Blew Daze has a Standard AM/FM CD player mounted above the ice box
and next to the VHF radio. Speakers are in the cabin (2) and out in
the cockpit. The cockpit speakers are mounted under the seats and up
high on the cabin bulkhead. ONe interior speaker is mounted on the
head wall facing aft and the other is mounted on the port aft
interior wall facing fwd. They are bracket mounted, as is the sterio
If I were equipping the boat today, I would get an automotive/ car
sterio system with CD player or cassete tape and provision for
connecting a CD changer. Jensen makes some decent stuff but the
downside is you need an enclosure for mounting it or forfet a storage
space in the cabin. I would get catalogues from Defender, Boat US and
West Marine and do some comparison shoping, then go to Circuit City
and Best Buy and compare the auto stuff. Radio Shack has some stuff
that might be worthwhile. I noticed that they had some speakers built
into enclosures that might be worth a look.
17 Feb 2001
Audiologic Boombox - CD player & AM-FM radio. Cost $29.95 at Circuit
City. It works well, on 6 C batteries. I usually, keep it in my
sailing equipment bag with the extra sweatshirt, windbreaker and
towel, until I'm ready to use it. Then on the back seat jammed into
17 Feb 2001
A boat is both a physically and aurally hostile environment for a
sound system. It is important not to over buy insofar as performance
and features and to be sure to buy marine grade components. There is
a difference. Standard gear is not protcted from the humidity
constantly present in a boat. And since a high powered, feature laden
unit is overkill and likely to be less reliable, the prices for
marine units at places like West Marine and Defender are competitive
and worth it.
I use a Jensen 8320 AM/FM/Cassette receiver with a CD jack. The
feedback I get is there are problems with built in CD players on
boats so I use a portable CD unit which is only on the boat when I am.
The Jensen performs well and is available for about $100 - $120. The
60 watts is more than enough power. Actually too much power is a
problem since the environment tends to cause distortion which only
become worse as sound levels increase.
The Jensen is a DIN plug-in unit which makes it easy to remove if the
boat is in a location where theft could be a problem. West Marine
sells an Under Dash Housing (#273789) for $15.00 It fits neatly in
the cabin in the upper right corner above the counter and it fits the
Jensen perfectly. Makes for a very neat installation. I mount my VHF
radio on the bottom of the housing.
Two speakers are mounted on the starboard cabin wall by the windows
and as far apart as possible. They face the seat and are aimed at the
back cushion level. This keeps reverberated sound to a minimum. Two
speakers are in the cockpit on either side of the companionway, just
under the seats. They are attached to the cabin wall. These are 5"
Poly Planer 4000 Series marine speakers. (The 5" fit better than the
6" also available and are just as good.)
I got two watertight, PVC electrical junction boxes from a local
supply house and installed the speakers in the cover. They are
cantered slightly inward toward the center of the cockpit to project
sound into the area. (Don't let them face each other or they will
cancel out.) By connecting the cockpit speakers to the front speaker
connections on the Jensen and the cabin speakers to the rear speaker
connections, you can use the fader control to control the level in
BTW, I am a speaker builder, as a hobby, and was able to get a deal
on some speakers for the cabin so, unfortunately I can't tell which
ones they are. However, the Poly Planar MA840 ($49.89/pair) will do
well. You can also find some decent units at Radio Shack, but they
may fail in a few years due to the moisture. (If you go that route,
be sure they are 4 ohm.)
Both the VHF and the Stereo are connected to the same antenna through
a Shakespeare splitter (#4357). The antenna is at the top of the mast.
There is a tradeoff here. The antenna is a VHF unit and the splitter
favors the VHF signal causing some compromise in the FM signal. But
FM is line of sight and the height of the antenna gives you a better
shot at getting signals. Since my lake is in the mountains, the
height seemed more important to me. I felt it was better than running
a separate FM antenna on the rear pulpit or cabin roof.
This system provides surprising good sound for a boat at a reasonable
price. If you have any further questions give me a holla.
17 Feb 2001
The humidity on the boat is highest in the cabin. Marine grade is
really a good idea! Clarion's high end products are among the best
you can buy, but I hear their low end stuff leaves something to be
desired. I am not even sure it is made by Clarion. Personally, I
think high end Clarion is overkill for the boat.
One of my buddies scoffed at using marine grade and put a Sony car
unit in his boat 4 years ago. Guess what he replaced last year? After
the cassette ate some tapes.
