From The Forums- Speaker System

Published in the August 2008 Issue August 2008

A couple of issues ago, we spotlighted a thread where a forum member wanted to upgrade the speaker system on his pontoon. Now forum members are talking about upgrading amps.

DesertDog said: I'm a new `toon owner and have really been gleaning from the forums here. I just installed my second battery with a blue sea switch 9002A, and now it's time for the sound overhaul. Is it better to go with one four-channel amp for speakers and one wo-channel for subwoofer or combine them into one amp? I was looking at a Pyle Amp that seemed really nice. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

slingshot replied: The optimal setup is to have each speaker with its own amp, but that can be obviously expensive and is very time-consuming to install, plus the power-draw concern. Having one amp for all channels is the simplest way to go. It's your call. I would say having a dedicated amp for your bass speaker and one four-channel amp for the other four would be the way to go.

buzzcheeze said: A four-channel amp works very nice: two channels going to a sub, the other two going to the 6x6s or whatever. If you have four 6x6s, hook the front ones up to the RIGHT balance, and the rear to the LEFT balance to control the front and rear fade. I made a little wood table sized to fit in my console side door. Then I attached the amp and made wire terminals on the surface of the amp table. I think GodsBeast detailed the table and connections a few years ago, I think it is the best design for a pontoon. You can still store stuff under the table and you can pull the table and amp out to service it, if needed. Worked out great for me. Get a quality amp, though.

Do you have a link for the specs on that design? That sounds really cool. Also, just to give everyone a little peace of mind as to the fact you're not contributing to the future disruption of someone's quiet weekend water getaway. We go to the Colorado River here in sunny Arizona with our `toon. The river is WIDE open, and one almost has to have a really good stereo to be able to hear over the 60 plus mph speed boats zooming by. In short, I totally respect other people's right to have a nice, quiet outing. Now the legal disclaimer is out of the way.

What setup do you have? I guess that's kind of what I'm looking for too. Something someone has tried and really likes so I don't waste money. But at a minimum, it will be four speakers and a sub (not sure if a 10-inch or 12-inch yet). Still trying to figure out a way to get a higher mount location so you can hear it outside of the boat.

Harleypaw said: Get a good quality, five-channel amp, you can pick up a Kicker 700.5 marine amp off eBay for about $300. It has enough power to push four of any type speakers and one 12-inch sub at four ohms with each speaker having its own designated channel. I was running the Kicker 5 channel 700.5 with four MB Quarts and one 12-inch sub. It sounded really great. Over the summer, I kicked it up a little and went with 8 MB Quart 6.5-inch rounds with a Kicker 2000 watt amp, all wired at 2 ohms; two 10-inch subs with a Kicker 1000-watt amp wired at 2 ohms; Clarion head unit; and Clarion six-disc CD changer. I'm still old school, I haven't got an iPod yet.

After a hearty welcome, TILEMAN4YOU said: I believe if you're only going to push four speakers and a sub, then one amp would do the job. Any more than that, two amps would be better. I like the separate amp for my sub since it draws so much when turned up. I have a Pioneer head unit with an iPod and XM direct brain units, two Performance Technique amps, one 12-inch Audiobahn aluminum subwoofer in an acrylic box with a booster and six round three-way marine speakers.

I had a custom stereo place hook-up the wiring for me. One amp goes to my six speakers, one amp and a booster go to my 12-inch sub. I made an acrylic platform to keep the equipment off the wet floor and mounted all of it under my helm. So far it's been real good. I have had it for two years now. If you really want your music to sound good at loud volume, then over-build your system. You are not enclosed like in a car. All the sound goes up in the open air.

FloterBoter agreed: I agree with what the others have said. The open air of the boat means you need lots of RMS watts. I think one amp is fine, just make it a big one. The fun part is figuring out where to mount it. Like the others, mine is inside my helm, but my helm isn't so big front to back. It's mounted vertically on the inside of the front helm wall-a major pain to get to. When I recover the helm, I'm going to cut that wall into a swing out door and lengthen the cables. Make sure you use heavy gauge wire from the battery to the amp or it'll drop out on you (but you already knew that).

By this time, DesertDog was really getting excited: WOW...nice set up guys! How many batteries you running? Man...I'm almost tempted by going with six speakers too. The four I have now are mounted under the front of the seats and you can't hear them outside of the boat. I might keep them there and add two removable ones in the front or somewhere up high. Thanks.

To read this thread in its entirety, please visit the forum page at and search for the "Stereo Equip. Install Question." thread.

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