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Old 08-06-2017, 18:35   #16
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Re: Sound

Weve been using BlueTooth speakers a lot. Very convenient on the boat because you can just move them where u want them...like out on the foredeck. Most have basic remote control capability too...which is very handy when not near the stereo.

We have low end ones now, but plan to upgrade for next cruising season. Some of the higher end ones have quite good sound quality (not audio file by any stretch, but plenty good for our casual listening).

And, no installation hassle.
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Old 08-06-2017, 18:50   #17
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Sound

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Bluetooth is very convenient. Unfortunately, many units have poor sound quality. There are technical solutions that can make bluetooth transmission sound reasonably good, but not many manufacturers implement these options, probably because most consumers don't realise there are alternatives. If you want reasonable sound quality do some research. The aptX codec is one of the good options.

The differences are not small even with cheaper speakers and amplification.


Digital music is junk pure and simple, however pushing it through Bluetooth makes it even worse.
I'd forget trying 5.1, reason is size of speakers required and the interior of a boat is not conducive to accurate sound reproduction.
It's just physics, to get real bass, you need as a min a 12" driver, and most boats do not have to space for that.
I'd second going with a quality automobile setup, especially for digital music there are some really decent systems out there now.
However auto systems are rated by pure fantasy, there are amps that supposedly put out a couple of hundred watts, but have a 5 amp fuse.
So if possible listen to what your buying and or buy from a reputable company.
I used to be somewhat of an audiophile, and will again once cruising is over, until then I put up with a good double din auto system, and a very old amp from the 80's with a graphic equalizer.
Sound is not that bad really, just don't have too high of expectations.

Good sound comes from vinyl, through a good tube amp and a pair of Klipschorns.
Save the 5.1 stuff for movies.
This week I gave my amp and front three channels and Sub of JBL reference speakers to my Son, my Daughter got the rear channels and I bought her a decent Yamaha amp that she can connect her phone to through Bluetooth, she asked for a Bluetooth speaker, but looking at them I just couldn't do that.

The new generation really does not know good sound quality, the days of reel to reel etc are gone, now it's all about small and convenient, over quality.
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Old 08-06-2017, 18:58   #18
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Re: Sound

Oh, a lot is in installation, don't pop for a good 100W amp and run 18 ga speaker wires for instance.
However don't get suckered into large capacitors etc that the car guys for some reason like, your battery bank is God's own capacitor
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Old 08-06-2017, 20:33   #19
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Re: Sound

Do the Fusion systems have good sound?
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Old 08-06-2017, 20:57   #20
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Re: Sound

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Do the Fusion systems have good sound?
I'm much happier with it than the Sony. But there is a lot more to good sound than just selecting the head unit. Going one step at a time here.

One neat feature is that the Fusion units all support multiple zones. You can adjust the volume, balance, and tone controls separately or all together through a very simple intuitive apple-like interface. (And you can name the zones: "cockpit," "salon," "torpedo room,"...)
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Old 08-06-2017, 21:54   #21
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Re: Sound

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I'm much happier with it than the Sony. But there is a lot more to good sound than just selecting the head unit. Going one step at a time here.

One neat feature is that the Fusion units all support multiple zones. You can adjust the volume, balance, and tone controls separately or all together through a very simple intuitive apple-like interface. (And you can name the zones: "cockpit," "salon," "torpedo room,"...)
Bought the Fusion multi zone system a few years back to do two zones; one inside and one out in the cockpit, and found that it sucked. We ended up switching back with a standard Alpine Bluetooth capable head unit.

We have 4 component level Polk speakers and tweeters in the salon running off an Alpine amp. We also have a small Bazooka sub on a switch so I can turn it off when not needed or desired. We use a speaker switch to turn off half the inside speakers and turn on our outside tube speakers in the cockpit for outside listening. When running the system at high volume, it draws about 12-15 amps, but normal lower volume operation is about 2-3 amps.

