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ctvandy23

2016 VLX Audio Questions

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ctvandy23

Hey all, first post and first Malibu! Just ordered a 16 VLX and can't wait to take delivery!! I'm coming from a Crownline E4 that had Wet Sounds audio. Great sound out of the box for sure. Anyway, hearing some not so good stuff about the Rockford Fosgate set up...so first off can anyone tell me what amps and speakers come with the upgraded audio option and secondly what I will need to tweak the system so that it sounds the best possible. I ordered a pair of Rev 8s for the tower. I figure I have a month or two to do nothing but research until I actually climb aboard.

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ConnollyCrew

Congrats on the boat! Spring will be here soon! To answer your question, we will be glad to help you spend as much as you want for your audio upgrades. There are several good audio threads around here and many good people to share input. You will find that many have Wetsounds or Exile upgrades of all types. I will tell you that if you are like me that adding adequate power to the inboat rf speakers a good sub with correctly built box and adequately powered rev' s all run through a good eq is the norm for upgrades. I would read, read, and read a little more to see what some have done and decide what your audio needs will be. Again, I would start with good power supply.that will be a constant no matter the other upgrades you do. Good luck!

Oh yeah, pics of new boat or it did not happen!

Edited by BamaLSV

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Murphy8166

Stick with wetsounds, get the wetsounds RCA's and enjoy you noise free sound system

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Fman

Take a look at Exile, they make a nice product. And +1 for a stereo delete, that RF stuff from Malibu is not great. You will be money ahead using the savings towards a custom installed system. I have had both Wetsounds and Exile, they both are good products but imo you get more for your money with Exile.

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skyskier

Sooooo many thoughts rushing through my head! First, if your home system came from Best Buy and you love showing it off for your friends, get the full Malibu factory system and rock on. If you have evolved beyond bass notes that run into each other with no space in between, and cymbals that sizzle when they should shimmer, just hit delete because Malibu has nothing to offer if you are serious about music. And another thing.....ease of use and reliability does not come through a touch screen. It comes through a simple remote, such as Alpine, that does not depend on line of sight and can be mounted anywhere...........and they are not expensive.....put them anywhere you want.

On a budget, get some Polk speakers. If you are good to go, get some JL, Wetsounds or Focal speakers for the cabin. Maybe even Exile. I have not heard Exile in boat speakers, so I cannot say, but their reputation is second to none. If you want to have a musical experience you will never forget, spend some of that crazy money on the JL Audio M series for the in boat speakers.

A JL sub will have you shakin' your booty.........for better or worse. Sealed enclosure for the audiophile, ported enclosure for everyone else.

Buy the very best class D amps you can afford and don't skimp on the watts. You will be enjoying the fine detail, clarity, and pure power of your system long after the price is forgotten.

For tower speakers, the Wetsounds Rev series will more than satisfy. If you have a golden ear and cannot stand the sound of a horn speaker, even if it is revolutionary, look again to JL. Make sure you get the one meant for small tower pods. Be aware that you may need four conventional speakers instead of two HLCD's if you like to get your groove on at the end of a rope.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

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skyskier

Hindsight reminds me that I may not have given enough weight to Exile. Whether we are talking about customer service, or commitment to the end game, Exile has no rivals. I was the first on themalibucrew.com to take a chance on Exile as they moved into marine audio. It was the XM 7 tower speaker. I first talked with Brian about what I was looking for in a tower speaker. After probing enough to get a full understanding of the sound I desired, Brian passed me off to his engineer, Bill, with the side note "this guy gets it.' Bill took the time to create a custom crossover that would tone down the brassy sound of an HLCD speaker while retaining it's ability to project sound to the end of a rope. The end result was similar to the Wetsounds REV speakers...............but several years before the REV was born. For innovation and customer service beyond anything you would ever expect, look to the guys and gals at Exile.

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ctvandy23

Thanks for all the advice and thoughts. I will see what I can do about a stereo delete but it may be too late. Worst case I will listen a bit once I get the boat and tweak/add/replace what I need. Is there a fade control and the stock system between the cabin and tower? What RF amps are installed, the Punch?

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Murphy8166

Why does it seem that exile guys go stereo delete so much and all others are able to make it work and make it work nicely with all other brands...

Must be something in the H2O.

That cross boat run is important and offers a lot of potential for noise, that is why I suggested a good RCA if you go that route.

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David

I have to echo some of skyskier's comments about the JL Audio speakers and their incredible musicality.