18 Feb 2001
I got my stereo in August of 1989 by mail order from West Marine. For
whatever the information is worth this many years later because of
the speed of change in the electronics industry, the stereo is a
Maxim Marine model CSC-705WB. My unit developed a problem in the
cassette drive mechanism & was replaced under warranty in the 1st
year. The replacement has been absolutely bulletproof for 8 seasons &
The 4 speakers are Maxim Marine weatherproof wedge speakers model CSS-
5575W. The cabin speakers are mounted by thru bolting to the trim
piece just below the deck on the port & starboard side at the rear of
the V-Berth. The cabin speakers utilize the entire wedge housing
The cockpit speakers utilize only the front panel of the speaker
assembly & are mounted on the cockpit side of the transom, port &
starboard side facing towards the cabin. Note that all 4 of these
locations get the big powerful speaker magnets about 8-10 feet away
from the cabin bulkhead mounted ship's compass!
The stereo itself is mounted under the starboard side deck just above
the ice box. I used a Maxim Marine model 273789 radio installation
housing + a Maxim Marine weatherproof opening cover model 273771 for
for the mount. The speaker wires are 18 gage shielded twisted pairs.
Remember to connect the shields on the speaker wires to ground at the
RADIO end only, or you may introduce ground loops! I use my ship's
Metz Manta masthead mounted VHF radio antenna for the AM/FM/WB radio
antenna. This gets the antenna something like 28 feet above the water.
I use a VHF signal splitter switch & a small "rubber ducky style
antenna to share antennas with the ship's VHF radio. The signal
splitter switch allows the operator to connect one radio to the VHF
masthead antenna & the other radio to the rubber ducky antenna &
instantly switch both antennas back & forth. I installed the system
myself. This antenna switching system allows relatively private low
power local VHF radio communication & longer range 25 watt distance
communication while still allowing the AM/FM/WB radio to have an
My stereo plays cassettes. If you get a cassette player, be sure to
get a model with autoreverse. It's a real pain to have to pop your
head below deck to flip the cassette at the end of each side. As far
as CD's, they seem a little too delicate for use on a small boat.
Even the high priced Sony Discman personal CD players with buffer
memories can be made to skip by a hard jolt. I have an adapter to
play my Discman personal CD player thru the cassette player on the
ship's stereo. At the dock or in calm weather, it works all right;
but, in rough weather the CD player skips a lot. The cassette player
can take an incredible amount of rough weather without missing a beat
& the cassettes themselves seem more robust as well.
The nice thing about built-in stereos is that you can get the speaker
separation required for good stereo effect. Plus, being built-in, you
don't have to find a place to safely stow it when you put to sea. The
good marine stereos use components which are either waterproof to
begin with or can stand up to the harsh marine environment. I would
imagine most boom boxes wouldn't last very long aboard a small boat.
We enjoy the music at the dock, sometimes under sail, & very much
swinging on the hook in some deserted cove at sunset. I like to
listen to the radio or music when I'm working on the boat.
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
I can handle this one. I have a 250 watt amplifier mounted in the
opening alongside the ice box. I have a car mount for a portable CD
player directly under my VHF above the ice box. The speakers are
mounted inside the lazzerette facing toward the bow. Get good, really
good speakers that can handle the wattage of the amplifier.
I have the Nautica Maxxial speakers from Pioneer that are rated at
120 watts per channel.For an antennae if you choose to go the route
of a formal stereo, if you already have a VHF radio, you can get a
splitter for the stereo that will feed the AM/FM signals.I've been
eyeing a new stereo this year in the BoatUS catalog that has a wired
remote that I would place somewhere cenvenient in the cockpit, but
that's only on the wish list for now.
18 Feb 2001
Regarding the remote for stereo, Rummy.When you get, it is most handy
to use the velcro somewhere in cockpit so you can keep track of it.
I've been on several larger boats where that worked wonderfully. I
considered a battery Bose complete with remote) but it was just too
large.Now have one of those tiny sony CD/radio things that uses
merely 4 AA batteries and I also found a solar charger for 4 AA
batteries in an odd catalogue. Have yet to use it.
I am trying to avoid getting into all that power and boat battery
stuff. Trying to keep it simple. Am a major music buff and so fussy
about my collection of CDs. I do not have a CD in my car by choice
because I fear losing one. I make cassette copies for car. I paid my
friend's 10 yr nerd-kid to burn copies of 30 favorites for the boat.
This machine's power and bass is not loud or heavy.
I have found it fine for me sailing alone and anyhow, when folks are
in the cockpit, they are all jabbering away (or hanging on for dear
life).Anchored, it is sufficient for now.
