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  • Brands to consider for 2004 X-10

    I have a 2004 X-10 which I'm planning to keep for many years, and likely pass along to my boys at some point. I've just been through a big restoration of the interior and am thinking about an audio upgrade in the Spring. I'm an audiophile while on land, but don't know much about marine audio. But, I would say I'm used to buying better sounding gear that is well-made.

    The X-10 has the factory Clarion setup with two speakers in the bow, two in the after cabin and a sub right by the driver's knees. It sounds okay to me but I'm thinking a better system would be preferable, especially one which had newer features (including Bluetooth.) That said, I don't need to get crazy with the cost as I do my "critical listening" at home. But, if I'm going to replace it, I'd like something which is a significant upgrade, especially since we are planning to keep this boat for a long time.

    My questions:

    1) What brands should I consider?
    2) Are tower speakers worth the investment? We don't really play music very much when skiing and boarding, but we are looking to get into wake surfing next Summer and it seems that tower speakers might be a nice addition.
    3) For those who have put in new systems, what are you glad you did? What things, if any, do you now wish you had done differently or added to your system?
    4) It seems many people move to a two battery setup when putting in a good system. Is this a "must do?"

    Thanks, in advance!

    2004 X-10

    186,000 miles per second - - - not just a good idea, it's the law.

  • #2
    Originally posted by musicmd View Post
    I have a 2004 X-10 which I'm planning to keep for many years, and likely pass along to my boys at some point. I've just been through a big restoration of the interior and am thinking about an audio upgrade in the Spring. I'm an audiophile while on land, but don't know much about marine audio. But, I would say I'm used to buying better sounding gear that is well-made.

    The X-10 has the factory Clarion setup with two speakers in the bow, two in the after cabin and a sub right by the driver's knees. It sounds okay to me but I'm thinking a better system would be preferable, especially one which had newer features (including Bluetooth.) That said, I don't need to get crazy with the cost as I do my "critical listening" at home. But, if I'm going to replace it, I'd like something which is a significant upgrade, especially since we are planning to keep this boat for a long time.

    My questions:

    1) What brands should I consider?
    2) Are tower speakers worth the investment? We don't really play music very much when skiing and boarding, but we are looking to get into wake surfing next Summer and it seems that tower speakers might be a nice addition.
    3) For those who have put in new systems, what are you glad you did? What things, if any, do you now wish you had done differently or added to your system?
    4) It seems many people move to a two battery setup when putting in a good system. Is this a "must do?"

    Thanks, in advance!
    For your boat (tower equipped), I am not the expert as such. If you are not going tower speakers, then you will (obviously) go with four or six cabins, an amplifier, and a sub-woofer. Your current head unit may or may not have features you may desire. Answers to your questions are decision-dependent.

    As to brand...it is a budget thing for me VS what I want out of the final deliverable. Top of the line (so-called brand) is top dollar, where one may get the same expectation for less dollars.

    I have put in multiple systems (only two tower setups) and I think my friends are happy they had the sound installed or upgraded.

    To know what to add or take away is (again) decision dependent.

    Dual battery setup is a must in my shop. I have installed three and four batteries per system in some cases. I get by with a modest 4-speaker, sub, and amplifier setup with a duel battery bank, an isolation relay, and a master on-off switch. Two NOCO battery smart chargers to boot.

    I am glad I upgraded the alternator for a larger capacity output for the dual batteries.

    I am also glad I added PerfectPass speed controller, so I can enjoy the music while en-route.

    Here is what I would consider:

    Towers ?? Not for me but I slalom at men's speed - 36 MPH and foot around 40 MPH.

    Cabins: JL audio, Kicker, then Polk in that order. Go with the speaker that matches your current speakers (6.5s or 7.7s). If you want to really enhance the cabin sound, cut larger holes for 7.7s. It is not hard to do. Wet Sound is a high dollar speaker and maybe a great sound but hasn't convinced me of the cost VS gain.

    Amplifier - depends on what (how many) and how much output you need to accommodate the speakers. Matching RMS output is the factor. I like JL amps, Fusion amps, the Rockford amps. I currently am using a 4-channel Fusion amp with satisfaction for 100W RMS for Polk DB652 cabins.

    Sub-woofer: Match your current size unless you want to go larger (12" maybe?). I like JL subs, then Kicker. This will also drive the type (number of channels and output and number of amplifiers). Decision-dependent.

    Towers - bang for the buck is Kicker tower speakers. Sound for the kill is probably Wet Sounds or Exile or JL.

    Others here will know much more than I do. I am a novice at best, but I get by.

    Best on the install.

    .
    Last edited by waterlogged882; 12-15-2021, 06:06 PM.
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    • #3
      1) build quality/marine features, brand reputation, etc, will do better to narrow down the list of brands. Some present themselves as marine, but are nothing more then car audio grade with an "M" in the model number. Sadly, 2 brands already mentioned, fall into this group. Also, dont choose by brand alone. many brands have 2-3 tiers of performance. If you toss a brand out completely because someone said so, you may miss out on piece of equipment that fits your goals and budget perfectly, So look at things as individual, not the brand as a whole.
      2) if you want music outside the boat for surfing, boarding or the party cove scene, then yes.
      3) IMO, a woofer is the single biggest upgrade to a base system. Even a small mild woofer makes a huge difference by reproducing those lower notes that the full range speakers dont want to play. Next up, is getting the speakers off the head unit and on an external amp. The added wattage makes a difference. 3rd, is adding more speakers if needed. More speakers is more efficient to spread the sound stage through the boat v's just driving the existing speaker with more wattage. lastly is larger speakers = more output.
      4) im a dual battery setup fan REGARDLESS of a sound system, period.

