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Old 30-08-2009, 07:01   #1
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5.1 Car Audio

I have been trying and trying to figure out a good audio/visual system for our soon to be new boat, a 54 foot cruising sailboat.

There is a dedicated TV locker in the salon, but it is made for a small CRT television.

I don't really want a flat-screen television mounted on a bulkhead in plain view, or mounted to a locker door (how would you reinforce the hinges?), so I've about decided to buy a 22"-odd LCD television (with built-in DVD player) and just stow it somewhere, without fixing it place anywhere. It then simply be set up temporarily if needed to watch a movie sometime. I can't imagine ever needing a tv at sea but I suppose it could be bungeed in place if necessary when the boat is moving.

I am not much of a tv watcher, but audio is a different matter. I had thought to buy one of those micro home cinema units and fix it in place in the tv locker. Speakers could be built into the headliner. But those "micro" home cinema units are quite deep -- too deep to fit the locker. So it looks like audio will have to be done with some kind of souped-up car audio system. And thus my question:

Any of you guys seen a car audio system with either optical audio input (to take the 5.1 audio from the DVD player) or with built-in DVD and HDMI output? I can't seem to find anything; it is an odd specification which is not much useful for actual cars.

Any other tips, based on experience, for cruising boat A/V would likewise be appreciated!
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Old 30-08-2009, 07:08   #2
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Do you have a PC on board? If so, your set. Just install a good sound card, output it to a decent size amp, put some marine speakers rated for the power your going to run, and your set.
Output the audio via optical, and your video via hdmi. But you need a hdmi video card for that.
You could build a micro pc that can do all that for not much cash.
And just put in a medium size lcd monitor like say 20 to 24 inches on a swing mount at the nav station and swing it to the salon when your watching movies or tv. You could put in a tv tuner and with a decent size hd, have a dvr.
Of course you would need to run it off a inverter unless you use a laptop. All that could be done with a new laptop as well.
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Old 30-08-2009, 08:42   #3
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That's funny, I was just thinking the same thing, as one more option. Use the nav computer for A/V. It's elegant because greatly reduces the amount of hardware involved. I wouldn't do it if the nav computer were mission critical, but in my case it's just backup to a regular Raymarine chartplotter setup.

I would use a Sony multimedia laptop which can be run on a 12v supply and has a HDMI output. There is a dedicated slide-out tray for it on my boat. I would then get a 20"-odd monitor and put it on an arm at the nav table. Turn it around 180 degrees and it is in the perfect spot to view from the salon. It would make a killer nav system with all that screen real estate. Yes, that's an interesting idea.


BUT THAT still doesn't solve the audio problem. The question about car audio remains. Since I don't seem to have a convenient place to mount even a micro receiver/ home cinema receiver, I think the audio needs to go through a car unit (also mounted at the nav station) with separate amplifiers driving headliner mounted speakers.

It would need to have a digital audio input so that I could get the 5.1 audio into the car audio system. I can't seem to find such a beast.

OR alternatively the car head unit could have a DVD player built into it (those do exist). But in that case it would need to have HDMI output to get the video into the monitor.

Anybody been through this?
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Old 30-08-2009, 12:05   #4
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I've found another neat solution for audio: Denon (and maybe others) produces a radio-frequency control two-way remote for its AV equipment (Denon RC-7000CI Fully Programmable IR/RF Remote Control Announced). This device doesn't need to see the equipment (because it uses radio frequency instead of infrared like a usual remote), and it displays on its own little display essential information from the Denon equipment it controls -- it doesn't just send data, it receives it too. It's like a tiny remote head unit for a Denon system. It will even control an I-Pod and even display the meta-data from the I-Pod right on the remote.

That means that we can mount a 5.1 (or 7.1) receiver, I-Pod, and a DVD player in a locker somewhere and control it all from the remote. You can connect your master cabin or cockpit speakers to the second zone (if the receiver is a 7.1), and carry the remote with you there, too.

Neat, huh?

Not too cheap, and besides that its not 12v. So it will need its own invertor and will drain the batteries more. But I think this is the way to go, where audio is concerned, provided space, power, and money can be found for it.
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Old 30-08-2009, 17:54   #5
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Old 30-08-2009, 20:04   #6
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On further looking, neither will do exactly what you are looking for.
If you want 5.1 sound, your going to have to go with a larger speaker system with sub I think.
If you have room for the sub then no problem.
I have the poly planar MRD 70, the 400 watt amp and a PP sub. But haven't installed it yet. I will give superior sound, but not true 5.1. But on a boat I don't worry to much about that.
http://www.polyplanar.com/pdf/SpecSheet/MRD-70.pdf
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Old 31-08-2009, 04:14   #7
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Car stereo, small speakers and 22" TV...

I put a cheap Sony car stereo into Boracay, using two basic bracket mount sealed box speakers that I got from the same shop. I'm only using two of the five outputs. It was difficult to find good places to mount the speakers.

It sounds good, and my wife really likes it. Myself, most of the time I use a small radio cassette run by 4 rechargeable NiMH "C" batteries. The batteries last about three weeks.

FM has been excellent, but I have been disappointed by the AM reception. A lot of static inside a steel boat that I had not expected from the external aerial. I am going to use a Shakesphere for the TV which has a splitter so I'm hoping for better things.

The Sony does get quite warm, and uses a noticeable amount of battery power which is coming from two Trojan T105s at the moment.

It would have been far easier to use a proper marine AM/FM radio as I had to fabricate a custom mount and use a car radio aerial.

Currently I am looking at a 22" Voxon 12V TV. 22" is quite big inside a 44' boat. 19" might have been a better size.
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Old 03-09-2009, 15:54   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobfnbw View Post
On further looking, neither will do exactly what you are looking for.
If you want 5.1 sound, your going to have to go with a larger speaker system with sub I think.
If you have room for the sub then no problem.
I have the poly planar MRD 70, the 400 watt amp and a PP sub. But haven't installed it yet. I will give superior sound, but not true 5.1. But on a boat I don't worry to much about that.
http://www.polyplanar.com/pdf/SpecSheet/MRD-70.pdf
I thought that 5.1 sound would be nice. I don't think a subwoofer is a problem -- can be mounted under a settee. There are various kinds of car subwoofers that are especially designed to be mounted in tight places.

Nor are the front and rear surround speakers particularly difficult -- they can be mounted in the headliner. The big problem is the center speaker. And mounting the TV itself.
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Old 05-09-2009, 18:22   #9
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You could use the tv speakers itself for the center speaker.... but the sound would not be as good.
I would just go with a 5.1 speaker setup for a home computer if I really wanted to do what your thinking about. But it would be powered by 110v so using it requires 110v power. They even have wireless back speakers....
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