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Old 14-03-2011, 10:19   #1
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Simplest Stereo Configuration for iPod

Hello all,

I want to install a simple stereo system on my 1978 Pearson 26. It seems pretty affordable to put in a marine stereo receiver and four waterproof speakers, two in the cabin and two in the cockpit. This will be a huge improvement over the little plug-in ipod speaker dock that I am using now. When I want music outside I need to wedge it between the hatch and the handrail, but it's only a matter of time before it winds up in the water.

The only problem I'm having is with the receiver itself. All the units I can find are CD players that fit the standard car-stereo compartment space. This is way too deep of a unit for the place I would like to install it, above the 'nav station' desk below the circuit panel. Also, I really don't need to play CDs and I'm guessing that these brightly lit receivers with fancy moving parts draw way more power than necessary. The only thing these units do have going for them is that they accept a AUX input so I can plug in my ipod.

Is there some sort of simple auxiliary receiver/amplifier I could use instead of the traditional stereo receiver? I am imagining something small and simple, with perhaps just an on switch and a headphone-jack style input. Something that plugged into the bottom of the ipod and charged it would be great, but I am expecting anything like that to be much more expensive and it's not really necessary since I can charge through the DC outlet.

Any ideas on specific models of receiver/amplifiers? And is that even the right name for this thing, or should I be searching for something else? Should the unit's amplification power in watts exactly match the watt capacity of the speakers, or should the speakers exceed it to avoid blowing them out? Anything else I should be especially careful of while planning the installation? Please don't be afraid to say simple things, I am really a novice at all things audio.

Thanks a lot for the help,

Jack
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Old 14-03-2011, 14:51   #2
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Re: Simplest stereo configuration for ipod?

Best solution I have found is:

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Weblog: Fusion MS-RA200, little stereo w/ big features

One of the key marine features (to me) is dual-zone volume controls so you can set cockpit volume separate from interior volume.

Another option would be something like this: Kramer 903 Personal Stereo Amplifier 903 B&H Photo Video plus a generic i-Pod dock, such as: Cambridge Audio iD10 iPodģ docking station with remote at Crutchfield Signature. That would give you everything you need and a remote to control the i-Pod.

Either option is $200 + speakers.
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Old 14-03-2011, 19:42   #3
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Re: Simplest Stereo Configuration for iPod

Thanks a lot, RainDog! That Fusion stereo looks pretty great for my purposes. Do you see any advantages to going with the other option?

While we're at it, do you recommend any particular brand or model of marine speakers to go with that?

Thanks, Jack
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Old 14-03-2011, 20:03   #4
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Re: Simplest Stereo Configuration for iPod

You can buy car stereos with remotes. This way it does not need to be outside nor labeled "marine" which raises the price. Don't ask my why a car stereo would need a remote when it is two feet from the driver.

I'm thinking you could keep the remote in your pocket or Velcro it to something while underway.

http://www.onlinecarstereo.com/CarAu..._Controls.aspx
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Old 14-03-2011, 20:28   #5
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Re: Simplest Stereo Configuration for iPod

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Do you see any advantages to going with the other option?
No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
While we're at it, do you recommend any particular brand or model of marine speakers to go with that?
The outfit I trust most is Crutchfield. They are super helpful and you can call anytime and get great service. Speakers on their site have reviews, so you can read what others think of them: Marine Speakers & Tower Systems at Crutchfield.com
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Old 14-03-2011, 20:51   #6
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Re: Simplest Stereo Configuration for iPod

Research in Crutchfield then check the prices on Amazon. There are lots of waterproof speakers out there.
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Old 15-03-2011, 10:05   #7
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Re: Simplest Stereo Configuration for iPod

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Research in Crutchfield then check the prices on Amazon.
Jack, You definitely want to to this - Crutchfield, while helpful, is expensive. I just bought an amp that Crutchfield wanted $500.00 for for $289.00 at Amazon - I saved another $50 on the wiring by buying from Amazon too.

Everyone has different ideas about what sounds good in a speaker - I've never been happy with the sound of any of the waterproof speakers out there. Of course, in the cockpit you don't have a choice, but below deck I would look at regular car speakers.

Good luck!
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Old 25-05-2011, 11:54   #8
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Re: Simplest Stereo Configuration for iPod

Hello all,

I need some more guidance, if you're still willing...

