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Crutchfield: The Podcast Ep. 23

Ziggy and the new system on his pontoon boat

In this episode:

J.R. leaves shore for a lake tour on Advisor Ziggy's Bentley Cruise pontoon boat. Naturally, that boat had a rockin' audio system on board, and Ziggy got to show it off at (almost) full volume. If you'd like to follow along and see the boat, check out our full article about the installation.

Ziggy boat audio installation

Some of the gear discussed includes:

Also, J.R. and cohost Eric answer a customer question about wakeboard tower speakers and their recommendations include Kicker's 46KMC4 marine digital receiver and JL Audio's M3 Series wakeboard tower speakers.

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Read episode transcript

Hello and welcome everybody to Crutchfield the podcast Jr your host here along with my co host eric. How we doing today? Eric ecstatic. We are back. We are here to talk about sound systems on a boat today. We've done this a couple times here on the podcast. One of them, we did it last year in season one where we were we were on a boat sorta. Actually we weren't, we we we were we had a boat in the parking lot but we couldn't use it because the owner of the boat came and picked it up before we got a chance to record on it. So we just stood out in the parking lot sounding like we were outside, but not actually on a boat today, totally different. I went on a boat. The boat was on the water and it was awesome and it was loud. Are you jealous yet? I'm a little jealous. The boat absolutely rocked from what I could hear from what I could tell. I wasn't there. It did you're gonna hear that? We did a whole interview with the owner of the boat and we played some music on the boat sound system, recorded it using the microphone that we had with us and and it actually sounds pretty amazing. We just did the, we did Crutchfield the podcasts theme song on the boat at full volume or maybe not quite full volume, but it was pretty awesome. You're gonna hear that here in a little bit. I just took advantage of an opportunity. Ziggy is one of our team leaders in our sales department. So he heads up a team of advisors, he helps them, he coaches them, etcetera when he's not at work doing that. He's probably out on Lake Monticello on his boat. Lake Monticello is a nice community just outside of Charlottesville, Big lake in the middle. Everybody on the lake has boats. Uh And Ziggy is one of them, one of many pontoon boats floating around lake Monticello. Yeah, no doubt. It is a party boat for sure. So, Ziggy Ziggy is a two time pontoon boat owner. He owned one, he sold it, he got a better one with a bigger engine. We'll talk about that when I interview him a little bit. But the reason I was opportunistic about this is because he he had his pontoon boat in the parking lot at Crutchfield for about a week. Uh and we did a huge upgrade of stereo on this pontoon boat. They we also since we did it there at headquarters at Crutchfield, we took pictures, we built an article about it. We will have links to all of that stuff in the show notes for this episode of the podcast. So, if you're not listening to it at crutchfield dot com slash podcast, you might want to go there, find this episode and look through the show notes. Uh and uh and so you can see the boat, we're talking about, do that now and you can see it while we're talking about, you'll have some visuals, So that's what we're gonna do. We're gonna head on out to Ziggy's boat. There's actually a third person on the boat while I was there. His name is Mike, he works in our tech department. ErIC and I will be back a few times along the way to explain some things. We're gonna rudely interrupt this interview. Like we do ERic is a professional at Root iterations. There you go. This is really just like a party cruiser type of thing. Right? That's correct. Yeah. It is called the cruise. Uh, is that your name for it? That's, that's like the model of the boat 40-40 crews. Do you have a name on your boat? Like it is, it is named Sandy Beck, Sandy beck. So Cheryl and I both lost our moms and I'm sorry to hear that. So it's Sandy for Cheryl's mom and Beck for my mom. That's cool to honor them. That's awesome. Uh, and uh, this doesn't seem like you're doing any fishing or anything on here. Right? This is just to come out in here and just want to hang out and have fun. Yeah. Um, I mean, I do fish off of it a little bit. Um, there's a lot of good fishing spots on this lake, but mainly we just come out on the weekends and hang out with friends and tube and swim and you do have a good time water skiing or just pull tubes or pull tubes. We do some water skiing, some knee boarding, um some wakeboarding. You can't really do a whole lot because not, you know, it's not really too big so you can't can't can't go very fast. But the speed limit is like 35 on this lake. Okay, that's fast enough to have some fun. Oh yeah, for sure. And how long have you had this boat? This boat I have had for a month and a half. Okay. Just got it. Just got it just sold our other boat upgraded because this one's got a lot bigger motor on the than the other boat. Yeah, I've been on a pontoon with a small motor. It's kind of weak, weak sauce and you can go out and hang out but don't try to pull the tube or anything like that. It's just doesn't have the muscle for it. