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Old 10-20-2020, 10:38 PM
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86Skier 86Skier is offline
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Opions/Recommendations Arc Audio... Speaker Whine

Short story... my 2014 X2 has a very annoying speaker whine from the tower, but none from the interior speakers. Previous owner had stereo work done, including two new ARC Audio KS 300.4 amps, 4 new tower speakers, sub, and a separate equalizer added under the dash.

Played around with grounds, etc. all summer with no fix found. Even tried some cheap filters just to get through the season, no improvement.

Finally after giving up on the season, I brought it to the dealer who just called and said they recommend removing the EQ, replacing both amps with JL ("like they're supposed to be"), and a full new wiring job. Seems excessive, as it otherwise sounds OK. They said the existing amps aren't meant for the boat and don't "have the filters that JL has to eliminate interference from the throttle body".... their cost was $5k+...

In the end, I'm taking it home while I go back to trying to sort it out on my own and research options. I was prepared to drop plenty of coin just be done with it, just not into replacing everything if I don't have to.. The dealers been great otherwise, so this is not a dealer bashing thread, I just think there has to be an easier solution.

Are Arc Audio amps really that bad? Can they really be the issue?

I can get models/part numbers on the other parts if it helps too.

Any input? Can't really buy into the whole burn it down, junk it all, and start over mantra if I don't have to. This isn't Homes On Homes.

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  #2  
Old 10-21-2020, 12:01 AM
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bturner2 bturner2 is offline
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Don't know anything about Arc Audio but I do know a bit about "custom" sound systems that never seem to work correctly as I've had to fix several over the years. Sounds like you have one of them and the dealer probably isn't the best place to take it to get it repaired. At best the dealer probably dabbles in audio and at least they're being truthful about it and sticking to what they know.

As you're finding out installing audio gear in a boat is not as easy as ordering a bunch of components and throwing it in. Grounding is critical and a whine in the newly added components would indicate that the issue with the installation of the new gear. If I were to guess this is most likely a grounding issue with the amps, head unit and EQ not tied together properly. Without being there to work through the system anyone making suggestions/recommendations is just guessing.

This really leaves you with two options.....

The first would be to rip out the old gear as recommended by the dealer then rebuild the system with marine grade components (btw, I have no idea if the arc gear is or not) paying painful attention to using properly sized marine grade cable and best cabling practices when rewiring the system. This is probably going to mean scrutinizing the cable runs, protection being used and how the bus bars are being used (if at all).

If you don't know what you're doing and are not interested in learning how to do this work properly yourself the second recommendation would be to take the boat to a high quality shop that specializes in marine installations and not the local car stereo shop. It would appear the boat was either there once already or installed by a less than knowledgeable PO hence your current situation. Try not to fall over when you see the cost to fix what you have as these shops are typically pricey.

I've focused on doing the first method myself with very good results but when I give this plan to friends I've done this work for they nearly flip out. You'd be surprised to see the absolute junk so called professional installations I've seen. I've seen 12/2 Romex used for power cable and lamp cord for speaker wire along with a mix wire nuts and black tape balls holding everything together. My point here is that you never know what you have until you strip everything back and start from scratch with some of these installations.
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Old 10-21-2020, 01:59 AM
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moosehead moosehead is offline
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How is the amp powering your tower speakers grounded?
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Old 10-21-2020, 08:46 AM
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I will take a good inventory of what parts I'm currently working with, and will better examine the routing of the grounds, etc., as soon as I get the boat back. I'll also try to get a few photos that might help. I believe the grounds from both amps currently go to the house battery, and have confirmed that the power & ground wires coming out of the factory head unit have been cut and spliced to route direct to the amps/battery instead of the factory routing through the harness, but I'll try to confirm where exactly those connect now as well.

Overall, I'm not thrilled with the quality of the wiring I've seen so far while exploring this summer, but it is tagged with a install date and contact information from the shop that installed it out west (I believe Oregon), so I'll add that as well and may try to contact them to see if they have any records of exactly what they did at the time.

