Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
  Your Shipboard Music Reproduction System

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   Your Shipboard Music Reproduction System
17 bodega posted 05-14-2007 11:19 AM ET (US)   Profile for 17 bodega   Send Email to 17 bodega  
I would like to know what members are using for stereo [music reproduction] systems mainly in 18 foot or smaller boats with only two speakers.

I am considering just using an amplifier, speakers, and an iPod since I don't use CD's much anymore other than to rip them into iTunes.

How is your system setup and how large is the voltage draw? I have two deep-cycle batteries and a Perko switch, so I'm only interested in a fairly low wattage system.

Chuck Tribolet posted 05-14-2007 12:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
The sound of the wind and the waves and the birds.


17 bodega posted 05-14-2007 12:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Maybe you're right Chuck, but sometimes I digress into the desire for a bit of Jack Johnson, Bob Marley, Maybe a bit of Stan Getz, and so fourth, to drown out the hum of the outboard motor, two stroke nearby, or other man made distraction in an urban setting. Much of the point is to try to make the boat more appealing to the girlfriend. I'm gonna hold off on the wine and cheese cooler, but I confess to considering a small rail mount barbecue. The point here is te improve the ambience for "hanging out" at dockside picnicking locations. I'm sure these efforts will fail miserably but since I'm in my 40's now, I better try to enjoy life a bit more....

As far as the wilderness rides in Tomales Bay, Channel Islands, the radio stays off and the ambient sounds of the surroundings remain the backdrop. This is more about The Avalon Harbor or the beach chill... versitility man... gotta have all the options in the boat. Increase the utility of the vessel.

teleman360 posted 05-14-2007 02:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for teleman360  Send Email to teleman360     
I am in the process of installing a stereo in my classic 13 sport. My goal is to have something I can play my Ipod on when I am at rest mostly and to conceal as much of the equipment as possible. I to enjoy a little Jack Johnson and Bob Marley as I lay in the sun, swim or fish. I went with the Poly-Planar MP3 Kit with out the speakers.
I then got West Marine box speakers, so I could mount them under the front bench seat. I am mounting the amplifier inside the side console so you can't see it and is close to my fuse block. The volume control knob and input jack are then mounted to a finished piece of mahogany attached under the rear bench seat, again to keep it out of view and with in reach. The whole setup is waterproof so if I take a wave over the bow it will keep on working. Hope this helps.

17 bodega posted 05-14-2007 02:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Yes. That's sort of the same thing I've been looking to compile piece by piece. I've been looking at similar amps. The only thing the kit adds is the volume knob and the jack. I already have the audio adapters for the mp3 player so I really only need the amp and some speakers.

How much did you pay for the setup you have?


teleman360 posted 05-14-2007 03:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for teleman360  Send Email to teleman360     
Since I didn't want the speakers either, I ended up purchasing this unit:
which comes with the volume control. The best price I could find was at for $80 plus s/h. I got the input jack at west marine for $9.99: 10001/247261/0/0/mp3%20jack/All_2/mode+matchallpartial/0/0
freebored posted 05-14-2007 03:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for freebored  Send Email to freebored     
inMotion iMX2 on amazon for $18 ... plays mp3's (don't need the xm) ... velcro it to the console plug in an mp3 player and a $15 power supply (drops 12 volts from battery to 5 volts for stereo) or just use batteries ....
Moe posted 05-14-2007 07:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
I have also just added the PolyPlanar ME-50 (from Defender) for our iPod in our Catalina Capri 18 sailboat. The previous owner had left two 6-1/2" speakers in the cockpit seat backs. Rather than the nice (and expensive) waterproof 3.5mm female jack PolyPlanar sells with the MP3 kit, I just used a six foot 3.5mm stereo male to stereo male RCA plugs cable I had from a PC sound card (all this is in the cabin).

