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View Full Version : Visit to Earmark Marine Audio



wolfeman131
02-07-2012, 09:03 AM
While in Dallas last week, I stopped by Earmark Marine Audio to check out David's shop & to thank him for all the support he provides to folks on the Moomba forum. In my head, I had a picture of the small, independent audio stores that are around Atlanta that occupy a little storefront in an old strip mall. Whoops! My parents told me it's bad to assume and I sure goofed with this one.

I visitied the shop in Lewisville, TX which handles car & marine audio. Earmark also has car audio shops in Addison, TX & Plano, TX. At the Lewisville shop, there are bays for multiple autos and at another suite there is room to squeeze in 5 boats at a time for installations. A lot of cool, custom stuff such as painted cans, sub grills, cover plates, TV mounts, LED's, etc. They also have a ton of stuff for the DIY crowd such as switchplate covers.

Best thing there, beyond the people, was the sound room where you could compare speakers side-by-side that are equally powered. I'm no audiophile, but I could hear differences and picked a favorite out of the Polks, Kicker, JL Audio, Exile & Wetsounds. My favorite was the JL. It's hard to describe, but it almost felt like you were being wrapped in the sound. It seemed to completely fill the room where the others felt they were being blasted at you. But, I will say that all the brands were very impressive to me and I can see why folks struggle with their selection.

Lots of pics . . .

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_15-29-41_633.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-29-47_770.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-29-40_913.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-29-55_213.jpg

wolfeman131
02-07-2012, 09:05 AM
http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-31-50_339.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-30-33_554.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-30-25_457.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-30-14_778.jpg

wolfeman131
02-07-2012, 09:12 AM
Ian - cheeck out these painted cans! David had seen your post and said yours "looked awesome!"

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-41-48_910.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-49-09_955.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-49-39_843.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-49-54_612.jpg

wolfeman131
02-07-2012, 09:13 AM
http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_17-18-55_242.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_17-18-47_672.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_17-18-42_528.jpg

Supra install

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-58-16_10.jpg

sandm
02-07-2012, 09:13 AM
man, atlanta must need new audio businesses if earmark is not what you are used to. we have 2 stores here, one independent and one small chain(5 stores-1 local) that look exactly like the pictures above only no selection of lighting.
look like nice shops...

I spoke to someone there at great lengths before buying my bullets and the service was second to none. much better than the service here locally :)

wolfeman131
02-07-2012, 09:15 AM
Setup at the Dallas Boat Show

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-03_17-34-37_198.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-03_17-35-21_764.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-03_17-35-58_358.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-03_17-34-59_78.jpg

kaneboats
02-07-2012, 09:25 AM
Incredible. We have nothing like that around here. Just the stripmall places withe the Escalades parked around back.

wolfeman131
02-07-2012, 09:29 AM
You pretty much quoted me in what I said to David.

He is open to mail order sales if you see anything that catches your eye.

kaneboats
02-07-2012, 09:39 AM
Nope. Today I'm ready to send him all the crap I have. He can give it away.

KG's Supra24
02-07-2012, 09:52 AM
That is similar to the shops around here as well, except we don't have any marine specific setups. The light bar and can setup is awesome. That is a ton of display choices.

I can understand JL sounding the best, I mean its JL, however weren't you comparing hlcd to non-hlcd? Also, you took the easy way out from telling us your thoughts on the comparison of major brands :)

Did you take a listen to in-boat speakers also?

wolfeman131
02-07-2012, 10:30 AM
I don't think I was comparing hlcd vs non. I think it was apples to apples and all were the marine speakers on the top row. Yes, I did take the easy way out, but mostly so I didn't show off my ignorance. Many of the audio posts read like Chinese to me.

So, from a simpleton's standpoint:

Polks - Sounded very nice. Good combo of volume & clarity. A fantastic upgrade/option from stock.
Kickers - These are upgrades from stock. They sounded very nice also & I liked the looks.
JL - As mentioned, my favorite. Hard to describe - wasn't the loudest, but was biggest sound. I also appreciated the more reserved look of these speakers.
Exile - Love 'em & have heard them on the boat/water. Lots of volume, sound good but not as good as JL.
Wetsounds - Loud, sound good and looked to be very well made. I'm not a big fan of the look. For some reason it reminds me of something I might find on The Red Baron's bi-plane.

Don't know to what degree the environment impacts my thoughts and if my opinion would change when out on the water. I'm thinking for in boat speakers, the above would stand. For towers, I suppose it all depends on what one wants to accomplish - surf, wakeboard, clean or loud. At one point i my life, I would have gone for loud as he!!, but now I better appreciate the clarity. You could hear everything crisp & clean with the JL's that I couldn't with the others. I listened to the same tracks for comparison. The JL's almost put a vision in my head of the springs on the bottom of a snare drum. Wish I could describe it better.

Bottom line: I really don't think you can go wrong with any of these selections. To each his own in regards to price point and desired performance. A deciding factor for me might be reviews from users in regards to reliability b/c none of this would be considered "cheap" in my book.

