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Old 07-04-2008, 16:42   #31
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Originally Posted by MidLandOne View Post
Can you get amphibious yellow D9's for tuning a sail boat ?

John
I'm not sure what a yellow D9 is, but if it has enough power to get the mast pumping like on a sunfish I want one!
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Old 07-04-2008, 17:46   #32
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Brilliant thread gentlemen...Excellent questions and expert indepth answers. I do so love learning from someone with an infinite greater expertise, joy and entusiism of their subject.

Now as a complete amateur in these matters... am I correct in stating Alan that a 5.1 system, which I can attach to my laptop or mp3 player, would match your movie standard and be an adequete compromise for a " light night/sailing music.

Do feel free to go where you want in your answer, if you have the time, as I am sure that their are many cruiser interested/ seeking a simple solution/ compromise for their music entertainment and quite frankly, like me wouldn't know the answer if bit them me on my ass. But I enjoy music and a wide variety and would be interested in your recommendation for the simple soul

Best regards

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Old 08-04-2008, 00:19   #33
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Brilliant thread gentlemen...Excellent questions and expert indepth answers. I do so love learning from someone with an infinite greater expertise, joy and entusiism of their subject.
I whole heartily agree, this is brilliant stuff and I've learn more in the last few days than the previous many years.

Got hold of Sony here today and think I may have baffled one of the staff when using dB's/1W/1m . They put me onto someone more technical and he seemed to enjoy talking to someone who knew something. Well for the minute or so until I ran out of Mr Wheels good stuff I could throw back at him .

He was helpful though and is forwarding some Responce Curves and tech stuff on actual power usage i.e what it sucks from the battery. He also said , on the quiet, that the average car/boat stereo is a relative glutton on power of which most is wasted in most cases.

Will be interesting to see those and I'll post if possible so we can all suss together for greater understanding. Sorry Alan but you're being too good here to turn the opportunity down.

The Floyd and Foo's, that is good real good, we have to do some sailing together I think. Had a great burst of Neil Diamond (amongst some Floyd, Chemical Bros, we have a very diverse collection aboard) during our Nationals last week, the fleet loved it and I managed to prove without a doubt, White boys can indeed not dance
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Old 08-04-2008, 02:18   #34
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and a bit on power management
.
Yep, it's called a Bunch of Big Ass batteries :-) In a nutshell, if you want to shake the boat, water and surrounding boats with Bass, then it takes power. Like all things when it comes to boats, there has to be a compromise. So limiting a system in size comes down to having to face reality.
For us, we have the space to afford a little luxury. Seafox thinks we are a small town with the power we burn:-) Having an inverter and a battery capacity to run this kinda gear is a must. The inverter has meant many possibles that plain 12V doesn't allow for. Not only can we a TV and Stereo, but the bigg advantage for us is the ability to run cheaper domestic Fridges and freezers. The Marine Fridge/Freezer we have cost me NZ$2500.00 And it is power hungry and no where near the performance of the home doemestic Feezer we bought scince. We paid NZ$199.00 for a SST Freezer. Can't bet that.