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And this one has the oversized pontoons on it so it does get out of the water. Pretty good. So yeah, we were going pretty fast. It's going pretty good clip there for a little bit was pretty smooth. I mean partly because we're on the lake, but even when we're going through other boats wakes, it wasn't bad at all. Yeah, that's the nice thing about a pontoon. Its not not real rocky. Yeah. Did you have a stereo system on your other boat? I did. Um I bought a kenwood package that had the kenwood radio and two speakers and then I had two other speakers I replaced it. It had one on there before but it was pretty terrible. Yeah and you work at Crutchfield so you didn't allow that to be the case for very long. Exactly exactly. How does the system you had on the other boat compared to the system we're about to talk about on this boat? So we we've been out here for about an hour now cruising around listening to music and the sound system on here is pretty incredible. Yeah. Yeah it is it's it's really really nice no doubt. I just put a pretty sweet system in my car and this might be a better system than what's in my car. This is as good if not better. It's definitely better sounding. Maybe not quite as loud as any system that I've had in my cars. But the quality of the sound on this is just bar none way better than what I had in any of my other cars. And so your your boat you got it all this installed here at Crutchfield. Your boat was in the parking lot there for a little while. But let's talk about it let's talk about the system you've got installed here. I'm seeing a Rockford Files. Git head unit. Rockford Files gate speakers, correct? Yeah. Which head unit is this? So it's one of the P. M. X. Versions? I believe it's the three but I'm not 100% sure we can find out though says it right there, doesn't it? OPM X five can, yep. There? It is better than you thought you had. Yeah but it's got a really cool feature that not a lot of radios have on it that has a sub volume button right on the front of the radio so you don't have to go down into the menus to try and adjust your subwoofer level. Yeah so I'm noticing a big volume knob which seems to be a really nice volume knob. We joke about this in training because we love volume knobs right and good volume knob. There's nothing better like it's so much better than uh you know up down buttons for volume but up down buttons for subwoofer control right next to the volume control that's actually pretty rare here. It's so accessible. Hey eric I figure we might want to jump in here and talk about how the category of marine products at Crutchfield. I mean when I started in 96 this consisted of one or two brands of marine stereo and speakers and that was kind of it and yeah yeah the world has changed quite a bit. It's definitely a growing category and I think uh this last year we've seen that you know it's a it's an escape for folks, they don't have to be crowded around people and they can still get outside and enjoy music and the great outdoors and uh, you know, creative ventures that way. And we've absolutely seen an uptick in this, uh, interest in this product category for, no, it's grown so much. There's so many cool products to choose from. And as you look through them, you might realize that not all of these products are actually made for your boat. A lot of them are made for power sports things. You know, those like side by side off code, four wheeler type of things. Right. Those things need stereos too. They've got roll bars on them. You can put speakers up their radios in the dash. They need to be just as rugged, maybe even more rugged for those environments as they do for marine. And so it's a, it's a huge sort of conglomerate of a bunch of different vehicles that we sort of have stereos for. And we kind of call it all marine and power sports. You're not using the power in the head unit. Right? You're correct. This, this head unit actually has a feature that allows you to turn the internal amplifiers off, which is cool because it makes the radio run cleaner, keeping your music cleaner. So pre amp outputs go to this and it's down here in this cubbyhole. Yeah, yeah, we've got a five channel Rockford and marine grade Rockford amp there. It's a little power sports. And um, yeah, kind of compact doesn't take up a lot of space stays cool. You can put it inside a place where it might get hot in the summer, it's gonna be just fine. Exactly, and um, it doesn't, it's, it's very efficient, so it doesn't suck a lot of juice from the battery, which is something you don't want to do on a boat or, or even on a side by side. So I don't imagine it would be fun to row this boat back to the marina if you kill your battery negative, I've got two batteries, I have one hooked up and I always have a spare that's charging, so that, you know, just in case I run it down. So it's like one battery always for starting the boat and the other one's for peripherals or how does that