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stereo advice 02 Feb 2010 21:32 #1

  • stevej2655
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ok I'll admit when it comes to stereos, wheather it's car, boat, home etc, I'm stereo stupid :( I bought one of those cheap box sets from Bass Pro last year and installed it and it sounds like crap. Soooooo I'm turning to my trusted friends here at BOC for advice :D When it comes to a good quality sounding stereo what's more important, the # of watts the stereo puts out or the # of watts the speakers a rated at ? or both ? the set I bought sound very distorted before I can even get the volume up high enough to hear it maybe I've got something wired backwards :confused: but the speakers in the cabin sounded ok before installing the new stereo, replaced the speakers on the sunbridge (from the ones that came in the box set) and they both sound like crap. I told a buddy that I wanted a stereo tht sounded like the band was on board and he told me I better go hire the band, I'm not buying tht. I know there are good quality stereo's that will rock my 2655 with out breaking the bank. Thks in advance for advice.

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Steve j
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stereo advice 02 Feb 2010 21:38 #2

  • billstoudt
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can you define "sounds like crap" a little better. also what stereo and speaker set did you buy?

i'm gonna buy one of these i think its good for the money.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=300357402517&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

i listened to it at west marine and it sounded good plus it has a lot of nice features.

wiring speakers backwards will only change the phase of the signal they are outputting and is only a really big deal with high powered sub woofers.

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stereo advice 02 Feb 2010 21:41 #3

  • biohazard
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Alpine deck + Bose speakers = Winner

The deck will make a huge difference in your sound, I personally like alpine. I have had many brands threw the years and alpine has been an all around good quality stereo for me. Lots of features, good watts for a stock stereo, and havnt had any issues with them, from their flip lcd's to regular decks. Plus they sond good :)

As far as speaker, HONESTLY go to best buy in their sound room and test different ones out. I am a fan of BOSE but many say they are overpriced. I cant really argue against that they are rather expensive, but you can get a good set of components for a decent deal. Just a matter of going to the store and trying out different speakers to try out which one works for you for the best sound + cost ratio.

The marine vs car stereo crap is BS, I used to work for a marine dealer as a parts manager, I have torn apart marine stereos. There is nothing special in there that makes them "MARINE", to be honest car stereos seem much better built. The marine stereo insides reminded my of something from 1983, cheaply built.

As far as "MARINE" speakers though I cant vouch, I know that there are many cardboard speakers that are made of cardboard(cheap ones). They wont react to water too well, same with components. Though my boat has components all around and I have yet to have any issues.

Just a note, I attempt to avoid sony at all costs as far as stereo equipment. I have had some bad luck with their stereos and their new stereos are a bit too walmarty for me. Though I do have a set of sony explode components that came with my boat and work alright, I will be replacing them as soon as possible, but they do work alright and handle the water just fine. I cant say anything against sony marine though, never seen them before.

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Ryan
Hastings, Minnesota

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stereo advice 02 Feb 2010 21:44 #4

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well it sounds distorted even at modorate volume settings, kind of like what a blown speaker would sound like. but like I said the cabin speakers sounded pretty good before I installed the replacement stereo. Not sure of the brand name stereo, will check next trip to marina.

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Steve j
1989 Ciera 2655 - 7.5 L OMC K/C *sold*" in search of the next one :D
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stereo advice 02 Feb 2010 22:08 #5

  • Seaquel
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It shouldn't sound that bad. maybe somethings wired wrong?

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Ralph
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stereo advice 02 Feb 2010 22:08 #6

  • biohazard
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It could be sending too much power for the speakers to handle, bad connections, power wire running too close to speaker wires, etc.

Reguardless I dont think the deck would be sending out sound quality like that, it might just be issue with the speakers not being able to handle the wattage of a new stereo. If they are still the stock speakers I wouldnt doubt that at all.

Also the connections on the speakers themselves, make sure they are correct!!!! They will still work if they arnt but theyll sound like poop or barely work.

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Ryan
Hastings, Minnesota

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"Sonnie Due"
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stereo advice 02 Feb 2010 22:54 #7

  • Jyasmar
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When it comes to a good quality sounding stereo what's more important, the # of watts the stereo puts out or the # of watts the speakers a rated at ? or both ?


You won't like this but the correct answer is Neither.