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am I correct in stating Alan that a 5.1 system, which I can attach to my laptop or mp3 player, would match your movie standard and be an adequete compromise
Absolutely. One of the biggest lesson's in life (life of sound) is that many many people get sucked in to the snake oil of the audio world. OK, we are off on a tangent again.... Here is one real classic example. You can go into any HiFi or electronics shop and buy stereo interconnect cables. Some of those cables can have price tickets of upto US$900. for a set. That is a 1.5ft of cable and some plugs on the end. And people actually buy them and believe they can hear a difference between them and a $600, $300, $100 set. And as for the cheap $5.00 set, you would never buy that crap. Well I have a mate that decided he wanted to branch out with his business. Now this guy was already well set up in Sound. He is a real Pro. So the first thing he did was go out and buy a bunch of cables and do some testing and find out what really was better and why. In the end his findings flawed all of us "Pro's" in the industry at the time. It turned out the cheap $5.00 cables actually gave the best test specs of everything tested. The why was a little more startling and made many of us change course in a lot of our thinking as to what we were delivering to the Public. It turned out that the cheapies were good, because they actually had the least influence on the signal flowing through them. The equation we used in the Audio industry was, what goes in must equal what comes out, only louder. In live audio, it is all about Sound Reinforcement. We weren't supposed to "change" the sound coming from the stage, just make it louder. If the band sounded crap, we just made it sound louder. Another version of our equation was, Garbage in=Loud Garbage out. So what was discovered by the guy was that many people actually liked hear "tonality" to sound. Tonality is actually Distortion. Distortion is basicly anything coming out that was never put in in the first place. You may have heard the comments, Valve Amps sound smooth. Or CD can never sound as good as Vinyl. Well the reason for that is distortion. In this case Harmonic distortion. Sounds are introduced that can make something sound "nicer". So is that good or bad? Well it is like the argument with Home HiFi Amplifiers. You get makers that put tone controls on some and others that believe you shouldn't mess with the tone. It should be as the artist played it. OK, so to the point finaly. I realised that people like listening to sound in many different ways. Simple really ain't it. so my choice in a system was several different reasons. All revolved around the boat, price, operation and what I wanted to hear where. And the fact that water and electronics don't go together. So I bought for a modest price a Panasonic Home theatre system with a 5 disc storage. It has a powered sub that goes with it and that is installed under a Birth and vents through a Teak Vent. I didn't like the sound of the speakers that came with it, so I installed Blaupunkt speakers in the Ceiling space. I use the Panasonic centre speaker because only voice comes through that. The unit has reaonably low current consumption, but I am not sure it would be any less than a Car stereo. I think one would struggle to get anything Home HiFi that is more economical. Although standby draws virtually no current at all.
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:15   #35
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If you want to stick with Car Audio equipment, and I must say there are some good Marinised versions out there. Fusion is one we have here in NZ for instance. Majestic and GME Electrophone are some others.
Car Audio has one major limitation to have to overcome. I said earlier that an amplifier is a Voltage amplifying device. The output can only ever amplify from 0V upto the maximum volatage the power supply can deliver. In the case of car Audio, that is of course around 13 odd volts give or take 1V each side. A home HiFi unit has the luxury of a mains voltage and so can deliver ouputs way in excess of what a car amplifier can. So a lot of trickery has to be carried out. The first easy answer is the load that the amplifier has to work into. Our load is measured in Ohms. The correct term for a speakers is called Impedance. But I won't go there, it is complicated and isn't important for this explanation. But Impedance is called such, because just like resistance, it is "something" that wants to impede the flow of electrical energy in the circuit. Now add to that the fact that a car speaker has to work in a rather harsh environment. A lot of vibration and often very small airspaces, often not sealed at all are all contributing factors to the speakers design. So they end up being very inefficient at reproducing sound. So to get the best bang for buck from the system, they made the speakers high impedance. Hence why car speakers are all 4 ohm. Home HiFi are normaly 8 ohm. If you had say 10W at 8 ohm, you actually get 20W at 4 ohm. So that right there doubles the power output of the amplifier. The other thing is plain and simple misrepresenting the facts once again. You can only ever get a power output value determined by the Voltage worked into the load. So using ohms law, P=V2/R. Which means if you used 8 ohm speakers, you would have a total 23.8 watts assuming the Alt is fully charging the batts. Or 47.6 W if you had 4 ohm speakers. Some car stereo's will tell you you have 40W per channel and some less than honest will give figures much higher. To go higher in output, you have to have a volatge amplifier to make the voltage higher. Then you have to have the current to make the speaker cones move. So a seperate car amplifier has a bit if trickery in side that ramps up the volatge and you need some mighty heavy power leads to ensure the oompf is there. Then they take two output amplifier devices and couple them together which is called Bridging. That doubles the power but means a heck of a lot of current gets chewed up in short order. I know of some Car Audio amplifiers that 70A alternators will not keep up with. Even the batteries can't cope, they don't make the current surges fast enough, so you have to put those giant 1Farade capacitors in the circuit to allow the batteries to smooth out a little. Confused??
Now I will through one other cookie in the works.
Clarity, openness, "air" in music is all about what we call Headroom. Ever wonder why commercials on TV are so damn loud?? Or why the FM Tuner still doesn't make the song sound quite as good as the CD does? Well the signal is proccesed by a gadget called a Compressor. The tops of the sound content are crunched down and the bottom of the sound energy is lifted up. So the middle becomes compressed. It is harsh and makes something sound loud, even when infact it is absolutly no louder than normal. So the big plus with home HiFi is having the ability to reproduce sounds that have very high peaks. Sometimes a peak can be hundreds of times higher than all the rest around it. But it doesn't sound loud because it's duration is milliseconds. But we most certainly sense it. Allowing those peaks to be reproduced allows the music to breath. A CD can actually allow peaks of upto 10dB higher than the main sound you are hearing. Remember some posts back that the comlaint was the sound was bad when he played a CD. Well that will be why. dB is log by the way. So 10dB isn't just ten times louder. It is a huge amount louder.
So I guess by now you get the feeling we went around in a circle and aren't quite sure where we are.
OK, well the end result is Car Audio, especially that which is made for Marine is the easiest to install and the best in respect to protection from the environment. But possibly not the best in power saving and certainly not the best when it comes to pure sound quality. Home HiFi is going to allow you more control, a few more bells and wistles perhaps and certainly better quality of the sound. Car speakers allow you more bang for buck. But there are good ones and bad ones. Personly I think Sony sounds plain terrible. But others may like it. Pioneer, Panasonic, Blaupunkt all have great sounding speakers. I havn't listened to Fusion, so I can't comment.
My home HiFi speakers are special. About NZ$20K worth. The surround speakers are commercial EV speakers. The entire system is pretty close to exactly what you will find in the best Film theatres. When I was still in sound, we had our own home. I had a 30seat auditorium with a screen 4m wide by 3m high. Watching films at home was better than going to the movies. It's the only thing I miss not having our own home now. But I can live with that. We have our boat.

