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View Full Version : Two 8's versus 4 x 6.5" Tower Speakers


shoeman
11-26-2010, 11:56 PM
I have two tower speakers (Polk) that are driven by an amp. I like the Polks and the amp is more than enough power to drive them. But, I still need it a little louder when behind the boat.

I am thinking of adding two more 6.5" tower speakers for a total of 4 (yes, I'll need a bigger amp), or upgrading to two 8" towers.

What do you think? Would four towers sound better than 2 x 8". I would stay with Polk quality or slightly better.

Note: I also have a 12" sub.

TallRedRider
11-27-2010, 12:22 AM
I have two tower speakers (Polk) that are driven by an amp. I like the Polks and the amp is more than enough power to drive them. But, I still need it a little louder when behind the boat.

I am thinking of adding two more 6.5" tower speakers for a total of 4 (yes, I'll need a bigger amp), or upgrading to two 8" towers.

What do you think? Would four towers sound better than 2 x 8". I would stay with Polk quality or slightly better.

Note: I also have a 12" sub.

I don't know of anyone who makes an 8 inch tower speaker unless they include an HLCD.

A pair of Wetsounds Pro 80's would sound better than 4 of the Polks. But they are going to cost you.

medicmoose
11-27-2010, 12:20 PM
To get it done right the first time....four 8" Wetsounds and you won't have any need to upgrade again. Of course that's just my opinion...others will give different opinions on brand but this was and still would be my choice.

One thing to watch if you go with a 4 speaker set-up (depending on how tall you are) is head room under the speakers. My 4 Wetsounds are great but are much more durable than my head! 8p

10ptmust
11-27-2010, 03:07 PM
My 4 Wetsounds are great but are much more durable than my head! 8p

+1. I have 6.5s and wouldn't go any bigger for that very reason.

bturner2
11-27-2010, 03:13 PM
I have the double up package from Wet Sounds (4 speakers). Loud and clean. Add another one to the Wet Sounds recommendations.

nmcjr
11-27-2010, 03:37 PM
I think two 8" HLCD speakers actually sound better than 4 6.5" coaxial speakers, especially behind the boat. Four and you are covered for sure, but I only have two and find it more than enough. I went with Bullet 7.7" because they give you a lot more headroom in the boat than the wetsounds (I think at least 3" IIRC) and I actually like the sound better, but its a small difference and that's just personal taste. HLCD's project much better to the rider because they are directional and can do so without blasting out the passengers in the boat as much as coaxials at the same volume would. Regardless of brand of HLCD you will need ~150w RMS to each speaker, so if you already have that in your amp maybe try two HLCD's and then if needed add another amp and two more.

rgardjr1
11-27-2010, 06:45 PM
I had 4 Polk mms on my tower before I put the two WS 485 on. The Polks sounded great in the boat, but will not compete with HLCD when riding. It depends on whether you want to hear your music when you ride.

shoeman
11-28-2010, 10:31 PM
I'm rethinking my original question, now that I have all the requirements! The family consensus is that know one cares about the music while skiing, wakeboarding, or tubing. The tower speakers are simply to look cool and attract girls so that my young teenagers can show off. If I would have know this, I would have bought the cans minus any speakers! So, it sounds like I may as well upgrade the four speakers that are inside the boat and perhaps add an amp to the head unit. I've got four, JVC 5.25 coaxials in the boat. My 92 PS205 is pretty tight in terms of speaker space. Any recommendations for four new speakers for inside the boat? The speakers are not enclosed, which contridicts what I know about speakers. Seems like I should "box them in" regardless of the speakers selected.