I decided to go with the Fusion deck, Fusion ipod dock, and DMS Marine speakers for the cockpit. Here are the links in case you want to see...

Amazon.com: Fusion MS-RA200G AM/FM/VHF Weather Band Stereo: Automotive

Amazon.com: Dual DMS655SM 6.5" Surface Mount Marine Speakers: Electronics

Amazon.com: Fusion MS-DKIP Marine Dock for iPod: The Price Pros


But now I'm having trouble figuring out what speakers would work for the cabin. The main challenge is that I'm looking for surface mount speakers. I don't want to cut any holes if I don't have to and in the cabin I have a nice spot on either side where I can hang them from a bracket or something similar. For the waterproof ones, these were easy enough to find, but the selection of regular surface mounted speakers seems really small. I could just get another pair of the waterproof DMS ones, but slowshoes and others seem to think that the sound quality won't be as good as regular speakers. I found some Pioneer surface mount speakers that seem nice enough, (Amazon.com: Pioneer TS-X200 Surface Mount 3-Way Bass-Reflex Speakers: Electronics) but they are only rated for 20 Watts RMS, so it seems like they may be a little underpowered for this Fusion unit. Am I right about that?

Does anyone have any brands or models in mind, or places to look for speakers that will use about the right amount of power and for the unit and sound ok?

Thanks a lot,

Jack
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Old 25-05-2011, 13:01   #9
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Re: Simplest Stereo Configuration for iPod

Jack,

At 20w RMS I imagine those Pioneer speakers are fine for the 4x50w Fusion headunit. The watt rating on the headunit is peak, not RMS. 20w speakers will probably run just fine off of it as it will very rarely if ever put out the full 50w into a single channel.

Good luck and be sure to follow up and let us know how it turns out.

Tate
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Old 25-05-2011, 13:12   #10
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Re: Simplest Stereo Configuration for iPod

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Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
The main challenge is that I'm looking for surface mount speakers. I don't want to cut any holes if I don't have to and in the cabin I have a nice spot on either side where I can hang them from a bracket or something similar.
I use (a slightly older model) of these B&W speakers.
Lintone Audio, Specialist hi-fi and home cinema - Naim Audio, B&W, Cyrus Audio, Arcam, dCS

Good sound quality.
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Old 25-05-2011, 13:20   #11
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Re: Simplest Stereo Configuration for iPod

Good to know...

How would the sound quality likely compare between the DMS Marine speakers (65 Watt RMS) and the Pioneer Surface Mount speakers (20 watt RMS). My understanding was that a higher RMS will lead to fuller and clearer sound, especially at lower volumes. How does this weigh against the questionable sound quality of waterproof speakers in general? The price is about the same...
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Old 25-05-2011, 13:31   #12
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Re: Simplest Stereo Configuration for iPod

save your money on the ipod dock.... the head unit has a USB interface, I'll bet it will accept the 30 pin/USB cord for input as well as powering the ipod.
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Old 25-05-2011, 13:36   #13
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Re: Simplest Stereo Configuration for iPod

For sound quality the B&W speakers will be much better than both the other speakers.
I would not look too closely at the specs however. Things like the power handling are very dependant on how they are measured and are often just a reflection of the honestly, or not, of the manufacturer
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Old 25-05-2011, 13:54   #14
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Re: Simplest Stereo Configuration for iPod

Generally when you're using a headunit to power the speakers then you're really not going to see a lot of sound quality difference from low end speakers (sub $100) and especially not by comparing their RMS wattage assignments.

The Pioneers are a good bet in the low end range of speakers. 3ways are okay. If you're truly concerned I'd go to a local car audio shop and ask to hear different sets of speakers on a mid range head unit. It will give you an idea of how quality can vary.
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Old 25-05-2011, 13:57   #15
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Re: Simplest Stereo Configuration for iPod

Orange, the RMS rating of any speaker has absolutely no correlation with sound quality. One good benchmark is the size of the magnet. Magnets are expensive and better speakers have bigger magnets. End of story. A small speaker with a big magnet is likely to sound better than a big speaker with a small magnet. I agree with another posters comment that the waterproof speakers are generally inferior soundwise. But they are waterproof. Beleive it or not Radio Shack had a very well reveiwed small bookshelf speaker called the Optimus A77 or a variation of that thru the years. These were also availabe as surface mount and sound really good. They were the best thing the store ever made and affordable. BOB
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