work on this boat? So on my boat, I've got everything running to the main battery, so it starts, runs everything off of that. Um, and then I have the other one on a, uh, on a solar powered trickle charger, so that, it's always charging. It's pretty cool. And uh, you know, if I've never had the battery go dead yet, Hey, eric, if you had a boat, how many batteries would you have on it? 222 batteries on a boat makes a lot of sense, especially when you have a audio system and any other electronics and gadgets and things that need power, right, A lot of the time you spend on a boat, the boat is not running right, and the battery on a boat needs the engine to be running to charge the battery. So, having a second battery on board sounds like a great idea. And ziggy smart to have that second battery be charged by a solar powered trickle charger. So it's just always topped up. It's always out in the sun anyway, all day, every day. Uh and so it's constantly charge. So there are boats that have built in systems with multiple batteries and switching systems so that you can have the whole boat powered by both batteries or one or the other, or the peripherals powered by one and the boats. Uh you know, the starter for the boat powered by the other one? There's lots of different ways to hook this up. We actually sell batteries that are great for putting in marine applications here at Crutchfield and there's even like multiple battery installation kits and things like that. So, it's a good idea to have two. You gotta do it right, if you're gonna do it. Uh And we can help if you're, if you're interested in doing something like that, check with one of our advisors, they can hook you up with multiple batteries. Got mike from our tech support department on the boat as well. Are you doing tech calls these days, mike tech and you do other stuff besides take calls, but it's been pretty busy here lately. So, more calls than usual. Yeah. Alright, so we've got the Rockford head unit, we've got a five channel amp? We're talking about this earlier. It's a class A B amplifier for the main speakers, correct. And then the class D. For the sub and the class D. For the sub is nice because that's really what that's where most of your power is kind of needed and it's the most efficient part of the amplifier stays. The coolest doesn't take as much from the back. A lot of sound. Exactly. And what what speakers are these? I'm not sure the yeah, four speakers. They are Rockford Foz Gates. They have the cool party lights in them. Um The speakers are so low on the boat with the better tweeters that are in these speakers, it actually helps get the sound stage up closer to your head. Yeah. I didn't notice that it didn't sound like there's there's sound down around the floor, it sounded like the entire boat was full of music. Yeah. So the speakers, these speakers sound great and maybe we'll be out here long enough so I can see them at night. But I'm watching the lights. They do they change with the music and you send them to do that, you can change them to like kind of rotate colors because they were changing colors earlier and you're controlling these lights from an app on your phone. Yes, correct. Is that a Rockford app? It is a Rockford app. R. F connect. So ziggy mentioned sound staging and where to put the speakers on his pontoon boat a lot of times with boats you don't have a lot of choice with where you're going to put your speakers. Usually it's down low, right download near the floor, under your seats, somewhere facing your feet. You know, things like that. It's pretty rare that on boats that there's a lot of opportunity, especially pontoon boats and ski boats and things like that to put speakers up high up there around your head around your ears. So having good speakers with tweeters that can be aimed up, things like that will help bring the sound up into the seating area, up where your ears are, where you can actually really hear the music and uh and get good sound staging. Uh really kind of what you want to do on a party boat though is just fill the entire space with sound and that just takes a bunch of speakers and some power, which is exactly what Ziggy did. Why would someone wants uh, lights in their speakers on their boat, you know, thanks for asking. And I've been harboring some strong feelings about this. Um, so first off, let's let's just say what it is, It's cool and that's okay. It's super cool along with being super cool. Um there, you know, there's some real benefits if you're out at night and you know, we talked about speaker placement earlier that a lot of times these speakers around, you know, the deck right there. They're down low being able to light up that area, you know, to make sure you're not stepping on a fish hook as an example, right? That seems kind of important and that's a, it's not only a cool way to do it, but to me it's actually, you know, there's some real practicality there as well. Yeah. And these aren't the only light ziggy's gonna have on his boat. He's gonna have some other strips of lights going into seats and stuff like that. This boat's gonna look pretty awesome and a neat boat with a pretty good lighting setup, especially if