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Old 15-05-2024, 15:31   #1
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The best boat HiFi

I like my music in the cockpit. I've had or tested Sonos and Bose and Rockford with sources from these brands and others and all are mediocre. I'd like to knock it up a notch or three.


Has anyone any suggestions for me?
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Old 16-05-2024, 00:45   #2
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Re: The best boat HiFi

I’d suggest that if the Sonos Move isn’t enough audio for you you’re looking at a very high-end audio install and need to talk to a specialist.

I wouldn’t install mounted speakers in a boat any longer as the top portable speakers are more than enough and much more versatile.
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Old 16-05-2024, 01:54   #3
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Re: The best boat HiFi

The best hi-fi on a boat is just to listen to the sounds of the ocean. But if you want to play pre-recorded land type of music, my observations have been:

1) You need power to achieve high volumes of music because the overall noise level (waves, engines, etc.) is higher than usual. So, most auto head units do not have enough power to produce high quality sound. You need separate, dedicated amps.

2) You need external speakers in enclosures. The typical boat speaker in a fiberglass cut-out produces very poor sound because of the uncertain volume of the enclosure behind it. So, you need a custom enclosure that is weather and UV resistant and that gets expensive.

3) Min-speaker size for good sound is 6.5", so the external enclosures become quite big. The alternative is to have smaller 4" inobtrusive tweeters plus a subwoofer, but again the subwoofer needs to be in its custom box, not in a cut-out (if you can put the enclosure in the locker if you have space).

The rest is easy.
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Old 16-05-2024, 02:26   #4
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Re: The best boat HiFi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
The best hi-fi on a boat is just to listen to the sounds of the ocean. But if you want to play pre-recorded land type of music, my observations have been:

1) You need power to achieve high volumes of music because the overall noise level (waves, engines, etc.) is higher than usual. So, most auto head units do not have enough power to produce high quality sound. You need separate, dedicated amps.

2) You need external speakers in enclosures. The typical boat speaker in a fiberglass cut-out produces very poor sound because of the uncertain volume of the enclosure behind it. So, you need a custom enclosure that is weather and UV resistant and that gets expensive.

3) Min-speaker size for good sound is 6.5", so the external enclosures become quite big. The alternative is to have smaller 4" inobtrusive tweeters plus a subwoofer, but again the subwoofer needs to be in its custom box, not in a cut-out (if you can put the enclosure in the locker if you have space).

The rest is easy.
For the front end any domestic equipment should be fine as that can be buried somewhere dry. The speakers are going to be harder. I donít mind cutting bigger holes or making the external structure into a custom enclosure.
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Old 16-05-2024, 03:38   #5
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Re: The best boat HiFi

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Originally Posted by poiu View Post
For the front end any domestic equipment should be fine as that can be buried somewhere dry. The speakers are going to be harder. I donít mind cutting bigger holes or making the external structure into a custom enclosure.
Youíre not gonna get waterproof speakers with great sound. I opted to mount the speakers in the pilot house which is fine for the cockpit as well and normal speakers can be used.

I selected active speakers from Klipsch. These: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FK48JW8

There is a newer model but they are a little deeper. For driving them I use an AppleTV (requires hdmi audio splitter and/or monitor). We use the same system to watch video in the pilothouse (21Ē monitor) or to mirror navigation screen to.
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Old 16-05-2024, 05:39   #6
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Re: The best boat HiFi

With respect to the OP: When anchored with other boats nearby, I hope you have some consideration for them when playing your music through large speakers in your cockpit. Not everyone may appreciate having to listen to your choice of music or indeed any music at all. I've had to up anchor and leave when a boat insisted on blasting the anchorage with really crap "thump thump" so-called "music". Just saying...
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Old 16-05-2024, 06:02   #7
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Re: The best boat HiFi

Generally we've had a decent, but nothing special stereo on the boat. A decent pair of speakers in the cabin and on deck, a decent head unit, and a small amp. Being that we never really turn it up very loud (save for an occasional day while working on the boat on the hard with nobody around), there's a limit to how good the system needs to be. There's usually some background noise on or around the boat, so at lower volumes, there's a limit where making the system better just won't be noticeable.
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Old 16-05-2024, 06:50   #8
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Re: The best boat HiFi