There are better head units than the Alpine that we have, but I use it because I like the waterproof radio remote (not infrared) that they have. I can use the remote from anywhere on the boat inside or out and it is waterproof..
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Old 08-06-2017, 22:27   #22
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Re: Sound

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Digital music is junk pure and simple, however pushing it through Bluetooth makes it even worse...Good sound comes from vinyl, through a good tube amp and a pair of Klipschorns.
Given the average level of ambient noise in the cockpit, I can't tell the difference between digital, analogue or the crew playing the squeezebox. As far as below decks is concerned, who the heck ever goes down there for anything but a cup of coffee, anyway?

I used to have a turntable mounted on the trampoline of the Hobie cat, but the darned records kept falling off every time I'd fly the hull...

Long-range Bluetooth gives me direct, straightforward and full control in the cockpit over all aspects of large libraries of music available on the nav computer or whatever waterproof smart phones are lurking about. Maximum flexibility, lowest cost and sounds just fine to me due to decent speakers; the most important component, IMHO. Not to mention plenty loud enough to blast over the wind roaring through the rigging.
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Old 08-06-2017, 23:40   #23
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Re: Sound

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. . . Good sound comes from vinyl, through a good tube amp and a pair of Klipschorns.
Save the 5.1 stuff for movies.. .
Well . . .

Digital audio has come a long way since the early CD days.

And 5.1 is really good for opera, something I listen to a lot. The center channel being much more important than the subwoofer.

I still have some McIntosh tube gear in storage somewhere. But I'm not putting it on the boat, that's for sure!
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Old 08-06-2017, 23:48   #24
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Re: Sound

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Bought the Fusion multi zone system a few years back to do two zones; one inside and one out in the cockpit, and found that it sucked. We ended up switching back with a standard Alpine Bluetooth capable head unit.

We have 4 component level Polk speakers and tweeters in the salon running off an Alpine amp. We also have a small Bazooka sub on a switch so I can turn it off when not needed or desired. We use a speaker switch to turn off half the inside speakers and turn on our outside tube speakers in the cockpit for outside listening. When running the system at high volume, it draws about 12-15 amps, but normal lower volume operation is about 2-3 amps.

There are better head units than the Alpine that we have, but I use it because I like the waterproof radio remote (not infrared) that they have. I can use the remote from anywhere on the boat inside or out and it is waterproof..
Were you running the Fusion unit with this same amp and speaker system, or just the head unit power? I really like the Alpine component system in my Beemer, but unfortunately the PO threw out the original head unit and replaced it with a Sony. Probably to get digital capabilities, or maybe because of the weird anti-theft system that sometimes bricked those BMW Alpine units.
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Old 08-06-2017, 23:58   #25
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Re: Sound

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I looked up your Alpine but could only find IDA-X100. Not sure of the differences.

Can you run audio out of your AV screen to an auxiliary input on your Alpine? Then you can run HDMI from computer to screen and audio from screen to Alpine with which apparently you are otherwise happy. Gives better movie sound as well.. .
Sorry, I mis-remembered the head unit name. It's an IDA-X100M.

I don't have an auxiliary input on it, but I do see that something called an AI-net to 3.5mm cable exists, which might work.

I didn't think this was possible. If it is, then it is certainly the simplest solution, although the sound won't be the best, using the computer's own DAC and so forth. Might be good enough.
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:43   #26
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Re: Sound

Long as we can play Wagner's Ride of the Valykeries so they can hear us coming about a mile out, we're good!
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:34   #27
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Re: Sound

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Long as we can play Wagner's Ride of the Valykeries so they can hear us coming about a mile out, we're good!
Apocalypse Now. That's a somewhat different mission, requiring spreader-mounted speakers

Might be a good tactic while racing. Psychological warfare
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Old 09-06-2017, 05:44   #28
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Re: Sound

Thanks to everyone for all the excellent input


I think now I'm leaning towards two somewhat KISS solutions:

1. Ultra-KISS is to buy the AI-Net to 3.5mm cable which will let me feed the existing Alpine head unit from ship's computer. Taking my chances with the computer's DAC unit and so forth, but if it's not adequate, I can always interpose an external DAC box.