If you guys aren't sick of me yet, keep asking.
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:43   #36
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lower power stero

It would seem to me that a portable stero designed to run off of a few dry cells would be designed to give a lot of music for a smallish power drain. An efficient power supply to replace the internal batteries and run off of the boat's house battery could be built. There might be something already designed and built to do that.
Then I wouldn't have to do it! What do ya'll think?
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:21   #37
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Then there is the actual music you are listening to. So much pop music is so manipulated that it doesn't even come close to live music and it is completely artificial. Pop music is usually over modulated and there is the purposely distorted guitar of rock. ICK.

Getting a full orchestra out of some small speakers is a challenge so one has to accept compromise, especially on a boat.

As someone who has sustained hearting loss, I can say that louder music is not more pleasing - less distorted music is and musical sounding music is what I prefer and quiet is lovely too. We have music ever present in out lives and rarely sit down and listen to it, except perhaps at a performance. The difference is astounding. And which is why I don't care too much about the quality of "background" music systems these days, certainly not the "power".
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Old 08-04-2008, 13:42   #38
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Alan...lots of good stuff there! You obviously have a great background and have offered good advice. My own background is heavy on the consumer side both in car and home for about 30 years and I imagine we may have run into some of the same crowd over the years.
I would only offer a couple of notes specific to the car audio questions that started this discussion.

