooth yet control your music with just the WS420 (I skip tracks a lot).

USB power in glove box. Plug in phone. Start playlist. Close glove box. Go boating for the day. Do the rest with WS or other dongle that utilizes track skipping.

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David

CRF-Rider,

Yes, you know what 'active' means but I wasn't sure exactly what you meant at my end. So I'm clear now.

The Clarion is a bit of a problem because you can't defeat the internal lowpass filter and the two choices may not be the ideal frequency.

In most cases there isn't a significant advantage to running active versus passive between a midrange and tweeter....unlike between a sub and satellite. With passive at a higher frequency, the insertion loss is small, the components are inexpensive, and the tweeter needs a very small percentage of the power required by the midrange so there isn't great justification for the additional channels.

With active you really need the on-axis response, off-axis response and impedance curve of both drivers to select the right crossover point....or the crossover point with the best compromise. Even though you can nullify the biasing impact of the changing impedance when going active, those plots still tell a lot about the driver's behaviors and is important to see.

If the amplifiers will do a completely complimentary bandpass crossover then there is no need for an external crossover. If not, I would go with an outboard crossover rather than patch together an internal HU and amplifier crossover.

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