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87Warrior

Revamp an old Sunsetters audio

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87Warrior

Help me update an old Sunsetter’s audio. The boat currently sports a classy non marine Pioneer tape deck mounted under the dash and two Walmart special 6 ½” Kenwood coaxial speakers under the rear seat. The set up simply sounds awful.

Goal: Clear and crisp audio that can be heard when crossing the lake at +35mph. FM/BT/USB compatibility.

“Gotchas”: No tower on this boat. No cutting additional holes. The interior is still stock 1987 and like new, I can’t bring myself to permanently change it.

Does the audio equipment exist that could provide crisp, clear audio at 35 mph via two 6 ½” coaxial speakers mounted down low? I imagine this would require more power than the built-in amp of a typical receiver could provide, thus requiring an amp. Would some sort of enclosure built into the back platform improve the output of a small speaker? Providing audio for others outside the boat is not a concern. 

I recognize that simply adding speakers closer to the front of the boat would help the occupants hear the audio (those behind the windshield, I’m not worried about the bow). The only logical place I can see fitting speakers closer to the front is under the gunwale, above the side ski storage bins (which do get used). I could suspend a speaker from the gunwale or fabricate a mount to hold a speaker in the top corner of that side ski bin.

I do enjoy a full audio profile and see that many folks add a subwoofer to their boat. While I do not object to going down that route, I’ve never even felt the need to even add a sub to my vehicle. I do recognize a boat is a totally different animal. I also struggle to find a good location for one in this boat. Being a tall person, my feet are usually tucked way under the dash and worry about the reduction of leg room.

I am just looking for a little guidance. Thanks! 

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David

87,

It may be difficult for you to forecast the outcome, but those with a lot of audio experience can predict the result. You're kind of asking for the impossible in the current context. A few points worth making. Most all marine 6.5" coaxials are infinite baffle so a confined enclosure would seriously reduce the lower mid and upper bass range. So more loss than gain in this case. Behind you (and this is way behind you) is never especially intelligible and a low position is bad for treble/good for warmth. You might hear the speakers but to actually have articulate sound, you need some treble. That will require a better location. The far rear is good for fill but bad as the primary. Then add the challenge of movement (the train is louder when approaching) plus the considerable wind, engine, and hull noise at 35 mph. Everything is stacked against your stated objective. Add all the power you want, but a 6.5" is small for this specific job, and a single pair would soon reach their thermal & mechanical limits before being heard with any degree of clarity from the drivers perspective.

You will need more than HU power. And you will need front cockpit speakers. Maybe there is a creative solution that does not involve cutting holes.          

 

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90oldskool

Suggestion would be to put the kicker 8" coaxial speakers in the rear and addi kicker 6.5 up front . As you saw in my old post , you can have speaker frames made to fit under the gunwale. 

Believe the 8" only requires the original 6.5" speaker hole to be enlarged by 1/2" all the way around . @minnmarker can probably confirm this. 

Yes you will need at least a 4.400 amp to run this . But the 8" will help, since you do not want a sub. 

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jonyb

2 Wet Sounds Revo6 in-boats, powered by an STX4 (2-channel mono) would be a  huge improvement.  And it would honestly be surprising as good as it would sound.

 

That's without cutting any new holes or adding any extra speakers.

 

Obviously a new head unit would be needed.

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rugger

I'm more of a Sunsetter aficionado than a stereo guru.  I used to own one and love them.   I think your goal should be to get a loud, clean sound at cruising speeds and when chilling in the cove, etc., vs at 35 mph and you can absolutely do that in a Sunsetter.  I agree with the guys above, and know you can fit speakers beneath the gunwales on the nice flat vertical pieces.   Also had two up front in the walkway, not as ideal (just like in many of the newer boats), but still helped.   Maybe @martinarcher will chime in but he took his Sunsetter up a notch with a great sub build as well.   Just got to be a little more creative with planning.  Great boat, I would not worry about cutting holes in the right places.

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minnmarker
1 hour ago, 90oldskool said:

Suggestion would be to put the kicker 8" coaxial speakers in the rear and addi kicker 6.5 up front . As you saw in my old post , you can have speaker frames made to fit under the gunwale. 

Believe the 8" only requires the original 6.5" speaker hole to be enlarged by 1/2" all the way around . @minnmarker can probably confirm this. 

Yes you will need at least a 4.400 amp to run this . But the 8" will help, since you do not want a sub. 

@87Warrior Kickers 8" require a 6-3/4" hole.

You might consider some mini surface mount speakers under the windshield to add a bit of "voice" up near ear level.  You should be able to route the wires without irreversibly messing up the OEM look.  Maybe something like these:

https://www.amazon.com/Jensen-HDS3000-Weatherproof-Surface-Mount-Speakers/dp/B005XRSS54/

If you do the dash speakers and use 8 inchers in the rear you'll need a 4 channel amp so you can adjust the gains accordingly.

These would provide adequate power and are not expensive: https://www.amazon.com/Rockford-Fosgate-R400-4D-Full-Range-4-Channel/dp/B004T0WFVE/

R600-4D are $65 more for another 25 watts per channel.

Clearly not high end marine audio but much better than what you have.

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martinarcher

If you are not going to run a tower, I would install a really good sub and feed it good clean power....and lots of it.  I would then buy the best 4 speakers you can and also feed them with a high quality 4 channel amp.  The key to clean, crisp sound is not only the quality of the drivers themselves, but the power and signal quality you feed them with.  I all too often see under powered subs and speakers that have so much potential, but the money was spent on speakers and the amps were a budget buy. 

I've got lots of pics of my sub in this thread as well as some example of where to cleanly mount amps in the Sunsetter.  

Good luck and post pics/results.

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87Warrior

Thank you for all of the ideas and suggestions, especially to those with a classic Malibu. This really gives me some ideas to work with and some solid information to start my research and planning. I don't expect the final result to be the best setup on the lake, but any setup with some thought put into it will be worlds better than what is in the boat currently.

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