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Old     (guess402)      Join Date: Mar 2009       01-27-2010, 9:47 AM Reply   
I have a 2008 MC X-15SS and I really want to upgrade the sound mostly off of the tower but also inside of the boat. It gets distorted when turned up to high and I cant hear the music at all when I ride.

I am sure it doesnt help that I am deaf in one ear but I need to make up for that... Thats more of a joke other riders also complain that all they can hear is the engine and not the music.

My major problem with this is that I am so in love with the JL audio look both of the front grills and the Mastercraft cans on the boat that I really dont want to change them I just want to upgrade the components behind/in them.

Is this at all possible. I would love to go with wetsounds or something like that because of how everyone raves about them.

However any help would be fantastic.
Thanks in advance
Old     (pc_sledge)      Join Date: Jan 2006       01-27-2010, 10:04 AM Reply   
I have an 07 X45 that has 4 JL tower speakers. I too was not real impressed with the sound at higher volumes. I noticed that there was only one JL audio amp driving the sub, the interior boat speakers and the tower speakers. I am not sure why they would outfit a boat like this. Last winter when I took my boat in to get winterized I had them install another JL audio marine grade amp and it has made a world of difference. I have two six channel amps now, one powers the 4 in boat speakers and sub and one powers the 4 tower speakers. In addition, I threw an old car sub in the storage area and hooked it up to the amp that runs the tower speakers and the difference is night and day. The JL speakers are great speakers IMO. Just make sure they aren't underpowered.
Old     (pc_sledge)      Join Date: Jan 2006       01-27-2010, 10:06 AM Reply   
Another thing, this summer I added Fresh Air Exhaust and that makes a big difference as well. MC's engines tend to be a little loud.
Old     (acurtis_ttu)      Join Date: May 2004       01-27-2010, 10:18 AM Reply   
start off with re-tunning and adding amps to your stock system...It will sound better. If still not happy, buy the HLCD components and mount them in your stock cans.
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       01-27-2010, 10:55 AM Reply   
I don't think the problem is with the speakers. Like Brett said they use a single 6 channel amp to run 4 interiors, 1 sub and up to 4 tower speakers. I think that is only like 50 watts or so to each speaker. I looked up the specs on the JL 7.7 components and each component should be getting close to 175 amps. That system really needs 3 separate amps. I would get the Arc ks300.2 for the interiors another KS300.2 for the tower speakers(whether you have 2 or 4) and then get something like the KS500.1 for the sub. That may be overpowered a little for the sub but overpowered is better than underpowered and if you ever upgraded your sub it would probably work for a lot of different subs.

Then sell the JL 6 channel amp.

(Message edited by polarbill on January 27, 2010)
Old     (guess402)      Join Date: Mar 2009       01-27-2010, 11:08 AM Reply   
I only have two tower speakers I kinda like the look more than 4 but will move up to 4 if I have to. Should I be worried about any of these amps on salt water is one any better than the other. I know I need Marine amps but anything I should stay away from or move towards. Very helpful so far
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       01-27-2010, 11:16 AM Reply   
I didn't think about the saltwater thing. I think the KS amps do fine in freshwater. I wonder if they are ok in saltwater. You could also do the Wetsounds amps. Tim could probably give you an idea if they will hold up in a saltwater application. Do you leave you boat in the water or take it out every time? Either way I think the big issue would be to try not to put any wet gear or get water in the area where the amps are.
Old     (guess402)      Join Date: Mar 2009       01-27-2010, 12:10 PM Reply   
I have a lift so its always out of the water but that salt is only a few feet away. I mean try and try as I may to clean the boat of all salt after every time I use it I keep the boat about 400 yards from the atlantic ocean so sadly enough if the wind comes in from the south I get spray from the waves on the boat. Obviously it is covered but it isnt ideal. I guess I will have to ask tim. What wetsounds amps should I go with
Old     (mc_x15)      Join Date: Jul 2008       01-27-2010, 1:46 PM Reply   
May be a tuning issue. I have the exact same boat and set up and have never had someone say they couldnt hear the music nor have i not been able to hear it myself.
How do u like you closed cooling system, have you had any problems with it? I had a hell of time in the beginning, but all got worked out.Upload
Old     (brianinpdx)      Join Date: Aug 2009       01-27-2010, 1:57 PM Reply   
guess402 -

There was a guy awhile back in your same situation. He wanted a lot more sound (HLCD upgrade) and integrating to the existing mount assembly with no exposed wires was important to him. Here's what he ended up doing..

I think he's pretty happy camper.

