A client from Redwood City recently contacted California Car Sounds and Tint for some assistance in upgrading the audio system on his 2017 Avalon pontoon boat. The client was visiting a local truck accessory company and they mentioned that we were experts in marine audio system upgrades. The Clarion radio and speakers that came with the boat simply didn’t offer the performance or features the client wanted, so he reached out to us to create something far more impressive.
JL Audio Speaker and Subwoofer Upgrade
We started the project by removing the old radio and speakers and replacing them with JL Audio M650-CCX-SG-WH 6.5-inch coaxial speakers. These speakers not only handle a lot more power than the units that came with the boat, but they also play louder and produce more bass. The white grille and integrated 1-inch silk dome tweeter look great against the white fiberglass and vinyl interior.
The client made it clear that the original audio system was severely lacking in terms of bass output – a common problem with factory-installed audio systems in both cars and boats. To remedy this, our fabrication team set to work creating a customized subwoofer solution based around a single JL Audio 12W7AE-3 12-inch sub. The team removed the bench seat from the port side of the boat and cut out the bottom. Next, they took a series of measurements to create a sealed subwoofer enclosure that would fit inside the seat. The enclosure is fabricated from ¾-inch MDF and is finished with eight coats of fiberglass resin to ensure that it is 100 percent water-tight.
Next, the guys cut the vinyl upholstery on the side of the seat that faces the helm and made an opening for the bass to exit the subwoofer system. A square, vinyl-wrapped trim ring bolts to the seat frame and provides a clean finish around the sub trim. The guys finished the installation with LED lighting and a stainless-steel mesh grille to protect the sub. All the trim pieces are made of plastic so that they will remain impervious to water damage for the life of the boat.
Wet Sounds Amplifiers for Pontoon Boat Stereo Upgrade
To make sure the audio system would sound great even with the throttle pinned, we installed a pair of Wet Sounds amplifiers to power the speakers. A four-channel SYN-DX4 provides 125 watts to each of the 6.5-inch coaxial speakers while a 1,200-watt SYN-DX2.3 HP amp powers the subwoofer. The amp rack we created has room for two additional amps since the client is considering doubling up on the numbers of speakers and subwoofers in the boat at a later date.
We used JL Audio interconnects, speaker wire and power wire for the installation on this pontoon boat to ensure everything could contend with the high-humidity conditions associated with marine audio installations.
Marine Source Unit and System Control
We replaced the original radio with a JL Audio MediaMaster MM100s-BE head unit. The control for the radio is mounted on the left side of the helm. The MM100s-BE includes Bluetooth audio streaming capabilities, as well as support for digital audio files stored on a USB stick. An auxiliary input and USB port extension are mounted to the left of the boat’s ignition switch.
The output of the JL radio feeds into a Wet Sounds WS-220BT four-zone system controller that is mounted on the right side of the helm using a custom-made trim ring that is contoured to fit the curved dash. The zone controller allows the client to adjust the volume of any of the speakers independently so he can let his passengers enjoy their music while he concentrates on piloting the boat.
San Jose’s Marine Audio Upgrade Experts
With all the gear installed, the last step was to set the crossovers and sensitivity controls on the amp so that the system would sound amazing as background music as well with the volume pinned. When it was done and tested, the client returned to California Car Sounds and Tint to hear his pontoon boat stereo for the first time. He was blown away by the way it looks and sounds! If you are in the Campbell area and want to upgrade your marine audio system, drop by our store or send us an e-mail using our contact page.