We got a call a while back from the staff at The Boat Doctors, in Lake City. They were working on a Moomba boat for one of their clients from Valdosta. While they were doing some repairs on the boat, their client asked them about upgrading the audio system too. We have done a number of marine stereo upgrades for the crew at The Boat Doctors, so they knew to give us a call. We arranged to take a look at the boat, and after hearing what the client’s goals were, we worked up an estimate for the work. The client was pleased with our suggestions and scheduled the job.
Fusion Marine Stereo and Remote
The work on this boat would include swapping out the speakers, adding amplifiers and subwoofers, adding wake tower speakers, upgrading the radio, and making a few trim plates.
We started with the radio upgrade. The client had an older radio in the boat already. We removed his radio and cut a custom acrylic plate on our laser to hold the new Fusion MS-RA210 radio and a waterproof USB port. We tapped the holes for the radio mounting for 8/32 threads and bolted the radio to the plate. The radio was mounted in the storage area on the port side of the boat, so we needed a way for the client to control the radio while captaining the boat. Fusion made this easy for us as they have a wireless remote that works with the MS-RA210 radio. More on the remote in a little bit.
Rockford Fosgate Punch Marine Amplifiers
With the radio tackled, it was time to move to the other electronic component of the installation, the amplifiers. The system we designed comprised three zones, the main speakers, the tower speakers, and the subwoofers. We used a dedicated Rockford Fosgate Punch Marine amplifier for each zone. Powering the main speakers, we used a PM600X4 amplifier. This amplifier provides the speakers with over 100 watts per speaker. For the pair of tower speakers, we needed to up the power for maximum projection. The best amplifier for this use was the PM400X4. We bridged each side of the amplifier to have 200 watts for each wake tower speaker. The final amplifier we used in this marine stereo upgrade was a Rockford Fosgate PM1000X1bd. The PM1000X1bd puts out a whopping 1000 watts of power to drive the subwoofers to their maximum potential.
We squeezed the amplifiers into the under-cabin storage area on the port side of the boat. We mounted them to a piece of HDPE (Starboard) plastic securely attached to the boat. Two four-gauge power wires provide the current for the amplifiers.
To give the client quick control of the subwoofer level, we included a Rockford Fosgate level control in the boat. To make the best use of the space on the boat’s console, we removed the factory ignition switch plate and cut out a new acrylic plate with our laser. This plate would hold not only the ignition switch and circuit breaker but also the bass control knob and the previously mentioned Fusion remote. We laser-etched a trim line around the plate and labels for the remote and subwoofer level control.
Rockford Fosgate Marine Speaker Upgrade
When the boat came to us, it already had some equipment installed from a previous audio system. We would use those locations for the speakers in the bow of the boat and the main seating area. The client wanted to maximize the output in the boat, so we went with the Rockford Fosgate M2 marine speakers. These speakers feature a 6.5″ cone, so they fit in his existing speaker locations, as well as a 1″ tweeter centrally mounted on the grille. The M2 speakers feature two options for grilles. The first option is a plastic spoked grille. The second option is a trick, stainless steel grille. We consulted with the client on which option he wanted, and he liked the look of the stainless steel grille. We mounted the four speakers in their locations and wired up the speaker wiring, as well as routed RGB lighting wires to each location. One of the things we love about the Rockford Fosgate marine speakers is that they come with LED RGB lighting.
Horn-Loaded Tower Speakers
When clients mention “marine” and “loud” to us, our first thoughts are the Rockford Fosgate horn-loaded tower speakers. These tower speakers feature an 8″ woofer and a 1″ high-efficiency horn-loaded tweeter. These things get LOUD. They are perfect for tower use, as they project far behind the boat. Watersports passengers being towed behind the boat will be able to hear the music loud and clear!
We routed wiring in the tower bars for the speaker wiring and the LED RGB wiring. The lighting makes these speakers look trick when the sun goes down. A lighted Rockford Fosgate logo on end opposite the speakers are a nice touch too.
Rockford Marine Subwoofers
Most of the marine subwoofers we sell are “free-air” subwoofers, meaning they aren’t meant for use in an enclosure. For this boat, however, we needed a subwoofer that would work in a relatively small box. Rockford Fosgate had our back on this one, with their M2 series of marine subwoofers specifically designed for sealed enclosures.
We planned to mount the subwoofers in an enclosure that would fit on the port side of the boat in the rear, flanking the engine. We would fire the subwoofers toward the boat’s hull so that the bass would radiate throughout the boat. That’s what we THOUGHT would happen anyway.
We build the enclosure out of 3/4″ Marine plywood. Marine plywood is expensive, but we use it to ensure a long life of use for the enclosure. To secure the enclosure, we added a 1/2″ marine plywood flange on the bottom edge. Now that the enclosure was built, the real work was to begin. We would be spraying the enclosure with commercial-grade bedliner material. The spray, though, shows imperfections to some degree. That means we have to prepare the surface of the wood to be almost perfectly smooth. This requires the use of body filler and quite a bit of sanding. We also added a recessed area on the top of the enclosure for a Pinnacle Autosound marine logo.
Marine Stereo Setup and an Unwanted Surprise
All the gear was finally installed, and one of our favorite times in a build was upon us, the listening part! We set the initial crossover frequencies and gain settings on the amplifiers and turned the system on. The speakers were incredibly loud and crystal clear; they sounded great! However, we were wondering what happened to the subwoofers. After checking the amplifier and radio settings, we found that those aspects of the subwoofer system were correct. Our hearts sank, and we had spent time planning and building, but the resulting bass was a disappointment. We knew we couldn’t let the boat leave sounding like this.
We have used the stern, port-side mounting location on boats with great results, but that was not the right spot on this boat. It was time for us to regroup. We grabbed one of our display enclosures with a single subwoofer in a sealed enclosure and wired it to the amplifier. Then we played some bass-heavy tracks on the Fusion radio. We moved the enclosure around different spots in the boat, listening for what spot sounded the best. We found the starboard location right in front of the captain’s chair was the best spot. This location drastically improved the bass response throughout the boat. At this point, we resigned ourselves to thinking we would need to build a new enclosure. To our surprise, however, the enclosure we had built for the side fit perfectly in the new location!
We don’t always like to talk about our missteps. In this instance, though, we thought it would be a good insight into the level of dedication we have to make sure our clients get the most for their money. We don’t just mount some products and send a vehicle on its’ way; we make sure it is right before it leaves our shop.
Now that the bass was in line with the rest of the system, we could finally crank it up and see what it had! We were blown away. The speakers and towers had the clarity and output we wanted, and now the bass was great too.
When the client picked the boat up, he was as impressed as we were. He also loved the little details we put in all the aspects of the build. He couldn’t wait to get it on the lake!
While we strive for perfection, we don’t always hit it on the first try. We promise, though, we will always do our best to make sure things are done properly. We know that if something puts a smile on our faces, it will also make our clients happy.
Need some new audio for your boat? Stop by with it, and we can give you an on-the-spot estimate; alternatively, you can contact us here.