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Old 12-14-2011, 02:19 PM   #1
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Default Thinking about adding an amplifier to the radio

So i am sitting here at work thinking about my boat on a dreary Wednesday morning in Cincinnati Ohio. The one thing I would like to possibly change about my new-to-me 2400SR is that I can't hear the radio very easily when under way. I am considering adding an amplifier to the existing radio. I really don't know what all is involved other than in my younger days i installed an amp in my car and it seemed pretty straight forward. I believe I need a 4 channel amp since I have 4 speaker to amplify. I don't need a super expensive amp but something decent... can anyone chime in on suggestions?

Joe
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:11 PM   #2
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Do you anchor much and for any length of time? IMHO an amp chews through a lot of amp hours in the battery bank, no pun intended. I agree I can't hear the radio well when I'm underway either.
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:26 PM   #3
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well..that has been one of my main beefs about Bayliner/maxum's for yrs....and yrs...they put the damned radio at your knees ...so..I got one of these things..they work great....mount it away from the compass....but beleive me..they are worth the 40 bucks..

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...classNum=50163


they hook up to the back of your vhf radio and usually there are 2 wires in the back to connect too...some radio's have a jack back there...get the 4.5 size speaker..

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Old 12-14-2011, 10:49 PM   #4
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Joe, get behind the helm and look at the back of your existing head unit. See if there are any RCA jacks hanging off the rear of the unit.

If there are then adding an amp should be fairly easy. The RCA's provide the line level input to the amp. Then all you need is 12V, Ground, and a trigger from the head unit to turn the amp on when the radio is turned on. The trigger wire is usually blue or orange I think. Then you just re-wire the speaker wires to the amp's outputs.

If you don't have RCA's coming out of the back of the head unit adding an amp isn't as easy. Smartest thing to do at that point is to replace the head unit with one that does not have a built in internal amp but supports an external amp. Or, a new head unit that does have a built in amp with a higher output rating than your current head unit.

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Old 12-14-2011, 11:22 PM   #5
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oops...I was thinking about the VHF....never mind my post above.......



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Old 12-20-2011, 10:38 PM   #6
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There is plenty of room in the sides of the boat for some nice 6.5 two ways. Please see picture. I also Run dual batteries.. before I go any further, if you are running high end audio they are almost a must.
I also have a DB digital mono sub amp and 2 cobalt 10's in a custom box in the ski locker (under the back seat) that are dual ported through the front that can been seen at 4:03 in my video.



If you don't already have RCA outs on your head unit there is a thing called a line output converter and it'll work just fine. Not bragging, just trying to give you some ideas. I did professional audio and video installation for about 7 years.... it was a long time ago though

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Old 12-20-2011, 11:19 PM   #7
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Wanted to add.. "IF" you go this route and decide to add some speakers in a better location.... with the hole saw.... gently get the pilot bit through and reverse the drill!!!! Go through the fabric and insulation in reverse. When you reach the wood/fiberglass switch it to forward again.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:57 PM   #8
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I know this is a little old but I am still trying to figure out what would be my best option. It seems that we have some people that are much more knowledgeable about amps etc than I am so I thought I would throw out this link to what seems to be a decent amp. Perhaps those that know about these things could chime in...

http://www.techronics.com/caraudio_1...html?aff=72182

Just to let you know my intention is to add volume without distorting the sound at cruising speeds. I am by no means looking to compete in "loudest and most obnoxious boat" contests but simply a little louder radio...
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:08 PM   #9
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Joe,

Did you check out your existing unit as I suggested above? IMO you need to know what you have first.....

But to answer you question the amp you linked to seems fine. You will need to know what your current speaker specs are though.

Dan
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ss3964spd View Post
Joe,

Did you check out your existing unit as I suggested above? IMO you need to know what you have first.....

But to answer you question the amp you linked to seems fine. You will need to know what your current speaker specs are though.

Dan
SOrry, I did check and it has the rca plugs but only 2. should it have 4? My current head unit is a Clarion M275...
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:53 PM   #11
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Two is fine if you are going to run a 2 channel AMP.. The one in your link is a 4 channel....
They make affordable "y" splitters that will allow you to utilize all 4 channels of the amp HOWEVER if you use them you will only have front to rear fade OR side to side depending on how you plug them in.

http://www.cablestogo.com/product_list.asp?cat_id=2009

By the way.. I love this stuff.. if you have questions please ask away
No one is posting because its cold almost everywhere..... Glad you are!
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:08 PM   #12
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Okay, few more for you...
I would like to amplify 4 channels. Is my only option with my current unit to do as you suggested above with the y splitter? If I go that route will I be able to utilize all 4 channels of the amp, or would it only be using 2 channels? If I got a new head unit would it come with 4 rca jacks? My current head units specs says the peak output is 50w x 4 channels. Am I correct that adding the amp I have linked (rated for 60w x 4) would boost the per speaker output to 110w per speaker? Basically adding the wattage from the head unit and the amp together? Or... am i an idiot?
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:51 PM   #13
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You are not an idiot at all, these are often misconceptions.

