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Crutchfield: The Podcast Ep. 5

Brady and the marine audio system on his Godfrey Hurricane

In this episode:

Brady, a Crutchfield Advisor and full-time yacht-rocker, gives J.R. a virtual tour of the marine audio gear he installed on his boat. Check out this article to follow along with Brady's installation.

Some of the gear discussed includes:

After the interview, J.R. and Eric answer a question from the customer comments on one of our many marine audio articles.

Explore more episodes

Read episode transcript

Hey, this is J. R. Just a quick note before we start the show. When you listen to Crutchfield the podcast, you're going to notice me in a room with other people pretty close together. You should know that these were all recorded before. Social distancing became the norm due to the spread of the covid 19 coronavirus. We take this virus very seriously here at Crutchfield and are doing everything possible to keep our employees safe and germ free. Thanks so much for listening. Now on with the show. Welcome to Crutchfield the podcast. I'm your host jay are joined in studio with my good friend eric, how are you today? Eric doing great. Happy to be here today. We have got a cool show for you. We did a nice interview with one of our sales advisors, brady where I went and talked to him about the system he put on his boat. Uh, so it's gonna be a very sort of marine audio heavy show today. So here's the deal. Uh, brady had brought his boat to Crutchfield in the parking lot like back before winter got really rolling. Uh, and he did that for several reasons. We've done an article on his boat. He had some stuff he wanted to install. We even used his vote for some training where we brought all of the Crutchfield advisors out onto the boat and we sat down and we talked to them about nautical terms. We really used his boat for everything we could use a boat for in a parking lot for the last three or four months. So I thought, man, why not go out there and record an interview for the new podcast where I talk to brady about all the stuff he put on his boat because it fits right. I mean that's the whole point of this podcast is where I sit down and we talked to Crutchfield employees who have bought some cool stuff and he did. So we had an appointment scheduled. The problem was the boat wasn't there? We both showed up and we were looking at each other going, hey, wasn't there a boat here like yesterday? Are you saying you missed the boat? We totally missed the boat, nicely done. And uh, so it turns out he had texted his father who actually owns this boat and his father had already come and picked it up a little sooner than brady had anticipated. And so we um, we decided to stay outside and record the podcast kind of out in the parking lot, which were right near the airport. So you're gonna hear airplanes from time to time, There's warehouses not far away. You might hear some funky background noise. And so we still had a wonderful conversation. We were able to talk about the boat that he's had in his family for years and all the stuff that he's put on it and all the fun times he's having on this boat. Also, if you want some visuals during this interview, uh, check out the article that sort of profiles, brady's boat and shows off all the this stuff we're gonna talk about here. So if you want to actually see the speakers, the lights, the stereo, the sub will for all that cool stuff. Uh, check out the article. It'll be in the show notes for this episode to keep everything above board exactly. Um, so we're going to get into the interview will of course be interrupting from time to time uh, to provide some context and bad jokes in addition to the conversation brady and I had not on a boat. Full steam ahead. Let's do it family boats now, like 22 years old. So I basically grew up on it and it had a quote sound system when we bought it, but it was very, very low rent, low power head unit, cheap speakers that were in it. And hopefully marine rated brand new. Yes. Godfrey's manufacturer, It's one of the hurricane deck boats and I don't know if it came from them that way. I think that it was a dealer install. I think that we opted to have a stereo, you know, just to check in the box. Yes, it has a stereo system and that's what we got out of it was kind of the same ideas if you just get a, not the fancy upgraded version in your car, audio, but just, yes, it has a radio and speakers and so you take the whole top of your car off and go cruising around. And now all of a sudden that yes, you have a stereo is no, you have wind noise and some muddled background something or other that you can almost record. Seems like there's music coming from somewhere, but I can't quite tell what that song is. You here in the but that's and this is like a speedboat. Right? I mean you guys do like water skiing and stuff with this boat. Yeah, it's, it's more of a jack of all trades kind of boat. It is a V hall. That's the, it's the wonders of a duck boat. It's like the pontoon top, so huge area. We can see our Coast guard stamp is for either 10 people or like £2200 whichever we hit first. So I've been on there with 99 adults and one kid we can tow, we can ski, we can Wakeboard, we don't generate a big wake unless I have a bunch of people on it. But you know, it's good for everything. And I'm the youngest of five. So this was intended to be the family boat go out on it can do a little bit of anything