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Old 31-12-2015, 23:14   #1
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Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

I'm in Singapore staying with an old friend of mine, and we've been watching movies on his home cinema setup.

We love to watch movies on board in evenings at anchor, and sometimes even the off-watch crew does it on passage, when it's calm.

Although I have always had good AV equipment in my land dwellings, I have always been very restrained about it on board, in order not to clutter up the boat. That has meant, to date, simple car-type speakers for audio, and a simple car-type head unit for audio, and a 32" Samsung HD TV for video, using its own speakers for movies.

But hearing that good 5.1 sound with a good sub has made me wonder whether I haven't taken the KISS bit too far. It's remarkable how important sound is to a movie experience.


So what are other people doing on board? Is there an elegant, simple solution not involving a ton of wires (even more wires)? Maybe a sound bar plus subwoofer? Or some wireless system? Any tips?
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Old 01-01-2016, 03:12   #2
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Re: Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

I would go with a bar + sub as the KISS'iest solution. True 5.1 will be too many speakers. Even new wireless 5.1 will be too much in terms of clutter. But that's my very subjective opinion.
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Old 01-01-2016, 08:33   #3
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Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

Check out FusionEntertainment.com

I went with a IP700i deck. AM/FM/Cd/dvd/ipod/iphone/2 aux inputs/Sirius satellite/weather all in one deck.

The WR600 Wired remote for cockpkit gives full control outside.

2 of 4 channels for my 8 speakers (4 in, 4 out). You can silence the exterior speakers when down below and vice versa. Last 2 channels are for sub.

I have not yet installed the sub, but am going with the MsAb206 when the checkbook allows.

We watch a lot of concert videos, favorite being anything by David Gilmore so you'll catch my drift.

I enjoy good sounding system both underway and at anchor but am not an engineer so I like the simplicity of this plug and play system. Sounds great through the 4 interior speakers.
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Old 01-01-2016, 09:16   #4
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Re: Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

We carry none, but our friends on boats (both cases big cats) do have what sounds like proper home cinema kit.

So I think you can get whatever you want today. The project is 100% doable with plain household components.

b.
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Old 01-01-2016, 09:23   #5
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Re: Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

What I do is play the movie via the car stereo's aux input. Replace the car speakers with a quality pair of home compact bookshelf speakers. The sound quality for both music, and movies, will be vastly improved.
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Old 01-01-2016, 09:26   #6
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Re: Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

Professional audio was part of my first career. Boats are a tough acoustic space, especially for speaker placement and bass extension.

I serviced one reasonably complex 4-speaker setup in a Gemini cat. The subwoofer had been stuck in the most convenient mounting place - a locker close to the companionway. Unfortunately, it is a lousy, inefficient place to generate bass from, and they blow a subwoofer every season, it seems.

Some ideas:
  • there are some high-end home systems like these whose speakers are quite small, which would make them easy to position. The supplied subwoofer may be harder to position; you might need to buy or build a better-suited sub.
  • a good soundbar under the TV plus a couple of surround speakers might do the trick
  • high-end computer sound systems can offer very good sound for the price, and most have the added advantage of built-in amplification which can usually be connected to your 12v batteries (though a DC-DC converter may be needed). Another round-up.
Speakers must work in the space they're in. I know it's harder these days, but if you can possibly borrow and try some speakers in your boat before committing, you will gain a better idea of what could work there.

