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son of a son of a sailor
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to be adding a stereo to my '95 Catalina 320. (it's never had one--don't know how the previous owner went without!)

As it will be mounted inside the cabin, the experienced marine engineer that I'm working with on some other electrical issues told me that I don't need to get a "marine" stereo. I know it won't be directly exposed to the elements, but it seems that it's still a much more humid environment than the typical car faces.

Thoughts?

Thanks.

Kevin
 

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Señor Member
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Kevin,

IMHO: Listen to your engineer -- a regular car stereo will do fine inside the cabin (unless it's mounted directly below the companionway, that is.) Plenty to choose from, with all the bells and whistles.

That said, you should be a little more diligent when you actually wire it up. Use adhesive-lined heat-shrink butt connectors, and quality cables.
 

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It is true you can get away with a car stereo. They are about half the price. However, I can't seem to get more then a few years out of a CD player; they just seem to die out on me. The current cd player has given out again (radio portion works fine) so I am switching to a Fusion Ipod docking station instead. No moving parts and I use the Ipod more these days anyway. Only problem is the sole vendor for the Fusion is West Marine.
 

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It is true you can get away with a car stereo. They are about half the price. However, I can't seem to get more then a few years out of a CD player; they just seem to die out on me. The current cd player has given out again (radio portion works fine) so I am switching to a Fusion Ipod docking station instead. No moving parts and I use the Ipod more these days anyway. Only problem is the sole vendor for the Fusion is West Marine.
CD's are soooo 1989. Get an iPod. You can have your entire music collection onboard and never have to mess with jewel cases or loading CD's. I intially longed for a unit with an iPod dock, but after using my FM modulator I've found that it works fine and I can plug it into the 12v jack in the cockpit which allows me to change tunes or pause the music from the helm which is great.

I liked it so much I got over enthusiastic and blew one of my cockpit speakers, so I'll be replacing those before we splash again. For that you do need the marine version.
 

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Regular car stereo works just fine inside the cabin. "Marine" grade is only required if it will be exposed to water or weather i.e. an open cockpit. Definitely look into pod compatible. we plug in the iPod to the front of the stereo and have lots of music without the bulk of Cd's.
 

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Tartan 37
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I installed a IPod Compatible Sony CD/Radio with a remote from the WalMart for about $200. Works fine and I can use the remote to control the radio & ipod from the cockpit, I just have to have the line of sight with the remote.
 

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I've got a 10 year-old Alpine mounted inside the cabin that's just starting to exhibit issues. The volume knob skips around a bit, goes up when you turn it down, etc. but other than that, NO ISSUES.
 

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Prince...I have VERY professional experience in car stereos. You will be fine with a standard stereo. Suggest you get one that is IPOD compatible (if you have an Ipod) or has a USB or Aux input jack so you can bring all your tunes with you.
Further suggest that you get a model with remote control so you can change stations and/volume from the cockpit.
That's the STEREO...what about speakers...will they be downstairs too or up in the cockpit? Car speakers can be used "upstairs" as well for beter sound and value BUT they must have plastic grills, rubber surrounds on the speaker cones and plastic speaker cones. They should always be ROUND and not oval. Spend at least as much on your speakers as your radio for the best sound.
 

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Prince...I have VERY professional experience in car stereos. You will be fine with a standard stereo. Suggest you get one that is IPOD compatible (if you have an Ipod) or has a USB or Aux input jack so you can bring all your tunes with you.
Further suggest that you get a model with remote control so you can change stations and/volume from the cockpit.
That's the STEREO...what about speakers...will they be downstairs too or up in the cockpit? Car speakers can be used "upstairs" as well for beter sound and value BUT they must have plastic grills, rubber surrounds on the speaker cones and plastic speaker cones. They should always be ROUND and not oval. Spend at least as much on your speakers as your radio for the best sound.
LOL...I asked the same questions as the OP question a long while ago and Camaraderie gave very similar advice then, see my post above :D Thanks again Cam!
 

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son of a son of a sailor
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Prince...I have VERY professional experience in car stereos. You will be fine with a standard stereo. Suggest you get one that is IPOD compatible (if you have an Ipod) or has a USB or Aux input jack so you can bring all your tunes with you.
Further suggest that you get a model with remote control so you can change stations and/volume from the cockpit.
That's the STEREO...what about speakers...will they be downstairs too or up in the cockpit? Car speakers can be used "upstairs" as well for beter sound and value BUT they must have plastic grills, rubber surrounds on the speaker cones and plastic speaker cones. They should always be ROUND and not oval. Spend at least as much on your speakers as your radio for the best sound.
Thanks, camaraderie, and everyone else.

I will be using my iPod. Playing CDs would be very infrequent, if at all. I will have speakers in the cockpit and in the cabin. Additionally, I hope to run the TV audio through it for cabin use (the audio sucks on my little 19" flat screen LCD). My engineer has recommended using these Bose 151 speakers mounted under the stern rail seats:



If it will sound good, I'm attracted to this because I like the idea of not having to cut holes into the boat, and because they'll be out of the way. I haven't picked cabin speakers yet.

Kevin
 

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if your not adverse to walmart i saw they have a jvc cd player with remote for 80 bucks. it has a ipod jack and a usb charging jack to keep the ipod charged. it was 50 watts by 4 channel, not that thats real number but driving 6 inch speakers it would drive you out of the boat.
 