In the end, I'm not against pulling everything and attempting to correctly re-wire myself. I've done a lot of residential wiring before, and have a good basic understanding of electrical.... BUT, I have zero useful knowledge when it comes to audio equipment or proper wiring, shielding, routing, etc.

I was really hoping the dealer saw something easier to address, like an incorrectly routed ground, etc., but I don't want to go another summer with the whine, and have access to the boat all winter in my heated garage, so I have plenty of time to see what I can do. The problem will be recreating the issue, as it always worked fine in accessory position... just not while running.
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Old 10-21-2020, 11:17 AM
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bturner2 bturner2 is offline
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Multiple cable runs going to the battery are the first sign of a junk or amateur installation. You should only have the cables going to a power panel or your switches attached to the battery. Some will attach the bilge pumps directly but I prefer to do this at the battery switches as well. I'm more convinced now that the issue is the installation and if I were to pick my first component to go after it would be the EQ. Tons of people have problems getting these installed properly.

Here's a picture of my last boat and the "professional installation" that the car stereo shop did. What you can't see is in these pictures were the Pioneer car amp that was falling off the side panel or all 4 Wet Sounds tower speakers that were wire on a single channel using the wires in the tower that were supposed to be for lights.....
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Old 10-21-2020, 11:31 AM
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86Skier 86Skier is offline
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^^^ Thanks! ^^^

Unfortunately, I suspect I have much the same, as there are definitely WAY too many connections directly at the battery terminals.

I'll get more specifics on exactly what I'm dealing with when I get the boat back, and post here to see if anyone's willing to help walk me through the process, offer advice, criticism, etc.... I take it all.

In the interim, if anybody with some marine audio know-how lives anywhere near West Michigan, shoot me a PM. I'd love for some onsite input, and am willing to offer plenty of beer... as well as monetary compensation to someone that's willing to help, whether it be getting your hands dirty, or just offering in-person advice after having a chance to see my mess with your own eyes.
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Old 10-21-2020, 12:54 PM
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bturner2 bturner2 is offline
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I may be out in the Allendale area later in the winter to work on a friends boat. I need to do a thermostat on a 5.7 Ilmore as well as a couple other maintenance items (and no I won't be greasing the starter..... ). Keep us updated so I remember this thread.
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Old 10-21-2020, 03:15 PM
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CantRepeat CantRepeat is offline
 
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It has be suggested in the past that if, you take them out to dinner at least once a week they whine a lot less.
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  #9  
Old 10-21-2020, 08:20 PM
MLA MLA is offline
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Why do we always overlook the B+ and assume its always the ground? And dont overlook the power harness for the EQ either! Its just as big of a potential offender.

To the OP, Arc amps are some of the best designed amps on the market. Marine amps dont need special "filters" compared to a "car" amp. With the system off, unplug the RCA feeding the suspect amp. Power the system up. If the whine is now gone, then you dont need a marine amp with "specials" filters.

Your mastercraft is not designed and built for one brand of amp, so no, JL is not "supposed" to be in your boat.

Gut says its a wiring issue, not a component issue. This is the case 99/100 times.
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Old 10-21-2020, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLA View Post
With the system off, unplug the RCA feeding the suspect amp. Power the system up. If the whine is now gone, then you dont need a marine amp with "specials" filters.

I will try this first when I get it back in my garage. My only concern is replicating the issue without running it.

Normally, when cleaning up after an outing, etc., if I turn to accessory and turn the stereo on, it would whine for 3-5 seconds (guesstimating), then dissappear... so after the short delay, it worked fine on land. When running at the lake, volume was the only answer to mask it. I was really starting to wonder if the auto-battery switch was the reason, since it would connect both batteries while running, but separate when off. Any validity to my theory?

Again, sorta guessing until I get it back, but I do appreciate all the info, so figured I'd ask.


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