really well, nothing, nothing too extreme. But that's the whole idea of it. So let's talk for a minute about what exactly marine audio is. We've been measuring and researching and data. Basing information about car, car, stereos, speakers, stereos, all of that installation stuff. It's kind of the sort of the backbone of our car audio offering. He says, we know what fits your car and how to install it and what it's gonna take to wire it up. Boats are different, right? Like boats don't all come from the factory with the same stereo, the same speakers. There is so many variations on what you might find in a boat. The same boat could be available at 20 different boat dealers and each dealer could have chosen to install a different stereo and speakers if they chose to install any at all. So there's nothing standard about boat audio, custom and it really speaks to kind of our, our heritage here, Crutchfield and helping out the do it yourselfer who's willing to kind of dive in there and take on a project. Um, where, um, you know, maybe there's not an exact blueprint or guidelines for how to do it, but we can walk you through that, we know the steps you need to take in order to make sure that you stay on course with that. And so marine audio for years. I mean, I've been here since 1996 was just car stereo brands sort of repurposed for use on a boat. Uh, there are brands, fusion and wet sounds. These are purpose built marine audio brands. Uh, they are designed to look good in a boat with features that make sense on a boat. Uh, and of course to sound good and to last a long time on a boat. So it's nice to know that there's companies really, uh, you know, building products specifically for people that want to have fun on the water. The original radio. It, I think it just had like AM FM maybe even had like a tape deck to it. It was one of those, you know, and so we initially did an upgrade, buying a fusion, I don't remember the exact model number, but it was one of the ones where the front panel will flip down in that radio. There is an 80 gig, classic, big ugly metal ipod that sits in the tray and it docks. And what's cool about that? It has the 30 pin Gizmo attached into that dock. So you literally dock your phone in it, close it, it's a waterproof gasket on the front of it. Or maybe not waterproof, but it's at least pressure washed it by accident doesn't get any water and it's pretty intense, safe and dry. So that radio is still actually in play because of what fusion does pretty much across the whole lineup where I think I've got, uh, I think I have nine pre amp outputs. I know it's got the ability for at least three zones on that radio. And we're only on a 20 ft duck boat. It's all open only four speakers. It's totally a one's own boat. But if you had like a galley, is that a word or like we could go in or back in the front, They were far enough apart where you might want separate things, you could have separate volumes. Exactly, volumes are the things that I find those multi zones the most helpful with. And if I can find a way, just think about this the other day. If I can find a way, I'm gonna put some speakers somewhere above the transom in front of the motor but right behind the back seat. The idea being that they will be like my own version of what I could do if I had a wake tower, if this was like a wake boat, you know, we got a big, big tower speakers facing back towards a rider behind us. I've got to find a way to build it into the actual boat. I'm figuring that one out now, but that would be the only other way that I would take advantage of the actual second or further zones and that would just be for volume control to turn those on or off or crank them up if I need that way, we're not deafened on the boat because the writers, 100 people blasted out full blast at the wake boarder rider, a regular listening levels on the boat. Exactly. And like some long throw speakers for back there. So it'll get out further in time right and everything. The new upgrades kept that same radio in play. But radio aside, we upgraded speakers, size and quality dramatically. So what was the factory size speakers or dealer installed speakers? What about five and a quarter since they were 6.5 inch marine speakers? Um, I don't recall their cutout size, but the initial plan was that we were going to use 6.5 inch marine speakers to replace the current 6.5 inch marine speakers, however, was the idea and the we, well, we took it one step further. We, we know better than just to say, well this is a 6.5 and that's a 6.5 so we can just swap them out and everything is fine. We knew that's not reality. So we did pull one and measured the cutout and that particular speakers location cutout was fine for the Revo sixes from what sounds that we were going to put in the new 6.5. Well, the other three were not and so we realized that the original cutouts from the dealer, we're kind of jacked up and not perfect circles and not all the exact same diameter. So it looks like they either were really loose, hand holding a template instead of taping it on and then cutting with the template in place or mocking one up or whatever they did. There were some differences in the whole size and so the others were all slightly larger to where I could either cover the hole up or screw into real material, but not both. So I had to go up a size. I had enough room just enough room before the contours of the walls under the seats actually rolled down for the deck or up