I've always been a fanatic when it comes to music. I'm one of those people who feels there's always a soundtrack playing in the background of my life. I listen to music as much as I can. I cherish my 15 min. commute to/from work as it gives me time to blast the tunes in my car without anyone whining about how loud it is. Surprisingly, the sound system in my 2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is pretty good. The Wrangler isn't what you would call 'acoustically friendly' so a 'good' sound system can be hard to put together, but it works for me. At work, I usually annoy the crap out of others by working with headphones on most of the time.
We currently have a fairly basic system installed. The P.O. (Previous Owner) had installed a CD player along with ADS box speakers. The box speakers are fried. The paper cones are pretty much toast. On top of that, little fingers thought it was fun to push in the domes. These speakers have been a PITA. Anyone sitting near them has to keep their head low so they don't bonk themselves. And on the port side, there's a locker that can't open completely because the speaker is in the way. I performed a mild upgrade when the CD player finally died. I installed a USB capable stereo and added Dual DMS655SM surface mount speakers in the cockpit.
Now that I'm restoring our sailboat, one thing I wanted to accomplish was to install a fairly substantial sound/video system. I am not kidding when I say I've been researching this for the better part of a year.The current system we have is OK. In fact, others in my family would say it's perfect. But I feel this is an opportunity to really have something nice to listen to when on board. Some of the units I considered were:
- Lowrance Sonic Hub (which would have required other Lowrance equipment)
- Clarion CMD7
- Sony CDX-H910UI
- Fusion Marine
- Kenwood KMR700U
I finally settled on the Kenwood. I felt that it had the most flexibility for its price. The others were either too expensive (Fusion/Lowrance) or just did not have the features I was looking for (iPod connectivity, Sirius capability, RCA inputs). There are two components to this device: the controller unit and the main 'brain'. This is nice because it allows the main unit to be installed somewhat remotely. The controller unit flips down and there's a place where you can connect and store ipod and memory stick. There's also a rubber gasket included to make it water proof for external installations. Ours will be nice and dry down below.
Additionally, I will be attaching the SC-C1 Sirius Receiver unit.This comes with a cable that looks a bit like an S-Video cable and connects directly to the main unit on the KMR-700 U.
Another nice accessory is a wired remote control. Up to four remotes can be connected. We will have one in the cockpit for sure and maybe one in the v-berth.
For speakers, I only had two criteria: great sound at low volumes and good looks. I considered speakers from all the major manufacturers. I have always had good luck with Pioneer speakers, but honestly I was looking for something a bit classier. A lot of the typical car audio speakers seem to be geared towards the Fast-and-the-Furious look. I narrowed the list down to Inifinity, Boston Acoustic, Focal, Rainbow, and McIntosh. I finally settled on the McIntosh MSS630. In the makers listed, these are near the top of the middle (some Focal and Ranbow speakers are in the $1200 range). I don't know who actually makes McIntosh mobile audio speakers, but they have a very good reputation. They may not have the low end that other sets have, but I can make up for that with a powered sub.
I will also be adding video by installing a 19" LCD/DVD combo. The prices on these 12v units have dropped significantly. While many sailing purists may see this as sacrilege, I see it as another way to enjoy time spent on the boat. We will not be using it while under way and in fact will most likely only be using it while at the dock. We enjoy watching movies on the boat. In the past we used a laptop. Not bad, but it was a hassle as the screen is a little too small for many people to gather around.
I found this great site called 12v Travel that has all sorts of cool 12v devices. The TV I'm looking at is the RCA DECK18DR.
I'm pretty excited about this. Unfortunately, I have a zillion other things I need to do before I can get all of this installed. Plus, I want to be sure it's done well. If you were to see how I currently have my aft speakers installed, I'd be excomunicated from the Church of Sailing.