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  #1  
Old 01-06-2007
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Great Cheap Marine Stereo (Pick Two)

Hey, I'm looking for some reccomendations on CD players and Speakers for a Catalina 30.

Note the following: budget is finite. (well, it isn't for me, but the wife has a laser sight trained on me, as I write this, so let's make it finite)

Needs: 5 to 6.5" waterproof speakers. They'll be located 5' from the compass, roughly. Was thinking Poly Planar 4055, as they fit the holes almost perfectly.

The guys at Crutchfield love the Polk 650db, but I hate the grills. Too conspicuous. Has anybody ever used generic grills to cover a speaker before?

Inside, I could use a recco for a small box speaker (or just small speakers, period, don't have to be marine.

Finally, my dream is to add an ipod and get the whole cabash controllable from the cockpit. Of course, I can't imagine how a cheap, wired remote could last a season. Alternatively, has anybody every used an iPod controller that has a wireless remote based on RF (not IR)?

Oh, yeah. The deck. Best value for < $175?

Thanks, you guys.
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Old 01-06-2007
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OK...lets start with the up top speakers first: YOU need a speaker that:
1. Has plastic protected grill...not metal and not too open.
2. Has non paper cones for both tweeter and woofer and uses foam or butyl surrounds on the cone.
3. Is as large as possible for better bass
4. Is around $75 bucks to meet your total system budget.

The poly planers suck sound-wise so lets forget about them. "marine" speakers will cost 50% more for nothing other than a white plastic grill!
Almost NOTHING for cars today meets requirement number 1.
Of the speakers crutchfield sells the polk 675or 650 is the BEST and ONLY speaker that meets all of these requirements. I know you hate the grills...so do I. Suggestion...a can of White Krylon and these will look great on a boat. (Paint grills only....)
Over at best buy.com...the closest sounding/quality speaker is the Infinity ref6012I which is on sale for the same price and has better looking but partially metal grills which would also benefit from the Krylon treatment!
Alternatively, you can get their DUAL marine speakers (coax version) online for less $$ and with white plastic grills...but the sound will be much less good.

On the radio side...the options are limited based on your budget. I assume it will be mounted below. The Sony CDXGT210 is my recommendation since it has an aux input jack for an ipod and is both Sirius and XM compatible if you ever go that route. At $99 it fits your budget...but if you think you'll ever add a separate amp down the road...spend another $20 and get the 310 which has amp outputs.

On speakers for below...if they will be run by your car stereo you will need to get something cheap and efficient since you won't have much real power to work with. Don't expect a lot of bass. How big dimensionally can they be?
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Old 01-06-2007
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Hey, Cam.

Look at you go! Thanks. probably 5 x 5 x 10, max, re the interior speakers.

My inclination is to err on the small side for the cabin. Polk 4 x 6 speakers are on sale at Crutchfield for $59.

re: the -310. I bought a Sony iPod controller, includes control + charge, for $50. Debating that route vs. the cheap mini plug, in.

And the remote thing...like the iPod RF idea, vs wired?

Overall budget is 350 ish.

much thanks.
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Old 01-06-2007
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Also: on the exterior speakers: polk db 525s would fit the space better, in that pre-existing holes are perfect size. Is that too small to sound good?
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Old 01-06-2007
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Not many choices for cheap ipod receivers, but I second the Sony that Cam mentioned. I am buying the plug and play 210/310, as crutchfield suggested it too. They helped me set up my ipod in my explorer on the stock radio with a harness and ipod adapter. They are a great company and I respect their suggestions. They are also very helpful with any tech questions you have. My receiver is mounted in the companionway (as per PO) with a water cover. I will put in a mount for the ipod next to it and buy a waterproof case for it. If I remember the Cat 30 correctly, you could mount both the receiver and ipod within reach of the companionway. That way you can just reach in and make the changes. Or! run a long cable for the ipod under the cockpit sole and out the motor gauge panel or pedastel. Mount your ipod there in a waterproof case? Just a thought. Not too worried about the ipod being charged. The battery lasts so long now, it gets charged at home and in the car and I have a DC charger if I need to recharge on the boat. I have used the standard system where the ipod plays through your radio wireless. is that IR or RF? It sucked, too much static.