The MX650 6.5" coaxial (@ $200 pr. before discount) and the M770 7.7" coaxial (@ $400 pr. before discount) are tough to beat in their price brackets. To me every other $200 pair of 6.5" coaxials just sound cheap.

But not everyone is going to appreciate the difference based on the type of music they listen to. The music industry has definitely changed in the quality of product they are putting out. Why? Because doing it the old way won't get them a return on their investment. So the investment is kept small. Today it is about music videos, MTV, internet, streaming, MP3, BT, digital, etc. The music industry isn't making the big productions they once did. All compressed and limited-fidelity formats in some respect. Now, not all but much of the music is software driven and produced on a laptop. Bass is synthesized. Percussion is synthesized. A layer of multiple background vocalists don't exist and are just a production technique now. Most of the specialized instruments and the artists who play them are no longer used. Again, there are exceptions. But on the whole the music has changed, and perhaps for a long time.

But back to the original message, if you are a music lover and have matured in your taste past the simple boom and sizzle type of sound, then listen to the JL Audio for a long enough period to get accustomed to their benefits. Everything else IMO will pale in comparison.

Are there other great in-boat speakers? Absolutely. Focal. Audison. And more. But none of which make a true marine speaker at this time. Not as critical in fresh water, but cotton spiders and other non-marine elements tend to degenerate in a boat and the speakers no longer sound the same after several seasons.

Edited by David

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Fman

Why does it seem that exile guys go stereo delete so much and all others are able to make it work and make it work nicely with all other brands...

Must be something in the H2O.

That cross boat run is important and offers a lot of potential for noise, that is why I suggested a good RCA if you go that route.

Does anyone use those RF amps? I read nothing but problems with them on this forum. The wetsounds tower speakers are not the issue, it is the amps. Even the inboat cabin speakers RF sells are not bad, but after running the Exile cabins on my vlx they are a step up in quality and just look better. Regardless if you run Exile or Wetsounds, either are a nice upgrade from RF.

If you are willing to install your own system a stereo delete imo gets you a much better system. Simple is better in my eyes, run the EQ and bypass all the computer stereo integration that always seems to have problems.

Edited by Fman

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David

I know the factory RF amps are often mis-tuned and under-powered for their application, but besides that what have the documented problems been with those RF amplifiers? High incidence of failure?

No doubt the RF amplifiers used by BU are on the entry level side but if you already own them in some cases you should be able to expand and reconfigure in order to successfully use what you have....thereby freeing up a limited budget to focus on the areas most in need.

Definitely the factory sub enclosure has been a proven problem. Maintaining the factory sub driver and replacing that enclosure and doing it right makes the factory sub pretty decent.

The factory RF inboat coaxials aren't bad at all once you get them properly powered and tuned. To me they sound very similar to the many other aftermarket coaxial options that also feature a hard metal dome tweeter. Oftentimes people compare these to the replacements while simultaneously upgrading the power, so perhaps not the most objective basis for the comparison.

Point being, you can make a lot of this factory gear work.

Certainly the Wetsounds on the tower are keepers. They just need proper amplification.

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tn_rider

I'm a Wetsounds fan boy and have been for years. However, id choose the JL M770 over any Wetsounds/exile in boat speaker 365 days out of the year. They sound SO full and musical. It's a night and day difference. So much mid bass and the tweeters are a perfect blend of brightness/smooth sound. Do yourself a favor and do your stereo the RIGHT WAY THE FIRST TIME. So many people do not do this and wind up spending thousands of dollars to get their stereo where they want it. I'm guilty of this. Could have saved myself about $2500 if I would have just done it correctly the first time around.

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skyskier

Murphy..........I don't know for sure, but I suspect those "Exile guys" go stereo delete more often because the team at Exile takes the time to explain the benefits. Having said that, I have not noticed that "stereo delete" Malibu buyers favor Exile products over any of the others.

I do agree that the factory system can be a good starting position for building a great system, but what's the point? Pay 80% additional over retail for a factory system than can be made to work after throwing even more money at it? The factory system is for those who are happy to pay for the convenience of a system that is ready to go from day one and do not expect or need much in the way of performance. Let's face it, if you are happy with the system that came with your new F150 then you don't need anything more than what Malibu puts in their boats. I assume that mass appeal is why Malibu does not go over the top with what they offer.