for the seat cushion that I could fit the Revo. And I mean it is like you can slip a piece of paper under the bottom of it but it's perfect smaller in a situation like that. You can't fill that hole and make it look good. Not a lot of money spent, thousands of dollars spent making the hole bigger. You now have control over the exact size of the hole there there cut perfectly. We took our time with that, taped it off, put some water on it. Used the roto zip cutter tool to get an exact circle. You know, took a fair amount of time doing it. You gotta use stuff like that when you're cutting fiberglass, you can't mess around. Yes, you have to be really careful cutting fiberglass because there's the gel coat on top of the fiberglass layer. The gel coat will crack. It'll literally fragment when you cut it. So like using a jigsaw or something that rips back and forth totally, just destroys it. It makes it fragment and cracks. You can take painter's tape and cover the entire area that you're gonna be cutting in and you cut through the painter's tape helps hold down like the little fibrous ends of everything. So it doesn't go over but that and somebody else with a vacuum right next to you is a very, very helpful thing and masks for sure. Any time on fiberglass. So brady keeps talking about this. We as in him and other people doing some installs and enjoying this boat brady and his training class. They formed a nice tight knit group and they are all really into hanging out and spending time on this boat. So it was not hard for him to convince a couple other advisors from that class, I think Francis and drew maybe one or two others to join him out in the parking lot and out on the lake doing some of the installation on this boat. Uh, they worked together and they play together. So when they go out to uh, to hang out and have a good time on the boat, they're out there with him. In fact, that whole training class goes out together to celebrate their anniversary. They consider themselves the greatest training class of all time. You really nailed that group. 100%. So grab an amplifier, went with the wet sounds micro 44 channel, 80 watts by four channels. And that has kind of a unique connection style because it works directly with their, they're passive sound bars as well as some of their other subwoofers and the rest of the wet sounds line that is geared for power sports in general. So it can go for marine or it could go on like your side by side or a four wheeler gotta cool. They use the little like ox cord style plug, the mini eighth inch plug and so that is their input. It's a male plug on the actual amplifier as the input for it. So you do have to use an R. C. A two female many adapters. The fusion radios got R. C. A pre amp output. Regular female outputs on the back of that for RCs male R. C. A stereo to a female mini to a female men because on the on the amplifier is a male mini input. Exactly got it. So think if you're on your four wheeler side by side just plug your smartphone is the radio, plug it. And you're good to go assuming your smartphone has a headphone output which or you carry a dongle around with, you gotta have those dangles. So that now gave us much better power. When we first set this up, tuned in the crutchfield lot. Uh We had the amplifier set fairly low just to do some testing because we didn't want to pull a lot of power were sitting just on battery power, No motor running since we're on land. Um and we were blown away at exactly what we got with maybe a third of the game maybe turned up to a third. We had full range. I had more bass than I could ever have imagined being on the boat already with just four of these speakers. No, no sub nothing. We're giving it If I had the game opened up to where I'm really getting everything out of that amp, I'm hitting roughly 50% of what those speakers are. Yeah, roughly 50% of what those speakers could take. And we're still able to get quite a bit out of there. Just crazy sensitive, 92 db. That's awesome. So, uh just to do the math here, we've got roughly 20 watts on the radio going into speakers that can handle 100 and 50 watts. Clearly you don't want to try to crank up the volume there because otherwise you're sending out clipped amplifier nastiness, which is actually going to damage your speakers under powering bad idea. Uh so you're careful not to do that. You install the amp. And even though these speakers can handle 100 and 50 you're only giving them 80 and that's fine. Actually, more than enough power. The real key here is that it's clean that the amp's not working too hard. So with that amount of power, you're able to keep the game down to the amps not going into distortion. It doesn't, it doesn't clip, it sounds nice and clean. Sounds good. Clean signal to the speakers, 80 watts of power, plenty of juice. Uh And so it sounded good in the parking lot. When you were doing the installation. We we jammed quite a bit to a point where we were politely asked to stop making as much noise as we were outside. So we were able to be heard in the building, uh, that headquarters and apparently, uh, filling the lot through cinder block walls and double paned glass up two stories. We could, you were disrupting the sales advisors trying to do their job. We can very easily now go be those guys on the lake with no problem. Unless you have a rivaling system, we're gonna be listening to my soft yacht rock. And have you put this system to the test on the water yet? Absolutely. I