Wake 101
Home   Articles   Pics/Video   Gear   Wake 101   Events   Community   Forums   Classifieds   Contests   Shop   Search
WakeWorld Home
Email Password
Go Back   WakeWorld > >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive > Archive through April 04, 2003

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old    chris_hargis            03-19-2003, 8:39 AM Reply   
Not being the stereo professional here, I am looking to get my system inmy boat upgraded. I just put a Pioneer DEH 3500 head unit in and have my tower speaker cannisters built. What I am looking at is a good pair of tower speakers, amp for those speakers, a 10" sub and an amp for the sub. Now I know that I will get many opinions on what is best, but I am on a limited budget (just got passed over for promotion to E-8 and will probably retire from USAF in less than a year).

So, for sake of argument, lets say I have $400 or so to spend on the 2 amps, sub and 6.5 inch speakers. What is the best for the money and where do I get it from?
Old    Sandy Vandebult (sandbag)      Join Date: May 2002       03-19-2003, 9:19 AM Reply   
If you could up your budget by a couple hundred
you would have many more choices.

In my opinion it is better to scale slowly
than to try to install a system in one shot with a limited budget.
Because of the open air and noise levels in the boat, getting a clear sound that can be heard
at wakeboard speed has to be your goal. $400
could get you either the sub or the tower but
very difficult to get both. Why not start with one or the other? And then save for the next phase...
Old    chris_hargis            03-19-2003, 10:57 AM Reply   
I certainly agree with you, so let's break that down to the tower speakers and amp first. Let's say around $100 for the speakers, and around $150 for the amp. What is the best bargain? Who has the best prices? How much amp do I need, 2 channel for tower enough? As I said, I am not a stereo professional. Heck I am running the stock system in my Expedition and thinnk it sounds pretty good.
Old    matt (supraman)      Join Date: Jan 2002       03-19-2003, 12:09 PM Reply   
Buy the JBL P80.4 from for $149, no tax, no shipping. That will give you 160 watts of clean sound per speaker. Plenty for a boating application.

For speakers you can get any number of 6.5 speakers from this page that will do the trick for less than $100. Again, no tax, no shipping.

That leaves you about $150. If I were you, I'd spend $145 on a killer JBL 300.1 sub amp and wait until I had the money for a decent sub (I recommend

Another way to go about this is to follow steps one and two, but to wire the amp different. This time, use one bridged channel for the tower (80 watts per speaker) and one bridged channel for the sub (180 watts). Again, you've got $150 dollars which is plenty to get a Sony Subwoofer with a box from Circuit City or Best Buy. Now that I think about it, this may be your best option. You've got a sub, tower speakers and an amp for under $400. When you get more money (and if you think it's necessary) you could add a second amp as I originally described.

A lot the guys on here are making KILLER sound systems on their boats. If you're looking for something less than perfect, but at a reasonable price, don't let people tell you it has to be a $1000 system. You can out things together economically. Also, if the language is confusing or you'd like more info, just e-mail me.
Old    salty87 (salty87)      Join Date: Jul 2002       03-19-2003, 12:37 PM Reply   
i don't have any prices or links but i'd suggest also considering getting a 4 channel amp that runs tri-way. a 4 channel amp will give you more choices in the future to expand. it'll cost a bit more but not as much as 2 2-channel amps unless they're a blowout special or something.

you could run 2 6 1/2s and the sub off a 4 channel. it's worth pricing the difference.
Old    salty87 (salty87)      Join Date: Jul 2002       03-19-2003, 12:42 PM Reply   
oh yeah, for around $100, the infinity reference 6 1/2's are tough to beat.
Old    TY-one-on (typhoon)      Join Date: Jul 2001       03-19-2003, 12:43 PM Reply   
I would get the pioneer 3 ways for about 50.00. awesome speakers.
Old    jmccallum            03-19-2003, 1:21 PM Reply   
Like Chris I'm interest in low-cost stereo upgrades and am find this thread interesting mainly because Iím just cheap.

These sub being suggested are they water resistant or do you guys mount them so that they stay dry?

Do they have to be in an enclosure of a certain size or can you just use an empty boat cavity?

P.S. Sorry for interrupting your thread Chris!
Old    chris_hargis            03-19-2003, 2:50 PM Reply   
No problem James, your questions are mine also. I was thinking about building an enclosure for the sub when I get it.

Thanks everyone for the advise. It certainly helps. I had been looking at the infinity speakers also. And I had toy'd with the idea of a 4 channel amp. Circuit City has that special for the Sony 1000 watt amp and two subs, but it is only 4 channels. I am going to go to some of those links provided and check them out.