1. Car stereo ratings for wattage are absolutely meaningless across brands...they are meaningful only to compare one model vs. another within a brand in terms of relative power. This applies to speakers (this is a power handling spec and is always a lie) and head units. It is senseless to try to figure them out for the layman. What is important is that car units are spec'd at 14.4 volts since it is presumed that they are running off the alternator of a car and that even a "low power" head unit can draw 10 amps...(i.e. 144 watts) when pushed to distortion. More likely listening levels typically require a couple of amps per pair of speakers. 4 speakers vs. 2 will take twice the power assuming the same speakers and volume.

2. Speaker shape DOES make a difference as there will be inherently more distortion in an oval cone than a round cone but on cheap stereos you are unlikely to notice the difference. My personal preference for best sound on a boat is a 6.5 inch round speaker as this optimizes bass while minimizing distortion in a well built model. (This assumes standard car stereo speaker sizing as opposed to custom component systems).

3. SPL specs on car speakers are also lies....but Alan is absolutely correct that the speaker that plays the loudest for a given amount of power will minimize your amp hour usage. (Note that we are NOT talking sound quality here...just loudness). The way to choose then is to go to your local car stereo store and listen for sound quality first. Once you have a few acceptable models then using the same radio at the same volume...switch between them and whichever plays the loudest will be your most efficient choice.

4. At least here in the States...you can do much better price wise (and soundwise) with car speakers rather than marine speakers. BUT...you need to look for car speakers that have plastic rather than paper cones...rubber rather than foam attachments (surrounds) of the cone to the rim...and plastic rather than metal grills.

Hopefully this will be of some additional help.
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Old 08-04-2008, 14:01   #39
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Zach, if you have to think about power consumption I have two words for you:
"Boom box".

They make some fairly good ones, and they are designed to run off both AC and battery, with power consumption being a design factor. On the other hand, car stereos are designed to run on a car's alternator power--not the battery!--so they are built without regard to power consumption. As someone else mentioned, there are different ways to design an amplifier and "Class A" which draws full power all the time (evenwhen silent) for some reason comes to mind. Maybe Wheels would know if that's commonly used in car stereos. If I forget properly, ClassA is a way to get low distortion and low cost while giving no concern to the amount of power you use--which suits car stereo criteria very nicely. I know a number of boats where the car stereo is not allowed to be used unless the engine is running, for that exact reason. (That and 1-or-2 battery small banks.)

The boom box can be used below, in the cockpit, or taken ashore, as you choose. Really not a bad way to go unless you are planning for way more volume, way more bass, and way more power to feed it with.

And then again there's my Walkman...something like 40 hours of cassettes on a single AA cell. Of course, that's a pile of cassettes, but the battery life is SO much better than music on the cell phone.[g]
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Old 08-04-2008, 14:03   #40
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hearting loss, I can say that louder music is not more pleasing - less distorted music is and musical sounding music
There is an important message in that statement. Distortion is what makes music seem "loud" to us. One concert I did I allowed the sound to reach peaks of 121dB. To put that in perspective, most Rock concerts today are around 110dB. Anything over 85dB is causing hearing loss, but you can sustain the level for a longer period. The higher the level, the less the time you can exposed to it. Anyway, Music played at 100dB can sound really loud, if it is full of distortion. Once again, Distortion is not just the "clipping" sound when we turn the stereo up too loud. Distortion in the realm I am talking here, is all about Phase control and voicing of the sound wave. So back to my concert. In this example, I had to deliver extremely high quality sound at a very high level. First time I had done this particular situation and I was surprised at the level I could get the system without it "sounding" loud. Now don't get me wrong here. 121dB is 121dB and is dangerous loud and will cause permananet damage. What I was doing and why was for a specific reason too long to go into here.
A side note to that, loud sound creates Adrenalin. Distortion even at low volumes can feel loud. So bad sound and especially bad sound played loud can cause Adrenalin and that causes Fatique.
See why some youth of today like loud distorted Music??
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Old 08-04-2008, 14:11   #41
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HS...Class a/b is used in car stereos.
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Old 08-04-2008, 14:13   #42
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Wow, Camaraderie, your the first car audio guy I have ever meet that has a clue.