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Fine...get box speakers...but not sucko ones like the 151's!! Three 2.5" speakers without dedicated tweeters!
Get a pair of Boston Acoustics Voyager 4's or Polk Atriums which are both in the same price range...Crutchfield has 'em. Let your installer hook up the Bose and the Boston's and compare them at the same loudness. If you don't like the Boston's better you can return 'em easily and come back on here and tell everyone I'm full of ****!! :D







HeyT37...I read your post after I made mine and had forgotten about my earlier advice...My first reaction was ...damn...he knows his stuff! :D :D :D
Glad it all worked out for ya!
 

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son of a son of a sailor
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Fine...get box speakers...but not sucko ones like the 151's!! Three 2.5" speakers without dedicated tweeters!
Get a pair of Boston Acoustics Voyager 4's or Polk Atriums which are both in the same price range...Crutchfield has 'em. Let your installer hook up the Bose and the Boston's and compare them at the same loudness. If you don't like the Boston's better you can return 'em easily and come back on here and tell everyone I'm full of ****!! :D
Thanks for the specific recommendations. Very helpful!

So the 151's suck, eh? Good to know. I have no reason to believe that the engineer who recommended them knows much about audio.
 

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son of a son of a sailor
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
camaraderie,

While we're at it, what would you recommend for cabin use? I was thinking smaller, but I could go with another pair of the BAs or Polks for inside, but maybe you think there is something more appropriate?

The advice is greatly appreciated!

Kevin
 

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Go with the car stereo. The advice about cabling, shrink-wrapping, etc. is good. Get a used one, in fact, open it up and apply conformal spray.

Conformal coating - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It's not a simple topic in terms of choice and technique, but it does extend the life of electronics in humid, salty air, and anything I have that isn't gasketed will get a shot before I hit salt water.

The speakers on the other hand, are partly taste, partly location and partly construction. If they are to nest under the dodger or 95% free from spray, good quality "patio speakers" will do fine. If they are in the cabin, good bookshelf speakers will suffice, but you will fiddle with the mounts as the acoustic qualities of cabins can make music boom and stuff rattle in the lockers (I have PSB Alphas driven by an Arcam Alpha 5 amp aboard, but that's strictly in the dry zone. Classical music set to "five feet from the brass section" in a pilot house is quite something indeed, but on deck I skip the music and listen to the wind.

A tip: If you go the flash drive/MP3 route (and I encourage this as CD players don't really like the movement aboard and they corrode easily), make your own MP3s at a high sample rate from the .cda files on your existing CDs. I suggest 320 kbits EAC. You can look all this stuff up, or get a kid to do it for you.

Happy listening!
 

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Well...you don't need to be paying for weatherproofing and marinization inside the boat. If you want small speakers you will be sacrificing meaningful bass but Val's PSB Alphas are accurate and a good value even though lacking in bass. A good choice if size is a primary consideration. Their Alpha B1 monitor is a bit bigger but will give you nearly an octave more bass and is in the same price range as your outdoor speakers but with even better sound.

The PSB's may be tough for you to find or a little to big for the interior. Alternatively, I suggest that you might be quite happy with Cambridge Soundworks Newton MC305's which are excellent performers for the money and more amenable to mounting and corner placement which may make them suitable for your needs. That they are 20% off this week is an added bargain!

Cambridge SoundWorks: High Performance Speakers, Home Theater Systems, Table Radios, Multimedia Systems and More

<table width="440" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td class="specleftlayer1" nowrap="nowrap">SPEAKER DIMENSIONS</td> <td class="specleftlayer1" nowrap="nowrap">
</td> <td class="specrightlayer1" nowrap="nowrap">13 1/4" H X 5 1/4"W X 6 1/2"D</td></tr></tbody></table>
Hope this is helpful for you.
 

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Cam, my unusually squarish saloon and steel hull means I get more than enough bass and I chose the PSBs precisely because they wouldn't boom, but you're right that most boats could use a little "keel" in their speaker systems.

I've heard some Boston Acoustics "Voyager" line models that sounded pretty nice to me, but I caution that the speaker conditions in the cockpit and "down below" on most boats could not be more different, and that knob-fiddling, speaker placement and a basic grounding in acoustics will improve the perceived performance of nearly any speaker. Boats are tough because saloons are generally small, low, wide and long spaces with odd shaped furniture and alternating hard and soft reflective surfaces. Experimentation can yield wildly variable results, and sometimes there is only one "sweet spot" in the entire boat for listening, in which case four or six small "desktop" speakers throughout the boat might give better coverage.
 

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I left a boom box on the boat last summer and the corrosive salt air had it corroded and ruined in that one summer. I have since bought a marine grade system but won't be installing it until this spring.
 

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We are also planning to add a sound system this year. Any suggestions on head units? I want something no more than $200 with a good iPod interface and remote (this will be mounted in the saloon). As for the speaker placement, I was thinking of two in the cockpit and two down below. If I go that route do I use the front and back speaker lines off the head unit for inside and outside?


By the way, we have PSB Alphas in our condo, running through our Pioneer Elite receiver. I bought the PSBs back in the early 90s and still love them. When we bought our receiver last year (Yamaha that I bought with the speakers had finally given up), I was very pleased to see that they still make the line. I'd like a bit more bass, but the Admiral keeps reminding me that we live in a condo in the city and have neighbors.
 
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