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Old 01-06-2007
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iPod / Stereo Advice...

I own last years version of this Pioneer unit and it is the best bang for the buck in terms of flexibility, power and input combinations. You DO NOT want a stereo with a front AUX input it WILL get snapped off by someone trying to adjust the volume in a sea! It's 179.00 at Crutchfield but I know you could find it for less and it would fit into your budget..

http://www.crutchfield.com/S-2ozCShX...0&I=130DEHP490

Speakers are indeed subjective but the above posters are right on the money when they say the Poly Planars suck! They do & I have two pair in my basement, collecting dust, that came as standard equipment on my 2005 Catalina that were removed and replaced imediately. You want Pioneers, Sony's, JVC's marine speakers or even some Jensens but listen to them first.

Poly Planar puts their own display in marine stores for a reason and it's so you can't compare them to the Sony's and find out how bad they sound. Also many of the Poly Planar displays have a sub woofer running that CAN'T be turned off so the tiny speakers you heard with the big bass will NOT sound that way on your boat! The main thing you want in a marine speaker is efficiency. You also want the biggest driver surface area you can fit. If you can fit a 6.5 inch do it and don't waste your time with a 5" or 5 1/4. You need surface are to move air and make bass. Speakers outdoors ie: cockpit have a very tough time reprodicing bass because the low freq's like enclosed spaces like a cabin or a living room to resonate off of the walls.
Put in a CD at West Marine and then, without changing the volume on the stereo, switch between the different speakers and you will see and hear which speakers are easily driven (efficient) vs. ones that are power hungry (inefficient). Car stereo out put at 22w RMS is not much and you need efficient speakers to get any sort of bass response with your cockpit speakers.

Read below for iPod info...

I love my iPod, actually my five iPods, and find it to be one of the best additions to our boat since the innerspring mattress. Below is an easy breakdown of the iPod integration knowledge I picked up over the last few years. I have condensed it hear and it should save you time, headaches and make integrating an iPod easy..

Step 1- My first advice is to buy a car stereo from Wal*Mart or Best Buy or even a car stereo from Crutchfield. Don't waste money on a marine grade unit! I have only had one marine grade stereo in my 15+ years of having stereos on boats and the marine one was the only one to fail it also sounded sub par. Since that time I have been using inexpensive car CD players with high output like 18w X 4ch or more. I think my Pioneer is 22w X 4ch and I paid $169.00 for it. My current stereo is a Pioneer with an AUX input and also the option to add a Pioneer integrated iPod interface. I use the AUX input, as opposed to the iPod interface, for only one reason and that is because we have a radio frequency (RF) remote control for the iPod. When searching for car stereos I think it is important to decide wether you want to control the volume from the car stereo or the iPod. Most car stereos come with a remote control option but keep in mind these remotes are IR and line of sight meaning they are virtually useless from the helm.

There are two output paths on an iPod one is from the bottom or "dock" connector and is a fixed pre-out volume level. The nice thing is that if you buy the additional iPod adapter from the stereo manufacturer like Alpine, Pioneer, Kenwood etc. you'll have only one cable feeding your iPod and that cable will feed the signal to the stereo and charge your iPod. The other output is on the top of the iPod in the form of a headphone jack. This output is variable and will allow the volume to be adjusted with a wireless iPod remote control like the one in the link below but will require two cables to the iPod one for the music signal and one for charging.

When deciding on the type of stereo with AUX input to buy keep in mind that a front mounted 3.5mm female headphone jack AUX input with have a plug sticking out the front side of your stereo to connect to the iPod. This is dangerous on a boat and can be easily broken off by someone adjusting the stereos volume in a sea. I recommend stereos with the AUX input on the rear side of the stereo and wiring the iPod directly to that. You can usually read the specs to determine if the AUX is front mounted or rear mounted.


