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Discussion Starter #1
I've been out of the mobile audio scene for 10 years or so but I'd like to setup my wakeboarding boat without spending a ton of cash.

What I already have:
-8 Polk Audio DB651 coaxial 6.5" marine speakers. 4 in boat "cabin", 4 on wakeboard tower in pods.
-1 old school Hifonics Zeus 200 watt 2 ch. Powering tower DB651s wired up as a 4 ohm mono load.
-11 year old Clarion 35x4 head unit. No aux input, 1 pair of preamps and has a hard time with burned CDs.
-1 old school Image Dynamics IDQ10 D2. Currently not installed


What I want:
-Aux input for iPhone 4. USB/Digital preferred but a solid analog connection would be ok.
-Better sound quality at high volumes. I'm satisfied with the volume of what I have when cranked all the way up but the quality obviously leaves a bit to be desired.

I'm planning on wiring up the 4 "cabin" speakers in 2 ohm stereo and connecting them to the front channel of an amp. The 4 tower speakers would be left wired up in 4 ohm mono and connected to the rear channel.

What I don't want/need:
-To be the loudest boat on the water
-Overpowering booming bass. It's fun sometimes and I will take it if available but don't want to spend extra to attain it.

I'd really prefer marine class D amps to maximize runtime on the battery as well as minimize the amount of heat generated. I'd prefer a 5 ch amp for ease of install/wiring and to take up minimal space but would be open to having a pair of amps. They will be in an area that's not really wet but humidity can get pretty high under the cover in my carport. I could likely get away with automotive amps but if I can get marine coated for a few bucks more I'd take it.

My current "high end" pick for an amp would be the Polk PAD5000.5 (I can't post links yet)

It's "marine certified", class D and rated for 1 ohm on the sub channel. I really like everything about it accept for the price.

My budget amp picks would be the AudioPipe Marine APMR-1200MIN or APMR-1300MIN and APMR-4080MIN.

With the AudioPipe stuff I may just get the APMR-4080MIN and continue to use my old HiFonics Zeus for the subwoofer for a while. These are obviously rated higher than the Polk amp but I'd anticipate them not putting out their rated power where I'd expect the Polk to do rated power. Everything I've read so far on the AudioPipe mini amps has been positive though.

For the head unit I don't want to spend a whole bunch and would really like 4+ volt preamps. I'd also prefer a rear USB port so that I can close the weatherproof DIN cover. Unfortunately I can't find many that have both unless I spend 150+. So, I figure I could give up the 4 volt preamps and get a JVC ARSENAL KD-A725 off of eBay.

Alternatively I could get a 50 Clarion EQS746 equalizer and keep the existing Clarion HU as a tuner/cd player.
That would give me 7 volt preamps and a rear aux but it would be analog. The other benefit of it would be that it would be easy for the driver to manipulate volume in the cabin vs. the tower.

Any comments on any of this hardware or suggestions on alternatives?

Thanks,
Jeff
 

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Depends on your budget, I would go for used class D if you go automotive. They should be ok if you can keep them dry though salt water is nasty stuff if you have that. I would look for about 125x4 on highs and whatever for the sub. If you go ported or multiple IB that would tend to be more efficient for a sub setup as well as a class D on that. I like used in my boats then I don't worry if they get trashed, but marine would be nice if you have the budget.

5ch are nice but you can't change them so make sure it has enough power/etc. Running low ohms will hurt the efficiency of most amps some, even class D (like 2 ohms/ch on highs instead of 4, etc same for subs). More larger speakers is better, such as 6x9/6x10/8"coax/etc, but if you have 6.5 then use them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't have a real firm budget but I don't want to have too much tied up in audio gear. Originally I was thinking about $300 in upgrades but that quickly became $400 and then close to $500 when I started "shopping".

I setup my IDQ10 D2 V.2 in the boat on the 200 watt hifonics amp tonight in the boat just for a test. It's crazy loud compared to the 35x4 (Max, probably 12x4 RMS best case) Clarion HU. Even with the gain low it really overpowered everything else. Felt obnoxiously loud so I must be getting old. I'd need to get it out on the water where I don't mind making some noise to get a better feel. It's in a .6 cu ft box FWIW.

I don't take my boat in salt water so that's not a concern, just high humidity and the potential for wet gear to be thrown around near it.

The 6.5s were direct factory sized replacements and I got them for $50 per pair last year. I'll stick with them until something goes wrong.

I'm wondering if an Alpine MRX-V60 would be enough for me (75 watts x 4 chan. + 300 watts x 1 @ 2 ohms, ~$250-300).

I have a line on a used Kicker 700.5 (85 watts x 4 chan. + 420 watts x 1 Class D Sub channel @ 2 ohms) for $120. Not all class D but lots of clean power for $120 ("Birth Sheet" shows 930 watts). Only problem is that it's really large. I think I have the space for it though. I wouldn't be able to run my sub at 2 ohms though since it's a DVC 2 ohm. I could do 4 or 1. So, I'd only be getting ~210 watts on the sub channel. I'd have the same problem with the Alpine MRX-V60 too.

That Polk PAD5000.5 is 1 ohm stable on the sub channel so I'd be able to get 500 watts out of it. I don't see much info on that amp though. Pretty new apparently since only a couple of sites have it. Looks pretty promising. There's also the "older" Polk 5 CH class D (1100.5) but it's a beast @ 26.5" long. It's 125 watts x 4 (2 ohm) and 600 x 1 (1 ohm) though and can be had for about the same price as the slightly less powerful marine rated model.
 

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You need to save power on a boat so class D on sub is needed and on highs would help too, at least there are more full range class D now. I ran a kicker 700.5 for a few years in my car, the sub is class D. It was a nice amp considering but eventually I wanted a little more than 4x70 on highs (at 4 ohm), though I'd say it was a strong 70rms. Its not that large but is long, the one I had the fins were down the sides. The 420rms I ran on subs was great but I did have quad 12s IB at the time it would shake the roof easily.

The Polk looks like the Kicker, but all class D, looks like a nice amp. If 70rms/ch is enough for you then that is fine, or is all your speakers can handle; I needed a little more in my car but have boston comps that may not be real efficient given their high power handling. I was straining the kicker at times, ran an alpine F345 (4x75) and it was a hair better but not much difference. Finally got an Infinity Kappa 4x125 class D and it is working really well for highs I never get to clipping with it. It is longer and connections on the ends make it longer yet, but otherwise quite skinny and thin. Sure its shorter than the kicker 5ch lol, that was two amps in one case.

I would not worry about spending a lot on an amp, but full range class D are newer models and would be worth having in a boat. A major brand like Polk/etc should not have issues. I've run a lot of alpines, have a lot of them here. Never heard of issues with Polk but I've only run the speakers years ago never the amps. I would not be afraid of them, the market is very tight you typically have to get a junk or no-name brand to get something that does not perform.

Can you get another sub for a pair? If you can fit them that would give you the lower ohm load and some excess capacity. I used to do a lot of 21-30' off shore type boats and the open boat sucks up sound a lot differently than a car. More larger speakers were better. Then again they were party boats and you might not need that much for your use.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Get pro audio gear, much more efficient so less would be needed. 100 db sensitivity. Mate a pair or two up with some horns and your golden :D
Is this a joke?

Also, does anyone have any comments about using an EQ instead of a traditional head unit? I think I'm willing to give up my FM tuner but I'm not totally convinced yet.
 
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