2. Or, a 3.1 sound bar, like the Samsung HW-K550. This has a lot of advantages -- won't add clutter, as it will mount on the bulkhead right under the main video monitor, easy to power (230v supply is already there), can be controlled by the TV remote, will require no extra cabling at all (since the ship's computer will already have an HDMI connection to the TV), can play Bluetooth audio, will greatly enhance watching movies (a main use), has a center channel (great for opera), can be used with the TV for music which has video (many operas). Downside is it's not really audiophile quality sound, but it should be pretty good, and in any case, a lot better than what I have. Drawback is I have no idea where I'll put the sub, but I guess I could just throw it away in the worst case.


I don't listen to all that much music on board -- I don't like music just playing in the background (I was a professional musician and can't not listen, if music is playing). So when I listen, I'm dedicated to it. But sometimes I love to listen while sailing, and sometimes when I'm alone on board, I have musical evenings. It will be nice to have better sound, which can be used to play the terabytes of music I have on portable hard drives.
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Old 09-06-2017, 06:03   #29
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Re: Sound

You're not going to like this comment and it is not meant as an insult to you or anyone...

Personally I think we have too much music in our lives... mostly the popular kind. I love music very much and try to listen to it as an activity not as something in the background. I feel assaulted by it when I shop with obnoxious pop music at too high level being played over the sound system. Even in malls there is some sort of background music.

I like and covet silence. City living, suburban living is full or sounds and what to me is noise... motor cycles, trucks, car horns... traffic noise mostly... barking dogs... b=car stereos blaring.

I do have tunes on Shiva... classical and some pop... jazz and folk. We rarely listen to it. We sail, we converse, we cook and eat... we sleep, we clean/maintain. We don't seem to need music to do these. At anchor when kicking back and relaxing we might... like a lullaby for a baby... soothing sort of effect. But the sounds of the water... the wind works fine.

Of course having partial hearing loss also means that I can't enjoy quality audio systems either.., something I did years ago... That's gone. But yea you can't have 20,000 tracks on one thumb drive... Go for it if it matters to you. I am sure there are programs to organize and allow easy access to you music.
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Old 09-06-2017, 06:26   #30
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Re: Sound

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You're not going to like this comment and it is not meant as an insult to you or anyone...

Personally I think we have too much music in our lives... mostly the popular kind. I love music very much and try to listen to it as an activity not as something in the background. I feel assaulted by it when I shop with obnoxious pop music at too high level being played over the sound system. Even in malls there is some sort of background music.

I like and covet silence. City living, suburban living is full or sounds and what to me is noise... motor cycles, trucks, car horns... traffic noise mostly... barking dogs... b=car stereos blaring.

I do have tunes on Shiva... classical and some pop... jazz and folk. We rarely listen to it. We sail, we converse, we cook and eat... we sleep, we clean/maintain. We don't seem to need music to do these. At anchor when kicking back and relaxing we might... like a lullaby for a baby... soothing sort of effect. But the sounds of the water... the wind works fine.

Of course having partial hearing loss also means that I can't enjoy quality audio systems either.., something I did years ago... That's gone. But yea you can't have 20,000 tracks on one thumb drive... Go for it if it matters to you. I am sure there are programs to organize and allow easy access to you music.
I actually rather agree with this. As I mentioned in a previous post -- I hate background music which just plays with no one really listening to it, and don't play it on my boat. It detracts from the other sounds which I think are worth paying attention to -- even if it's only a diesel engine running. I hate bland pop music and won't have it on my boat.

When I listen to music, I sit down and listen to it with concentration. And LOUD. When I do listen to music, I want access to my whole collection, and I want it to sound good, and to be easy to navigate through. Hence the question posed in this thread.


I don't often listen to music while sailing -- because I love to listen to the wind and the sea and other sounds. But sometimes some particular music just goes so well with some particular day of sailing, and it can be a magical experience. I'll never forget, some years ago, sailing downwind in really strong conditions, F8 and F9, surfing and flying over the water, and listening to Mahler's 6th at high volume. I have a video somewhere. It was one of those experiences you'll remember your whole life.
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