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Old 07-09-2017, 12:25   #1
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Affordable marine sound system?

Hello everyone, I'm brand new here.

I just recently purchased an Islander 30 and am doing some updating. Though not a priority at the moment, I would like to upgrade the sound system (at the least, a receiver that I can connect my phone to). Currently Installed is a Kenwood 225MR, with 4 speakers and a sub (not connected). The previous owner had it all connected through battery cables, and it's bit of a nusiance connecting and disconnecting every time I use it.

Just looking for some recommendations on receivers, speaker placements, connections, or anything related. I've attached a few pictures of the current setup.

Also, is there a way to toggle off the speakers in the cockpit? It would be nice to be able to listen to music in the cabin without annoying my neighbors.

Thanks for any help!
-Brandt
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:33   #2
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Re: Affordable marine sound system?

I have a similar setup on our boat. The receiver is a Sony, and it was rigged for a second control, which I mounted on the flybridge. I only have the top deck/rear facing speakers on the amplifier. I have the receiver on a toggle, and the amp on a separate toggle. If we just want front deck/interior music, just don't turn the amp on. May not be the right way, but it's how I did it. You should be able to use the fade/balance settings to adjust indoor/outdoor volumes, as well. Good luck with it. I know how much I like a good wiring project! LOL
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Old 07-09-2017, 13:30   #3
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Re: Affordable marine sound system?

I had a Sony "marine" stereo, which appeared to just be a previous years "car" stereo in a white enclosure. It lasted about two years and autopsy revealed that the circuit board was totally corroded.

Currently I've got one of the lower-end models of "Fusion" true marine stereo and I endorse it. It's got a real sealed waterproof enclosure, multiple speaker zones that you can name (salon, cockpit, torpedo room...) and control separately, and has a simple intuitive user interface (unlike the endless levels of user-hostile menus on the Sony, for example). It can be controlled remotely via a wired remote, via bluetooth with your phone, or via NMEA 2000 with most modern MFD head units. It also receives marine weather and VHF channels, though I haven't seen much utility for that, since it is installed right next to my VHF.
The higher-end Fusion head units even play DVDs and have HDMI out for your TV or projector.

For example, to turn off the cockpit speakers, you bump the volume knob and the display shows a bar graph for each zone. Touch the "cockpit" bar to isolate it from the rest, and turn the volume down.
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Old 07-09-2017, 13:33   #4
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Re: Affordable marine sound system?

First thing to do is set up pos. and neg. bus bars with proper fusing. Then maybe the rest will start to fall into place.
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Old 07-09-2017, 14:11   #5
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Re: Affordable marine sound system?

I just don't care about marine stereos anymore. I got sick of buying new speakers every other year and fixing corroded PCBs and switches on "marine" stereos...

Now I just buy a couple of reasonably good, interconnected bluetooth loadspeakers that I can take with me to the boat for sailing season, or take back home for winter. I can use them inside, in the cockpit, on the bow, at the beach, ...
Not necessarily much cheaper but way more versatile use.
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Old 08-09-2017, 08:49   #6
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Re: Affordable marine sound system?

There are some excellent waterproof blue tooth sound boxes that will run anywhere on the boat. Cheaper, simpler and more flexible that any built in system.
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Old 08-09-2017, 08:55   #7
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Re: Affordable marine sound system?

I agree with rabbi. I use Ultimate Ears (UE) Roll speakers. They are water resistant, sound great (for bluetooth), can be used while plugged in, and can connect up to 2 at a time. The Rolls are good for using anywhere with a convenient bungee strap. My wife and I each purchased refurbished ones that have been working great for the past year. I've been through a few different BT speakers and these have been the best IMO.
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Old 08-09-2017, 10:02   #8
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Re: Affordable marine sound system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brandtj View Post
Hello everyone, I'm brand new here.

I just recently purchased an Islander 30 and am doing some updating. Though not a priority at the moment, I would like to upgrade the sound system (at the least, a receiver that I can connect my phone to). Currently Installed is a Kenwood 225MR, with 4 speakers and a sub (not connected). The previous owner had it all connected through battery cables, and it's bit of a nusiance connecting and disconnecting every time I use it.

Just looking for some recommendations on receivers, speaker placements, connections, or anything related. I've attached a few pictures of the current setup.

Also, is there a way to toggle off the speakers in the cockpit? It would be nice to be able to listen to music in the cabin without annoying my neighbors.

Thanks for any help!
-Brandt
I have my playlists on my phone and in my macpro hooked up to my bose bluetooth speaker. Couldn't get any easier, takes up little space, no wiring etc.
The bose was $200 when I bought it, I think they are down to $159 now. The sound is fabulous!
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Old 08-09-2017, 10:50   #9
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Re: Affordable marine sound system?

On the "don't annoy the neighbors" front, check to see if that stereo has a "fade" option in settings. I had the some concern but was happy to find I can fade the sound completely above or below with some twisting of the dials.
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Old 08-09-2017, 11:23   #10
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Re: Affordable marine sound system?

As Nick says, if you set up the cockpit on the two "front" speakers and the cabin on the two "rear" (or vice versa) you can always shift the sound from one to the other, or both. Sometimes there's a handy knob, sometimes a PITA menu to follow. Most stereo's won't care if you also just add a simple dual pole toggle switch to cut the cockpit speakers in/out.

Almost all the modern car stereo's have two power leads. Main power, and memory backup power, which is designed to be constant to keep the radio memories. So there may be "extra" wires to support that. Some radios don't need memory power, and can be truly shut off when they are off. (Ah, mechanical channel buttons!)

Marine grade will really up the budget and limit the choices. I don't expect it will be worthwhile unless you fall totally in love with a particular radio and want to keep it forever after.
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Old 08-09-2017, 19:19   #11
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Re: Affordable marine sound system?

I run a 750 Fusion system and have had no issues and love what it can do.
There is even a review on Marine Speakers showing even the Fusion basic speakers are great value for money, but they also have their Signature series (not reviewed) which are better again.
The Best Marine Speakers of 2017 | Top Ten Reviews

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Old 08-09-2017, 20:23   #12
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Re: Affordable marine sound system?

If the stereo is working, why not just do a proper job of wiring it in? Looks like plenty of other wiring needs sorting out too. Looks like a fire waiting to happen.

Why is there a black wire going to the plus terminal?

All those wires to the plus terminal should at least be fused close to the battery. Actually they should go to a proper bus. What else did the previous owner "upgrade"?

To isolate my cockpit speakers I installed a 4 way waterproof socket and plug.
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Old 08-09-2017, 23:22   #13
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Re: Affordable marine sound system?

I'm totally uneducated about marine sound systems but have a firm grasp on car audio... to me it would seem that marine speakers are the only components that need to be "marinized". Amps and receiver can be located inside and away from weather (even in a sealed box if necessary). If this is correct (big if) why not pay for premium marine speakers pushed by auto ansilary products which will be cheaper due to economies of scale? I'm probably wrong but still wanna know where.
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:06   #14
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Re: Affordable marine sound system?

That's exactly how my boat is, with a Sony car head unit below where it stays dry. The speakers in the salon are home bookshelf ones, on wall brackets.

I did have waterproof speakers in the cockpit, but took them out, and now have a Bluetooth speaker for cockpit use.
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:22   #15
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Re: Affordable marine sound system?

Exterior speakers must be waterproof. There is no way around that.

There are waterproof boxes that you can put the head unit inside. As long as you remember to close it, it does not have to be "marine grade".

https://www.google.com/search?q=wate...=2102&bih=1399
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