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Old 01-25-2014, 07:31 PM
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imyourmaster imyourmaster is offline
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Auto vs Marine Subs? Do they hold up?

I've noticed a lot of guys running JL automotive subs in their boats. Looking at the specs, they certainly handle more power than the JL marine sub. How do they hold up in a marine environment with humidity, moisture and occasional rain shower? The factory sub on my boat is mounted behind the driver seat which is somewhat protected. If I replaced the marine sub with a automotive one, would it last? Any thoughts you guys have regarding this?
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Old 01-25-2014, 07:52 PM
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I have only used auto subs in my boats....I ran 2 Alpine Type S 10's in the closed bow of my Tristar, never had any problems. I am going to install a JL 12W6 under the helm on my Xstar as soon as it warms up. I think it really matters where you keep your boat when not in use. I would be reluctant to use auto subs if my boat was tied to a dock or on a lift for several months. The subs would be exposed to constant variations of moisture, humidity, temperature, and various weather throughout the Summer, even with a mooring cover. I think if the sub is out of direct contact with wind/rain etc while out on the water, it should last. I keep my boats in a large hanger when not being used, so exposure is ultimately minimized. I am sure others who live in high humidity climates like Texas or Florida may have a different opinion.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:09 PM
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David Analog David Analog is offline
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imym,
Well, there is not as much difference in power handling as what you might think when only taking the power handling spec in isolation, which is somewhat out of context.
A JL M series IB 10" might have a conservative power rating of 200 watts, although I have safely run it with 300 watts when correctly executed. But it also has a 50% increase in internal efficiency and has a 2 dB increase in sensitivity (which is equivalent to a 2/3rd power increase) when compared to a 500 watt JL 10W3 from the automotive line. All of that pretty much balances out. It's not necessarily how much power a speaker can handle but how much clean output it can produce before reaching its limitation.
Having stated the above, there is a very good case for going with an automotive acoustic suspension woofer versus an infinite baffle woofer. The acoustic suspension woofer matched to the right enclosure will provide a more linear form of suspension and will ultimately produce more excursion under control. Excursion, like surface area, determines how much air you can displace and how much output you can achieve.
Btw, there isn't an automotive woofer that is suitable for an existing infinite baffle application.
Those woofers that boast 1500 or 2000 watts power handling have made some very serious compromises in sound quality in order to handle that level of power or abuse. So power handling alone is by no means an indication of quality.
Whether an automotive speaker will hold up in a marine environment depends on the degree of exposure and the elements in your particular area. In a coastal or brackish environment, you definitely want the marine-specific product. If the woofer is mostly out of direct sunlight on a fresh water lake then the automotive woofer usually lasts for the long haul.
A game changer in IB marine subwoofers will be the upcoming JL Audio marine 12-inch. It has a monster motor structure with a 4-inch voice coil!!!
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:05 PM
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David, I believe that wraps this thread up! Thanks for the valuable info. I'll be anxiously awaiting the arrival of the JL 12"!
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:33 AM
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I'd like to add that in our area (Dallas, Texas...no saltwater) we have installed many automotive subs in boats, and seen many automotive subs installed in boats, and I cannot recall ever replacing a JL Audio automotive sub that was properly powered, properly installed in a correct enclosure (with the cone and surround playing into an area with adequate space), and was not abused. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend certain automotive subs in a marine environment, when done properly.

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Old 01-29-2014, 10:21 AM
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I have a $90 auto sub (kicker) in a box under my observer seat... and it sounds great. its held up fine so far... How would it get wet short of me sinking the boat?
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:30 AM
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David Analog David Analog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TxsRiverRat View Post
I have a $90 auto sub (kicker) in a box under my observer seat... and it sounds great. its held up fine so far... How would it get wet short of me sinking the boat?
Easy. Humidity will eventually turn an automotive box into MDF soup regardless of its location in the boat. Although the carpet covering can conceal the failed seams for several years after the box is worthless. An automotive box will absolutely not measure the same after one year in a boat.
Let's say you have slightly damp carpet or some remaining water in the bilge and the boat is under cover. With every temperature extreme there is condensation. And that's all it takes.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TxsRiverRat View Post
I have a $90 auto sub (kicker) in a box under my observer seat... and it sounds great. its held up fine so far... How would it get wet short of me sinking the boat?
I had a ported sub box under the helm that had the speaker fail. I pulled it out to find that the paper cone on the speaker was wet and tore apart. I pulled the enclosure out only to find water sloshing around in the bottom!? ***? What had happened? water never gets up that far in the boat. I figured out that an 3" air ventilation hose had a low spot and would fill with water when it rained. there was a tiny pin hole in the hose that just happened to be positioned right overtop of the enclosure vent - what are the chances?
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:48 AM
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TxsRiverRat TxsRiverRat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Analog View Post
Easy. Humidity will eventually turn an automotive box into MDF soup regardless of its location in the boat. Although the carpet covering can conceal the failed seams for several years after the box is worthless. An automotive box will absolutely not measure the same after one year in a boat.
Let's say you have slightly damp carpet or some remaining water in the bilge and the boat is under cover. With every temperature extreme there is condensation. And that's all it takes.
Interesting info david! I still need to make it up there to buy 4 MX650s from you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craig3972 View Post
I had a ported sub box under the helm that had the speaker fail. I pulled it out to find that the paper cone on the speaker was wet and tore apart. I pulled the enclosure out only to find water sloshing around in the bottom!? ***? What had happened? water never gets up that far in the boat. I figured out that an 3" air ventilation hose had a low spot and would fill with water when it rained. there was a tiny pin hole in the hose that just happened to be positioned right overtop of the enclosure vent - what are the chances?
Man, that sucks!
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