View Full Version : new system install - Tower Speakers - HLCD vs Component

09-03-2013, 11:56 PM
OK - first the disclaimer

I'm old... I have no intention of installing a system that everyone on the lake can hear when I go by...

However, I do like accurate sound reproduction and high quality bass in an audio system. I'm currently looking at installing a Polk Audio head unit and Polk Audio UM Component Speakers and a Polk Sub and Amp for interior sound.

I'm considering the installation of tower speakers as well, but I'm not 100% sure. It has even been suggested to me to not install interior speakers and just go with tower speakers. I'm not real sure I want to cut up my pristine custom interior to install speakers in the bow anyway, but I would like for passengers to be able to enjoy music while underway and when we anchor and swim. I'm not too concerned about skiers, boarders or tubers being able to hear the music, but I suppose that would be a bonus.

So, I guess I have a series of questions for you audiophiles on the board...

Would standard marine component speakers in a tower configuration be sufficient for interior sound for all passengers while underway (really question sound reaching the bow area with just tower speakers)?

Would standard marine component speakers in a tower configuration be able to project sound to the end of the rope for riders?

If you had a limited budget to install a system, would you start with interior speakers and add tower speakers later, or would you start with tower speakers and add interior speakers later?

If you were adding tower speakers, do you think that HLCD speakers are the only way to go, or would an old guy who is not set on having the entire lake listen to my music be satisfied with component speakers in a tower?

My daughters are just learning to ski and so far, only my nephew is wake skating behind the boat, so I'm not pulling a bunch of testosterone laden guys around doing extreme tricks on wake boards who are demanding to be able to hear the music while they ride.

Any advice you can provide would be awesome... I don't want to spend the money to do it all right now, so I'm looking to do something that is scalable over time.

09-04-2013, 12:17 AM
I had polk MM speakers on my old 205V, and it was more than plenty for the tower. with a 500 watt amp to 4 polk MMs was plenty for the rider to hear, just not like my 4 pro 80s did. if thats all your looking for i highly recommend the polks, not much of a better bang for the buck around in my opinion. now you want crystal clear music for the rider, then id go the route of HLCD, like a pair of Wetsounds rev 8s.
i wouldnt do bow speakers. i would do all four in the interior and add tower speakers when the funds roll in. The 209/x9's bow is small anyways, kind of a waste to add them. especially if youre cutting into your new vinyl.

09-04-2013, 11:30 AM
You want dedicated tower speakers on the tower regardless. A standard in-boat component or coaxial speaker will have to be driven too hard plus it will require more of them. They are designed and voiced for listening within a very short proximity. You can run with a pair of Wetsounds Rev8s on the tower, which is an HLCD that is very good sounding and will project at wake range, or a Wetsounds Icon8 which is a conventional non-horn speaker of the same size. I would consider the Icon8 a surf speaker and kind of a Rev8-lite. In any case, you are running a larger 8-inch driver instead of wasting money on 6.5" speakers on the tower.
Nothing on the tower will protect forward to the bow. Dual direction (front and rear) tower speakers are a waste.
I may have misunderstood, but if someone recommended HLCDs in the boat coaming, then that is nuts unless you already have incurred extreme hearing damage and losses so that it no longer matters. But then you should be concerned about your passengers who haven't lost their hearing yet.
You will not hear the contribution from bow speakers in the cockpit and on the opposite side of the windscreen. Bow speakers are just for bow occupants and you have to decide how often people are up there, or is it more of a conversation sanctuary and/or mostly for children.
As for prioritizing the tower or in-boat zone first, tower speakers can never duplicate the sound quality of in-boat speakers because of their small pods, location and elevation. In-boat speakers will not project outside of the bathtub, so to speak, and away from the boat or at any distance. There is no good dual purpose speaker for this. So based on your most frequent usage, that should be an easy decision.


09-04-2013, 01:57 PM

No recommendation for HCLD speakers inside the interior of the boat at all.

No hearing damage at all and hoping to avoid that completely.

Right now I was planning on speakers in the bow and speakers in the angled kick panel area under the back seat. I wasn't planning on speakers up near the observer's seat or driver's seat, but that probably wouldn't be a bad idea.

I am considering a 10" Sub, perhaps under the driver's dash or in the storage area under the observer's seat.

I was really debating about the type of tower speakers to install (HCLDs vs Components in Tower Cans).

I suppose I'm more interested in decent sound reproduction when anchored and swimming around the boat than I am at 80' behind the boat when pulling a boarder or skier. I was thinking that tower speakers would be necessary to get decent sound over the sides of the boat out to the swimmers. I also want decent sound reproduction for the passengers in the boat when underway as well.

I realize that accurate sound reproduction in an open topped, moving vehicle, out in the open environment is a bit of an oxymoron, but I'd like it to be decent.

Given that I'm not really focused on producing tremendous sound at 80' behind the boat, I was really just wondering if it would be wiser to install component type tower speakers rather than HCLD's based on my use, or if someone thought I would really regret installing component tower speakers. I certainly know it would be a lot cheaper...

09-04-2013, 02:30 PM
6.5" component speakers are made for car doors and listening within a 5 foot proximity. So to play at any distance they have to be powerful. But they're not....and how good do they sound when over-driven? 6.5" component speakers are also infinite baffle by design and made for expansive doors, trunks, and body cavities....not tiny tower pods. Ten 6.5" speakers have no deeper midbass than one 6.5" speaker. The classifieds are full of people who purchased 6.5" tower speakers who are spending more money in the end because they were disappointed. Now, if you just want to flood the area directly behind the swim deck at rest at a moderate level, then the 6.5" car door speakers are fine.