Tale of Two Boats
There's plenty to enjoy about going out on the water in your boat. Whether your favorite maritime activity is fishing, cruising, waterskiing, wakeboarding or something else, it can be even more fun when you have a capable marine sound system to provide the music. Here's how we outfitted two different boats belonging to Crutchfield employees. Each boat was equipped with a system that suited the boat and the activities of the owners.
A sea-worthy system for fishing and cruising
Doug, our Operations Manager in Charlottesville, looks forward to weekends at Virginia Beach every summer. That's where he berths his 25-foot Grady-White and takes it out for fishing and cruising in the Atlantic and the Chesepeake Bay. Doug wanted to upgrade the boat's existing system to provide good sound in the bow, at the helm, and in the stern cockpit, and give him and his passengers more options for what they can listen to when they're afloat.
The receiver is the heart of the system
We installed a Clarion M502 marine digital media receiver in the bow cabin of the boat. Digital media receivers don't have CD players, but that wasn't something Doug was worried about, since he listens primarily to his iPod® and satellite radio. The M502 is well-equipped for Doug. It has a USB input and iPod controls, plus it's satellite radio-ready, so Doug can take his satellite radio tuner out of his car and use it in the boat too. And since the M502 has built-in Bluetooth® connectivity, Doug and his guests on the boat can stream music wirelessly from their devices to the receiver.
|The Clarion M502 receiver was installed in the bow cabin.|
Although we mounted the receiver below decks, control was maintained at the helm by the addition of a Clarion MW1 wired remote control. The remote's LCD display provides feedback, while the waterproof buttons give Doug control of the receiver when he's conning the boat.
Covering the boat with sound
Doug and his passengers may be anywhere on the boat when they're cruising or fishing, so we wanted to provide good sound throughout. A pair of Polk DB401 marine speakers fit nicely in the bow cabin, where they're protected from the elements. At the helm, we installed a set of JL Audio MX650 marine speakers.
|JL Audio speakers mounted in the bulkheads provide sound for the helm.|
For the rear of the boat we added a Polyplanar marine audio system. It includes an amplifier, enclosed subwoofer and a pair of waterproof speakers. With the sub mounted in a stern compartment and the speakers under the gunwales, the bass response and sound in the back of the boat was greatly improved.
Fun on the lake
J, Crutchfield's in-house photographer, keeps his 20-foot Moomba Outback on the inland waters of Virginia's Smith Mountain Lake, where he enjoys taking out friends and family for wakeboarding and exploring the many small coves of this popular lake. Having a system with plenty of power to cut through the sound of the wind, waves, and engines was important to him.
Keeping the receiver safe and dry
Thinks can get damp inside a fast, open boat, so we worked with J to find a protected location for the receiver. Fortunately, the Moomba has a variety of watertight compartments that were perfect for the installation. Not only does the compartment provide an extra degree of protection for the Kenwood KMR-550U marine CD receiver we installed, but it also protects devices connected to it from splashes and accidental dunkings. A Kenwood KCA-RC107MR wired remote lets J control the receiver from the helm.
|The marine CD receiver and devices stay safe and dry in this waterproof compartment.|
Adding an amp and speakers
We installed three pairs of 6" KM6200 Kicker marine speakers in the boat's existing speaker openings, covering the front, middle, and rear of the craft. We kept the amplification in the family with a Kicker ZXM700.5 marine amp. The amplifier is essential to providing the punch necessary for clear sound output when the throttle is up and the boat is humming along the water. And, since the amp has a separate subwoofer channel, J can add a sub to the system later if he wants.
|Three pairs of KM6200 speakers provide full-range sound.|
Be sure to watch our video about the installation in J's Moomba.
Tips for your installation
Putting a system into your boat may seem like a daunting task. Here are a few handy tips from our installers at Crutchfield that'll help make the process a little easier.
Take your time, and try to plan the installation out in advance. (This should actually apply to any installation.)
When drilling into any fiberglass/wood surfaces, always check what’s on the backside. It sounds silly, but it’s easy to forget and you don’t want to drill into a fuel line or worse yet, through the hull!
If you need to cut a large hole using a hole saw (like we did for the Clarion remote control in the dash), run the hole saw backwards against the gelcoat to score it. This will prevent chipping of the surface. And always go slow and steady with a hole saw.
Anytime you pull wires, also pull an extra piece of polyester twine with the wires and leave it in the run. This can serve as your pull string for future installations.
Before you button everything up, check that all of your components are working as expected.
JL Audio MX650-CCX-CG-WH
6-1/2" marine speakers
Your price: $199.99
Marine digital media receiver
Your price: $189.99
RF marine remote control
Your price: $99.99
Wired marine remote control
OUT OF STOCK
Your price: $129.99
6-1/2" 2-way marine speakers
Your price: $149.99
Marine amplifier 70 watts RMS x 4 + 210 RMS x 1
OUT OF STOCK
Your price: $349.99 After $150.00 Price Break
Dock & Play satellite radio with vehicle kit
Your price: $69.99After $50.00 Mail-in or Web Rebate
Poly-Planar Marine Audio System
iPod®-ready system includes amp, marine speakers, and sub (Model MP3-Kit7-W)
Your price: $279.99 After $100.00 Price Break
Clarion MW1 Marine Remote Control
Black watertight remote w/ LCD screen
OUT OF STOCK