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WS eq or Exile Eq?


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Hi all, I hope this topic hasnt been discussed before. I didn't see a direct comparison.

I have a 23lsv 15' and am looking to add zone volume controls. I previously had dual zones on my other boat and I would really like it again on this one. What are your thoughts between the two? Is it worth going the BT route on them and use that for BT as opposed to the Viper one in the boat?

Thanks for the help

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I vote for Exile ZLD + the BT adapter. I've always had great luck with mine and the BT adapter is the shiz.

I would not select an EQ with BT built in. Many have reported short range and noise.


Edited by IXFE
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Wet Sounds.

Most people don't care or haven't paid attention to why dealers are not carrying the Exile line anymore.

Well I ain't a shop but I have run both (and dealt with customer service from both), and my vote still goes to Exile.

And for what it's worth, the number one high-end shop in Portland absolutely carries Exile.

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I've had both in my boat and I have both Exile and WS components in my boat as we speak. My vote would be for the newer Exile unit. I like the volume adjustment much better and the layout seems better to me. I just didn't like the WS layout as much. The WS unit does have some advantages, but for me the Exile unit was the winner.

Sound quality is great from both and both will give you the opportunity to control the zones separately, albeit they go about it in slightly different ways.

Bottom line both good products, I prefer the Exile EQ.

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I have dealt with both the Exile and WetSounds eq and my vote is for the Exile with BT adapter for the same reasons mentioned above. Both are great products. I like the simplicity they provide. The Exile is a little more user friendly IMO. Good luck!

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Service aside... the wetsounds is the only zone control with two separate EQ's for the two separate zones. When I bought mine that was the #gamechanger.

EDIT: for the record I have had no issues with my 420BT. Connects quick and easy and I have no noise issues.

Edited by Levi900RR
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If i install one of these, do i lose function for volume via sport knob, lcd screen on the right, and transom remote? does the eq take away any factory controls is basically what im getting at.

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I like the Wetsounds EQ with an external BT unit. You can run the Wetsounds BT or the JL Audio BT which is the same unit as the Exile BT but less expensive.

The Wetsounds EQ gives you so much more processing than the Exile, given that the Wetsounds provides dual zone EQs (separate in-boat and tower zones) so it's like having two Exile EQs in one unit. That's a huge difference.

And the Wetsounds offers a PA system. Great for some but not a big deal for everyone. IMO, not as important as the dual Wetsounds EQs.

What I specifically dislike about the Exile EQ is that the face is cluttered up with things I wouldn't want or ever use. Like the phase inversion switch that is useless. Those who are being truthful will admit that you can switch it back and forth with no audible change. Also, I absolutely do not want a non-defeatable lowpass filter on the EQ since you typically have superior crossover filters contained in your amplifiers and after your system is dialed in, this is something that you should not be changing on the fly. I definitely wouldn't want cascaded filters by using both the EQ and amp crossovers. Other than with the Exile, the only other place you see this combination of features (lowpass filter & phase) on the face panel is with a variety of cheap $50 EQs. It's a leftover artifact from products in the 80s & 90s before amplifiers had self-contained crossovers. Back then you were adding a subwoofer and amplifier to a pair of fullrange 6X9s in the rear deck, so that feature set addressed a scenario at that time but one that we haven't seen in decades.

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There are some significant differences between the two EQ's.

Lets start with a post about reading about noise and range on the internet. The WS-420BT has an external antenna, so its range is no more effected then a BT "dongle" thats mounted behind the helm. As to noise. Ive used numerous WS-420SQ's and WS-420BT's and neither is prone to noise. For more info on unwanted noise, check post 23, was a reply to IXFE's question about system noise. Now, any defective individual audio component can induce noise, but I can assure you, the design and build quality of the WS-420, is not a cause of noise.

Knob layout: you need to go demo both and see what works for you.

Function: Hands down, the 420 is the leader here. Its was designed and built from the word go, as a dual zone, dual EQ marine eq. The current zld has evolved from a 20th century car EQ. Yes, it now has separate tower and in-boat volume knobs, but it still has a single EQ. What does this mean? It means that what ever EQ tone changes you make to your tower zone, you are inducing to your in-boat zone. This can be significant when you have small in-boats and larger HLCD tower speakers.