To hold, power/charge, and get line out from the iPod, we're using a TransPod we usually use in the truck lighter plug, since we have it on hand. It also gives us the capability to broadcast to any boats we're rafted up with. :-) The transmitter can be turned off when not needed.

Had we not been able to get line out, the ME-50 can switch from line level input to earphone/speaker level input and the male 3.5mm plug would just go in the iPod's earphone out


where2 posted 05-14-2007 11:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Chuck wrote: "The sound of the wind, the waves and the birds".

Funny, I have two whalers and both have sound systems as Chuck described. I find when I run down to the island I've been visiting for 36 years, that no matter what I had for a stereo, the guys with the 35' Contender, rafted up to the guys with the 31' Jupiter express fisherman have something else playing on their sound systems. Despite being rafted up together, they cannot pick one theme of music to play, and each will be playing a different CD/FM/Ipod. All three of them have subwoofers, and thousands of watts of amplification. Most weekends, there are 20-40 boats fitting this description, rafted up together, all playing random music selections. The result is quite annoying.

I've been humoring the teens directly across the canal with their boom-box on the dock playing their rap music at distortion levels. Knowing I was once that young, and did that very same thing helps me to humor them while I build my dock. Meanwhile, I have less humor for the guy 5 houses up the street with the 34' Donzi open fisherman who was cranking his tunes while he washed the boat for an hour one afternoon, mind you Axl Rose was clearly audible for both times through the Guns-N-Roses CD, and I was upwind with a 10mph wind. I also don't have much humor for the guy 5 houses down the canal on the opposite side who plays Reggae at dance club sound levels while he putters around the boat all weekend long. Apparently, my neighbors are all deaf.

I have noted that the systems described by the Whaler owners here are intended for minimal impact to the surrounding boating community. I applaud those who use restraint with their volume knobs on thier boats. I wish my neighbors were as courteous.

With two deep cycle batteries, you should be good to go with that 50W Poly-Planar amplifier. At full power, it draws 7A maximum. You should have more than enough reserve capacity in one of your deep cycle batteries to spend the afternoon or evening at anchor listening to your music at low to moderate volume levels.

Chuck Tribolet posted 05-15-2007 12:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     

Please don't share you music with me.
Do not underestimate how far it will carry on the water.



aja posted 05-16-2007 08:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for aja  Send Email to aja     
This brings up an interesting situation with power consumption on newer boats. A friend has a newer 29' 4 Winns and is constantly having problems with depleted batteries, of course when he isn't plugged into shore power. The boat seems to be laid out to pack as many shoreside amenities into it as possibe and with absolutely no consideration for energy conservation.
I have looked over his electrical panel a number of times while we were out at anchor and keep saying the same thing: "turn some of this stuff off" - 2 refrigerators, stereo, lights, electric vacuum head, etc.
His solution this spring was to add another house battery but this situation seems to be a combination of operator error, and a stupidly laid out boat which has been designed to look nice in it's slip or at the boat show to people who know nothing about boats and where there is an unlimited power source connected.
Sort of sad state of affairs where I suspect his situation fits the norm of boaters today better than us simple whaler owners who wonder if there might be a way to connect up an I-pod.
17 bodega posted 05-16-2007 11:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
The only other audio consideration for me is a PA type law enforcement horn that I can make announcements on... Like the ice cream truck on steroids. "Boston Whaler Approaching... please step to the center of the vessel and put your hands where I can see them...."

Mobjack posted 05-16-2007 04:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mobjack  Send Email to Mobjack     
I am usually a "song of the wind" kind of guy myself, but I must confess that as I passed the clearance table at West Marine I noticed the last of what was probably a pile of Jensen am/fm radio cd player units. I bought it. 115 dollars for the unit with two speakers. Now I get to try and figure out how to set it up in my montauk.

The extent of my electrical ability is this: either crimping on simple connections, I can do that, or replacing something that has gone bad, because I just go find something that looks identical, and backtrack until I have it exactly the same way. So, if there were already a stereo in the boat, I could do it no problem.