Step 2 - Consider an iPod Remote! The remote we use is made by ABT and is called the iJet. It's a RF (radio freequency) not a line of site remote like a TV remote so it will work form anywhere on the boat without having to point it at the stereo. The iJet consists of two parts, a receiver, which plugs into either the bottom, on 5G (G=generation) iPods or the top of 3G & 4G ipods and a remote fob. The actual remote is the size of a key fob for a car and will allow you to adjust volume, track up & down, turn the iPod on & off and pause/play.

http://www.abtech2.com/

This device is by far the best $40.00 I have ever spent on my boat. It allows me to velcro the water resistant remote to my pedestal and keep my iPod mounted next to my stereo dry and safe.


Step 4- iPod mounting - You will need to decide where you are going to keep your iPod. The easiest solution, I found, is next to the stereo on a strong aluminum powdercoated pedestal bracket made by a company called Panavise. The model is a Slimline - Model 727-06 at the link below

http://www.panavise.com/f/comm/cell_slimline.html

The second product connects to the pedestal and holds the iPod. It's called a Gripmatic CM30 and it bolts directly to the Panavise (the holes are already drilled on the Panavise to fit the Gripmatic) and holds the iPod perfectly. Don't just use the links I posted for buying these items search around for the best price as they vary widely. I think I paid $15.00 for the Panavise and $9.95 for the Gripmatic.

http://www.expansys.no/p.aspx?i=106158

You can see the Panavise and the Gripmatic in the picture below. Good luck you'll love your iPod I have my entire music collection on mine and it's about 28gb of data!!!!

Pic 1 - ABT iJet remote attached with velcro next to the plotter (upper right).

Pic 2 - Griffin Air Click receiver mounted to a 4G iPod.

Pic 3 - 5G iPod mounted in the Panavise/Gripmatic combo and the Pioneer stereo.

-Acoustic






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Last edited by Maine Sail; 01-06-2007 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 01-07-2007
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Halekai...you are seriously misinformed about car stereo power and the accoustic properties of speakers but nevertheless have managed to select some very decent equipment for the price range AND understand good sound quality when you hear it. AND you have put together your ipod into the system in a very logical way.
My constraint in answering was the Geary's presumed $175 budget for the system rather than the $350 he just noted. So now I have to go play around some more and come up with new choices but your Abtech IR remote is definitely the way to go for remote control.

Let me just point out one small fact since ALL the car stereo manufacturers lie big time about it...it is impossible according to OHM's law to get 18 REAL FULL TIME watts per channel x 4 out of a car stereo head unit running at 12 volts. The reality is that low power units give you about 4 watts and hi power gives you about 6.5..... NOT MUCH...but enough to fill a small space like a car interior with decent levels of sound for general listening. If you want real bass and loud music in a car or on a boat you need a separate freestanding amp.
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big help

thanks, you guys. Great help.
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LOL Cam, it doesn't have to be $349.99! I'm cool with less.

Think I'm leaning away from the Polk 525's given the small size / lack of bass response. Thus, polk 650's perhaps. God, I just hate those grills.

So wakeboard-y. And this, from a guy who loves wakeboarding.

Really, thoughful answers, however. Merci.

ps. Still open to specific reccos. Locked on the ipod + RF transmitter. Thus, need read stereo aux input + good system.

And some good speaker picks! Sailnet rocks. No pun intended.

T
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Old 01-07-2007
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Camraderie....

I'm not misinformed about speakers or the power output of car stereos at all I just did not want to confuse someone with all the real in-depth crap. Yes all the manufacturers lie and you're correct that NO car deck actually puts out 18 or 22 watts RMS. That is why I said to buy as efficient and as large a speaker driver as possible for the cockpit, ie: a 6.5 inch from the same manufacturer will have better bass than a 5 inch, to keep it simple for the non-audiophile. Simply put mate an efficient speaker, with a car stereo, to avoid having to buy additional power amplifiers. Some of the Poly Planars are very inefficient like 86db vs. 92db for some of the speakerss made by JL Audio, Sony or Pioneer....
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