you, if you can make it like the lights where they dance with the music, you know, change colors and go on and off with the beat of the music. That's a pretty cool effect. If you really want to have like an evening out with your friends jamming to some tunes, how cool is that? That the lights are jamming with the music. That's cool. What subwoofer did you go with here? We went with the kicker um, 10 inch, It's a kind of a barrel type sub. Um, luckily the compartment that I had to put the sub in, we were able to put the 10 inch in there instead of the eight. So a little bit deeper base. Yeah, that's a pretty beefy sub, plenty of based on, oh yeah, more than enough, yeah, enough to scare all the fish away. Absolutely. Uh, and you went kicker instead of Rockford foss gates. It was almost a complete Rockford system with one kicker piece. Any reason why you went with that one? Just because that's what was that? That's what would fit down in there. Um, we didn't have a Rockford that would actually have marine grade. Rockford that would fit in there. Gotcha. Yeah. Uh, And what kind of music are you jamming to out here? I mean, I would imagine it's knowing you. It's plenty of reggae. That's what we're listening to on the way out here. Yeah, yeah, reggae, a little hip hop, some classic rock, um, like old school country to old school country. Yeah. Like what, like johnny cash, that kind of stuff. Johnny johnny cash, john prine. Um, you know, real country, not pop. Uh, so I think we should try to play a song or two. Hey, so we, we figured we'd jump in, we don't really have anything technical to explain right now, I just want to let you know what's about to happen. Ziggy and I are about to play some music on his system now. If it was up to Ziggy, we would have played the music. We've been listening to all afternoon on his boat. Some jam and reggae is kind of his thing. And it was a very chill afternoon on his boat. But you know, we're a company we don't have the licensing the rights. we're not going to pay for the rights to whatever reggae song Ziggy was playing. So we figured we'd do everything above board here. You're right. Eric we definitely do everything above board. And what we wanted to do was play some music to really let you hear how it actually sounded. We, so we found a song we have the rights to, it's the theme song for this podcast. We played it on Ziggy's boat, uh, from my phone. That's what you're about to hear. Know that this is a real recording on the boat. That woke shows her up. Sounds pretty good. All right, turn it down a little more. Um, so I forgot to ask you about it. And I heard a little bit of vibrations coming cause you had that sub cranked. Yeah, absolutely. And there's this actual speaker in that compartment too. So we used to baffle to put a baffle on the backside of the speaker so that the base doesn't resonate through the speaker. Sure. Cause distortion on the smaller speaker distortion or, or cancelation even. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we did put, we did put Dyna mat around each of the speakers as well, like on the plexiglass, like around the speakers inside the cubbies, like around the backside of the fiberglass surrounding the speakers, correct, correct. Why did you do that? So it helps take away any resident frequencies or anything that the, the places where the speakers are mounted to, it takes away all that residence. You know, otherwise the plexiglass would vibrate and you'd actually lose sound right? In addition to the vibrations, the speaker is is mounted to a more solid surface. Exactly. And it's, it just makes it sound cleaner. Yeah. You know, you can get a lot more detail out of your music using it, awesome. Yeah. No, I mean it's, I don't even know if you can still hear it in the mic right now. We've got it sort of just add a nice low volume. It's great background music. It's just super chill. So good stuff. Dude, thanks for letting me on your boat. And uh, well, back to the studio, somebody should write a song about being on a boat. You know, why isn't there more boat related songs? I could see like maybe a whole category of music all about hanging out on. That's like perfect for listening, big boats, little boats and like even like yachts. Right? Yeah, yeah. Like, but I wouldn't want it to be like classical music. I wanted to be like rock. Yeah, it could be called yacht rock. Maybe if it's, if it really takes off, it could maybe even get its own channel on satellite radio. There could be playlists and stuff. I think we should put that. That's a crazy idea. So I hope you were as impressed with the sound of Ziggy's boat as I was both on his boat and sitting here in the studio listening to the sound that we recorded that day on the boat, loved it, loved my time. Thank you to Ziggy and again, I want to make sure you know that there are links to the article we did about Ziggy's boat. With pictures and everything right there in the show notes for this episode on Crutchfield dot com slash podcast. So if you want to see the boat we were just talking about, that's where you can go to do that eric what do you think man? Are you ready to see if we can answer a customer's question? And