View Full Version : Stereo Installation in an '83 Stars and Stripes - WITH PICTURES

05-01-2012, 09:55 PM
This thread will be a work in progress. I just started tonight after work and will hopefully finish everything up in the next few days, and definitely by the weekend.

I bought some speakers after debating how I was actually going to install them in the boat. I wanted enough speakers in different parts of the boat to be able to hear everything really well, and I'd really love to be able to hear the music while I'm hanging out in the water behind the boat or skiing. I searched about every thread I could find to get ideas for where to put the speakers, the head unit, amplifier, sub, etc. My setup includes the following:

-1 pair of Polk DB series marine component speakers
-1 extra pair of Polk DB series marine 1" tweeters
-1 10" subwoofer
-1 Head Unit
-1 5 Channel amplifier

The reason for this setup was so I could put the tweeters anywhere I wanted. I didn't want a coaxial speaker because wherever that speaker went, it directed the sound where it faced. There's really no good place to put the woofer portion of the components on one of these boats. They're either stuffed under the gunnel, facing where nobody is sitting, and very low to the ground. That's fine for a woofer, but when your highs are directed like that, it makes for a less enjoyable listening experience (IMHO).

So, I decided on components. I could put the woofers down low, and keep the highs closer to ear level. At first I was going to do 2 sets of components. One for the front, one for the rear, but the more I though about it, I figured what good is an extra set of 5.25" woofers going to be when I'm going to run a high pass filter anyway while also having a sub. I scratched the idea of the woofers in the rear of the boat and just ordered an extra set of tweeters to go just forward of the rear seat, but higher on the gunnel.

So... I began. Pulled off the little screw covers:


Then off came that panel:


I decided to mount the pair of tweeters using the surface mount that was included with the tweeters. I had to drill out the wood on the back side to allow the speaker wire to pass through the vinyl and come out the back side of the gun rails. Then I passed the speaker wire through and pulled it tight. Lined up the screw and made sure to hold the speaker wire tight, so when I screwed the rail back on, it didnt cut the speaker wire:


Put it all back together, and ran the wire behind the rail. This is port side:


This is starboard side:


I haven't put the amp in yet, so I have yet to clean up the wires, but they'll all be hidden.

Now on to the front. I first planned to put the two tweeters facing upward at the windshield so they would fire back at the rear of the boat. Two problems, that means drilling into the fiberglass and gelcoat, and also I can't get a drill back in the area that I wanted them. In order to not put holes in the fiberglass, I chose to mount the tweeters to the dash. I figured I could hide holes in the dash way easier than I could hide holes in the hull... so I went this route. This also fires straight rearward, so while skiing, this will definitely be heard (and will be very loud for driver haha)



I need to buy some 5.25" woofers now to put below the observer seat. I bought 6.5" components and they're too big. I also need to build an amp rack under the bow (I'll probably just use the sub box) and bolt down the box so it doesn't move around. I bought a water tight enclosure that I'll also mount to the sub box and then run a remote up to the helm to control the unit.

My goal here is to keep things out of the way, allow me to return to stock fairly easily, and have a great sounding stereo. That's all I got done today, but I'll continue to update the thread as I get more done.

05-01-2012, 10:04 PM
I know very little about audio, but I know that this looks very clean! I love those speakers in the dash. I would like to see photos of your sub and amp when you get a chance...

I am a huge fan of those small speakers... any chance you could post the model numbers for the parts you are using when you get a chance?

Thanks! I'll be watching this thread.

05-01-2012, 10:09 PM
No problem. These are the components I bought, but the 6.5" woofers are too big to put where I want to put them. I'm just going to throw the 6.5" woofers into my car now, and buy the same thing in 5.25"


These are the tweeters I bought (what you refer to as the small speakers ;))


The tweeters are only good for highs. You'll need some sort of woofers in the boat somewhere to have full range sound.

05-01-2012, 10:12 PM
Right now I've just got 5.25" components under my observer's seat, and they sound terrible. One of them is facing back (observer's feet), and one is facing the driver's feet.

If I replace those with woofers and then find a place for two tweeters, do you think that would provide enough balance? I'm only asking because you're using 4 tweeters.

Thanks for any help/advice you can provide.

05-01-2012, 10:19 PM
A "component" speaker generally contains 3 parts when you buy it. A woofer, a tweeter, and a crossover. The woofer and tweeter are NOT connected to each other allowing you to place the woofer and tweeter in separate areas. The crossover then sends the correct frequencies to the tweeter/woofer. You could by all means buy a 5.25" component speaker set and replace your speakers you have now with the woofer portion of the new set, and put the tweeter wherever you'd like.

I'm using 4 tweeters because I wanted some highs in the rear of the boat. I decided to just let the subwoofer take care of all my bass and have some more highs towards the rear of the boat. That's my logic on the 4 tweeter setup. I will also have the 2 small 5.25" woofers under the observer seat. One will fire to the rear of the boat, and one will fire at the driver seat. I just haven't installed that portion yet.

05-02-2012, 09:58 AM
When tweeters are separated by any distance away from their fullrange counterparts (midbass drivers), especially in a horizontal sense, they tend get extremely localized and strident. You are going to put in a lot of effort in order to get those rascals to not sound like fingernails on a chalkboard. Beware of female vocals. Ouch! Have plenty of alternative filter capacitors and attenuating resistors handy to get those to blend somewhat.

Earmark Marine

05-02-2012, 12:20 PM
interesting, I like how you are blending the stereo into the boats lines and am looking forward to the sub/amp install

05-06-2012, 09:39 AM
Got some more done yesterday. It's pretty much all hooked up now, I just need to clean up the wiring. I need to buy some wire loom to put over all the wires as well as clip the excess off the zip ties. That sub box BARELY fit in the opening behind the observer seat. Any bigger and it wouldn't have gone in there. I also need to get a remote to put up by the steering wheel. The head unit is reachable, but I'd rather have something on the dash.






05-06-2012, 11:05 AM
Looking good.

05-06-2012, 05:24 PM
Those speakers under the observer's seat... those are the 5.25" Polk DBs, right? Just asking because I ordered those this week myself to put them in the exact same spot in my '87, but the height of the fiberglass on my boat is only 6" there. It looks like yours fit without any modification?

05-06-2012, 08:44 PM
Those speakers under the observer's seat... those are the 5.25" Polk DBs, right? Just asking because I ordered those this week myself to put them in the exact same spot in my '87, but the height of the fiberglass on my boat is only 6" there. It looks like yours fit without any modification?

Yep that's what those are, you should be fine. Just remember to measure with the speaker grills on because they're bigger than the speaker. I used a 5" hole saw and it was just about perfect.