We have been looking at some big boats and just about all of them are
using something like a Sony or Clarion or Jensen or even Radio Shack
radio that are not marine grade. I don't think you need the extra
expense of a marine quality unit when instlled in the cabin. One nice
feature of one of the units sold by West Marine (forgot which one) is
the weather alert feature that allows you to listen to NOAA weather
reports and I think it will cut in when NOAA issues an alert. Nice
feature and one reason to look at "Marine " radio's.
18 Feb 2001
I've always been impressed with Roger's ability to recall make, model,
serial number, purchase price, sales tax, where he bought it and
everything else for equipment he's had for 10 years. Sure is helpful
when it comes time to take a peek at something he's describing.
When the stereo thread popped up I had to hop over to the Boat US
website to get the model number of my stereo that isn't quite a year
old. It's a Jensen MCD 9424. It has a CD player and AM/FM/Weather
band radio. It does have an optional remote control that can be
installed in the cockpit as Rummy mentioned, but I don't have it yet.
I've thought about it a little and it still might make it onto the
official 'to do' list for the boat. I'm sure we've all got one of
these lists that expands and contracts a little over time but never
Here's a link to the boat/us site. They do a better job of describing
it than I would:
I have four 4" round waterproof Poly Planar flush mount speakers. 2
are mounted in the transom facing forward and 2 are in the cabin on
the forward bulkhead facing back toward the companionway. Using the
fader I can turn off the cockpit speakers if I'm somewhere neighbors
would be disturbed.
I don't consider myself to be an audiophile, but I've been very happy
with the features and sound quality of this unit. It's plenty
powerful with no supplemental amplifiers (I think it has a plug where
one could be added), and even these small speakers seem sufficient
for good sound. I can't offer any Rhodes-specific mounting
recommendations; my boat isn't a Rhodes. The stereo is mounted down
below, but it is pretty weather resistant.
19 Feb 2001
I use a Cambridge Soundworks computer sub-woofer speaker system
connected to portable output devices. The system runs on 12 volts,
stores in it's own carrying case, and puts out more sound than
anything I've ever heard on a small boat.
I keep the system between the cabin step and the ice box. It fits
exactly while still allowing the ice box door to open fully. There
is a zipper compartment on top in which I store portable devices
with long output cables so I can run them from my captain's chair
while single handing.
When I'm feeling lazy I leave the system where it's stored and just
crank up the power. For excellent stereo separation I mount the small
speakers on the pop-top tubes using Helm clamps. (The speakers have
very long connecting wires -- I could put one in the bow and the
other in the stern.)
I take the system off the boat during the winter months.
24 Mar 2001
PS -- I noticed in another post from you an offer to photograph the
new boom room on Bulldog after you finished your homework. Have you
finished your homework?
I've been running my $49 CD player attached to my system for years
without a problem. It's been so trouble free I plan to try a CD-R
MP3 player on board this year just to reduce the number of CDs on
board. I sail on Long Island Sound, usually within sight of the
World Trade Center so I have no trouble picking up strong radio and
television signals on the walkman sized AM/FM/Weather/TV no antenna
required (the cable to the speakers is the antenna) receiver. The
beauty of an unmounted, undedicated stereo system is that you can
easily change with times and circumstances, and you can test your
theories before you have to permanently commit. Also you can replace
only those components that break, and you can move things around if
you discover your compass is always pointing toward your system.
In my home I have 2 Bose 901 speaker systems and 3 Cambridge Sound
Systems. For my money and my ears there is nothing I like as well as
these 2 systems. The Bose won't fit on the boat so I put in the
Cambridge Sound System. Don't let the $79 price fool you. It is an
outstanding system that just happens to fit perfectly into dead
space on the boat. I keep mine zipped up in its carrying case. It
can be played without unzipping. To date it has not deteriorated in
the marine environment, but if it goes after 3 or 4 or 5 years at
$79 a pop it's been more than worth it and I would go right out and
24 Mar 2001
Cambridge Soundworks was founded by Henry Kloss, the "K" of KLH.
Like Bose, he really understands sound.
I believe the item I have is called "Soundworks" -- I note it is
now selling for $69.99. I also have the carrying case ($29.95)
and the 12v adapter. Mine is black in a black carrying case
because when I bought it that was all you could get. I originally
got it for computer clients and was simply blown away when I tested
it. My computer runs through one of my Bose systems ($1800), but
when I first got the Soundworks (then $129.99) I felt they were
very close. The Bose system sounds a little better, but the
Soundworks is a much better value.
24 Mar 2001