uh I've got one, I've got one queued up for you full speed ahead. Let's do this. So, we've got articles on Crutchfield dot com about all sorts of things. All these different product categories, right? We sell everything from car stereos too. Uh you know, to pet cameras and everything in between and on these articles, people can pose questions just like you can right here on crutchfield dot com slash podcast and I have a question posed by a customer on one of those articles. Now, this guy's name is rob and it says he's from Clare s a quick quiz for you. I wonder if you know uh where is Claire s a where is that? Like Canada not Canada I googled it, I didn't know, I didn't know. So uh when I googled Claire essay, it came up with Claire Southern Australia, how cool is that? So rob rob in Southern Australia. May or may not be able to actually purchase stuff from Crutchfield. We do not ship all over the world yet. We are, we only really ship to us zip codes and things like that in Canada and that's kind of, that's kind of it for now. So rob, I hope this information is helpful to you because I love your question rob says hi thanks for the advice. So I have a ski boat with six speakers running off four channels from a clarion head unit, the head unit. He has, he gives us the model number on it. The clarion head unit is called the G R 10 B. T. I looked it up, it's like a, it's like a round gauge style radio. It's it's not like a standard single din or doubled in, it's like it's a round thing made to fit in the gauge opening on, on a boat dash dash only the technical terms that that's how that's how you know, I'm a marine expert as I use words like boat dash, it's a helm. I know uh rob goes on to say I have doubled up four speakers through two channels and I know this is not ideal, we're gonna come back to that in a second rob rob says I want to add four tower speakers and for those of you that are less familiar with boats, when you say tower speakers on a boat. Typically on a ski boat. There's something called a Wakeboard tower, which is, it's kind of like, you can almost envision like a roll cage for a boat, right? It goes up from the sides and across above your head. You could walk around underneath it in the back section of the boat. And the purpose of it is that's where you tow your rope from that goes back to the skier or the inner tube or the Wakeboard dude, that's being pulled by your boat. That's a Wakeboard tower. Do you think that's where they got the name? I think it is aptly named. Yes, sir. And uh, so it's also a cool place to put speakers, right? You can have speakers on the Wakeboard tower if you face them forward, the people in the front of the book can hear them if you face them backward. The person on the Wakeboard gets to jam out while they're while they're hitting awake. So he wants to add four tower speakers rob says, can you please tell me what type and size amp that I will need. Also can you tell me how to wire this up so that I can switch on and off the tower speakers separately. Thanks. That's a great sounds like he needs zone control. Can he do it with the radio? He has now? Um, I not, well not well, zone control and fading are a little bit different and he seems like he's kind of overextending his current setup. I think he would agree with that. Um I think he could stand to get a little bit more flexibility in the system and then address the uh you know the additional speakers. Yeah if you just if all you wanted to do was add four Wakeboard tower speakers and add them to this radio you could do it rob. You have four channels of preempt outputs on this radio. You could add a four channel amp and some tower speakers power them and you'd be great. You couldn't turn them all off very easily though. Like eric mentioned you could fade front to back things like that but it's it's gonna kind of be funky it's not gonna be smooth. People will not be impressed when they see you fiddling with your stereo. Trying to figure out how to make the Wakeboard tower speakers not make noise there. You're gonna need a different radio. The there are radios out there built to do pretty much exactly what you are trying to do. Uh And I would suggest replacing the radio with something like the kicker 46 K. M. C. Four. There will be a link to this in the show notes so anybody out there listening can go check it out and see exactly what it is that I am recommending this radio will fit into a round gauge, opening the same gauge opening that your clarion radio fits into now rob. But it does more than your clarion does tell them about it. Eric what does this radio do that rob needs it to do. Well you'll be able to turn off those Wakeboard speakers, you're basically turning off the signal that would go to those amps independently of the other speakers that are in there. So um you know this gives you a lot of flexibility, you can actually leave things kind of hooked up the way they are um with this radio or build on it and that's what I like about it. So you know we can bring extra amplifiers into the setup, you can have some deck power that you can use to play some speakers if you want to keep in mind. That's gonna be a lot lower power than what you'll