Look, manufacturers have figured out a long time ago how to game their numbers. A well designed speaker paired with a well designed amplifier (or head unit) does not care what the power rating is. I have hooked 300 watt McIntosh amplifiers to 6 inch car speakers and cannot damage them. I have hooked cheap 5 watt amplifiers to expensive speakers and can blow the tweeter in a heartbeat. If you want the band playing on your boat it is going to cost you more than a Bass Pro Shops package. Quality costs. Period. Not to say that it costs thousands but it will cost hundreds. Find a dealer that specializes in quality car audio. He will know how to outfit your boat. He will give you an honest value for your budget. And after he gives you a recommendation and you go online to get a better price, shame on you.:prod

John

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stereo advice 03 Feb 2010 00:17 #8

  • wildman
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Jyasmar;413788 wrote: ...A well designed speaker paired with a well designed amplifier (or head unit) does not care what the power rating is....

I don't know about that one.

I think you are going to get a lot of differing opinions here, but here is how I would point you to getting a good system - this assumes you want good sound which goes fairly loud for running at speed. You are not looking for audiphile quality.

You need power to make the music sound good, especially at loud volumes. To get really good sound you need a external amp at 150 watts nominal or so. You can get very good sound from a quality deck that is rated at 40W nominal per channel.

Your speakers best be able to handle the watts you give them (again, look at the nominal ratings). Otherwise, when your daughter cranks up the sound when you are not there the amp can blow the speakers. A good powered system could blow the speakers anyway.

Speakers need to be of good quality to sound good. I don't know how important magnets are anymore but the speaker should not be too light. Speakers need to be mounted properly with adequate air space behind them, such as a car door or trunk, unless they are enclosed (box).

Your existing system is either cheap or wired out of phase or both.

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Dave
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stereo advice 03 Feb 2010 00:31 #9

  • RGrew176
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I am very happy with the JVC HD radio I installed in my boat almost 3 years ago. The sound quality of HD is noticable even to my 60 year old ears. I paid less than $200 installed.

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Rick Grew

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stereo advice 03 Feb 2010 01:01 #10

  • JimMc
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Opinions - everyone has one. Let me combine my audio knowledge and service background.

You said the cabin speakers sounded good before the new stereo. I will assume you likely did nothing with the connections at the cabin speaker. So I doubt the speakers or the wiring at the cabin speakers is an issue.

Also I am assuming you likely installed the new unit in the same place as the old. So in general the wiring and it's neighboring wiring and devices did not really change. This assumes you did not make another major change like a radar or big plotter.

Maximum wattage of an amp is only one measure. Not only do you want the amp to drive the speakers but ut also has to keep them under control. This seams like the same thing but it is not. Some amplifiers will tightly control a speaker based on the current regulation, impedance and phase changes of the signal.

If you did wire the speakers with one of the polarities at the amp reversed it will make the speakers out of phase. To explain if you were listening to a mono signal normally the speakers would be moving in and out at the same time. But if the wiring to one of the speakers is reversed then one will be going in while the other is going out. There are test disks to help you test for this. For a quick check find a basic AM station and center the volume between left and right. Now position your self equidistant between the speakers try to determine if the sound even. Or recheck the + and - to each speaker at the unit. Likely the speaker wires are color coded or maybe one wire has a black stripe.

If out of phase they may not be the best but at a reasonable volume they should not sound horrible.

Now here's an easy test. Re-install the original radio if possible and see if the speakers sound better.

Marine rated stereo componenets are SUPPOSED to have coated boards to protect from corrosion.

I would only use Marine rated speakers in the cockpit area. The cones are SUPPOSED to be impervious to water.

My 2 cents.

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stereo advice 03 Feb 2010 01:43 #11

  • chucksberg
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Older radios and cd players shared speaker - with circuit or earth ground. Newer players float the - side of each channel or speaker and do not share circuit ground.

Are there 2 individual wires comming from each speaker. Are the - sides tied together?

That can make them sound really bad....

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Chuck S.
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stereo advice 03 Feb 2010 03:56 #12

  • jmcajmca
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I put one of those mini-component set in the boat with bookshelf speakers, and the system sounds better than the car stereo. I have the speakers inside the cabin only, but I am thinking of putting two speakers on the wall on back of the cabin so the speakers will face backward toward the cockpit. I use it when I am at the dock. You can use an inverter to power it when you are not on shore power. I don't know whether this will work for you.

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stereo advice 03 Feb 2010 14:21 #13

  • itsabowtime2
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Joe has a great suggestion if it is practical.

Speakers are a matter of listening taste; some will be more base, some midrange, some treble...I have found Steely Dan to be a good choice when testing speakers.

Personally, I have never found speakers that sound good in my radar arch. Alpine are in there now, had Sony b-4. I'm a big Sony fan but did not care for the speakers. The Alpine are better, IMO.