[edit] Slight derail; Audio for small boats - Our current boat is not a "watch-movies" sized boat, but I do like my tunes. Rather than wedge a "marinized" auto system in there, I bought one of these portables. The quality, stereo effect and level are quite pleasing, and there's an Aux in for connecting an MP3 player or similar. If we're in the cockpit, I just position it in the companionway facing out.

derail #2 - I have not yet seen an outdoor or 'marine' speaker that will last more than 3 years in the elements.
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Old 01-01-2016, 09:58   #7
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Re: Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

A pure 12 volt system using car audio would seem to be the best. The comments above regarding subwoofer placement are well taken. Long waves are hard to unload and focus in confined spaces. Just as in cars, the low frequencies will be loudest in your neighbors galley and out of balance in your own space. Using digital storage and avoiding any type of optical or rotating media is a must. Not sure that full range audio is worth the trouble unless your on a floating condo.
Don't forget your anchorage etiquette...once saw an example of terrible abuse by a large motor yacht that assaulted everyone with audio and light show. I like my sound loud and powerful but not when it can harm others who would be happy listening to their laptop.
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Old 01-01-2016, 11:27   #8
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Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

To LakeEffect:
When I install my sub I was thinking of the after most wall of the 1/4 berth under cockpit settee. My reasoning is the 1/4 berth would act as a "tube" of it's own.
Have you seen that install location used? Was it effective?

(Dockhead apologies for hijack question he said he was a pro installer, so had to ask)
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Old 01-01-2016, 11:48   #9
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Re: Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

I hated the sound that comes from my flat panel TV, so I did the same search you did. I looked for all sorts of solutions ranging from a small home theater system, to building my own using a decoder and amplifiers. The latter would be too hacked together, and for the former, I had to choose between aesthetics or sound quality. I ended up getting this...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B006O7...UJL&ref=plSrch

It's not true surround, but stil sounds great. It has good lows and high, that you can adjust, which some TVs don't have. I have it connected using the optical out of the TV since mine doesn't have analog output. But the best feature is you train it to learn the power, volume, and mute buttons of your TVs remote, so only one is needed. Turn on your tv with the remote, it also turns on the soundbox. It also has an auto off feature, if no signal is detected, it shuts off. The volume buttons also turn it on. The only fault I found is that since I don't have an auto transfer switch on my inverter, sometimes the remote learning info gets lost. Not a huge deal though, it takes 30 seconds to redo.

Sent from my SM-N920V using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 01-01-2016, 12:16   #10
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Re: Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariner36bob View Post
To LakeEffect:
When I install my sub I was thinking of the after most wall of the 1/4 berth under cockpit settee. My reasoning is the 1/4 berth would act as a "tube" of it's own.
Have you seen that install location used? Was it effective?

(Dockhead apologies for hijack question he said he was a pro installer, so had to ask)
To clarify, my audio experience is primarily on the broadcast/production/film side, which included installing and tuning monitor systems in studios and screening rooms. So I have a handle on how the speakers interact with the space.

My boat installer experience is limited... I've only worked occasionally in marine electrical/electronics, testing it out as a retirement career. In truth I haven't yet done a really high-end marine install , other than a few basic "marine" stereo plus two decent speakers sort of install. And I had to troubleshoot someone else's fail in the Gemini. So I can't prescribe from experience, sorry.

I suggest you post a drawing of your boat layout in this thread, indicating your chosen subwoofer and potential locations, and I'm sure you'll get some real-world feedback from those with similar installs.
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Old 01-01-2016, 12:35   #11
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Re: Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

I went with the thinnest 40" screen with the narrowest edge. Samsung UN40F5500. As you said, a 5.1 speaker set would not be fun and in the space of a boat, there isn't really the space for it to work effectively anyway. So I went with the shallowest speaker bar. It's a Visio with a "wireless" sub that sits perfectly under the salon table.

I didn't bother trying to stay with 12v. I figured if energy was that short, then we would have better things to do than watch movies. Movie night is mainly for marinas.

I was able to use a salon cabinet to stash the Blu-ray, Internet, etc. and wired power/video through the overhead to the bulkhead mount for the TV and Visio. I wired power to the salon table for the sub, space heater, laptop charging, etc.

It's a neat setup and I'm happy with it. I discussed it earlier in this thread.

