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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    28

    Default Tower speaker choices HELP!!

    Ok I'm currently in the market for some tower speakers, and have been trying do my research by reading up till I'm nauseous!! I've looked at Wetsounds packages (double up and 3 some), I've also considered 4 6x9's looking at offerings from Wetsounds and Polk and would do a Liquid trends box. I want to be somewhat cost conscious but still have great sound. I just bought the boat last summer (2000 Supra Santera) and right now would say it's a 70/30 split with partying in the coves and riding. I replaced the cabin speakers w 4 Polk Db651's and really like them so far. I want something that is more in the middle, not killing passengers in the boat but good for the days were anchored and tied up with friends. I think that some of the Wetsounds combos or HLCD might be overkill for what we currently do. Thoughts or suggestions, not trying to start a what's best argument, just looking for some expert advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Tigard, Oregon
    Posts
    3,016

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    I would definitely look into the Exile SXT65's powered by the Exile Harpoon amp. The SXT65's are a smooth sounding, non-HLCD speaker so they sound great up close, and because the Harpoon delivers 1000W rms (250W rms per speaker), they can still play loud enough to clearly hear while wakeboarding.

    This is the set up I run and I am very happy with it. I do more surfing and hanging out on the boat than wakeboarding so sound quality is more important to me that maximum volume and projection so it serves our needs perfectly.

    Al
    Al

    2006 Mobius LSV

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    28

    Default

    How do they compare price wise to the WS 696's?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Pacific NW USA
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    502

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    BadBlu -

    Your points are well taken about not starting a speaker brand war. I definitely have a dog in the fight so I'll try to give you some impartial information.

    HLCD's are aimed at driving sound way back into the wakeboarder at 80ft and beyond. It doesnt matter the brand persay, its a matter of technology. The upside is just that...it gets the sound way back there. The downside is they sound ULTRA crisp for people in the boat and on the swim deck.

    Direct Radiating speakers will offer you a middle ground of sorts. They are going to sound great up close for the people in the boat, and fantastic for the surfer at 20 feet... but will drop off from there. "Cab" was actually one of our local customers that took the time to demo our HLCD design and then also our non HLCD design. He's probably one of a dozen guys out there on the planet that took the time to do two installs and take it to the water and let the real world decide. If you do decide to go down the non HLCD path, I'd suggest doubling up with 2 pairs so you get decent sound out at a wakeboarder and fill up your tower at the same time.

    Lastly, whatever brand of speaker you choose, make sure you have ample power on tap for the tower setup. Dont spend your money on a great tower speaker only to point 25W of power at them... Trust me, I've seen it done and the results are ugly.

    If you need any Exile information, shoot me a PM and I'll help ya out.

    Cheers,

    -Brian
    Exile Audio

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    28

    Default

    So Brian, it sounds like an HLCD set up is more for the rider than in cabin guests? If I read correctly than finding something in the middle would be more of what I'm looking for. Brian does Exile have a 6x9 offering?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    De Pere WI
    Posts
    4,106

    Default

    just my .02. tower speakers should be designed for the riders of the boat. non-hlcd's if you are a surfer and hlcd's if you board/ski a lot. if you have a well-designed system with enough power as brian suggests, you really don't need tower speakers when you are just chillin. when we are at the dock, I usually have the bullets on the tower turned off and just use the 6 db651's in the boat for sound. given enough juice, they will do just fine for the 50ft or so that you may be floating/swimming around the boat

    whatever you decide to do, exile does have some good stuff, and check out earmark as well for some other options. neither one will steer you wrong..
    '06 Supra Launch 20SSV-gone but never forgotten

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Tigard, Oregon
    Posts
    3,016

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandm View Post
    just my .02. tower speakers should be designed for the riders of the boat. non-hlcd's if you are a surfer and hlcd's if you board/ski a lot. if you have a well-designed system with enough power as brian suggests, you really don't need tower speakers when you are just chillin. when we are at the dock, I usually have the bullets on the tower turned off and just use the 6 db651's in the boat for sound. given enough juice, they will do just fine for the 50ft or so that you may be floating/swimming around the boat

    whatever you decide to do, exile does have some good stuff, and check out earmark as well for some other options. neither one will steer you wrong..
    Problem with this as we usually have some people in the boat as well as some floating/swimming behind it so if I turn just the in boat speakers up for the people in the water, then I am blasting out the people in the boat. So I usually fade it about 75/25 tower/inboats when we are anchored.
    Al