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stereo advice 03 Feb 2010 14:32 #14

  • Ghost Rider
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When you buy, do not get suckered in Peak Watts or Max that is distortion of the wave. Like 200w amp peaks at 400 watts, same with speakers. Salesman will BS you every time...do not believe me hook up a scope :arr

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stereo advice 03 Feb 2010 14:39 #15

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I really like my Poly Planar system ..and it is completely expandable.

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stereo advice 03 Feb 2010 15:44 #16

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chucksberg;413863 wrote: Older radios and cd players shared speaker - with circuit or earth ground. Newer players float the - side of each channel or speaker and do not share circuit ground.

Are there 2 individual wires comming from each speaker. Are the - sides tied together?

That can make them sound really bad....


Chuck, I installed a new JVC unit in my boat and am having horrible sound problems too, but I think you hit on my problem. If I understand you correctly, you are NOT supposed to tie the negative (-) speaker wires together, with the other negative speaker wires, is that correct? If so, what are you supposed to do with the negative speaker wires?

My JVC harness has four wires for the speakers (LF, RF, RR, LR) and no negative (grnd) wires for the speakers, so I connected the harness wires to the positive (+) side of each speaker and I tied all the negative wires from the speakers together and grounded them. Right now it sounds like my old 8 track tape player, :D and that's not good. What am I supposed to do with the negative (-) wire from the speaker?

BTW, sorry for the thread hijack, but this problem has been driving me crazy and this is the first time I have seen it addressed. OK, back to the OP. Thanks!!

Pat

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stereo advice 03 Feb 2010 16:38 #17

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HeadinSouth;414056 wrote: Chuck, I installed a new JVC unit in my boat and am having horrible sound problems too, but I think you hit on my problem. If I understand you correctly, you are NOT supposed to tie the negative (-) speaker wires together, with the other negative speaker wires, is that correct? If so, what are you supposed to do with the negative speaker wires?

My JVC harness has four wires for the speakers (LF, RF, RR, LR) and no negative (grnd) wires for the speakers, so I connected the harness wires to the positive (+) side of each speaker and I tied all the negative wires from the speakers together and grounded them. Right now it sounds like my old 8 track tape player, :D and that's not good. What am I supposed to do with the negative (-) wire from the speaker?

BTW, sorry for the thread hijack, but this problem has been driving me crazy and this is the first time I have seen it addressed. OK, back to the OP. Thanks!!

Pat


each speaker will have to wires a in and a out
that it
do not tie the grounds in together you are getting feed back
all you need in the boat is the power wire, assy wire and ground and if your are running an amp the signal wire to turn the amp on

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stereo advice 03 Feb 2010 21:13 #18

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chucksberg;413863 wrote: Older radios and cd players shared speaker - with circuit or earth ground. Newer players float the - side of each channel or speaker and do not share circuit ground.

Are there 2 individual wires comming from each speaker. Are the - sides tied together?

That can make them sound really bad....


This is a great observation from Chuck. But there can be a lot of other reasons for the crappy sound. The first thing that came to mind was, how is the pairing of the speakers and headunit? If you don't know the RMS wattage of each, a model number of each would help us to figure it out. 2nd thought was, are the speakers mounted in some type of enclosure or just mounted with their bare backsides open to the air? (the enclosures don't have to be boxes, could be an enclosed gunwale or seat base, etc.)

More info will definitely be needed to truely help you.


Doug

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stereo advice 04 Feb 2010 01:49 #19

  • chucksberg
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If both of you post model numbers it will help us a lot. If there are only 4+ speaker wires, they most likely share a common ground.

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stereo advice 04 Feb 2010 02:48 #20

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chucksberg;414354 wrote: If both of you post model numbers it will help us a lot. If there are only 4+ speaker wires, they most likely share a common ground.


OK, I just returned from my boat and I got it all bass-ackwards. I do have the necessary grounds from the JVC unit. Where I screwed up was, on my boat, I have a factory installed switch to switch the speakers between the cabin or the cockpit. One or the other, but not both. So the system only uses one set of wires from the JVC, front left and right, or rear left or right, not both.

You have to attach the positive (+) sides to the switch and the ground (-) side to a buss bar. Then you do the same with the wires from the speakers, positives to switch and grounds to buss bar. In my infinite wisdom, I attached one set of wires from the JVC wrong, one positive to the buss bar and one ground to the switch. :hammer I just switched those two around and amazingly enough, it sounds great.

Just so you know, the day I installed this unit it was like 95 degrees with about a like amount of humidity, and the boat was sitting in my driveway, in the sun. It was one of those, "Oh it won't take long to install, then we can go up to the lake" deals. Of course the admiral had to tell me once we got to the lake that the old cassette player sounded much better. :mad:

Thanks,
Pat

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