Fman.......I agree with bypassing the computer stereo integration jackassery. I can put my forearm on the arm rest in my boat and my hand naturally lands on my Alpine remote. The remote has a "feel" that allows me to focus on driving instead of looking at a touch screen. It could not be simpler and I could not be happier.

About those RF amps. I did a complete new system in my new (at the time) 2010 23 LSV. It had the factory RF punch amps and super cheap factory RF speakers. Since I love to tinker and experiment, I installed new JL amps first to see if some QUALITY watts could wake up those RF speakers. The difference was night and day. The most noticeable improvement was in the bass, but the overall sound improved to the point that I almost could have lived with those factory RF speakers. My opinion on the RF amps is if you are happy with your factory car stereo, you will love what the RF amps can do. If your ear requires something more, especially if you are powering HLCD speakers or have invested in some top quality cabin speakers, you need to step it on up.

I do not want to leave the impression that the factory RF speakers are no good. That was clearly the case in 2010, but at some point Malibu jumped up to a much better speaker. The RF speakers in my friends 2015 23 LSV are so good that I would have to think twice about replacing them. Be aware his speakers are powered by JL amps, so there is one more variable to consider.

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Wakesetter67

I did Stereo Delete for a couple reasons, I learned from my 2010 that once I wanted a custom stereo system I wanted it all to match, no mater what brand, So I ended up selling pretty much everything on Craigslist, Then I heard the 2015 were having some noise issues running though the stock Malibu system, So I ordered My 2015 Stereo Delete and went all Exile and I have had zero noise issues, The system is better then I could have imagined. I use my I phone 6 for my music and run everything through the Exile ZLD and Blue tooth, And NO I don't miss the Sport Knob, Sadly I don't really use it much at all even for speed and wedge adjustment, I seem to use the touch screen most of the time, But we are all different and most don't want to mess with a custom system, So factory would be just fine with a few upgraded pieces. It all depends on what you want, Any of the brands mention will sound amazing, I'm close to Exile and like was mention before their customer service is second to none! Good luck and share what direction you choose!!

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ctvandy23

Guys thanks for input! I guess I was just hoping for a "set it and forget it" system. After all, I really assumed that Malibu would be using top of the line audio components following the rest of their quality build fit and finish. In the past I have done new installs for all my vehicles and on my first boat, so this time I was hoping that I wouldn't have to do anything to a 93k boat. I'm certainly no Best Buy guy...more of a Crutchfield guy and I always like playing around with my audio stuff, heck I've done my 05 Mustang twice since I bought it just to keep current with technology. The lazy part of me was just hoping to sit back on the wake view seating drinking a beer! At this point I will wait to get the boat, listen and analyze, then take it from there. I like Darkside's idea about installing a EQS in between the BB and RF Amps. Maybe that brings the sound up a notch...if not then onto replacing the amps. I will have to take a look at the sub box as well as some have stated that this is a problem area. I'm also wondering why as David pointed out that the amps are under tuned with low gain settings. I'm guessing Malibu doesn't want a lot of blown speakers?

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ConnollyCrew

Guys thanks for input! I guess I was just hoping for a "set it and forget it" system. After all, I really assumed that Malibu would be using top of the line audio components following the rest of their quality build fit and finish. In the past I have done new installs for all my vehicles and on my first boat, so this time I was hoping that I wouldn't have to do anything to a 93k boat. I'm certainly no Best Buy guy...more of a Crutchfield guy and I always like playing around with my audio stuff, heck I've done my 05 Mustang twice since I bought it just to keep current with technology. The lazy part of me was just hoping to sit back on the wake view seating drinking a beer! At this point I will wait to get the boat, listen and analyze, then take it from there. I like Darkside's idea about installing a EQS in between the BB and RF Amps. Maybe that brings the sound up a notch...if not then onto replacing the amps. I will have to take a look at the sub box as well as some have stated that this is a problem area. I'm also wondering why as David pointed out that the amps are under tuned with low gain settings. I'm guessing Malibu doesn't want a lot of blown speakers?

Stock audio systems are always under powered.