The other thing I am a little antsy about is cutting two giant holes in my console for the speakers. What procedure works best for cutting these, big(3-4"), round holes? What machine? Jigsaw, Dremel, Sawzall?(just kidding on that last one...)

17 bodega posted 05-16-2007 11:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     

I think you are on the right track, and I was dreading the hole cutting as you are. I realized that I had rod holders in the classic speaker position of my small console. If you were to take it to a boat shop, they would use a jigsaw, large hole cutter or some other doodad, probably operated by a guy getting paid six bucks an hour.

I will exchange the speakers for some box type mountable with brackets or something. Who knows I might scrap the project for now. I need to evaluate the voltage drain in my limited two battery system.

freebored posted 05-17-2007 04:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for freebored  Send Email to freebored     
rotozip with zipmate
Mobjack posted 05-17-2007 12:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mobjack  Send Email to Mobjack     
I need to evaluate the voltage drain in my limited ONE battery system. How long do you plan on leaving the thing running? I know, for example, that on summer trips to one of the local bay islands here on the Nantucket, the radio would stay on for at least three to four hours, on one battery system, no problem.
Until reading this discussion, I had no idea they drew very much voltage.

I have just been at West Marine this morning looking at different ways to mount the thing. Ideally, I would like it to be completely hidden. I dread cutting big speaker holes in my console, but not as much as I dread cutting a big hole to facemount the unit. But if I put it in the console, then they say you should avoid mounting them vertically, so I have to find a way to suspend it from the "ceiling" of the center console, and its going to be a pain to access it. I am also considering just scrapping the project for now. I looked at the smallest box speakers they had and they were not that small, they would clutter up the top of the console way too much.

AtoZ posted 05-17-2007 02:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for AtoZ  Send Email to AtoZ     
I like the idea I found in the archives. Mount the speakers in the sides of the cooler in front of the console. I use it just for storage anyway.
where2 posted 05-17-2007 10:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
AtoZ said: "Mount the speakers in the sides of the cooler in front of the console."

I wish someone had pointed out that perfect use for the cooler to the original owner of my 15_Rage. Instead, I have a 5" hole facing the back of the cooler. (the speaker is for the VHF radio in the console). Once I put a cooler in the cooler chocks, the speaker speaks to the cooler and not much else. Meanwhile, I understand from the previous owner that the original owner left the original cooler that belonged on the boat on some island in the bahamas, having become too drunk to remember it needed to go back in the boat before he departed... (if boats could talk, I'm sure this one would have some stories...)

davej14 posted 05-18-2007 12:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
Adding an AM/FM radio is my Spring project I am about to purchase the Poly Planar MRD-60 because it does not require an add on faceplate cover. It may not have the fidelity of some other options but the convenience of a sealed front panel outweighs that in my opinion. An open cockpit boat will not have great fidelity no mater what you install.

Another reason I am liking the Poly Planar is the availability of speakers with a built in IR receiver. This will allow remote control of the radio when I am in the bow. According to Poly Planar the speakers are identical to those without the IR receiver so you do not have to put in a pair to match them. They are available in 4", 5" or 6".

For signal reception I plan to use a Shakesphere splitter with my existing VHF antenna.

When I get the boat home from storage next weekend I'll figure out the speaker placement.

