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geogilbert

2015 VLX independent tower control

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geogilbert

After reading every thread on it I could find I am no closer to a solution...

I just pulled the trigger on a 15 VLX. I am not taking delivery till the snow melts and can't get to it at this point. When playing around with it last week I could not figure out how to independently control the tower speakers. After reading a bunch it looks like that is a common issue. So to get this out of the way. WTF Malibu, this is basic crap fix this.

As far as my question goes, what is the easiest way to gain Zonal control over the towers without totally gimping the whole integrated system? Can you do that? I put a 420 on my 08 and basically bypassed the boat system, that would be a shame to do with all the new blingy stuff.

Also, is there an instruction manual anywhere online for the whole electronics package on this thing? I feel like I need to take the next few months to study up so I can make all the nerd knobs work.

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Hollywould

Congrats on your purchase. I'm not much help on your questions, but am in the exact same situation. Bought mine the end of October and can't get it on the water until April/May. Mine doesn't have tower speaker yet, but I'm interested in what you learn. I'm doing a lot of reading as well and will be sure to post what I find. Congrats again-

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jonyb

I'm not familiar with you're boat, but I can't see why you couldn't add a WS-420 to the OEM controls. If bow or other speakers are powered from the head unit, then that may create a small conflict, but if there are amps, you can put a 420 in front of it.

Another easy solution is where the RCA goes into the tower amp, loop a PAC-Audio LC1 into it.

This topic goes back to my comment about boat manufacturers cutting corners. It's something that's need very badly when you have tower speakers. An LC1 isn't but about $25.

Edited by jonyb

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wakebrdr94

gen an exile ZLD and exile bluetooth. youll be much happier usng those than going theogh the factory controls

Edited by wakebrdr94

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mikeo

After reading every thread on it I could find I am no closer to a solution...

I just pulled the trigger on a 15 VLX. I am not taking delivery till the snow melts and can't get to it at this point. When playing around with it last week I could not figure out how to independently control the tower speakers. After reading a bunch it looks like that is a common issue. So to get this out of the way. WTF Malibu, this is basic crap fix this.

As far as my question goes, what is the easiest way to gain Zonal control over the towers without totally gimping the whole integrated system? Can you do that? I put a 420 on my 08 and basically bypassed the boat system, that would be a shame to do with all the new blingy stuff.

Also, is there an instruction manual anywhere online for the whole electronics package on this thing? I feel like I need to take the next few months to study up so I can make all the nerd knobs work.

@geogilbert I've got the manuals for the LSV, but the dash system is the same between the VLX and LSV; PM me with your email address since they're too big to post here. (maybe I can get the mods to put them in the resources section)

As for the tower vs. in boat speakers you'll need to do a little work, but nothing drastic. You want to configure the outputs from the black box (I assume an RFX6000-XS) so that the front outputs feed to in-boat speaker amplifier and the rear outputs feed to the tower amplifier, leave the subwoofer alone since it should already be hooked up correctly. Once you do this the fader (front vs. rear) can be used to adjust the volume going to the tower.

There are a bunch of different recommendations on the site regarding the stereo, but they basically come down to three choices:

1. Live with it

2. Replace it

3. Ignore the warranty stickers and tune it

Option #4 is "add to it" to get it to do exactly what you want, that's the route I've gone.

You'll find that the gain is very low, if not all the way down, on the factory amps when you peel off the the warranty voiding stickers. I haven't verified it, but I've seen in other posts that the RFX6000-SX can't put out unclipped line out over 2 V; almost every amp out there can handle* 4-10 V (or more). The cheapest and easiest way to get a higher voltage signal in to the amps is with a line driver, something like an Audio Control Matrix Plus:

http://www.audiocontrol.com/car-audio/line-drivers/matrix-plus/

You'll find that getting higher voltage signal in to the amps will make them work a bit better, the trick is to not raise the level of the "noise" but to raise the level of the signal (music). You don't want to amplify static, etc., but you do want to amplify the music you want to listen to. Once I get a few free minutes near my boat I'm going to try to adjust the output level from the 7" computer, but I have to see if I can "break in" and then if I can make the level adjustment "stick". I'm planning to take a day with the boat, some tools, an oscilloscope, DMM, etc. to see what I can do and what I can verify for re-use by TMC.

* There are a lot of different amplifiers out there, and there are some others on the site that make a living with mobile & marine audio so I always defer to their professional experience. I'm a "shade tree" sound guy with years of experience and no formal training.

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MLA

there are a number of solutions that can be incorporated, which would not bypass the main head-unit i.e. touch screen controls, but rather supplement them. The options would be down stream of the source unit and up stream of the amps.

A simple line level POT like mentioned above is effective, but rather then put inline of the tower amp signal, I would suggest that it go inline on the in-boat amp. I prefer to dial back the in-boats volume while a crank the tower volume for my riders in tow. This gives you simple yet effective single zone volume. Rather than the PAC LC1, I would go with the marine built Wet Sounds level control. Its sealed and is about the same cost of the PAC.

Two line levels would give you in-boat and tower zone control, but thats a lot of long RCA cables. For a little more of an investment, you can combine the fore mentioned line level and line drive, and go with the Kicker ZKM-RLC Duall zone volume control. It puts two zone control knobs at the captain's finger tips, its marine built, is a 9V per chnl line driver and uses data cables between the control brain and the knobs. This allows the brain to be mounted by the amps, keeping the RCA cables short. The knobs can be surface or panel mounted. Since the OEM system has a sub level knob already, you would then have 3 zone control. Nothing is bypassed, the head-unit/BB now becomes the main volume control.

The next option would be an EQ like the WS-420SQ. It will give you master volume, 3 zone volume, a dual EQ for fine tuning the in-boats and towers independently of each other, a talk back MIC and boat-link.

Fade work of, but its a little cumbersome to navigate into the sub menus just to make an adjustment. Also, its found to be inaccessible while connected through the Medallion BT. The most effective way to use fade, is to set the desired ratio, then just use the master volume to turn the entire system up/down. Its works ok, but not nearly as user friendly as an external volume control.

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geogilbert

Okay, so in trying to digest all this, will this work like I think...

Simply add in a WS420 (or Exile) from the output of the factory controls and push it to the existing amps. (I traded in the Icons for Rev 8s)

I should essentially then be able to use the built in Bluetooth, auto volume control, the multi knob thin for volume, and all the blingy features that come with boat but also have zone control over the boat, tower, sub.

Use case:

While pulling a rider boat volume in upper mid range, 420 used to properly balance the zones, BT connected to viper (or RF) and built in volume knob or remote used for volume control.

Will that work the way I think it will?

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jonyb

Yes, that will work.

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geogilbert

With the obvious exception of Bluetooth (Which I would prefer to use one of the 2 built in options) Is there any real difference between a WS 420BT and 420SQ?

Also on my last rig I had to run wires back and forth from the black box in the observer seat to the 420 then back to the amps. I think this caused a lot of crosstalk and power cable interference. Does adding in the 420 still require all that if you are doing an under dash mount?

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MLA

No, the BT and SQ are the same internally, except for the BT components. Physically, they require the same cutout, however, the BT has a larger flanged face, making flush mounting cleaner and easier. For flush mounting the SQ, I like the Wet Sounds billet flush mount plate.

The current WS-420 wires up just the same as your previous unit. 3-wire power harness that should share the same battery reference as the amps, one stereo RCA input from the main source unit and 3 stereo RCA outputs to the amps. How the system is wired as a hole, goes a long way in preventing unwanted noise. RCA's should be good quality, but that doesnt mean the most expensive.

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