There are 2 different outputs on the head unit. The RCA's are considered LINE LEVEL and this is what you want to go to the amp.... This allows the amp to do the work it was intended for. Line level signal is CLEAN (low power) and that's what you want. The other high powered wires are for the head units internal amps and they are usually overrated, inaccurate garbage. These are typically not used at all when an external amp is introduced.

(Unless you are using a line output converter) which essentially strips all the head unit power away and you are left with line level signal anyway.

So to answer your questions:
1. I would like to amplify 4 channels. Is my only option with my current unit to do as you suggested above with the y splitter? If I go that route will I be able to utilize all 4 channels of the amp, or would it only be using 2 channels?
Answer: Yes you will have to split the signal to use all 4 channels to/from the amp. If you desperately want fade AND balance you can use a line output converter on 2 of the head unit powered channels to accomplish this.

2. If I got a new head unit would it come with 4 rca jacks?
Answer: Some do, some don't... it should say in the specifications.

3. Am I correct that adding the amp I have linked (rated for 60w x 4) would boost the per speaker output to 110w per speaker? Basically adding the wattage from the head unit and the amp together? Or... am i an idiot?

Answer: No.. please see above 2 completely different signals.


You also have more options... but I'm not sure you want to go there.. I'm talking about running your speakers in series or parallel. Often used for running multiple speakers on one channel. Then you introduce the challenge of ohms and not dropping them too low in parallel.
Let me know what you buy and I'll send you a wiring diagram on exactly how to hook it up. I'm that bored
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:59 PM   #14
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Nope, sorry but it does not work that way. Your stereo has a built in amp that can deliver 50wx4 (though many overstate these numbers considerably). if using an external AMP, you must provide line level to it, that is what the RCA outputs are for. They are called pre-amp outputs. Your head unit only supports 2 channel pre-amp out so you will have to replace it with a unit that supports 4 channel pre-amp out or use splitters as already suggested. There are no issues with the splitter method, you will just have left and right only (or front and back) with 2 speakers on each channel. This is not Dolby Surround Sound here so I doubt you will notice any difference at all with 4 channel or split 2 channel.

Now there are some affordable head units that do support 4 channel pre-amp out. I just installed one in mine last summer so can't attest to reliability yet but it seems like a decent unit (I am not using an AMP though). It has 4 RCA out on it and it is configurable to be Front and Sub or Front and Rear (I think that is how it works).

It is the Sony CDX-M30 and states this on Crutchfield:
•outputs: two sets of preamp outputs with selectable rear/subwoofer output

There is a Clarion that claims to be 4 channel but it seems 1 is only for a sub so that is no good for you.
That is the M109 and states this:
•outputs: 4-channel preamp outputs ( 2-volt front, sub nonfading)

You will definitely get better sound out of an external 50W amp as opposed to a head unit that claims to be 50Wx4.
You do need to check your speakers though and make sure they can handle wjhat you will be pushing to them (Watts and Ohms).

Whatever you do, do NOT connect more than 1 speaker to each channel on the AMP. That cuts your ohms in half which will cause something to fail (either speakers or amp) and the sound will not be as good).
So 1 speaker only to each speaker out on amp and eitehr drive the amp with the 2 RCA and a splitter or replace head unit with 4 channel model.

Hope this helps
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:00 AM   #15
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Arrrggghhh, too slow again
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:15 AM   #16
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http://www.crutchfield.com/p_105KDBT...r-Package.html

I know this isn't marine grade but price and options seem nice. What do you guys think? It also says it comes with free installation package but since I am putting it in a boat I assume there will be no wiring harness? Should I just pick some specific make and model of a car instead?
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:16 AM   #17
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mcoffey, it's all good!! 2 responses that basically same the same thing adds validity and confidence.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:22 AM   #18
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Is there a head unit that puts out enough watts to not require an amp?
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:34 AM   #19
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jrings... you might want to start your own thread just not to confuse the two subjects....

In my humble opinion and I know others feel differently... Marine grade is for hard core shrimpers and the like... chances are your stereo is NEVER going to see water or even mist for that matter......I've been building boat audio systems for over 20 years and NEVER have had a normal car stereo fail, not even once.

All new stereos come with an included specific harness. You may have to make it work with your boat, but it will have one. The installation package is typically a kit to make it fit in various vehicles. Assuming you don't have a shafted radio... then you have a DIN, 7 by 2 inches. they will all work and you should need no "kit" because the sleeve that is included will accommodate the new unit.
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Old 02-29-2012, 02:35 AM   #20
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Started new thread in electronics for the head unit questions...
As far as the amp goes. Since my existing radio has easy access to the back of it and I could easily mount an amp in close proximity to it can I not use the 2 rca jacks and just run the speaker out wires from the radio thru the amp and back to the speakers? this would use all four channels of the amp and I would still have fade and balance right?

By the way, I am not set on the amp that i posted as my only option. If either of you guys has other suggestions that might be a better fit please chime in...
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