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HT config for a Yacht...


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#1 of 16 OFFLINE   dan360

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Posted August 09 2012 - 09:22 AM

Firstly hello - I'm new here, but been an active member at a bunch of other forums, of cars, boats amongst other things. I did do a search to see if there is anything yacht related and didn't find anything - though that might reflect poorly on my search skills. I'm specifying a configuration for a sail boat that I have under construction, and I'm not getting very far to the complete answer to my requirements with the electronics firm I'm dealing with thus far in that they're sticking resolutely to a simple BOSE based single special speaker type config or a car hifi w/ multiple speakers playing stereo. My aim is a 5.1 dolby digital system in the saloon for movies, plus 4 speaker stereo in the cockpit for music. I will have a Mac as my source for all music and movies - so as to avoid having the disks on board, my library is already scanned onto a large HD. I have a Samsung LED monitor specified that is slim and low power consumption, and slides out of a cabinet so it is hidden away under sail. I can specify a variety of speakers, but would probably like to use B&W custom speakers inside (since they designed for high humidity environments already) and marine speakers outside. Similarly I can specify 2 12V car amplifiers a 5 channel to do the saloon and a 4 channel to handle music played outside in the cockpit. The bit I'm missing is a Dolby digital/DTS processor to take a HDMI or an optical or a co-ax digital signal to process the surround sound. I don't really have the space to fit a regular receiver and don't need all the bells and whistles that come with one either. I have to imagine there might be a car audio product that might do something like this, but I haven't found one. There seem to be in dash dvd players but they don't seem to offer an external digital input as far as I can tell. Obviously a 12V based solution would be better as I can then run the audio side both in the saloon and the cockpit without running the inverter (which wastes power). I'd consider a simple small form factor amp/processor in a box as the driver if that's a good fit, but it would need to work on 220V if its not 12V as the boat is specified to be 220. Thanks in advance for any help anyone can provide! I'm posting similarly on my yacht forums :-)

#2 of 16 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted August 09 2012 - 09:44 AM

Yep, most "mobile" 5.1 systems in RV(pretty much the same thing here) are based on home equipment. The 12v AV industry is behind the times, simply because it is 12v. In an RV this isn't a problem cause it runs off either a generator or the alternator. On a yacht...middle of a lake/ocean...where are you stopping for fuel? You'd probably get better answers in an RV forum. You "can" find DVD HU out there that do 5.1. But audio inputs in the 12v world are still based on analog 2.0.

#3 of 16 OFFLINE   dan360

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Posted August 09 2012 - 10:01 AM

Thanks - someone on Cruisers Forum pointed me in the direction of a product from Pioneer the DEQ-P8000 which looks like it might fit the bill, although it might have somewhat proprietary inputs for the Pioneer DVD HUs.

#4 of 16 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted August 09 2012 - 11:13 AM

The DEQ-P8000 is a discontinued product.

I will have a Mac as my source for all music and movies
Get a 5.1 external sound card. It took 10 seconds to find this - http://www.overstock...05/product.html so I'm sure there are dozens if not hundreds of other options.

Similarly I can specify 2 12V car amplifiers a 5 channel to do the saloon and a 4 channel to handle music played outside in the cockpit.
Do you really need a 4 channel for the cockpit? If you are running 12v car amps, most are 2 ohm stable. For the 5.1 system, most 5 channel amps use that 5th channel for a sub channel which means it is much more powerful than the other channels.

What are the speaker models you are using? That will help us recommend amps. I'm assuming you have limited power available, so how much current draw are you willing to devote to this? Class D amps are the most efficient.

#5 of 16 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted August 09 2012 - 11:24 AM

Hi, Dan, welcome to HTF! I don't think you need an external sound card for the Mac. Mac's produce optical digital out with the right 1/8 inch optical cable. The same 1/8 inch output port is also used for analog.

#6 of 16 OFFLINE   dan360

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Posted August 09 2012 - 12:12 PM

Thanks guys. I hadn't thought (obviously) of a 5.1 sound card - stuck a bit too much in DVD/Blu Ray land. Speakers inside the cabin will be either something from B&W - CCM362 or CCM818, or Focal. Outside I'll probably go with the Bose 131 marine speakers. The cockpit is pretty large - its a 59' cat, which is why I was specifying 4 speakers. We have 8 x150W solar and a 500w hydro-generator, so we are reasonably OK wrt power.

#7 of 16 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted August 09 2012 - 01:58 PM

so we are reasonably OK wrt power.
I'd still like a reasonable idea. I don't want to suggest something like a Sundown NS-1 amp http://www.sundownau...l?category_id=3 for your subs when your charging system can't handle an additional 500 amp load. Then again, not many people need 6,500 watts of power to their subs.

Look at the class D (digital) amps from Alpine, Pioneer, Kenwood, etc. as they will be the most efficient (least power hungry) option.