Mobjack posted 05-18-2007 03:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mobjack  Send Email to Mobjack     
This thread got me thinking about it last night, and I decided that if I were to set up my radio on the montauk, I would probably build a box/cradle for it to sit in inside the center console, which would only require a couple of small screws to secure. That way, no facemount cutting, no trying to hang it from the ceiling. However, that still leaves me with two five inch holes to cut for speakers. I really just dont like the idea of doing that, its very invasive, and there is definitely no turning back. Once they are there, they are there. I am going to look for a couple of tiny speakers, as small as possible, that I could fasten to the top of the cc. Again, the wires could run through an existing conduit hole, and the speakers would only require a couple of small screws to attach. So far the only thing I have found are VHF extension speakers. They are small, but I think for music their sound quality would probably be poor.
I am not concerned with being able to do the actual install. I have done things much more complicated and difficult. But cutting numerous large holes in my original console gives me pause. Someday I will sell this thing, and I dont want it to look like one of those wonderful old classic pickup trucks that has been chopped all to hell and has every custom modern off-road modification in the world. They end up looking trashy. I like my classic intact, so the less invasive the better. To each their own.
contender posted 05-18-2007 03:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Carry on sony, breaks throw away, get another one, no radio hole or speakers in the boat...good luck
GreatBayNH posted 05-18-2007 03:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
I too was looking for the perfect, non-intrusive, solution for my Montauk. Then I found it! It was the perfect solution. Totally removable, great full bodied sound. The beauty is I can take it in and out of the boat as needed. No holes drilled, no wires run, no dead marine battery. It's perfect! current=panasonic-rx7200.jpg

GreatBayNH posted 05-18-2007 03:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
I know what you're thinking. Too big. I have to agree. I did a lot of searching and came up with something much better. Holds more songs than you could possibly listen to in one outing. It won't anger your fellow boaters that are out to listen to only the wind, waves and the birds.

Smaller footprint too! current=newone.jpg

bkloss posted 05-18-2007 11:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for bkloss  Send Email to bkloss     
That's a great idea, that will plug in perfectly to the aux connection to the head unit and the 100 watt amp that is powering the 3 sets of speakers in my boat. Heck it won't take up any room at all!

Just kidding....I like my music and see nothing wrong with any option so long as it doesn't interfere with anybody else and their idea of fun. Like anything, you will find those that abuse

AtoZ posted 05-20-2007 11:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for AtoZ  Send Email to AtoZ     
Here is an idea I'll try and wonder if anyone else has done it. I have 2 waterproof 4" speakers I got about 10 years ago with a radio and never used. They will fit perfectly mounted on the backside of my '89 Montauk console hatch that faces aft. The front of the speakers will be towards the slats. I'll post up the results after I set it up.
aquaman posted 05-23-2007 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for aquaman  Send Email to aquaman     
17 Bodega,

Last year I mounted a Clarion Model 320 Marine Amp with two Polyplaner gunwale mounted speakers and utilize my Ipod for tunes. It works fantastic, more power then I need and have had no issues with the amp in a marine envronment. Below find a link to a previous discussion.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


jimh posted 05-23-2007 11:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Generally I prefer a Class-A FET amplifier. I was quite sorry to see the HAFLER line go out of production. One of my favorite simple systems was the HAFLER P1500. asp?productID=3272&viewId=1

I am a fan of TANNOY loudspeakers. Their self-powered bi-amplified 8-inch dual concentric speakers cabinets with time-aligned tweeters mounted in the throat of the woofer is a great small loudspeaker.

bkloss posted 05-24-2007 09:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for bkloss  Send Email to bkloss     
I don't know Jim, that amp might not have enough power for all the folks to hear it on Georgian Bay. :)

I am going to do a new install on a new Outrage 210 and I am going to mount 2 speakers in the center console facing the gunnels where Whaler installs them and then I was going to also install 2 more speakers in the aft, facing foward, where Whaler also installs them from the factory. The head unit and amp will be installed in the center console and I will install a 3 1/2" wired remote on the dash. The remote is completely sealed so no water can penetrate (I also bought a second one as a spare)

All of the speakers are Mb Quartz, made specifically for marine applications (water) but previously I have always hesitated and have never installed aft speakers in fear of them taking a beating from salt water spray and my extensive washdown ritual after each salt water outing. Can any speaker facing forward in that location really stand up to that kind of an environment? Something about cutting holes in that location really bugs me. I am going to have to seriously look at other locations on that boat before I do that.