Thanks again for the help.
Old    riverotter            03-19-2003, 5:11 PM Reply   

I really like the way you suggested on the less expensive stereo. What is your recommendation for tower speakers. In your recommendation you didn't specifically mention them. Are the west marine speakers any good? How about Pyramid? Do you suggest marine for the towers?
Old    Bill Bierbower (monstertower)      Join Date: Mar 2003       03-19-2003, 5:32 PM Reply   
I've got a basic Jensen AM/FM/CD ($100), a 12" Sony Sub ($80) and 800W Sony amp ($150), a Pair of 6x9 Sonys ($49) - all Xplode all up in the front. Have a pair of West speakers ($30) in the back that do ok but I'll probably replace those with MBQuart one day. Also a set of Mako can's on the tower (which is the ones we sell).

It would certainly qualify as low budget by what's in the boats of most the other guys on the lake but it sure does a great job making the homes on the beach call the lake cops to have me turn it down :-)
Old    Bob (bob)      Join Date: Feb 2001       03-19-2003, 6:27 PM Reply   
im only going to suggest you be sure and buy the stuff that you will be happy with (loud enough over the engine/ambient noise not to have to turn it up to distortion levels frying speakers) or you will want better stuff shortly after you install current system which will also effect your power system ie: wiring, fuses, connectors, etc costing more money in the long run, 400 watts in a boat is not alot, ive got 300 going just to my sub and another 300 to the tower speakers alone. Dont skimp or youll pay the price, buy the right stuff first and youll be happy for a while.
Old    Psyclone (cyclonecj)      Join Date: Jul 2001       03-19-2003, 7:22 PM Reply   
I hear you on the "do it cheap" front. You have to think about the sound environment, 90db+ sound floor (lots of noise) All that stuff will get and stay damp and need to be replaced after a couple of years in a boat. I don't believe in high end stuff in a boat, but I'm probably in the minority on this board! Kenwood (for example) makes cheap amps with multiple built in crossovers and discrete component power output sections, which means they are made out of quality individual parts, not IC's. Not unlike the high end amps that charge much more for reputation and marketing with essentially the same performance. I have a five channel KAC-859 that I bought for 200$ a year ago, it puts out 40 watts true RMS per channel (4) at low distortion levels, plus a 4 ohm mono subwoofer channel @ 120 watts RMS. You can run it with three, four or five channels. In Car Stereo terms, its 800 watts. Not in real life. Good quality and lots of flexibility for dirt cheap. Of course, you have to be realistic about what you can expect from mid range equipment, if you are after high end sound you may go through a lot of cheap stuff before you're happy. That could offset the cost of the buying good stuff in the first place. Your boat will show a fair amount of wear from installing a stereo system five times. When you start drawing gobs of power, then you have to upgrade your boat to handle it, even with relatively cheap high power equipment. Extra batteries, higher capacity alternators, isolating equipment, big wire, etc. adds up fast. Keep in mind that it is easier to pop expensive speakers with not enough power than with more than they are rated for. Always overestimate by about 30% on output power.
Here is my philosophy on cheap stereo stuff:

Head units, get a good one that has features you like.

High quality power available to all equipment.
This means a big enough alternator, and possibly an aux battery and at least a 1 2 both switch.
Big wire to the amp(s) and to ground. This is big money, 400$ or so to do it all right. The wire is 5$ a foot. Caps work, they are a band aid for cheap wire (Hi Doug!) They are by no means a necessity.

Mid quality (cheap) amps that are rated for lots more power than I need. The fewer the better from an installation standpoint, they take up lots of real estate and wiring. They are the least important part of the chain in my opinion. Theoretically they should not color the sound at all, in practice this is not always the case, but IMHO other components make a bigger difference.

Decent quality wiring, power and signal. Not high end mojo BS wire. Smart installation is just, if not more, important than wire "quality". I defy anyone in blind tests, to tell me the difference between decent and high end signal cable at the same lengths and the same conditions. I know all about "skin effect" and other BS that people who terminate and (re)package wire for the stereo industry talk about. It is BS. Don't waste your money.

High quality speakers that are capable of handling the power and that sound the way I like them to sound. This is totally subjective and can't be measured. The speakers make the sound. They also must fit where you want them and point where you want them to send the sound. You can rely on word of mouth for reliability and general opinion, but you are the ultimate judge. The type of music matters too, Kid Rock sucks no matter how much you spend on speakers! Even if you happen to like the white trash rock stylings of Kid Rock, spend your big money on speakers.

Anyway, that is my input. Doug Hanson and other guys take the other approach, highest possible sound quality at any cost. They are extremely critical of each component, and have very strong opinions on certain things. There is definitely some common ground, look at your budget and use your ears.
Old    Sandy Vandebult (sandbag)      Join Date: May 2002       03-20-2003, 7:28 AM Reply   
I started out wanting to install cheap.
In my first boat I installed 1 pair of Alpine
5-1/4ís, JBL 150w amp, a bazooka 10' tube, Sony Xplode deck with matching CD changer.
I had the amp and sub, the Alpines came with the boat and I spent about $400 on the deck and CD changer.

Sitting still it sounded great. At wakeboard speed it may as well been off. It could not be heard at all. This was in an older DD boat and
mostly due to engine noise.

