View Full Version : DIY audio upgrade

12-09-2009, 11:38 AM
I need help.

I have a decent knowledge of electronics, but have never attempted any mods with my boat stereo.
My current setup is:
Kenwood HU (stock)
2 Kicker Amps(2 and 4 channel). One runs the boat and the other runs the tower.
Tower speakers (PolK)
Boat Component Speakers (stock)

I just purchased 3 sets of the Polks from Amazon. I will be replacing the components. I assume that is pretty simple.

I will be purchasing the Kicker KMT6's for the tower. Again, I assume this will be basic, just swapping out what I have.

I would like to add a sub(suggestions?). Here is what I assume will be the biggest issue. In addition to the sub, I will be buying a new head unit. It will most likely be a Kenwood so the remote will work. It will also have a sub output.

I would like to wire the sub so it works for both the tower and boat. Can I run it directly from the HU or will it have to go through an Amp? If it goes through an Amp will it work for both?
Also, how complicated is the wiring/powering of the sub?

12-09-2009, 12:21 PM
you are correct in just swapping out the speakers on the tower and the boat. make sure that all the wiring is intact, good quality, series/parallel is correct and polarity is correct.
as for wiring a sub, there are a lot of good threads here on where to place it. wiring is simply running the cable from the amp to the sub.

in your situation, personally, I would look at upgrading the 4ch kicker to a 5ch. use 2channels for the 4 cabin, 2 channels for the bow and then a single channel for for the sub. with the right amp, you won't need to run a dedicated sub channel. nice to have for balance and fading, but not necessary. or you can add a 3rd amp to power the sub.

once you decide what route to take and what/where to place the sub, you can get into more specific questions.

12-09-2009, 01:44 PM
Moby -

If your buying a new HU that has a sub out, I'd recommend buying a dedicated monoblock style amplifier for the new sub. This will give you dedicated control over a part of your stereo system that needs it - BASS. If you already had a 5 channel amplifier I might agree more on the lines of what Sandm said and tailor a sub to work with whatever power you had available. But in your case, you need an amplifier when you buy the sub. Note, he's not wrong in what he's telling you... It's just a different idea.

From a DIY point of view I'd look at where I'm going to put the sub before getting one. My suggestion would be depending on your boat, to put it up under the driver console, ported box, down firing. A lot of guys just build a box and face the woofer outward, but what they don't realize is by down firing the sub (i.e. porting at the floor) you get the sub to acoustically blend to the floor space / console area and PRODUCE WAY MORE BASS!

If you need help with a box design, contact me at [email protected] We do this all the time for guys.

Hope that helps,

Exile Audio

12-09-2009, 02:58 PM

The triple preout Kenwood DIN-sized source units will have constant level on the sub output regardless of the front to rear fader position. Plus, you'll have a dedicated sub level control on the source unit menu.

Unfortunately you'll only have a global volume at the driver's position with the source unit zone controls in the glove compartment (assuming your HU is on the port side).

Here's an option if you want to place complete zone control at the driver's fingertips. Use three of the JL Audio CL-RLC line drivers. You can get a good look at this item on our website. While an EQ could provide the same control, the CL-RLCs place the line driver portion in close proximity to the source unit and a voltage-only controller cable makes the transverse run. This way you don't have long 'to and from' RCA runs. And, you could have triple zone controls with six times high voltage preouts while maitaining your existing source unit.

For a source unit upgrade you might look at the entry level Kenwood Excelon. Its well below $200 from an authorized dealer wherever you are. Its a 6 x 4 volts, provides for your existing hardwired remote controls, has both USB and 3.5mm MP3 jacks in the front panel plus a provision for an iPod module at the rear. Beyond that it's loaded.

Earmark Marine

12-09-2009, 10:26 PM
I also swapped out the stock speakers with the DB651's. You will love the way they sound. I did upgrade my stock Kenwood with a new 3 output. it also has a USB slot in the front. I also have two Kicker amps. I have a 4 channel for the tower and a 5 channel for the cab. My 5 channel amp came with a base control knob to adjust the amount of bass. If a song come on with lots of bass, then up goes the control. But if a song that does not have that much then the I control it down or off. I have a 10" Boston Acustic G3 sub that is tucked under the dash board. I had purchased a sub enclosure from www.audioformz.com I have an LSV and the space is perfect for the bass box. After some fine tuning you will have a rock'n system. Look at my pictures of my install.

If i were you, get a new HU with more outputs. You will have better control of your sound.

12-11-2009, 12:40 AM
i put in kms300 with wired remote and 3 output love that deck tos cool will not work with old remote .