EarmarkMarine
11-30-2010, 04:53 PM
shoeman,
With automotive and marine coaxials, these are infinite baffle (also called 'free air') so they are self sufficient and well damped and designed for the expansive volume of doors, trunks and coaming or gunnel cavities. You do not want to restrict the large and highly compliant rear displacement for which they are intended. However, there is still a need for any 'IB' or 'FR' speaker to have total front to rear acoustical isolation and to be acoustically isolated from a disimilar speaker like a subwoofer sharing the same cavity at least in near proximity.
So, it is recommended to enclose the back of the coaxial for the purpose of isolation provided one of these above circumstances apply. Otherwise, the fix creates new limitations in performance and is discouraged.
Keep in mind that there are certain dedicated 'acoustic suspension' (small sealed) speakers like the JL Audio 7.7 'T' series that are made for small tower pods and most contemporary woofers need a small enclosure according to strict parameters. But this is not the case with 'free air' woofers and standard coaming/gunnel mounted coaxials.

David
Earmark Marine

DJ 50
12-02-2010, 07:00 AM
nmcjr,
So are you happy with only two of the bullet 770's? I have seen video of the four speaker set up with the 770's but was going to try to go with just two. What amp did you get to power them. I was looking ag Earmark's web site and I'm thinking I would go with 2 speakers with the JL Audio G4500 Amp.

David,
I'm assuming since that is the package you guys have put together on your site it will work well together.

EarmarkMarine
12-02-2010, 03:15 PM
DJ,

Yes, 250 watts per side (bridged G4500) gets the full capability from the 770 HLCDs.

Several members on the Moomba forum use this set-up and love it.

David
Earmark Marine

TayMC197
12-02-2010, 07:20 PM
I highly recomend 6x9's... great sound

nmcjr
12-02-2010, 08:47 PM
So are you happy with only two of the bullet 770's? I have seen video of the four speaker set up with the 770's but was going to try to go with just two. What amp did you get to power them. I was looking ag Earmark's web site and I'm thinking I would go with 2 speakers with the JL Audio G4500 Amp.


Yes, I am happy with just two. In fact, I rarely even have them turned all the way up-its just too loud, so I don't think I'd even use the extra volume from two more (and I have my in-boat speakers turned way down too so that most of my sound is coming out of the towers). I used the JL HD 600, two channels to the two tower speakers and two to my sub. The HD600 is a great small, cool, and efficient amp. I'm not an expert on amps, so I'm not sure how the G4500 compares. Off topic, but while you're shopping check out an HSE--I think is a must have with loud tower speakers.....

DJ 50
12-02-2010, 11:41 PM
Im sorry you will have to excuse me because I really know little to nothing about speakers, amps and what have you but an HSE? I did a quick search and I am assuming that is a sperate control so that I can rasie or lower the tower speakers on their own, or am I wrong?

nmcjr
12-02-2010, 11:52 PM
Im sorry you will have to excuse me because I really know little to nothing about speakers, amps and what have you but an HSE? I did a quick search and I am assuming that is a sperate control so that I can rasie or lower the tower speakers on their own, or am I wrong?

Yes, sorry, the HSE is an automatic volume control. http://www.hsetrident.com/

Its about the best thing I ever bought for my boat. Its RPM controlled, so each time you turn back around to the rider etc. it automatically brings down the volume of all your speakers and you 'll prevent those cases where you accidentally blast the next rider off the sun pad because you forgot you had it cranked up. I've heard it referred to as the Perfect Pass for your stereo. One thing to note though is that you will likely need an EQ (which is good to have anyway) because it is just one input in, one out, so you need the eq which is 1 in and 3 out for each of the amp zones (my eclipse is 3 out anyway, not all are) In addition, the eq gives you a great deal of adjustment for each zone, i.e. sub, in-boat, tower individually.

DJ 50
12-03-2010, 12:44 AM
Thanks for the info. Besides the tower speakers and equipment you spoke of do you have anything else diffrent from the factory install? I just bought my boat and won't have it in the water till next year to really hear it. Is the factory radio and speakers sufficient or should I be looking for a whole new system?

nmcjr
12-03-2010, 01:10 AM
Disclaimer: many ways to skin a cat, but this is what I did:
I can't quite tell what year your boat is: do you have JL in-boat speakers? If so, they're probably the best anyway so leave them for sure. If Clarion, I personally think you can leave them too because I feel that 80% of my sound is from the tower speakers anyway, so I don't personally feel that the in-boat speakers are that important. You should look at how much power you have going to the in-boat speakers in any case. Usually they are underpowered from the factory. JL HD series is my choice for amps.