Old     (guess402)      Join Date: Mar 2009       01-27-2010, 2:12 PM Reply   
I think I got lucky with the closed cooling system on my boat but I only put about 50 hours on it this summer weekends only. I like the exile ones but would love to hear from some guys with expierience with them. Dont have any guys with exile or wetsounds near me so it sucks to spend this much money without hearing the setup first
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       01-27-2010, 2:28 PM Reply   
Guess, you could try those Arc audio amps or a similar Wetsounds. I think the syn2 has similar specs to the KS300.2. I don't think wetsounds really makes an amp small enough for your Stock JL sub. One thing you could do is buy 2 syn2's or 2 ks300.2's and see how those sound with your current tower speakers. If you decide you still don't like it both the wetsound or Arc will run 1 or 2 pairs of Wetsounds, Bullet Hollowpoints, NVS or Exile's.

(Message edited by polarbill on January 27, 2010)
Old     (skyski1)      Join Date: Jan 2008       01-27-2010, 4:53 PM Reply   
If you do get the Exile speakers, make sure you talk with them about the SQ (sound quality) crossover. They will not sound as bright as a typical HLCD speaker. To my ears, that is a big plus. They will also be a better match (warmer) to your in boat speakers. (assuming you have silk dome JL coaxial)
Old     (waketowake)      Join Date: Jul 2007       01-27-2010, 7:09 PM Reply   
Your speakers are under powered. About to do the same thing.

about 170$
Old     (waketowake)      Join Date: Jul 2007       01-27-2010, 7:15 PM Reply   
Sorry didn't read you had 2 tower speakers. If you upgrade to four you will need that amp, and you would be good. My friend has 2 i have 4, but we have the same amp. Cant tell a difference. All 07 JL by the way.
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       01-27-2010, 9:08 PM Reply   
In one of my previous post I made a mistake. They should be getting around 100 watts each. That amp still looks like it is underpowered for those speakers whether you are running it to 2 or 4 speakers. It will only run 80 watts to each if it is running 2 speakers and 62.5 to each if it is 4 speakers. That is it's rating at 14.4v or when the boat is running. It's rating with the boat not running is less. Unless that amp is significanlty underrated I would go another route. That amp doesn't leave much room to upgrade speakers later either. It won't even come close to running one or 2 sets of HLCD.
Old     (thesack)      Join Date: Mar 2008       01-27-2010, 10:19 PM Reply   
I have experience with both wetsounds (pro80s) and exile (xm7s). IMO the Exile XM7s are a much better sounding speaker for in the boat and the rider. I know I'm going to have all the wetsound guys saying that I'm full of it and blah blah blah, but I really don't care what they say. I know I made the right decision.

Above the sound difference I heard in my boat the features that Exile offers are so much better. Exile has 1 allen head bolt to remove in order to take the speaker off vs wetsound with 2 and a wire connection. Exiles have the abilty to rotate 360 degrees allowing you to direct music anywhere you want. With there clamps you have so much versatility. So if you buy a new boat that doesn't have the ability for the clamps to be taken a part and mounted to the factory location you won't have to go guy new clamps. Either way you have the ability to have no wires showing.

I know have 2 pair of the XM7s being powered by Exile amps. I am very happy that I made the switch to Exile and the XM7s.

Also I know a while back Exile was doing a demo program where you could try the XM7s for 30 days. If they are still doing it, I would take advantage of it. You will not be dissappointed!
Old     (guess402)      Join Date: Mar 2009       01-28-2010, 7:44 AM Reply   
Does anyone have any expierence with the Exiles on salt water. Thats the thing I am most nervous about and the wetsounds customer service is a big plus. Brian sent me a nice email which I like but its always easy to have good customer service before the sale. What happens in 2 years if the speakers rust out?
I am just a little nervous about it I guess the one thing that is for sure is I need to switch out the current amp and likely add another one.

Is the standard 2 batery setup in mastercraft enough to handle it? Keep in mind I never play the music with the boat off for more than say 1hr.

I just wish I had a big warm garage to keep my boat in and keep her company all winter instead she is alone shrink wrapped not giving me the ability to try different things durring the winter. On the other hand thats probably a good thing I cant imagine the amount of money I would spend if I could work on projects every day.
Old     (guess402)      Join Date: Mar 2009       01-28-2010, 8:03 AM Reply   
Also what about the bullet hlcd 6.5 could I put those straight in my mastercraft cans? Would that work. I dont mind the look and I am just guessing they are much better than the stock JL audios
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       01-28-2010, 8:06 AM Reply   
Aren't the stock mastercraft tower speakers 7.7's? If so you may be able to replace the stock JL's with Hollow Point 770's.
Old     (brianinpdx)      Join Date: Aug 2009       01-28-2010, 8:22 AM Reply   
Good morning -

Your concerns about rust and salt are valid for anything installed on a boat. And frankly speaking, salt will attack everything!

