View Full Version : Clarion EQ vs New Head Unit

08-25-2011, 11:11 AM
Since my Kenwood unit recently crapped out (getting loud hissing noise thru all six preouts with engine off and head unit volume at 0) Iíve been re-thinking my head unit/wired remote situation and have decided that I donít need one at all. I never play the radio or a CD Ė I always use my iPhone as my music source, either playing music thru the iPod app or Pandora. Also, I am getting tired of the undependable Aeware/Kenwood remotes Ė between the one on the helm and the transom remote, I think I have gone thru 5 of them now.

So I am going to try going with the Clarion EQS746 at the helm and plugging my iPhone directly into that. With this EQ, I get fader control between by cabins and towers, subwoofer level (volume) control, and a master volume control. It has three sets of 7V preouts Ė front, rear, sub Ė one set for each of my amps.

On paper, it sure seems like this little EQ will do everything I need and at a fraction of the cost of a head unit ($50 shipped brand new). And I have volume control at the helm so no more need for pesky remotes.

Anyone else do away with their head unit and just running this EQ? If so, how do you like the set up?


08-25-2011, 11:20 AM
Its done regularly now with MP3 being so common.
The Clarion has a non-defeatable lowpass crossover and to me the fixed 90 Hz frequency (certainly would never use 60 Hz in a open boat) and crossover quality is not as good as the sound quality when using only the crossover network in the amplifier.
Look at the Audio Control 3.2 EQ. Its way cleaner and has a completely defeatable active crossover. If you were to remove one and install the other as we have done you would be amazed at the immediate SQ difference.

Earmark Marine

08-25-2011, 11:47 AM
I have the Clarion eq installed at the helm and haven't used the headunit since adding it. I planned to swap it to another brand as it was only $50 and I didn't expect it to hold up long term, but so far it's still rockin. Plus I don't want to lose the ability to run tower speakers and sub as I use that config a lot. I'll check out the AC 3.2, thanks for the recommendation David. The mic on the WS420 would sure be nice though, just can't get past the sub control.

08-25-2011, 12:59 PM
Here is a little background on why a EQ like the Audio Control is superior.
An EQ that is running off the 12 volt supply that is boasting 6 volt RMS preouts is getting mighty creative.
The Audio Control (AC) uses a DC to AC to DC switching power supply, similar to an amplifier, so that it generates a highly stable and clean 22 volts to support the audio circuitry. The AC delivers a true 9.5 volt RMS preout without the use of fuzzy math.
The AC EQ uses far less surface mount devices in the signal path and instead uses higher current discrete board-level components. By operating at higher current levels this significantly reduces the need for as much negative corrective feedback and offers a much lower noise floor. The AC EQ has greater dynamic range, is audibly cleaner and has less noise.
Also, if you would ever encounter alternator whine or other types of noise the AC EQ allows you to change the 'above ground' isolation value between the RCA shields and the power ground. So, you can better match the AC EQ to the other components in the signal path, amplifiers for example, that may have a different above ground reference. This can be helpful in eliminating noise-inducing ground loops without the use of external RCA ground loop isolators that can compromise both the bass and sound quality.

Earmark Marine

08-25-2011, 03:26 PM
Thanks for the feedback David. At $250, the AC unit is 5 times the cost of the Clarion so I think I will give the Clarion a try first. If I am going to spend $250, then I would spend a little more and get a head unit AND a wired remote that actually works.


Good to hear you are having a good experience with the Clarion EQ. Question - does the sub volume go up and down with the master volume, or are the two completely independent?

08-25-2011, 04:31 PM
The sub volume moves with the main volume. I use the sub level control to crank it up or down once the volume is set.

08-25-2011, 05:18 PM
The sub volume moves with the main volume. I use the sub level control to crank it up or down once the volume is set.

Perfect, I was hoping that was the case. Thanks.

New Guy
08-29-2011, 01:12 PM
I got one and I love it. We rock pandora all the time and it is so simple to use. Now if there was only a way to wire a remote to it :/

08-29-2011, 06:58 PM
Cab - The clarion is a great middle of the road EQ. The op amps used in the audio circuit are very middle ground. The Audio control does step up the voltage but more importantly utilizes high end devices. At 3X the cost, its pricey. I'd definitely vote for a clarion upgrade for you though.

Exile Audio

08-29-2011, 08:29 PM
Thanks Brian but since my remotes are now working with the new head unit, I think I will just stay with the head unit. Nice having working remotes again!