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Old 17-01-2016, 11:00   #1
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Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

Any audiophiles here?

I'm putting together the sound system on my Vega and am interested in running an amplifier. That said, there's only one condition in which I would go through the cost and trouble to install one, and that is if I can figure out a way to run the speakers off the amplifier when I want, and off the receiver the rest of the time.

Of course the reason is that when I'm going out for a day or weekend sail it would be great to be able to amplify my system, but for extended passages I need to be able to turn it off (to save amps) and still listen to music without reconfiguring.

I'm aware of marine amplifiers which have pass-through capabilities, but I don't believe the pass-through pre-outs function when the amplifier is off. I could be wrong though.

Any thoughts?
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Old 17-01-2016, 11:47   #2
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Re: Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

Personally, I don't think the acoustics of a boat can justify the cost and energy expense of an audiophile amplifier. Better to buy a high quality 12v marine system for ambient listening and an excellent set of headphones and headphone amp.
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Old 17-01-2016, 11:48   #3
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Re: Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

Something like this should do the trick, or any other in-line amplifier. Not "marine" grade, but I doubt that would be a problem.

https://www.caraudiocentre.co.uk/pro...45_p-26445.htm

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Old 17-01-2016, 12:04   #4
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Re: Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
Personally, I don't think the acoustics of a boat can justify the cost and energy expense of an audiophile amplifier. Better to buy a high quality 12v marine system for ambient listening and an excellent set of headphones and headphone amp.
Certainly a good point, I suppose audiophile is not the right terminology. I'm more looking for high volume without distortion. I have a rowdy group of friends.

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Something like this should do the trick, or any other in-line amplifier. Not "marine" grade, but I doubt that would be a problem.

https://www.caraudiocentre.co.uk/pro...45_p-26445.htm

Matt
Thanks for the tip Matt! Have you ever hooked up an amplifier like this and confirmed that it still passes sound while powered off?
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Old 17-01-2016, 12:37   #5
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Re: Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

Note that amp is plug and play for Alpine head units.

Would be a head scratcher to install on another brand.

Probably not a line level amp either and uses head unit's speaker outputs for the input. Specs aren't published in the one page manual. Except power with no THD, freq. range, etc figures given, so meaningless.
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Old 17-01-2016, 12:39   #6
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Re: Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

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Originally Posted by AmericanVagrant View Post
Certainly a good point, I suppose audiophile is not the right terminology. I'm more looking for high volume without distortion. I have a rowdy group of friends.



Thanks for the tip Matt! Have you ever hooked up an amplifier like this and confirmed that it still passes sound while powered off?

It's a hidden install behind the head unit, so no power button. Comes on with the head unit.

Edit to add..... looks like the kp445U is for any head unit. Still not ideal for you though.

Except it probably doesn't use much power. Since it is powered through the head unit or paralleled off the same factory power wire through the adapter cable.
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Old 17-01-2016, 12:47   #7
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Re: Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

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It's a hidden install behind the head unit, so no power button. Comes on with the head unit.
Indeed, I'd route the remote wire to a switch so I could 'trick' the unit into staying off.

This is indeed a plug n' play model, if it passes sound I'll look at purchasing the 445U which is designed for universal installations.
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Old 17-01-2016, 13:10   #8
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Re: Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

That could work.

The U model, universal I suppose, would have a wiring diagram at least.

How to find out if it will "pass through"?
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Old 17-01-2016, 13:13   #9
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Re: Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

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That could work.

The U model, universal I suppose, would have a wiring diagram at least.

How to find out if it will "pass through"?
It's actually one of the brilliant features of Amazon, I'm able to ask the question on the product page.

Someone responded and said they'll test theirs for me (all it takes is pulling out the fuse)
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Old 17-01-2016, 13:20   #10
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Re: Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

What receiver are you using?

I haven't looked back since getting one of these..

Lepai LP-2010A+ Stereo Digital Power Amplifier Class-T Car Amplifier + Adapter | eBay

Just about to pull out the car radio which hasn't been touched since.

Run it with either a degen 1103 receiver or ipod.

Draws next to no power turned down, not much turned up and is surprisingly good quality.

Decent speakers are a better place to invest a few pennies in than an amp, imho.
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Old 17-01-2016, 13:32   #11
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Re: Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

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Originally Posted by AmericanVagrant View Post
Of course the reason is that when I'm going out for a day or weekend sail it would be great to be able to amplify my system, but for extended passages I need to be able to turn it off (to save amps) and still listen to music without reconfiguring.
Not sure the small power savings is worth the trouble, your not likely to have a class-A amp, there are decent class-D amps out there that are very efficient and probably better/more efficient than what's in your head unit.

If you wanted to do what you said, you could use a simple speaker selector in reverse. Wire the the 2 amps to the 2 speaker terminals, and the speaker to the input terminals. Turn off the high power amp and throw the switch to route the head unit to the speaker.

I am an audiophile and would be interested in what decent stuff is out there. whether it's Marine, Auto, etc. I'd prefer just to use chrome-cast audio w/ optical into a good dac/amp combo.
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Old 17-01-2016, 13:47   #12
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Re: Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

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What receiver are you using?

I haven't looked back since getting one of these..
Thanks for input, I'll be running a Kenwood KMR-M315BT. It's 22 watt RMS per channel with 50 watt peak. So that amplifier output would be lower than the head unit itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark424 View Post
Not sure the small power savings is worth the trouble, your not likely to have a class-A amp, there are decent class-D amps out there that are very efficient and probably better/more efficient than what's in your head unit.

If you wanted to do what you said, you could use a simple speaker selector in reverse. Wire the the 2 amps to the 2 speaker terminals, and the speaker to the input terminals. Turn off the high power amp and throw the switch to route the head unit to the speaker.

I am an audiophile and would be interested in what decent stuff is out there. whether it's Marine, Auto, etc. I'd prefer just to use chrome-cast audio w/ optical into a good dac/amp combo.
Really good point Mark. I hadn't considered that the Class D amp would be more efficient than the one internal to the head unit.

Also the switches are a good idea. I suppose I'll just buy the amp and compare draw with the amp on/off and then decide if it's worth the trouble of running a switching configuration.

Thanks!
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Old 17-01-2016, 13:58   #13
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Re: Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

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I'll be running a Kenwood KMR-M315BT. It's 22 watt RMS per channel with 50 watt peak.
And you want more than 22W on a vega?
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Old 17-01-2016, 14:14   #14
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Re: Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

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And you want more than 22W on a vega?
Generally no and probably never for the cabin. But there have been a number of times when the cockpit is full of drunk young adults and the volume reaches levels of distortion.

This was with a Pioneer DEH-X8600BH that had an RMS of 14 watts and 50 watts peak. So it's relevant to consider whether the extra 8 watts will make up what I'm looking for. Actually I'm glad you asked because I hadn't noticed the significant difference in RMS wattage.
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Old 17-01-2016, 14:25   #15
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Re: Marine Amplifiers - Listening to music with the amp turned off

I have been working the same issue. The problem with a straight amp is that at some point you will want to listen to local radio.....
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