With that said, every exile product undergoes accelerate life cycle testing, shake testing, Ce testing and emark testing when applicable. These engineering tests offer us a controlled set of information to objectively look at what happens in 1 year , 2 year 5 10.... Your get the idea.

Every exile product carries a 2 year warranty which is better than most.

Customer service is indeed important and I think that all of brands mentioned in this thread have built their bussineses based on supporting the needs of their customers. It's important. We all get it.

No matter which brand you choose, I think you will find great after sale instal and technical help.

Have a great day

Exile Audio
Old     (guess402)      Join Date: Mar 2009       01-28-2010, 8:59 AM Reply   
They are 7.7 I was thinking about a plate but thats just going to look terrible. Anyone know about putting the Hollow Points in there?

The more and more I talk about this the more it looks like I am going to move away from a stock system which sucks I just like a stock look not going for the Flash just the sound.

Thanks guys for all your help clearly I am lost without you
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       01-28-2010, 9:17 AM Reply   
Get a hold of someone at Bullet and see if they will fit. This is what you would get and it looks like you can get different color grills. It would a keep a fairly stock look. I have heard that the Hollow Point 770's have a great sound. They are fuller so they aren't as tinny as the Wetsounds. How about one pair of those if they will fit in your stock cans? Then get an amp to run them, and get another amp to correctly power the stock JL interior speakers. You might want to do another amp to correctly power the sub or get a whole new sub and amp all together.
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       01-28-2010, 9:28 AM Reply   
Here is a link to Earmark Audio's website with a picture of an X15 with 4 hollow points. They are in the Bullet Can's but it gives you an idea.

Here is a link to a thread where David from Earmark says that the Hollow Point 770's will fit in the stock cans nicely. PM him and see if he has any pics.
Old     (david_e_m)      Join Date: Jul 2008       01-28-2010, 10:01 AM Reply   

Here's a starting scenario to stay with everything you have and waste nothing.

There's no way the factory system is correctly tuned. It never happens so this is a given in any case.

The JL tower speakers will never project at 70 feet while underway with the same authority as HLCDs (WetSounds, Bullet HollowPoints, Exile, etc.). However, from a sound quality standpoint at closer range (surfing, at rest, kicked back, swimming, etc.) They are a superior speaker in midbass and smoother response. They'll actually image a little too.

But, MasterCraft seriously underpowers these speakers and generally uses in-boat wiring and supply wiring that is too light.

First, after confirming there is small gauge wire in use, improve the battery to amplifier(s) supply and upgrade the speaker wiring, particularly to the subwoofer. Next, bridge two channels into one on your current amplifier to drive each of your two tower speakers. This will consume four of the six channels and leave two channels remaining to run the bow speakers. This will take you from around 50 watts to 150 watts (@ 12 volts) minimum to each tower speaker. The difference will be significant.

Add a JL M4500 4-channel from the same series to operate in a 3-channel mode and drive the cockpit components plus subwoofer which will also be a good power upgrade over what you have currently.

If in the future, you elect to change to tower HLCDs then you'll already be prepared for one pair without further changes to your electronics. If you think there's a good chance you'd be adding two more tower speakers then I would ammend the amplifier selection and go with dual G1300 monoblocks instead for the tower and maintain your M6600 for in-the-boat speakers.

In case of replacement, customer service is going to be great from any of the forementioned HLCD producers. And, all have MasterCraft direct-mount options.

Its a no brainer that WetSounds Pro80s will be the loudest because they have the biggest pod displacement and most cone surface area.

Bullet HollowPoint 770s, as a 7.7inch driver, will drop into your existing pods without mods. The surface area and midbass is not too far behind.

The Exile XM-7 has some unique benefits in their quick-disconnects and ability to freely swivel.

There are subjective differences in the sound of these three HLCDs but they all clearly sound like HLCDs and tonal differences are somewhat minimized at 70 feet when competing with noise as compared to a more tranquil setting.

I hope this provides a fair and unbiased perception and gives you some good options.

