A boating acquantance of mine (known as "SilverBullet" over at BoatingABC.Com) recently completed a very nice stereo project on his boat, and he was nice enough to share it with Boat-Project.Com.
This project describes the upgrade of a stereo system in a 2002 Cobalt 226, known as "Baby Blue".
Last year I bought some tower speakers to put on our boat, and figured it was time to install them, and add an amp for them. Not too big of a deal. But, it kind of took on a life of it's own, so I thought I would document the process.
I bought these to put on the tower last year. The ones I have are polished aluminum and filled with 2 Polk DB651 speakers in each pod. I bought blue speaker covers to protect them and match the blue on the boat.
Then in November, Amazon had a sale on Polk DB651 speakers so I bought 3 pairs to replace the speakers in the boat. At $35 per pair it was too good of a deal to pass up.
Fast forward to this year - I started looking at getting this done. Not doing anything the easy way I started looking at amps. I figured about 300W for the tower, 400 Watts for the boat and about 600W for a couple subs. The tower already has 2 channels of speaker run so I had to decide how I was going to wire everything. Then I bought another pair of tower speakers.
Now I had to decide if I was going to try to run all of the speakers off of just two channels or run some more speaker wire through the tower. I kicked it around and was going to run 2 more pair of wires, but I was not 100% convinced. The amps I bought all have more wattage then they need; so if I only use the 2 existing wires, and by series-paralleling the speakers, I can run at 6 or 8 ohms, reducing the wattage output but changing the way the speakers react. While reading the kicker manual for the KMT 6 speakers it was noted that wiring them in series will create a channel at 6 ohms. They are rated at 4 ohms, but are actually a 3 ohm working load. They say it will reduce distortion and improve sound quality while lowering the thermal load on the amps. I'll have to do some more research on that.
After doing a bunch of reading I thought I had figured it out so I order some Class AB amps to power it all. After I ordered them late at night I realized they all wouldn't fit so I had to rethink what I was going to do. Fortunately I got them at a good deal so I will just turn them around for what I have into them once I am done.
Then I ordered all the other stuff; 0 AWG power and ground wires, short RCA interconnects, 4 and 8 AWG power wires, 12 AWG speaker wires, plugs for the tower so I can disconnect if need be, distribution blocks, main fuse holder and fuses, etc. I also bought an equalizer to allow me to tune the tower speakers to get the volumes matched between the different speakers. I will also add a switch so I can turn off the tower if I would like to. Most likely I will do the same for the subs.
Then I got to thinking about the head unit. It is a Sony deck, lower end and wired into a Access Technologies remote, mounted at the helm. Doing some research I found that those remotes also work with Pioneer decks. I remembered a deck I bought when Circuit city went out of business, so I tried it - and it works. So I will be swapping the deck out to the pioneer. Why? It is a little bit better quality, has a USB input for Ipod control and has some additional features. Plus I already had it so I might as well use it.
Then I remembered I have a Rockford Omnifi Mobile MP3 jukebox which I am considering installing when I get it all put in. It goes to the auxillary input, holds 20GB of songs and I could load in more songs than I have on my Ipod. I already have it so I am going to look at installing that as well.