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:: wakeboard and waterski boat tips
The following descriptions relate to skiboat applications.
These applications will often be different on sport cruisers
and larger boats. Please consult with us on those larger vessels.
A few basic Do's and Don'ts on marine audio installations:
- Use only marine speakers for exterior applications.
- Home and car speakers have steel grills that will
rust and eventually will leave stains, especially on
- Home and car speakers have exposed tinsel leads and
other connectors that will rapidly corrode in the marine
environment. Paper cones will easily warp and distort
the voice coil former.
- Home and car speakers may have foam surrounds that
are not adequately resistant to UV damage and dryrot.
- Absolutely no MDF on a skiboat.
- Eventually water gets everywhere within a skiboat
so there isn't a safe location. MDF will soften, expand,
separate at the seams and generally decompose due to
the high moisture even without direct contact with water.
- Also, avoid using standard automotive trunk liners
or carpets because these are prone to mildew when used
on a boat.
- When using a plywood in a marine environment, make
sure that the plywood is not constructed with a water-soluble
glue that will lend to laminate layers separating in
the future. Keep all types of wood elevated above decks
- Flush mount marine speakers will be of a free-air type.
This means that the optimum enclosure size is an infinite
baffle. 6 1/2-inch full range speakers require at least
a cubic foot while a 10-inch free-air subwoofer deserves
two cubic feet at bare minimum. Since we are dealing with
free-air type of speakers, an airtight cavity is not crucial.
However, front to rear isolation is critical in the direct
area. As the speaker gets larger or its responsibilities
become lower in frequency, the distance needed for front
to rear isolation increases.
- Oftentimes, factory full range speakers are mounted
in side bolsters and panels that are open at the exterior
or interior storage pockets.
This allows the speaker's opposing front and rear radiations
to meet and cancel out. This negative effect increases dramatically
as the frequencies are lower. This will eliminate bass and
seriously limit the speaker's power handling.
- If you have these conditions, the effort going into
sealing the immediate baffle area or compartment front
to rear will pay off. We have a number of solutions
available that will make this task easier.
- You can hide a subwoofer enclosure in a cavity or compartment.
However, the bass radiation must be vented out in order
to hear and feel the bass. The collective vent surface area
should approach the surface area of the woofer. We have
a number of solutions available.
- Multi-strand copper wire quickly corrodes in the marine
We solder and heat shrink every connection to seal the cable.
All terminations are tinned. Liquid electrical tape is effective.
Plugs and disconnects are treated with dielectric grease.
- Cutting holes into marine composites, fiberglass and
gelcoat, can lead to subsequent spider cracks and blistering
if the holes are not properly dressed.
Also, cutting holes in upholstered bolsters require that
the vinyl be properly terminated as to avoid the vinyl from
shrinking away from the opening over several seasons. We
can provide the necessary instruction.
- Use only stainless steel mounting in screws, nuts,
bolts and washers.
Avoid drywall screws and avoid metal brackets. Use stainless
steel or aluminum brackets. We offer a mounting solution
to most any marine installation.
- Unlike cars and trucks, boats do not have an adequate
negative ground close to the amplifier mounting location.
Standard automotive power wire kits will not do because
these include a very short ground wire where positive and
negative runs need to be equal. It is acceptable to tap
the factory buss behind the instrument panel for power but
limited to a very small two-channel amplifier or BTL amplifier
as found in a powered subwoofer. With a longer ground and
collective run a boat system will require a higher gauge
power wire for the same current draw than what you would
normally use in an automobile.
- When it comes to power wiring in a boat, simple is
With the high moisture and vibration fewer connections are
easier to maintain. While soldering is ideal, multiple large
power cables soldered together will offer too much mass
to get a good solder. In this case, a power distribution
block will be necessary. Keep all power connections and
electronic items spaced up off the deck or flooring. This
includes amps, breakers and all connections.
We have volumes of instructions and illustrations to assist
you in your installation once you have selected a design and