Earmark Marine
Old     (skyski1)      Join Date: Jan 2008       01-28-2010, 11:01 AM Reply   
David..........assuming he likes the smooth response of his existing JL tower speakers (after beefing up amplification), could he add another pair of JL's (4 speakers total) and come close to the volume and projection of ONE pair of HLCD? I am curious on behalf of the OP, but the same question applies to my project.
Btw, thank you for putting your knowledge and experience to work on these various audio questions. Your perspective is priceless and quite often a game changer!
Old     (guess402)      Join Date: Mar 2009       01-28-2010, 11:36 AM Reply   
David thanks thats exactly what I needed to know. I think for now I should just upgrade the amps and maybe the in boat speaker wire and see if that gets me to a point where I am happy. Rumor has it that if I put a FA exhaust on the boat my speakers will sound 2x as loud when I am riding.
Old     (david_e_m)      Join Date: Jul 2008       01-28-2010, 1:03 PM Reply   

Sounds good. Drop me a line if I can help.


In respect to the lower registers, two pair of JL 7.7s would be competitive with one pair of larger HLCDs for example. However, in the upper frequencies, one pair of HLCDs would still have the advantage in creating an articulate (as in brighter) and louder (even if its not linear) sound at 70/80 feet against the exhaust and environmental noise. I say this because doubling your speakers and power would net a 3dB increase while an HLCD tweeter typically peaks at 5,6 or even more dB higher than its midbass counterpart. Average output and peak output would be two different stories. While 50 percent of all musical fundamentals fall within 200 to 600 Hz, which is the sole domain of the midbass cone and not the horn, its the upper harmonics that provide the distinctive qualities which allow us to better differentiate melodies, speech, etc. Particularly against wakeboarding challenges.

You just can't get around the fact that what sounds musically accurate at 20 feet in a quiet environment will not sound musically accurate at 80 feet in a noisy environment, with the inverse also being just as true.

However, you can tame an HLCD for in-close listening with an EQ or warm it up with another type of processor. Reciprocally, you could supplement an SQ speaker with a variable tweeter for long range projection. Maybe there's a solution somewhere in there for you.

Earmark Marine
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       01-28-2010, 1:30 PM Reply   
David, I never understood that. Is there any reason for a guy who does nothing but surf and/or party to get HLCD's other than to have the biggest and loudest stereo on the water? I would think a guy who does a lot of surfing or cover partying would be better off with the full sound of car audio vs the ear piercing high frequency of Pro Audio.
Old     (skyski1)      Join Date: Jan 2008       01-28-2010, 2:19 PM Reply   
Thank you David! You not only answered my question, but your explanation helps me to understand why the HLCD speakers sound so different. "Not linear" says it all.
Choosing a tower speaker is a lot like choosing a boat for wakeboarding AND slalom skiing, knowing the crossover boat does neither very well. You really do need to choose which side of the fence you want to be on.
Old     (david_e_m)      Join Date: Jul 2008       01-29-2010, 9:50 AM Reply   
Car Audio speakers or in-boat speakers baffle (free-air) as they're designed for use in large doors, trunks or gunnel cavities. Once placed in a tiny pod the resonance is inordinately raised leaving little to no midbass response. Their top end energy is widely dispersed and dissipates within just a few feet so they don't project well. So car audio speakers aren't the answer on towers.

As an SQ speaker, the JL Audio 'T' series 7.7s are designed specifically for very small displacement pods. They have a different version, 'C' series, that are designed for infinite baffle coaming applications. This is unique to JL Audio and explains why they have plausable midbass in a tower speaker.

HLCDs are definitely driving the market. From many boater's perspective, when HLCDs are so much louder, no one wants to be out done. This seems to override the issue of a less than linear response. Plus, riders don't want to just hear a muffled sound. They want to hear something more intelligible. At the end of a rope, and for this application nothing works like an HLCD.

Close range SQ listening is a very different experience and manufacturers are dealing with this contradiction. For example, WetSounds came up with the Double-Up to serve both needs. Exile is soon to deliver an active sound shaping device that is tailored to address both listening extremes. EQs work well to compensate for both modes. We use MaxxBass processing to warm up ProAxials. So we've got some good solutions with more innovations on the way.

Earmark Marine
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       01-29-2010, 10:06 AM Reply   
Thanks David. I wondered what the difference was between the T and C 7.7 JL's. All I knew was that one was for cockpit and one was for tower.
Old     (skyski1)      Join Date: Jan 2008       01-29-2010, 11:19 AM Reply   
David....after studying up on the MaxxBass on your site and reading a few reviews online, I went ahead and placed an order. I have a bunch of tower speakers and a few amps on my test bench right now for the ultimate shoot out. It only makes sense to throw a MaxxBass into the mix. I will be giving Exile's Harpoon amp a shot as well when it becomes available.
Old     (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       01-29-2010, 12:02 PM Reply   
David, can you explain how you are using the maxxbass? Are you you just setting it on the door setting before the hlcd amp? I understand that the point of the processor is to bring out low frequencies.... why/how does it have an effect on the perceived harshness of the hlcd highs? Is it just that you don't need as much volume to get the right amount of bass so you are getting less high frequency sound.

