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I am looking to set up an outdoor theater on the bow of my boat and was looking for ideas. It's a large space because it is a catamaran, roughly 18 feet square with elevated seating over the salon windows. I was planning to get a 10' screen and project from the flybridge but need to sort out the sound situation. Ideally, I would have 5.1 and not having to run wires for the speakers would be ideal, but would consider it if sound quality and reliability dictate. The speakers would not be permanently installed and we would just break them out for movie night, although having a couple on the bow railing I could connect to the boat stereo when not using for movies might be nice. Any advice is welcome.
 

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Is this enclosed or on the deck? If its on deck I would skip the 5.1 and do a strong 3.1 setup, although there are plenty of wireless rear speaker setups out there. Just still a lot of gear to move around for a movie night. As for a projector, what time of day, how much ambient light, and what is your movie source.
 

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On the deck. You're right, it is a lot of gear to lug around. I've really been giving this a lot of thought and was wondering if it wouldn't perhaps be a lot easier (and perhaps cheaper) to rather just go the route of getting one of those little portable bluetooth speaker things (something along these lines). It obviously won't be an outdoor theater, but I believe those little things still pack in quite a punch? It would just make things a lot more simple in terms of not having to install anything, setting up/ packing away, etc. Plus then we'd also be able to use it off the boat as well. I wonder if I could buy more than one and link them up to create my own sort of surround sound. As for the light, it would probably only be night time, as I know you can see pretty much nothing on those things during the day! I'd probably connect it up to my phone or tablet. Anyway, looking forward to your suggestions!
 

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Some combo of Neutrik Speakon connectors and horns would likely be the backbone of the system.
 

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On the deck. You're right, it is a lot of gear to lug around. I've really been giving this a lot of thought and was wondering if it wouldn't perhaps be a lot easier (and perhaps cheaper) to rather just go the route of getting one of those little portable bluetooth speaker things (something along these lines). It obviously won't be an outdoor theater, but I believe those little things still pack in quite a punch? It would just make things a lot more simple in terms of not having to install anything, setting up/ packing away, etc. Plus then we'd also be able to use it off the boat as well. I wonder if I could buy more than one and link them up to create my own sort of surround sound. As for the light, it would probably only be night time, as I know you can see pretty much nothing on those things during the day! I'd probably connect it up to my phone or tablet. Anyway, looking forward to your suggestions!
Outdoors, I seriously doubt that one (or a dozen) of those things would pack anything even remotely like "punch."

The primary issue would be the absence of room gain or boundary loading outdoors, where bass energy (punch) dissipates in all directions.
 

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Outdoors, I seriously doubt that one (or a dozen) of those things would pack anything even remotely like "punch."

The primary issue would be the absence of room gain or boundary loading outdoors, where bass energy (punch) dissipates in all directions.
True... but some horns on the 5, and a big central sub on the .1 might do it?
 

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True... but some horns on the 5, and a big central sub on the .1 might do it?
Sure. However, I think three small mono bluetooths would be just fine for the center and rears, along with a couple 2-way/3-way bookshelf/small towers, and a commensurately healthy vented sub (or two, tuned at a relatively high 45-50Hz, for maximum outdoor punch).

Again, the big challenge outdoors will be bass and midbass, and to that extent it wouldn't make much sense to put a lot of power and/or efficiency into the center and rears. The bread and butter would be the front L/R and sub(s).

As has been suggested, I'd skip the rears (and also the center, particularly if your front L/Rs wouldn't be widely separated from the screen), and put all your energy into the front L/Rs and sub(s). For me, what most makes (or breaks) HT realism is bass and midbass (or a lack thereof).

If it were me, I think I'd go with a compact 2.2 system, consisting of a pair of beefy bookshelfs/small towers, sitting atop/beside a pair of compact vented subs (8" in ~1.0 ft^3 ea.). Add a miniDSP 2x4 to PEQ (boost midbass) and highpass the L/Rs, and to PEQ and bandpass the vented subs. Such a system would be reasonably compact, and easy to carry and setup, while capably providing reasonably full range, dynamic and realistic sound.
 

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If you can add permanent power to/near the speaker locations then wireless HT speakers are a reasonable option. Carry a R+L+S to the location plug in, walk away.

Some of those little BT speakers sound quite well for the $40 you spend on them. Buy ones that link and you can set a few of them on the deck so everyone can hear well.

Or buy a multi channel BT adapter.
 

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On second thought I cannot imagine going to a boat to watch a movie.
It would be cute to play the movie onto the sail though.
 

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On second thought I cannot imagine going to a boat to watch a movie.
It would be cute to play the movie onto the sail though.
I was kinda thinking the same thing.

I don't get the low-res giant screen thing though, particularly without substantial sound to go with it. I'd much rather experience a modest screen with full-range dynamic sound than a humongous screen (no matter the res) with anemic sound.
 

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I was kinda thinking the same thing.

I don't get the low-res giant screen thing though, particularly without substantial sound to go with it. I'd much rather experience a modest screen with full-range dynamic sound than a humongous screen (no matter the res) with anemic sound.
Let's just ignite the absurdity of it, and maybe it makes sense or is just fun.

Unless there is a big engine running then efficiency may be worthwhile to keep in mind.
Hence the concept of horns and the Nuetrik Speakon to power them more dependably than a battery powered or Bluetooth speaker.

At some point woofers and subwoofers come into play, and these will need more serious power. I can picture a bandpass as being one approach.

At least the room correction is easy:cool:
 

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Let's just ignite the absurdity of it, and maybe it makes sense or is just fun.

Unless there is a big engine running then efficiency may be worthwhile to keep in mind.
Hence the concept of horns and the Nuetrik Speakon to power them more dependably than a battery powered or Bluetooth speaker.

At some point woofers and subwoofers come into play, and these will need more serious power. I can picture a bandpass as being one approach.

At least the room correction is easy:cool:
As an experienced off-grid living and RE enthusiast, I know that efficiency is paramount. However, horns notwithstanding, very little power will be needed for those frequencies covered by horns of any feasible size and cost; and to the extent that power consumption is an issue, the relative efficiency of horns won't help that much. My point was/is, to the extent that the efficiency and bandwidth characteristics of horns would tend to exacerbate midbass-bass shortcomings, they might easily reduce overall system efficiency (i.e. lead to an increase in overall power consumption).
 
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