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      • #4
        I agree with much of what has been said. I'll add my $.02, but before I do want to clearly preface by saying this is based solely on my own personal experience. With that out of the way, my recommendation is to do your homework and work towards a realistic budget. When I say realistic, I don't necessarily mean inexpensive. Are you going to do the work yourself? Tons of threads here and elsewhere to learn from and get some ideas. If I could go back 10 years, I would have done things quite a bit differently. Who wouldn't right? I would have continued to save money until I had what I needed to do it right the first time. That's not to say that you can't do what you're after on a smaller budget, it's just that if you're anything like me, you may (over time) wish you hadn't skimped here, or cut a corner there. I'd compare it somewhat to deciding on which engine to purchase in a new boat or automobile. Tracking with me? I probably spent more money in the long run trying to reach an outcome than I would have had I just bucked up and gone "all-in" right from the start.

        In the current market I would look at JL Audio for amps, cabin speakers and tower speakers. For the head unit, I'd look at Fusion Entertainment's Apollo series as you likely have the space.

        Lastly and based on what you wrote above, I'm of the opinion that for your upgrade to have any type of meaningful improvement or significant impact (juice worth the squeeze), you're going to need to run enough power to require a dual battery setup.
        ¡Viva 205V!
        2003 X2 MCX

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MLA View Post
          1) build quality/marine features, brand reputation, etc, will do better to narrow down the list of brands. Some present themselves as marine, but are nothing more then car audio grade with an "M" in the model number. Sadly, 2 brands already mentioned, fall into this group. Also, dont choose by brand alone. many brands have 2-3 tiers of performance. If you toss a brand out completely because someone said so, you may miss out on piece of equipment that fits your goals and budget perfectly, So look at things as individual, not the brand as a whole.
          2) if you want music outside the boat for surfing, boarding or the party cove scene, then yes.
          3) IMO, a woofer is the single biggest upgrade to a base system. Even a small mild woofer makes a huge difference by reproducing those lower notes that the full range speakers dont want to play. Next up, is getting the speakers off the head unit and on an external amp. The added wattage makes a difference. 3rd, is adding more speakers if needed. More speakers is more efficient to spread the sound stage through the boat v's just driving the existing speaker with more wattage. lastly is larger speakers = more output.
          4) im a dual battery setup fan REGARDLESS of a sound system, period.
          Such as...what brands do you prefer?
          2000 MC SportStar
          2017 SQ5
          2009 KTM 530 Exc
          2012 BMW K1300r

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Torstenlaw View Post

            Such as...what brands do you prefer?
            My 2 go-to brands (for amps, speakers woofer, etc) are going to be Kicker and Wet Sounds. If i need to branch outside of those, then its Roswell or Fusion. With that said, With that said, Clarion is making some huge strides due to the influence from JL in their looks, sound quality and features with some of their new gear. Their (single DIN) head unit and remotes have always been one of my go-to's.

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            • #7
              Thanks to all for your excellent advice.
              2004 X-10

              186,000 miles per second - - - not just a good idea, it's the law.

              Comment


              • #8
                No recos for brands,but a couple issues you will run into are the cutouts for the separate tweeters and the head unit are odd sizes and you will likely not be able to find direct-fit replacements. At least I havent been able to.

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                • #9
                  I've got an '03 and have also been running into issues finding direct fit replacements for the head unit and speakers/tweeters. I want to maintain an OEM look, so options are limited.

                  At this point, my plan is to run Kenwood KFC-1653MRW speakers in all locations, leaving the stock tweeters in place but disconnected. I haven't decided what to do about the amps or sub yet, but I'm looking at the NVX VAD11005 as an amp and probably as large of a sub as will fit in the stock location. It's worth noting that I have tower speakers (two came prewired, and I bought two more matching OEM cans that I plan to wire in), so the stock amps won't cut it.

                  I also created an adapter that uses the CD changer input on the back of the stock Clarion XMD1 as an auxiliary input, and wired in a Bluetooth adapter that feeds into it. I've been on the search for an XMD3 which has an auxiliary input stock, but haven't had much luck finding one yet.

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                  • #10
                    Just an FYI, the XMD series was retired in about 05. So the odds of finding a working unit are slim. With an ABS finishing plate, the Clarion M608 works perfect in the place of an XMD
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by consumedbywater View Post
                      I've been on the search for an XMD3 which has an auxiliary input stock, but haven't had much luck finding one yet.
                      Well, it might just be your lucky day. I think I still have the one that came out of my X30. If I do, it's yours.
                      -Tolman
                      '22 XT23 "Big Kahuna"
                      '06 X30 (Sold)

                      "Sometimes my genius, it's almost frightening" -JC

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 73blue View Post
                        No recos for brands,but a couple issues you will run into are the cutouts for the separate tweeters and the head unit are odd sizes and you will likely not be able to find direct-fit replacements. At least I havent been able to.
                        Good to know. I'll add likely resizing of the openings to the install plan.
                        2004 X-10

                        186,000 miles per second - - - not just a good idea, it's the law.

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