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WakeWorld Discussion Board » >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive » Archive through April 01, 2004 » Stereo upgrade for idiots - serious question?? « Previous Next »
By brian (thxrover) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 10:34 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
OK, I know absolutely nothing about car/boat stereo electronics and want to upgrade the system in our 2001 Maxum. If anyone out there can help me understand the process better, I would greatly appreciate it.

Our boat came with a very basic system - a single JVC CD player head unit KD-S550 and only two marine speakers mounted in the cabin CS-MX612s. We plan to add a wake tower (yes, I know, a Maxum isn't the first boat you think of when adding an aftermarket tower) so we want to add two more speakers on the tower instead of in the bow. The speakers will swivel so they can be pointed front or back. I also want to add an amp to drive either the tower speakers or all four speakers, whichever is best. When I start reading about parallel and bridging and 4-channel and 2-channel, my brain fogs over!

This is what I know about our components:
KD-S550 head unit 40W x 4 Max. power output
CS-MX612 speakers 90W Max. (I don't know if that is per speaker or total 45W each?)

Also, if we add docking lights to the tower, we will probably add another battery so I want to address the upgrade both ways: w/ adding a battery and w/ the current single-battery setup.

Thanks in advance for helping out a rookie!

By thomas ryan (g3revenge) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 10:48 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
you need to set a budget and take it from there.

do you want to get a system you can expand or finish it in one fail swoop?

By Wakeman (vern) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 10:59 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
90W Max is probably per speaker, I would assume. The general rule of thumb if you don't know how much power the speaker can handle constantly (RMS) is take the max and divide it by 2. Your best place to start would be to remove all speakers and simply replace them. The sound quality will be much better. A channel is the number of speakers that can be plugged into the amplifier. So if you have a two channel amplifier then you can plug in two speakers. Bridging an amp is when you take a two or four channel amplifier, and literally create a bridge between two channels. This takes all the amps power and puts it into one speaker. I would recommend looking at a 4-channel amplifier that you can run all 4 speakers off of. This generally provides you with a more clean and crisp sound. As far as wireing another battery in I suggest looking at diagrams, which can usually be found by doing research. Also, if you look at crutchfield (i recommend atleast ordering a free catalog) they do a very nice job at explaining a lot of your questions. Check them out at There customer service is also very nice. But like Thomas suggested, a great place to start is with a budget.
By Jeff Reese (jeffr) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 11:50 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Good call on setting a budget. An upgrade to a stereo could mean different things to different people. Some people who post here have spent more on stereo gear that some spend on their boats. Try spending some time looking through old posts to get some ideas.

Are you looking to have better in boat sound or actually have the rider get some tunes behind the boat? What type of speakers and amps depends on what you are looking to get from your system. If you get a new headunit… think about what music format you plan on using… XM, CD, WAV, MP3, IPOD. Do you anticipate using digital music or not?

Spend some time at your local stereo shop and you can get some helpful info on different types of equipment.

Once you get started… you will never be done.

By brian (thxrover) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 11:58 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Thanks for the quick replies...I have looked at keeping the JVC head unit, replacing the stock JVC speakers w/ Kicker KM60s ($150) and adding two Kicker KB600s ($295) for tower speakers (Monster Tower's deal).

As for a budget, I don't need to spend too much because we will eventually upgrade to a real wakeboard boat. So this will be the one "less expensive" fail swoop. That leaves the amp and potentially an extra battery along with cabling and installation. Right?

Wakeman - the KM60s are rated at 2-65 RMS with peak power at 175 watts and the KB600s have a 6-75 RMS rating and no peak power given. I have no idea what that means!

By derek boyer (toyotafreak) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 12:12 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Seeins how you might not be keeping the boat, I say go for bang-4-yer-buck. Get a value amp [Kenwood KDC-7201 amplifier (<$200)>200 watts RMS], kill your existing speaks and buy four new 6.5" speaks for the boat (maybe <$200 for four). Keep your head unit, forget putting speaks on the tower.

If you wanna get nasty, add another amp (of the same type) and a sub (or two). Better to add bass than tower speaks IMHO.

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