#8 of 16 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted August 09 2012 - 02:02 PM

Well, you "could"... Get 5, or six, mono car stereo amps. Get the 5.1 sound card and run each output right into a mono amp. Get as many of these as you'd need...and just shut them off when you don't need them... http://www.amazon.co...ds=car mono amp

#9 of 16 OFFLINE   dan360

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Posted August 09 2012 - 02:53 PM

This baby looks like it might work and its 24V DC as well. http://www.gefen.com...sp?prod_id=9897 Love the sundown audio, but I think that is *slight* over kill for my needs :-) Will now get on the case with class D amp research. Thanks for the tips.

#10 of 16 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted August 10 2012 - 03:16 AM

The Gefen is $799. The Mac sound card I linked to is $25. Both will do the same thing if you are going to use the Mac as the only source. Then again, you are outfitting a yacht so our budgets may be a little different.

#11 of 16 OFFLINE   dan360

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Posted August 10 2012 - 06:39 AM

:-) fair point. Having a device which will switch HDMI sources will allow me to add two things, a media player and/or a games console - this boat will be our home for the next few years. The media player will allow the mac to be a dual source for different content in the saloon and cockpit at the same time, and allow the computer to fulfil its other job of being the vessels' navigation computer for weather downloads etc.

#12 of 16 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted August 10 2012 - 06:53 AM

Satellite internet...like it. Is "ocean going" Satellite the same as land based? (I'm just curious) I was talking to a friend of mine who installs RV equipment. He doesn't get many requests for HT as two channel is the most 90% of people want. He suggested the same as others. You "could" forgo that Gefen by getting a "component video switch". Technically speaking(and although I've never tried it) that is 5 channel. Granted three of the channels are meant for video...but there is no reason audio wouldn't work. You could get a non-powered component video switch very cheaply. When you are dealing with "set power limits"...the use of no power trumps all. And as a question for others helping... Would a component video switch work for 5 channel? I know the cable itself works as I use two component video cables for the 6 channel from a universal to a receiver(which it should since composite=dig coax=shielded subwoofer=component) So we are all on the same page...a non-powered switch... http://www.amazon.co...nt video switch

#13 of 16 OFFLINE   dan360

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Posted August 10 2012 - 07:10 AM

Ocean going internet access is a complex area, a short primer: The global any-time any-where answer is Inmarsat Fleet. This is used by large ships, cruise liners etc. The dishes start at about 1m across and the no commitment data plans cost about 10$ a MB. They work out well for ships who can get a fixed always on bandwidth and pay 5-10K a month. For a personal vessel, not so much. The new solution is Mini-Vsat. Similar to inmarsat in that it is a gimballed satellite dish, but the dishes start at 60cm (they are still very expensive but about 1/4 of the fleet price), and its a low earth satellite network instead. This means its not truly global - there's not much coverage in the pacific for instance, but it covers pretty much everywhere with a couple of hundred miles of land and covers the Atlantic well. The on demand plans cost about 1$ a MB, but do give you a 2 megabit pipe, so 1/10th the price of Fleet (and more bandwidth), but still expensive - about the same as roaming on your cell. I've got this combined with an iridium extreme handset. The iridium is truly global but the bandwidth is slow. Our main usage off shore will be weather down loads from NOAA etc and email. Either provides phone at about $1 a minute to stay connected with family. We won't be downloading movies from the apple store when a 700MB movie would cost $700 - we'll do that when connected to wifi. I then will have a wifi bullet which gives me about 6 mile wifi range, and a 4/3/2G hotspot. I spent many many hours trying to understand the above - as the providers are even worse than cable TV providers and try to make it as difficult as possible to compare different options!

#14 of 16 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted August 10 2012 - 07:22 AM

I'm aware of satellite internet(we have Wild Blue, rural enough you have that...or a cell provider...as we don't have land-based phone either). I figured ocean going providers had you by the groin... Cell based I use Sprint. Still the best internet...even though the CS sucks. I don't have issues very often. My cousin has Verizon since she travels to western MO and Bloomington IN quite often and VZW works better there(at my relatives house...nothing but VZW even works). I have a sailboat that I've done week long sails on the Great Lakes. So I get where you are coming from, although...I don't have any form of "permanent audio" on the boat...outside "emergency" equipment. The only form of TV is a 13" LCD/DVD combo. Otherwise it is a laptop with a set of decent 2.0 speakers. I haven't tried solar panels yet, but if you need that on the Great Lakes, you are doing something wrong...20 gallon tank of fuel is enough for a week on a boat. Otherwise, find a port to get another.

#15 of 16 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted August 10 2012 - 07:51 AM

By the way, planning on towing an Aquagen? (or similar)

#16 of 16 OFFLINE   dan360

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Posted August 10 2012 - 10:14 AM

By the way, planning on towing an Aquagen? (or similar)

Yes - one of these: http://www.wattandse...-hydrogenerator

Pretty cool 500W at 8 knots. The boat will do 8 kts in 9 or 10 of wind, so that's a pretty common cruising speed.




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