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Originally Posted by nuku34 View Post
With respect to the OP: When anchored with other boats nearby, I hope you have some consideration for them when playing your music through large speakers in your cockpit. Not everyone may appreciate having to listen to your choice of music or indeed any music at all. I've had to up anchor and leave when a boat insisted on blasting the anchorage with really crap "thump thump" so-called "music". Just saying...
I agree, with high end sounds systems there are IMHO only 2 metrics:

-> Quality of surround sound (AV applications only)

-> Quality of audio AT VOLUME

Most decent systems sound good at reasonable volumes. If you're trying to kick up the 'volume' notch while keeping clear 'depth' then unless you're in a cove by yourself, you're going to be imposing on the people around you.

Nothing is worse than making everyone suffer listening to your music.
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Old 16-05-2024, 09:21   #9
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Re: The best boat HiFi

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Youíre not gonna get waterproof speakers with great sound. I opted to mount the speakers in the pilot house which is fine for the cockpit as well and normal speakers can be used.

I selected active speakers from Klipsch. These: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FK48JW8

There is a newer model but they are a little deeper. For driving them I use an AppleTV (requires hdmi audio splitter and/or monitor). We use the same system to watch video in the pilothouse (21Ē monitor) or to mirror navigation screen to.
Iíll have to take the best I can get, for my set up with no pilot house that wonít work, but bulkhead speakers should be easy to waterproof, itís just a case of using the right materials. If the cone is plastic, then there is little extra to make it totally watertight.
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Old 16-05-2024, 09:54   #10
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Re: The best boat HiFi

If you are alone these may sound better, I love them.

https://www.costco.com/bose-quietcom...000229272.html
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Old 16-05-2024, 23:43   #11
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Re: The best boat HiFi

I will most possibly use K-Array for my boat under construction.Had a a chance to listen in Mets show and even the smallest ones are very impressive
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Old 17-05-2024, 01:27   #12
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Re: The best boat HiFi

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuku34 View Post
With respect to the OP: When anchored with other boats nearby, I hope you have some consideration for them when playing your music through large speakers in your cockpit. Not everyone may appreciate having to listen to your choice of music or indeed any music at all. I've had to up anchor and leave when a boat insisted on blasting the anchorage with really crap "thump thump" so-called "music". Just saying...
Indeed!

Find a remote place for listening to music on your boat, if you have speakers above deck. Sound travels much better over water than over land, and you can destroy the experience for a whole anchorage, with music in the cockpit, even when it's not all that loud.

We have cockpit speakers (part of the original build) but almost never use them for music. Even when we have the anchorage to ourselves (the usual case in the Baltic), you wouldn't want to disturb people on land (and you might not even be able to see whether they are there or not).

Podcasts or news is different -- turned down.

That being said I do remember the time we blasted Mahler's 5th half the night on a warm evening in Lulworth Cove on the UK South coast. After a few G&T's, that was fun. BUT -- we had the anchorage entirely to ourselves, and the land area around that is a military reservation, so we could be sure we wouldn't disturb anyone on land.
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Old 17-05-2024, 03:17   #13
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Re: The best boat HiFi

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I will most possibly use K-Array for my boat under construction.Had a a chance to listen in Mets show and even the smallest ones are very impressive

Thanks. Lot's of interesting innovation there. I wonder if it is more form over function than the other way around. They market them for outdoor use also.
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Old 17-05-2024, 15:11   #14
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Re: The best boat HiFi

You may want to investigate resonator speakers. Basically this is the voice coil of the speaker mounted on the back of a surface, like fiberglass cockpit coaming, which turns that surface into a speaker.
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Old 17-05-2024, 16:07   #15
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Re: The best boat HiFi

We recently installed Skar 1500W sub amp and 1000W (250Wx4) speaker amp with Polk MM572s and Polk MM1 10" sub. It sounds pretty good. The weak point, IMHO, is the Fusion MS-RA670 head. I say weak not because of sound, but because although it provides multiple input sources (optical, rca, etc.), the built-in bluetooth will connect to mobile phones but not Windows laptops.

Of course, everything is mounted below deck for our listening pleasure, not for annoying others.
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