In my current boat I started with the stock system
and added an MTX class D amp and a pair of Polk Audio 10's. Still couldn't hear it at 22mph.

Then I added 6 MB Qs (6.5s on the tower) and an MTX 6302 4ch. It was getting audible at 22mph
but the 6302 was struggling to power all the MB Q's and the tower could not be heard by the rider. (Keep in mind I prolly have the quietest V-drive made to date, the Toyota S22)

My final upgrade was an Alpine F540 for the interior MB Q's, ditched the 10's and went with
Punch 12's and added 4' MB Q's to the 6-1/2's in the tower. The MTX 6302 now powers the tower.
Finally the music is normally audible at 22mph
and the rider can hear the tower clearly.

I have enough stereo mistakes to equip two cars
with upgrades from stock including cable and wire. This was not my intention. Not to start counting but, I wasted $200 in the wrong wiring alone. All I wanted was decent sound at 22mph.
My system is not the best, just good enough.

My advice is don't skimp. If you want clear sound
at 22mph, scale slowly and buy what the experienced recommend, especially when it also suits your taste. And don't forget the Battery
wire and isolator, these are essential to eliminating engine noise. Nothing worse than a kick-@$$ stereo playing the distributor louder than the music!

(Message edited by sandbag on March 20, 2003)
Old    TY-one-on (typhoon)      Join Date: Jul 2001       03-20-2003, 7:55 AM Reply   
Here is what I would get:
Hifonics amps which are raw power on ebay right now for very cheap.
Pioneer 6.5's two or three ways around 50.00 or less on ebay.
sub-I would get the adire audio shiva and put it in a free air baffle board installation. I know where to get it for 125.00 delivered. Takes no room and you save money on building an expensive box. You do not have to but I would probably get an inline subsonic filter to cut off freq.'s below 35hz so as not to over extend and be able to play louder (around 15.00 from If you want enclosed, I would get the adire vamp which is the shiva redesigned to go in a small box. Very nice sub. I think it was about 75.00 plus a little frt.
sub amp on ebay would be the JBL bp series. the 600 watt is a great amp that would allow you to expand later if you decide. If not get the 300.
That would be my system of choice on a budget or actually not on a budget and very inexpensive. Very killer system for very little money. drop me a line if you need any info.
Old    TY-one-on (typhoon)      Join Date: Jul 2001       03-20-2003, 7:59 AM Reply   
MTX makes nice amps for cheap also. A nice 4 channel mtx maybe also.
Old    doubleup1080            03-21-2003, 12:57 AM Reply   
I really like infinity reference speakers. Those would sound really good on your tower (6.5 or 6X9's). U.S. Acoustics makes great budget amplifers. The USX-2080 would make those infinity speakers scream. U.S. Acoustics is much better than Kenwood, Sony, Jensen, etc. I agree with Ty that Hifonics is also an excellent amp. As far as subwoofers go I again agree with Ty on the Adire Shiva. Elemental Designs E10k is a also great at $130.00 (actually as steal).
For a cheaper sub, Pioneers are going for $58.00 on ebay. Jbl 300.1 would work for the sub or a U.S. Acoustics USX 600D amp.

Here's an example of a decent system:

Infinity reference Speakers $62.00 799
U.S. Acoustics USX-2080 amp for speakers $90.00
U.S. Acoustics USX600d amp for Sub $165.00 also warranties the U.S. Acoustic amps.
A box for the sub could be made for cheap using} 3/4" mdf.

Old    chris_hargis            03-21-2003, 7:12 AM Reply   
I have been eyeing the Infinity speakers quite a bit. Which would sound better, the reference, or the kappas? The price is pretty good on those and the comments have been very good about them here.
Old    TY-one-on (typhoon)      Join Date: Jul 2001       03-21-2003, 7:33 AM Reply   
The kappas have better high's. Brandon, yes the pioneer is a decent sub and teh us acoustics are decent amps. I normally recommend the elemental subs, but I heard that they are having a hard time delivivering right now. I would also look at the pioneer 6.5" 3 ways.
Old    doubleup1080            03-21-2003, 2:25 PM Reply   
Hopefully, things will clear up soon with EDesigns.
Old    gotpwr            03-21-2003, 6:55 PM Reply   
There are some pics and a description of what I did for tower speakers and a sub on this thread.
Old    Rob Andrus (robandrus)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-01-2003, 11:24 PM Reply   
Does anyone use 6x9's on the tower, also I have seen a lot of indoor/outdoor speakers on ebay pretty cheap, they are however 8 ohm. How would this affect the sound. I've often considered putting some of these in an alignment of 5 125 watt speakers on the tower. Also, is there a cheap place to get some boxes for the towers?


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 5:45 AM.

Home   Articles   Pics/Video   Gear   Wake 101   Events   Community   Forums   Classifieds   Contests   Shop   Search
Wake World Home


© 2016 eWake, Inc.    
Advertise    |    Contact    |    Terms of Use    |    Privacy Policy    |    Report Abuse    |    Conduct    |    About Us