Old     (skyski1)      Join Date: Jan 2008       01-29-2010, 12:21 PM Reply   
Here is a link to some of the reading I did. Apparently, MaxxBass has been around for a while.
Old     (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       01-29-2010, 12:56 PM Reply   
Thanks John. I saw that stuff too before I posted what I did. All of the discussion appears to be around using the processor to increase the perception of bass. Where I'm confused is that the complaint about HLCDs is not that they don't produce enough bass but rather that they produce too much treble in close environs. Hence my question, why/how does a bass processor help with mitigating the perceived harshness of hlcd tweets?
Old     (brianinpdx)      Join Date: Aug 2009       01-29-2010, 1:37 PM Reply   
Don't want to hijack this thread, but seeing as its veered off course already... Guess I'll add to it.

Davids comments are spot on from an acoustical point of view in tower sound with conventional near field speakers versus HLCD's. The fact is, that they have tradeoff's.

Last year when we entered the HLCD market we saw near field, far field as a huge disconnect in real world performance. Thats what sent us back to the design grindstone. What we came up with is an amplifier design that builds in the control of how your speakers sound.

I haven't played with a MaxxBass processor, but I'm assuming it does by adding odd/even order harmonics? (maybe david can chime in here). We went the other way - We dont want to add anything to the sound. We want to shape it. The thottlebox does that by allowing you to continuously realign the speakers characteristics to give you unlimited variations between a full throttle “blow you hair back crisp” sound to “full studio quality high fidelity”. The design varies the phase relationship and transfer function of the Horn and Midbass driver to give the user best of both worlds all controlled by a simple knob on your dash.

ok, now back to your regular scheduled program. sorry for the lengthy response.

-Brian @Exile
Old     (david_e_m)      Join Date: Jul 2008       01-29-2010, 3:04 PM Reply   
First, let me say that our entire perception of what a speaker is doing can be formed by only a few abberations rather than what is really going on. The human auditory system is very complex and is forced (or has evolved) to compress and mask in order to function effectively. We may hear that a speaker has little midbass when in fact the RTA proves the speaker has reasonable extension. But if there's a mild peak within the realm of several octaves or a very pronounced peak in the audio bandwidth, this peak(s) tends to dominate our perception.

By warming up a speaker in the lower registers, particularly in the lower midrange, you are offsetting and balancing the aggressive treble similar to a treble reduction. Changing the relationship between fundamentals and harmonics will change your perception of spectral balance.

The MaxxBass, when correctly put to task in a highpass application, will bring warmth to the lower midrange. It will also deliver plausable midbass in tower speakers that rolloff due to the small pod displacement. MaxxBass focuses on the psychoacoustical perception rather than equalization.

And here is the big bonus. Properly used the MaxxBass processing does not require more power and does not increase the midbass driver excursion and does not introduce the driver to more mechanical stress.

Will your tower speakers shake the Earth? No. Will they sound more pleasant when listening near field? Absolutely!

Earmark Marine

(Message edited by David_e_m on January 29, 2010)
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       01-29-2010, 10:31 PM Reply   
I have been using maxxbass on my tower speakers for the past 3 or 4 years. The key with maxxbass is not to expect miracles. The difference is subtle but significant. It works very well as long as you don't push it too hard. It also adds one more variable into the gain setting challenge. My boat has been playing right next to a boat with identical tower speakers linked to the same source. I had the rare opportunity to listen to my speakers with maxxbass and the other speakers without maxxbass. The installer of the other boats speaker was a buddy of mine. I let him tweak my crossover and that of the other boat. After his best attempts, the three of us comparing both tower setups thought my speakers sounded better. The only significant difference between our systems was the maxxbass unit. I'm a believer. I have known of two others that tried the maxxbass unit and did not keep it in their systems. I believe they either did not take the time to get it set properly or they expected too much from the unit.

(Message edited by mikeski on January 29, 2010)
Old     (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       03-15-2010, 8:00 AM Reply   
there's a maxxbass on ebay right now that's gonna go cheap:

NOT MINE, but just wanted to point this out in case anyone had followed this thread and wanted to pick one up...


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