The sub is very important and you probably have a "free-air" sub. The JL free air is decent, (but still a free air) and I don't think the Clarion free air is that great. In either case I would suggest going with a 12" in a sealed box--you will get way more sound out of it, and the 12 will be deeper too. Boston makes a great sub that doesn't require much power or space so its a good choice for a boat (don't remember model but I could get that for you).

With extra amps you will want to look at a second battery for extra run time, and an isolator, like the Blue Seas, so you don't kill you starter battery with the stereo, if you are playing it with the engine off etc.

I also added a Guest built in two channel charger so I can just pull a cord down and charge the batteries after every outing and not have to deal with a charger. Its important to keep batteries fully charged, it makes them last longer, i.e. life expectancy, so mine is always on an automatic charger.

Some say a better head unit makes a difference, but mine is a newer stock Clarion and I don't have any complaints, but I haven't tried a better one either so I don't know about that subject.

Finally, you may have seen that I referred to the HD amp as efficient, and mentioned that the Boston 12 didn't take much power. I mention these things because I tried to design my system to draw as little power as possible, both to extend run time and be easier on the alternator and battery, but this comes with a price, especially with the amps. This was another reason I decided to start with only two tower speakers.

DJ 50
12-03-2010, 02:38 AM
My boat is a 2010 197. It has the clarion MD6 head with four JL speakers. It has no sub and looking around I see no amp. I am still undecided on if I want to put a sub in there. I've seen many people talking about the JLs being underpowered from the factory but are they refering more to the tower speakers they provide? If i decide against a sub would an amp for the speakers really make a diffrence or be needed?

nmcjr
12-03-2010, 08:16 PM
Yes, you always want enough power going to the speakers, regardless. So, they need an amp for sure. Underpowering speakers is bad for them and can cause premature failure, and it kills their potential sound output. You basically want to run whatever their rated maximum power rating is for best performance.

I would strongly recommend a sub. In a boat with the wind blowing it will really drown out the mid/lower range of the speakers so you need to have the sub to fill in the lower range. Plus, with the sub you can increase the high pass of the boat speakers, which helps them operate more efficiently without you losing any of your sound range.

Also, with tower speakers I think it will sound odd to have all that loud high-mid/high playing, with no bass to accompany it. In actuality, a sub is a lot of bang for the buck. I think mine was 250-300 plus you just need another 300 watts, i.e. half of the HD amp.

Timbo126
12-03-2010, 09:27 PM
My boat is a 2010 197. It has the clarion MD6 head with four JL speakers. It has no sub and looking around I see no amp. I am still undecided on if I want to put a sub in there. I've seen many people talking about the JLs being underpowered from the factory but are they refering more to the tower speakers they provide? If i decide against a sub would an amp for the speakers really make a diffrence or be needed?

The amp would be located under the observer seat if you have one. However I assume you only have 4 in boat speakers which the MD6 head unit can handle without an amp. Poorly but it can handle it. I mounted a JL sub on the panel up under the drivers dash, it sounds great but then also doesnt take up any of my storage space under the observer seat, which if I went with the enclosed subwoofer route it would.

If you wanted to do a quick upgrade on your system and you do only have 4 in boat speakers. Then get a 6 channel amp, direct 4 of the channels to your in boat speakers and then add a subwoofer and direct the last 2 channels from the amp to the subwoofer. You could do it all without adding a battery but don't expect much play time with your boat turned off, maybe an hour.

I have heard a system with 6 in boat speakers and no subwoofer and let me tell you the subwoofer makes a huge difference in the sound quality.

DJ 50
12-04-2010, 04:55 AM
Thanks to all for your help and ideas. Now I just need to find someplace in around Beaver lake to install it all for me. Can't wait to get it done and out on the lake next summer.