BTW, folks who scoff at watching movies on a boat either don't live on board 24/7/365 or perhaps they enjoy spending their time on message boards scoffing at people.
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Old 01-01-2016, 12:37   #12
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Re: Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

Also, I recently saw a very thin speaker bar in Costco that claimed to have sub speakers built into it. YMMV
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Old 01-01-2016, 17:56   #13
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Re: Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
. . . .

BTW, folks who scoff at watching movies on a boat either don't live on board 24/7/365 or perhaps they enjoy spending their time on message boards scoffing at people.
Tee hee. I'm surprised the scoffers have not appeared yet, actually. They don't bother me, however. To each his own lifestyle on board.

I have little free time between working, sailing, and repairing/maintaining the boat. When I do have a bit of free time, if I'm out cruising, then of course I like to explore the new places I've cruised to and spend time with whoever is on board. But on my boat, at least, and in my life, there is also time now again for reading and watching movies, especially in the winter time.

But movies are also a really fun social activity on board in the summer when the boat is full of people and we're not on passage. Make cocktails, cook something, have a meal together, watch a movie -- what could be better?
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Old 01-01-2016, 18:03   #14
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Re: Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
. .
I didn't bother trying to stay with 12v. I figured if energy was that short, then we would have better things to do than watch movies. Movie night is mainly for marinas.. . .
Different boats have different power ecologies, but on my boat, there's always 230v available and it really doesn't make much difference whether small equipment is AC or DC powered. The very small differences in efficiency are not really detectable and so it seems to me like a waste of time chasing them.

We do movie night on battery power quite often. In the winter time, when I'm living and working on board, I like to get off my mooring whenever I can, and I often sail out single handed and throw the anchor down somewhere. I'll be using central heat, which consumes a fair amount of power (a lot more than the AV equipment), so I have to run the generator a bit anyway to keep the batteries up. It's no big deal.
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Old 01-01-2016, 18:19   #15
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Re: Question for Audiophiles -- On Board 5.1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
Professional audio was part of my first career. Boats are a tough acoustic space, especially for speaker placement and bass extension.

I serviced one reasonably complex 4-speaker setup in a Gemini cat. The subwoofer had been stuck in the most convenient mounting place - a locker close to the companionway. Unfortunately, it is a lousy, inefficient place to generate bass from, and they blow a subwoofer every season, it seems.

Some ideas:
  • there are some high-end home systems like these whose speakers are quite small, which would make them easy to position. The supplied subwoofer may be harder to position; you might need to buy or build a better-suited sub.
  • a good soundbar under the TV plus a couple of surround speakers might do the trick
  • high-end computer sound systems can offer very good sound for the price, and most have the added advantage of built-in amplification which can usually be connected to your 12v batteries (though a DC-DC converter may be needed). Another round-up.
Speakers must work in the space they're in. I know it's harder these days, but if you can possibly borrow and try some speakers in your boat before committing, you will gain a better idea of what could work there.

[edit] Slight derail; Audio for small boats - Our current boat is not a "watch-movies" sized boat, but I do like my tunes. Rather than wedge a "marinized" auto system in there, I bought one of these portables. The quality, stereo effect and level are quite pleasing, and there's an Aux in for connecting an MP3 player or similar. If we're in the cockpit, I just position it in the companionway facing out.

derail #2 - I have not yet seen an outdoor or 'marine' speaker that will last more than 3 years in the elements.
Lots of interesting information in here; thanks.

I have Sony coaxial speakers which were original install in my boat in 2001, and they're still going strong. Music sounds quite good on this old system, which is one reason why I never fiddled with it. I guess I could use the two mounted in the salon headliner as rear surround speakers, but OTOH the wiring would be complex.


KISS is telling me sound bar with a small sub somewhere -- maybe under the salon table.

In my opinion, the rear surround channels are not that important for movie enjoyment, but the center channel really is, so I don't want a 2.1 system.

I'll keep digging through sound bar options, I guess


By the way, another thing I'm planning to do is Chromecast, to get rid of the HDMI cabling and having the playback device tethered.
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