Sorry folks if I have missed questions. I am trying to work through all this. I just remembered a question was asked about what draws the power in car stereo(I think). Two things. The lights used, the fluro display, the CD motor, but something forgotten about is the Laser. That is a big power sucka uppera. So a MP3 player is a very very economical way of playing music. I realy must get me one of those things. The advantage is storing so much music, keeping your oridinal discs stored away and safe, and having no power being sucked up running periphial devices like a laser and motor etc. I wonder when the day will come that instead of have a Disc player, the Car stereo will simply take a card inserted in, much like the MP3 player.
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Old 08-04-2008, 14:16   #43
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ClassA is a way to get low distortion and low cost while giving no concern to the amount of power you use--which suits car stereo criteria very nicely
Yep that is eactly why it is done. The output devices in Car audio are IC's. Small packages designed to give a big wallop. It comes at a price of wasted energy and a lot of heat output even when not playing music. Heat is the result of energy consumed.
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Old 08-04-2008, 14:32   #44
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I tell ya, it's like a Cat playing with a mouse when I go into a HiFi shop and start asking them technical questions. The look on their faces and then the absurd replies they try and throw back at ya. Sheesh.
Do you know, a guy in the US makes "tuned" IEC connector cables. That's the funny looking power lead found on most equipment these days. it sells for US$2500.00 and the most sutting point?? he sells them. Mate! if a short 3ft power lead can make a difference to the sound of your stereo, we had better rip all the wiring out of the wal of your home and all the way back to the power station. Fools and their money. Here is some other Snake Oil Potions.
A balance ring you place on your CD disc so as the CD spins balanced. This stops wow and flutter. Duh! its digital. There is no such thing as wow and flutter in ones & Zero's.
While we are on that subject, how about special shelving that stops vibration from entering the CD player and being picked up by the sensitive laser, sheeesh.
Your speaker leads need to be of the same length so as the signal arrives at both speakers tat the same time. Duh! only if say the left lead is say 3ft and the right wraps around the world once before it reaches the other. Signal in wires travel at close to the speed of light. That is 186,000 miles per second.
Directionalised copper cable. It comes with arrows on it so as you connect it from amp to speaker correctly. The electrons flow in that direction better. Duh! the signal is AC which means it is flowing both directions. So if it flows one way better than the other, you have basicly created a diode and that will create ditortion. Besides, you can not make directionalised copper.
Here is a common one. OFC(oxygen free copper). This is a pure form of copper, supposedly. Well actually it is true. But copper that has oxygen molecules attached is called copper oxide. So that would be a corroded and usless length of copper wire. ALL copper wire (non corroded) is OFC. There is nothing special.
The list goes on, but if you have a pet one or a what does this mean? question, go for it. I won't ridicule you if you spent $2500 on a 3ft IEC connector. But I may ask you for a donation to the poor and needy fund. May wife and I changed our names. She's poor and I'm needy.
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Old 08-04-2008, 16:11   #45
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Isn't "distortion" best defined by the Monty Python skit about the airport Tannoy? (Britspeak for a PA system.)

Card slots for MP3s in cars? How retro! The way to go is with a Bluetooth interface in the car. Hooks up the cell phone to the car stereo, and as eveyrone knows you've already got your tunes loaded on the card IN the cell phone. Why waste money and style by making slots and the associated hardware in the car, when you can just pop one more chip on the radio's internals? And do more with it.

Which makes me laugh, because a friend has a BMW X3. (Proof that some krauts can't get over losing the last war.) The car stereo bluetooths to up to four car phones, we programmed mine in as #2 just to see how it all works. Couple of months go by and I'm in the car and the stereo starts ringing--and then grabs my phone call! And there's no hint in the manuals (700+pages) about how to make the damn stereo let go of my phone, and go back to using the owners.

Gigabytes in a matchbook...ain't it marvelous?
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