went out on my own and I can get that boat going obviously with less people, less weight. I can really get it moving with one other person is the fastest that I can get going. And it's got a 200 mercury outboard right behind me. It screams, it's uh, it's about as loud as when we do those noise cancelation, headphone tests and crank up the jet engine and all that. That's kind of the noise that we're fighting through. And I was able to almost get to like ear piercing levels where I couldn't get any anywhere higher than it. And I was still perfectly clean until I think my ears started to distort first. It was pretty phenomenal and it stayed having good range in it. Um, I think I want a little bit more power for a little bit lower end or to supplement with a sub just because I do, I'm kind of right in that range with power and the size of the speakers and their needs that if I'm really cranking it to get the full level of base to keep up with the volume that I'm getting, I just don't quite have enough muscle or enough speaker. I think it's the combo of the muscle and the speaker and so I do have the wet sound stealth eight, they're eight inch powered sub. And that that thing is awesome. Yeah it's it's a basically is everything that you need minus. Again it uses the same style of connection so it has a male mini input that leads off of it. What's cool about that? Is that the micro four amplifier also has an output going from it, another pre amp output and that is a female mini uh input or output from the amp. So you can take your stealth eight sub and plug it into your micro four am. And now you're done with your signals, signals needed, sounds what sounds they're designed to go together. So you're going to add the sub. What before we're recording this here in february on a beautiful 65 degrees february day in Virginia, my flip flops on just in case we're going to go somewhere on the boat. Uh so you're gonna have that installed by summer. Oh definitely definitely. And what's cool about it? Is it a little bit taller than it is and either of the other dimensions. But that's because it has some feet on its feet come with clamps that are in the box so that you can, you can mount it to something just like this, the car sub boxes that we have that way. You know, it's nice and safe not flying around on your boat, you don't want to become a projectile. It sounds better if it's attached to the boat. Yes, exactly. Yeah. Especially with boats, what's really cool is that, you know, you do have this giant, basically a big old speaker box or a drum, whatever you wanna call it. You know, the whole deck of my boat, whole boats, fiberglass, it is filled with some foam stuff, but you can get down into some of these compartments and if you tap the compartment it sounds like a giant drum across the entirety of the boat. And so it's a much bigger sound. Put a sub down against one of the surfaces and if it's on and touching that surface, that surface is now part of your drum part of your subsystem. And so all of a sudden a relatively small, well powered sub becomes a much bigger sound than you'd expect. So what kind of music do you play on the system? Well, we play africa by toto a whole lot that your go to song. That's my go to boat jams. It's on my my boat jams playlist. That that's that is 100% yacht rock. It absolutely is. Yeah when we when we first did the upgrades on the boat. That was the first song playing on the water with everybody on there. Uh And of course it was at nighttime, we had all the lights going, which by the way, those speakers have L. E. D. S built into them. They're the RGB LED S. And so we've got four spots that light up the deck all across the floor. And so really cool Rgb going on the red, green, blue colors of it as well as white and whatever else you want to make out of the rainbow. It can do it, it can dance with the music as well. Due to the controller that uh with that 2nd 2nd controller that I have for L. E. D. S. We have the wet sounds LED strip lights and they're set basically just under your butt cushion behind you. There's a little rail that separates between the back cushion and the butt cushion so that any liquid water, you know, spray all that stuff has a rain channel to kind of go in. So we use the backside of that rain channel so you can't see the strips. But the little space that's white about six inches between the bottom and back cushions. Uh Nice white fiberglass all the way around now glows whatever color you want that's a separate controlled zone from the other, the speaker L. E. D. S. So we got two different Controls for for lighting at the same time when I fish, I use the speaker lights all the time, set them on white and dim them down as much as I can. So if I'm getting out to the boat at like 4:00 AM or something I'm gonna go through total darkness. But when I'm trying to set everything up and rig it all up, I never wear shoes. I mean you know that so I my flip flops are on to drive there and then they go under the console in the boat immediately and stay there because they're just in the way on the boat. And that means I'm walking around barefoot in the dark and fishing. That's not always the best thing. Especially on a boat if there's other people and it's rocking around and you step on the wrong thing. That's not fun. Especially in the dark. So being able to light up that deck with the soft glow of the L. E. D. S and be able to control the brightness of it. It's awesome because