KG's Supra24
02-07-2012, 10:38 AM
Drew, when I said hlcd vs non-hlcd I was referring to the towers. For some reason I was thinking the JL's are component speakers. < I may not know what I'm talking about either.

I'd love to get down there and check out the shop sometime.

Also, as far as mail order goes, since it was brought up earlier, I have bought several things from Earmark and it's always a simple transaction and the product arrives within the week.

ian ashton
02-07-2012, 11:02 AM
Ian - cheeck out these painted cans! David had seen your post and said yours "looked awesome!"

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-41-48_910.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-49-09_955.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-49-39_843.jpg

http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd344/wolfeman131/Earmark%20Marine/2012-02-02_16-49-54_612.jpg

Haha. Sweet!

EarmarkMarine
02-07-2012, 11:45 AM
Would you believe that I painted those by hand with my Testors model building kit?

sandm
02-07-2012, 12:11 PM
wolf, your description of how the speakers sound is the exact reason to take music with you and buy your speakers first when building a system from the ground up.

buy what sounds good to you, not what the masses dictate :)

kaneboats
02-07-2012, 12:37 PM
I would prefer to hear stuff on the water or at least outside. Room acoustics can make a huge difference. My Exile speakers sound weird in my garage with the tower folded down but outside they are awesome.

wolfeman131
02-07-2012, 01:40 PM
I agree with you but I'm not sure how that can be done as everyone sets their systems up differently with how they are powered, how many speakers, speaker types, etc. This setup allows for a good apples to apples comparison.

I can leave you with this final thought: if you want to talk marine stereo setups, call David. He probably has his favorite(s) too, but will give you all the facts you need to make the best decision possible for what you're trying to accomplish.

EarmarkMarine
02-07-2012, 03:16 PM
kaneboats,
Speakers can sound weird in a garage for a number of reasons. Its a terrible place to judge your speakers. A garage can be a bit of an echo chamber so you get an inordinant amount of ambient radiation in comparison to the direct radiation. The reflective wall surfaces serve to reinforce some frequencies while other frequencies suffer from cancellation. The boundaries impact the wall surface to listener and impact the speaker to wall surface. The resulting comb filter modes can be brutal. These are all issues that recording studios are very careful to deal with. And these are all playback issues that are mostly nullified in our soundroom design.

David
Earmark Marine

kaneboats
02-07-2012, 04:24 PM
I think that's what I said.

EarmarkMarine
02-07-2012, 05:40 PM
I know. I just wanted to increase my post count.

kaneboats
02-07-2012, 08:34 PM
What did you say?

viking
02-07-2012, 10:33 PM
cool pics. We have some pretty good stereo shops around here but nothing has any bent towards marine audio. But why would they when we don't have much for water? I can vouch for the good customer service at Earmark. David was excellent to deal with when I was shopping for HLCD's.

MLA
02-08-2012, 08:51 PM
David,

Your showroom is simply impressive! Maybe one day in the near future, I can get down that way and see it in person 8)

EarmarkMarine
02-09-2012, 08:34 AM
Mike,
That would be great if you ever made it to Dallas. I would enjoy the visit and showing you around.
We will be adding two more major fixture groups this year including a simulated boat cockpit and tower that Drew saw under construction during his visit.

David
Earmark Marine

wolfeman131
02-09-2012, 08:44 AM
including a simulated boat cockpit and tower that Drew saw under construction during his visit.

OK, I didn't want to post anything I wasn't supposed to, but now that David has put it out there . . .

David & crew are building a boat cockpit from plywood and foam that they are molding to replicate a boat. You will be able to see how everything can be wired up in a boat and how it can/should all go together from multiple batteries, to amps, cabin speakers, tower speakers, LED's and whatever else the guys at Earmark come up with. The whole setup is going to great you when you walk in the door. I think it's going to be an awesome display.

kaneboats
02-09-2012, 09:12 AM
Now it's on my list. I'm in Dallas in November. I'll have to stop in and check it out.

EarmarkMarine
02-09-2012, 10:44 AM
kaneboats (David, isn't it?),
Sounds great. Its always nice to have company. I certainly enjoyed the visit with Drew.

David

rdlangston13
02-11-2012, 01:25 AM
ill be in dallas in a few months as well, ill have to come check it out too!

you da man
02-13-2012, 07:58 PM
My boat will be on it's way up to Earmark in a few weeks or a month maybe. This will be my 3rd time dropping off my boat with David and his crew for upgrades (this time transom LED's and remount an OEM sub in a custom enclosure). One thing I really like about his staff down on the marine side is that once your boat goes inside, they place blankets pretty much everywhere they are going to work to protect the gelcoat and vinyl. All there staff members remove their shoes (most of them seem to be in sandals or flip-flops...lol) and respect the boats they work on. Oh, and when David quotes you a price for equipment and install...it's pretty much to the penny before work is started and any problems will be discussed with you in a phone call prior to being done. By the way David, very nice sale going on with the Alpine and JL amps.