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tn_rider

Guys thanks for input! I guess I was just hoping for a "set it and forget it" system. After all, I really assumed that Malibu would be using top of the line audio components following the rest of their quality build fit and finish. In the past I have done new installs for all my vehicles and on my first boat, so this time I was hoping that I wouldn't have to do anything to a 93k boat. I'm certainly no Best Buy guy...more of a Crutchfield guy and I always like playing around with my audio stuff, heck I've done my 05 Mustang twice since I bought it just to keep current with technology. The lazy part of me was just hoping to sit back on the wake view seating drinking a beer! At this point I will wait to get the boat, listen and analyze, then take it from there. I like Darkside's idea about installing a EQS in between the BB and RF Amps. Maybe that brings the sound up a notch...if not then onto replacing the amps. I will have to take a look at the sub box as well as some have stated that this is a problem area. I'm also wondering why as David pointed out that the amps are under tuned with low gain settings. I'm guessing Malibu doesn't want a lot of blown speakers?

Where are you located? If it were me, and you sound like you like big stereos like me. Do the stereo delete. For the money you'd pay for a premium stereo from Malibu you can do an exceptional stereo. If it were me I'd have a professional do the install. (that knows about marine audio, car shops will say they know boats. Totally different ballgame.) I'd do Wetsounds XS-808's in the interior. 1 or 2 Wetsounds xxx subs, and 4 rev 10's on the tower. That system will ROCK.

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David

If you are going to buy a boat with the factory RF gear, and there is no way around it, you can make a portion of that RF gear work for you and get decent results. But even if you prefer to buy a complete system factory installed for the simplicity, or you are inheriting the factory system for whatever reason, other parts clearly need attention as stated above. You can't get around a) under-powered, b) poorly tuned, and c) awful sub enclosure.

If you have the option to start from scratch and you want to get involved in the project then there is no doubt that cost versus cost you will do much better with a stereo delete and an aftermarket build. Having a competent dealer near by can also be a major plus if you personally aren't well initiated in boat stereos.

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skyskier

I suspect the factory sets the gain low in order to save us from our impulse to push the pedal to the metal, as well as keeping warranty related noise issues to a minimum. Just my guess.

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Fman

I installed my own system last year, total rookie. It was a fun project and overall not too difficult. One of the nice things about Exile is they have great customer service, Brian will help you if you run into any problems. I would recommend starting a build thread and let people on here also help you. There are some very knowledgeable folks on this forum that can be a great lifeline.

Here is my build from last year.

http://www.themalibucrew.com/index.php?/topic/53209-22-vlx-stereo-install-newbie/?fromsearch=1

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jonyb

One of the great things about Wet Sounds is that they have a great dealer network, with real people, and real installers, and if that doesn't work out, then they have great customer service. You call a phone number, and there are several people there to answer the phone, all that are willing to help. Their products are tested and don't go out unless they're perfect.

My recommendation is to find a LOCAL dealer, and quit listening to all the opinions on here. It's obvious from the replies that on one has the same ears you do, or has the same expectations. I made that statement above, but where's the credibility? How do you know I'm not one of those guys that push a brand because somebody gave me a deal, and I settle for less than mediocre because I was coddled?

Find a dealer, and listen for yourself. If the dealer doesn't treat you right, move on to the next one. Not all audio shops are bad, but not all are good either.

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Wakesetter67

One of the great things about Wet Sounds is that they have a great dealer network, with real people, and real installers, and if that doesn't work out, then they have great customer service. You call a phone number, and there are several people there to answer the phone, all that are willing to help. Their products are tested and don't go out unless they're perfect.

My recommendation is to find a LOCAL dealer, and quit listening to all the opinions on here. It's obvious from the replies that on one has the same ears you do, or has the same expectations. I made that statement above, but where's the credibility? How do you know I'm not one of those guys that push a brand because somebody gave me a deal, and I settle for less than mediocre because I was coddled?

Find a dealer, and listen for yourself. If the dealer doesn't treat you right, move on to the next one. Not all audio shops are bad, but not all are good either.

Wait didn't you just give your opinion, LOl but that was really good advice...

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jonyb

Wait didn't you just give your opinion, LOl but that was really good advice...

Yes, and it was a part of my point, had you really read the second paragraph - "I made that statement above, but where's the credibility" <--- That was my point, where's the credibility when a stranger comes on and says "it sounds great and I love it" after they've owned something for 2 weeks.

Edited by jonyb

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Wakesetter67

Yes, and it was a part of my point, had you really read the second paragraph - "I made that statement above, but where's the credibility" <--- That was my point, where's the credibility when a stranger comes on and says "it sounds great and I love it" after they've owned something for 2 weeks.

Ya I was just playing around, I said it was good advice, But he did ask about the Stereo delete option which a few on here myself included choose to do, So some experiences/Opinions might help him, other wise why post on here and ask us,

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