hauptjm posted 05-24-2007 10:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
I have a decent system with CD and radio with fair speakers. It works very well for the platform of a boat. However, I almost never use it. Most of my boating music comes from the voices of my children. May be corney, but I never forget the lyrics!

swist posted 05-25-2007 08:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
"TANNOY" is the perfect brand name for marine stereo speakers.
17 bodega posted 05-29-2007 01:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
I agree with you Jim, that the Tannoy and Haffler are fine audio reproduction gear, although the links you provide are more commonly seen in the project musician or project broadcaster [indoor 120 volt environment] studio rather than in a small boat electrical environment. I suspect your sly sense of humor is at play here, and most welcome from me...heh.

The haffler amps are readily available used market "on the cheap" and work well with a set of passive studio monitors. I prefer the JBL control one or control 5, but the tannoy speakers are highly regarded in the business

Separate amps are rarely used because biamplified monitor speakers are preferred with separate amplifiers powering the woofers and tweeters.

In my project studio where I produce audio recordings I use a set of KRK "rockit 6" monitors which are affordable and sound great.

The sound is very impressive and can handle reasonable volume. No need for the two rack space amp.

I'm guessing you use the gear mentioned in the links in your broadcast studio? Anyway, I enjoyed the links to the audio equipment.

My marine audio goals are beyond music reproduction alone. I plan to rig up some sort of law enforcment type of hailing/siren type gizmo for emergencies and to generally mess with drunk fishermen on the water and guide lost boats in the fog. The park I work at part time is a vulnerable spit of sand called Doran Beach. The Sonoma County Parks, The USCG, FEMA, and the State Office of Emergency Services are pooling their intellegence to prepare for tsunami evacuation.

Check out this photo to see why this beach is vulnerable to tsunami: northbay/bodegahead/090503/websize/067doran.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www. tbnid=bP9z8YKadvPoZM:&tbnh=103&tbnw=137&prev=/ images%3Fq%3DDoran%2BBeach%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den

17 bodega posted 05-29-2007 01:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
By the way, I noticed the Tannoy monitors are also powered and biamplified. I hear great things about them. Much more expensive than mine...
jimh posted 05-29-2007 08:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I think the look of the K-Rocks would be simpatico with the newer Boston Whaler boats. With a good sine wave power inverter, why not go for 115-VAC power in the audio reproduction system. And you can always rock at the dock, too.
17 bodega posted 05-29-2007 09:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
The yellow is not the best gelcoat match, but maybe a yellow wakeboard tower could tie everything together. Perhaps a barbershop striped microphone stand to bust a few James Brown moves on the water.

I have one of these to capture any ambient sounds I wish to digitize to CD or MP3: Marantz_PMD222_PMD_222_Portable_Cassette_Recorder.html

Whaler_bob posted 05-29-2007 01:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler_bob  Send Email to Whaler_bob     
If you're looking for a simple surface mount AM/FM stereo (with 3 NOAA weather channels) for your Montauk's console, take a look at this one for $59 including the enclosure:
I ordered one, and I already have a cassette adapter I can use w/my MP3 player. I particularly like the fact that it's a pull out style chassis and I don't have to cut any holes in my console to use it.

Seaworthy 8900GWB 100 Watts AM/FM/Cassette/Weatherband with Gimbal Mount Housing Marine Stereo...
"Take it home" pull out chassis with carry handle
Epoxy coated inner chassis sleeve
RCA AUX line level outputs for amplifier and/or subwoofer
Circuits protected with CRC Plasticote 70
100 Watts Total
25 watts per channel
AM/FM cassette
3 NOAA weather channels
Full electronic tuning with Auto Seek, Auto Store and Preset Scan
Battery backup for clock and presets
12 FM 6 AM presets
Easy to read positive LCD display with clock
Fader and balance controls
Separate bass and treble controls
Gimbal mount enclosure with Lexan splash cover
Dimensions: 8 1/2" W x 8 3/4" D x 2 3/4" H

Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.