The zxl has sub phase and low-pass cross-over knobs, These are not in anyway needed at your fingertips. They are a set it and forget it adjustment that should be made at the amp. Any quality modern amp is going to have these and do a far better job. Much more effective tuning between the sub and in-boats, when you dont have that redundant low-pass on the EQ to deal with.

Personally, I like to use the WS-420SQ and the external BTVC. I think the BTVC offer a little stronger signal. On the other hand, the oversized face of the WS-420BT works really well when you have a nice spot for a flush mounted EQ.

The WS-420 has an AUX output for linking to a 2nd system, thus creating a master DJ control with multiple boats playing the same tunes.

The WS-420 is a 5V per chnl line driver, where as i believe the zld is a 9V total.

Edited by MLA
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After having a 420 prior and using the Exile zld all last summer I do wish they would add the dual zone controller on it. It is nice to able to adjust your hlcd towers from the in boat speakers. Not a game changer but a nice feature. That being said the zld is also a very nice eq. I really like how you can press in the buttons once you have it dialed so they are not accessible for anyone to start messing around with. I never used the Bluetooth on the zld so I can't comment on how it works.

Not having a PA was no big deal for me, we never used it on my 420 and I never once missed it last summer.

Having a 9volt driver on the zld I would assume is better than a 5volt? I'm no stereo guru but I was told it is a better setup with a 9volt driver.

The game changer for me would be having a eq that has a built in volume control like the old HSE. This imo would seperate the two, so anyone reading from Exile when is that feature coming! :-) I will be the first one to order! even willing to beta test for you :-)

Both are quality EQs, the Exile customer service is absolutely fantastic. For me this says a lot about a company and how they stand behind there products. I would not hesitate to buy another zld, it is a very nice eq.

My vote is Exile.

Edited by Fman
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The game changer for me would be having a eq that has a built in volume control like the old HSE. This imo would seperate the two, so anyone reading from Exile when is that feature coming! :-) I will be the first one to order! even willing to beta test for you :-)

^^^ THIS!

I've owned clarion eqs746, old WS420, current WS420 SQ, and gen1 zld. They are all similar enough in function that it's not worth arguing about. The old WS420 (I know there were several generations, mine was circa 2009) had lots of HLCD hiss which was kinda annoying. But that's gone in the new version. Yes you can EQ both zones differently with the WS420, but it's not something I've felt compelled to do since moving to rev10s.

I know I'm a luddite, because I certainly miss the fader from my eqs746 and gen 1 zld. Those EQs could do in two knobs (allocate power among zones and master volume control) what it takes zld v2 and ws420sq three knobs to accomplish.

For 99% of people either a current gen zld or a current gen ws420 is going to add all of the same essential features (this assumes that 99% don't separately eq their zones and that they don't cruise around the lake Mr. Microphoning people). Oh yeah ... the WS420SQ may also be preferred by the "one stereo blasting country/rap ain't enough for this party cove so lets tie our boat stereos together" crowd. For the rest of us it's certainly not worth getting into a "tastes great/less filling" argument over which one to choose.

Agree with Fman that adding tach signal based volume control ala HSE Revolution would really distinguish any EQ from the current offerings.

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As others have started with other options I will add my solution.

I used an audio control EQS. Here is why.

1. It gives a factory look and feel no extra boxes, dials, etc

2. Separate EQ for in boat, tower, and subwoofer. This is really important as HLCD tend to be a touch harsh.

3. You still have zone control. Tower, in boat, or tower + in boat.

4. It is also a line driver, thus feeding amps appropriately.

5. Simple install, Mount to amp board between black box and amps. Feed front channel to tower, rear channels to in boats. Use factory fader as zone control. Easy clean and works like a champ!

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Super Easy! Also step by step tuning instructions are included. All adjustments are done from the top of the unit. No conrtionist skills needed.

It really brings the factory rockford stuff to life.

Edited by DarkSide
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Not to discount the addition of an EQ, such as the two recently mentioned, but zone control needs to be located at the helm, not mounted to the amp wall. Even getting to fade through a sub menu or two on a head-unit, is bad enough.

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Fade through sub menu works like a champ, for no more often than I use it. I rarely adjust mine. I only change between activities. Riding, cruising, or floating. I dont adjust between riders, or whem picking up a downed rider, just when i want the tower off. That combined with auto volume works great for ME. Others may have issues, or want to change more frequently.

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