not blinding. I can't see where the lights are coming from. So it's all ambient light. Uh It's perfect. It's not in my line of sight either when I'm driving Which makes it really easy. And so you're not the only one who's deep in the knowledge. So there's a there's a team of us, but out of 100 or so advisors, you know, what is that? five or 10 people with seven right now on the team, four of us just came back from taking the Neema. That's the National Maritime Electronics Association. Uh, their name, a 2000 network installer course and their basic marine electronics installer course. You just got certified. We are official. We just got the things in the mail yesterday. Nice dude. Thank you so much for talking with me man, definitely. It's been a pleasure. This was a nice day brady and me hanging out talking about his boat with our dogs in the parking lot. If you want more information on brady's boat. Like I said earlier, check out the article we did about his boat. It's in the show notes on some of our articles on the website, customers do often put in questions. We figured since we were talking about boats, we had a question about a boat from Oscar. He's from Fort Myers. I just bought a beautiful 24 Vectra cruiser. It has, it is surrounded with speakers, but no radio. It's a 2005 boat kept by the original owner in perfect condition. We want to definitely play music and even news. So I thought of using our smartphones. I thought to myself who needs a radio today with our smartphones. So is there a way to plug something to the speakers without using a radio, but some kind of new gadget that connects our phone to our boat speakers through Bluetooth instead. Uh, there definitely is a way to get music playing in your boat without having to install a radio in your boat. Dash boat dash. The term is dash, dash, that's so not it. Some people call it other things, but you know you and I call it and you would know you've been googling boat puns this entire show which probably doing all the heavy lifting, probably should have been googling the technical terms that would have been more informative maybe. Yeah, so Oscar's there, there's a couple ways to do this. There are many amplifiers available that literally have Bluetooth right in them. And the amplifiers, what powers those speakers, those speakers are, you're surrounded by need juice, they need power and you need an amplifier to drive them and you can get an amplifier that has Bluetooth built in and just play music right from your phone straight to your amplifier. That's one way to get this done. Uh, in fact, there's several other ways and the amplifier that brady mentioned on his boat, the micro four from wet sounds has a mini jack input. And we, he had to use adapters to get his uh, fusion radio plugged into his wet sounds amp. When really all he had to do was plug it into the headphone jack on any phone ipod or any device with a bunch of music on it. So you could actually just do it the old fashioned way and just hardwire it to a head headphone jack. There's also boat stereos that don't have to appear on your dash anywhere, their hideaway modules. So the and what I mean by that, that's a little different than just an amp with Bluetooth built in a boat stereo that is hideaway would be totally controlled by your phone or by a wired remote. You could put literally anywhere on your boat to control what song is playing. It will have an AM and FM tuner built in probably an OX input. Probably bluetooth, depending on the different stereos. So there's plenty of ways to get, you can get an actual boat stereo that you don't have to look at on the boat dash is your phone so nice and easy control and yeah, this isn't just a boat thing anymore. There are so many powered speakers available for side by side, four wheel drive vehicles, jet skis, four wheelers, motorcycles. There's so many ways to get sound into all of these fun vehicles. Right? And Oscar, our customer is already surrounded by speakers. So I think you need some power and a way to get music in from the phone. Last, but not least, you might actually want a marine stereo. Uh, if you're thinking about the marine stereos that have been available for so long where they just look like car stereos in the dash of your boat. They don't all look like that anymore. Some of them look like a gauge. They fit into a nice round hole on your boat and they just sort of blend right in with whatever other gauges you might have. So Oscar. Yeah, there's plenty of ways to get this done. Uh, you can fish around on the website, you should be able to find what you need if you know what you have on the boat. If you want some help figuring that out, that's kind of what we do. Uh, and so give us a call chat with us. Send us an email. Let let our boat experts help you. Oscar and anybody else out. It's called the helm. The boat dash. According to this very informative image that I found on google. I just do, I want to take a second and just say that I hope our listeners won't troll us too much in the comments, you know, not that we're fishing for compliments here, that's all you wanted to say. I was expecting so much more. I didn't want to go overboard. I think it's time we wrap this thing up. Check out the show notes at crutchfield dot com slash the podcast. It's time for us to bow out. Now we will be back with another episode very soon. It's been a whale of a good time waiting for that.

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