need to power Wakeboard speakers for sure. Or Wakeboard tower speakers rather. Um But But yeah yeah it's all about control with this and flexibility really. Yeah with this radio you've got options, your current clariion has front and rear pre amp outputs. This radio has eight separate channels of pre amp outputs. So you have a pair for the front a pair for the rear a pair for a subwoofer and the key here. Zone two and I would suggest hooking up an amplifier to power your wake tower speakers, hook that up to the Zone two outputs, you have independent separate volume control of zone two and zone one so you can just turn zone two down. You know when you're pulling into the marina and you just want some tunes that are playing there on the boat but not blasting out to the entire world. Easy to turn Wakeboard tower speakers off, turn them back on by just quick turning the volume up for zone two so that's a smooth way to do that as far as your other speakers I mentioned we'd get back to that. You have six speakers on four channels of clarion head unit power and you know you've admitted in your question that you know this is not ideal so I'm not telling anything you don't already know here rob but I've got this radio that I'm talking about this kicker, it's got your back, you could hook up an amplifier to power those speakers. That's one option. You have enough outputs on this radio to do that. This kicker radios amplifier is to um stable. So when you have six speakers connected to four outputs, that means at least two of those pairs of speakers are wired probably in parallel, which drops the impeding which makes your amplifier work harder, which means it's not gonna work as clean. It's not gonna sound as good unless the amp was built to do that. And the kicker head unit amplifier was built to do that. So it will power your existing six speakers better than the clarion is currently and have the outputs you need to expand however you want to. Alright eric let's talk about his actual, his his the meat of his question is how do I choose an amp to power his four Wakeboard tower speakers. What do you what do you think here? I think that's a loaded question. Yeah. You're not just going to give him the amplifier that he No no it's not that simple. No, we need to know about the speakers, right? You want to consider you know what and how he's using them and you can make some assumptions because it's in about uh power is good when you want clarity, when you want to be able to hear it over the roar of an engine, you're going to probably need some power but in order to get you the right power, I'd really want to know what speakers you have. I'm gonna pick a pair really nice pair of JL audio Wakeboard tower speakers. They're very popular. We've sold plenty of them. They look good, they sound good, you might want these on your boat. But these are the JL audio M 36 50 V. E. X. They are designed for marine and off road use. They could go on the roll bar of an A. T. V. Or on the Wakeboard tower of your boat. They're available in different colors with different grills. They look good, they are designed to handle up to 60 watts of power for each Each pod each, each tower speaker. And if you're gonna have four of them, you need somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 to 60 watts times four. Right? So that's a four channel amplifier. Each channel powers one Wakeboard tower speaker. That way the amp runs nice and clean your speakers get all the power they need. So if that's what you're gonna do, I would recommend sticking with JL audio. They make a nice compact marine amplifier for channels 50 watts by for uh it's a, it's a nice compact when it won't take up a ton of space on your boat, you can put it underneath your boat dash or in the cabinet by your battery. You can put it just about anywhere. This thing is great. Uh It's a very good, very well reviewed amplifier by our customers, but it would totally power those speakers connect to your new kicker stereo and give you all the power you need. I really like that recommendation anytime. You know, we're talking J. L. They clearly have marine figured out, you know, company based in florida. They know a thing or two about boats for sure. Absolutely, they do. I think that just about does it. I think we've done enough damage for one day. ErIC, what do you think? I think it was great. I didn't have a pun ready to go if you didn't catch all of eric's boat puns. You might go back and see how many you can find because there was plenty of them. Uh so let's wrap this thing up if we are at all interested in hearing what our ceo, our founder, Bill Crutchfield, has, what is, what does he go home to when he wants to watch a movie, listen to music, all of that stuff. We're not gonna have Bill do that until we have enough people listening to this podcast. So please like the podcast. Follow it, share it, rate it, review it, tell your friends about it. We're having a lot of fun making it. I hope you're having a lot of fun listening to it. Eric, Thank you for all the boat puns. Thanks for being here with me today and we'll be back in a few weeks over and out.

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