We don't and won't use an Ipod except for portable use. We will hold most of our music on hard drive or individual CDs. When I rip music to computer I do so without compression. Sound quality is fsuperior although you can fill up a hard drive surprisingly quickly.
Any thought or suggestions would be appreciated.
If you want sound quality it is very hard to do well on a boat while balancing current draw! As for ripping all your music, without compression due to quality, I really need to laugh at that one. First the Mp3 player or iPod is the single greatest piece of music gear I have purchased in a long, long time. While the sound quality of the standard "rip" of 128 kbps is somewhat lacking you can adjust that up to 320 kbps and you'll be hard pressed to notice a difference.
I am a life long audiophile and musician with what most consider a very, very well trained ear. My home system cost me well... A LOT of $$$. Heck the custom built mono-block amplifier for my front left speaker alone was 3.5k and I have a matched one for the right speaker too plus center and surround amps. I have more invested in cabling & interconnects for my home system than I do for the entire sound system on my boat including my new 160gb iPod.
I have done many comparisons for friends between 128 kbps, 320 kbps and a CD and while on my very high end system you can certainly tell a there is a difference between 320 and CD the DRAMATIC difference is at 128 kbps vs. 320 or CD. When we move to the car, or their home system, they can't even come close to discerning a difference, in blind comparisons, between 320 kbps and CD.
The biggest problem with Mp3 players in the internal pre-amp. For an iPod you should be using the pre-amp output on the bottom NOT the headphone output. While this does compromise the sound quality, when compared to home audio pre-amps & surround processors costing 2.5 to 10k, the pre-amps in iPods are very, very similar in quality to the cheap pre's built into car audio decks and inexpensive home audio products.
Don't discard the iPod due to sound quality until you've tried one at 320 kbps or hooked one up correctly using the pre-out on the bottom going directly via RCA's into your amp. I have over 1700 CD's on my iPod all ripped at 320 kbps. This saves a TON of space compared to a full CD rip.
If you want high end on a boat a 12v car audio system with separate power amps is the way to go. The best sounding box speakers I've heard are the Paradigm's, http://www.paradigm.com/en/paradigm/...1-7-6.paradigm
by quite a long shot, but they are 8ohm not 4ohm so an amp may be required. If you want a truly great sounding marine duty speaker check out the stuff from JL Audio. It's worth building your own box for these puppies! These are the ONLY marine grade speakers I have found that even come close to audiophile quality! http://marine.jlaudio.com/products_c...hp?prod_id=376
I actually run a set of Blose 151's. http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/nav...=5&item=359942
These 151's are NOT to be confused with the replacement piece of crap 151 SE. Because the 151's are very, very efficient 4 ohm speakers, and can be played quite loudly, with a stock car audio deck. The Blose 151's are a far better speaker than the 151 SE! While they still basically sound like crap they allow me to avoid the high current draw of running a set of Paradigms and separate amps. If I had unlimited battery supply I'd be building a set of speaker boxes for a par of JL Audio speakers!
On a boat, like in a car, I've learned to lower my standards and leave the critical listening to my home system....