    2006 Mobius LSV

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    880

    Default

    Badblu,
    Pertaining to Wetsounds, since that was the tower brand mentioned in the OP...You did not mention the Wetsounds Pro485 as a stand alone option. The Pro485 is the best that Wetsounds has to offer. It has a slightly larger pod displacement per each driver and continuous midbass cones for greater surface area which generates more midbass output and bass extension. It has a fully developed horn with a substantially more powerful compression driver. Everything including the crossover is more robust. The Pro485 has a smoother response which is what you are looking for in close range listening or at rest. The Pro485 is going to be the most authoritive at wake range in consideration of the competing noise levels. Plus, the Pro485 is the most cost-efficient to power when it comes to selecting your amplification versus the more complex 3-Some or Double-Up packages. The only con is you've got to have the width under tower for a pair of these.
    The 3-Some basically gives you the same peak output as the Pro485 at wake range but gives up a bit of the linearity at close range. However, there are a couple of tweaks that will smooth it out a bit. This is an all 8-inch package with a narrower mounting span.
    The Double-Up is still an HLCD package so it will project to wake range and should give you all that you want in amplitude at surf or at-rest listening. The Wetsounds Double-Up is designed to provide better midbass extension predicated on its large 8-inch dedicated midbass driver, a smoother response and warmer balance for close proximity sound quality listening. It will not have quite the same command at wake range as the above two options.
    The Wetsounds 6x9 HLCDs are primarily designed to be retro-fitted into existing pods. A 6x9 has more surface area than a 6.5-inch but less than an 8-inch. Plus, a round speaker is inherently superior to an oval or any other shape. So if I'm starting from scratch I would recommend thinking past the ovals.
    For midbass extension and projection power there is no substitute for surface area and that is why I like the Wetsounds Pro485s if you have the tolerance for the size. This is the best overall speaker to be used in a dual role (up close sound quality and long range projection). Also, it is well documented that these contrasting applications are in conflict. Articulate sound at 80 feet can be overly brilliant for the occupants in the boat. A warmer sound quality speaker designed for near field use can sound like it has a wool blanket thrown over it at wake range. An equalizer can be a very effective tool and require little effort to voice your speakers according to the application. While you can tame an HLCD a bit you cannot do the inverse and turn a conventional speaker into something its not without reliability issues to follow.
    Since others have chimed in with alternate brands here, let me say that the Exile SXT65 is the best $500 conventional speaker (non-HLCD) I've heard to date. It has the little extra aggression on the highs that you must have in a true tower speaker but is more in balance than many HLCD offerings and therefore is more suitable than most for near-field enjoyment. Plus, this speaker has a continuous and uninterrupted midbass cone for better midbass and lower midrange than its Exile HLCD counterpart. With a conventional tweeter, as good as it sounds up close, much of this energy dissipates before wake range and therefore does not have the same presense as an HLCD. Its a trade-off that could go either way depending on your personal priorities.
    Also worth mentioning since other brands have been introduced, is the Bullet HollowPoint 770 HLCD. This speaker is compact (deeper pod with narrow width) and the tightest fit against the tower for extremely low hang height.
    As a 770 this is a 7.7-inch driver that has more surface area than a 6.5-inch yet is right on the heels of an 8-inch cone. And greater surface area equates to improved midbass and more lower midrange warmth. Plus, this speaker has a massive compression horn tweeter driver (HLCD) but is tamed a bit for more of a sound quality balance. This speaker is very popular as a single solution for those who want serious longe range projection but is still kinder to the in-boat occupants. And because it is an HLCD it will project, giving you that additional amplitude at 80 feet with safe power handling.
    All of the above brands have excellent offerings and each has its place. I hope you can view this as an objective and impartial perspective. Our experience is based on 35 years of audio experience plus we have been highly active in marine since the advent of wake towers. Please reach out if I can answer any questions.

    David
    Earmark Marine

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Pacific NW USA
    Posts
    502

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    BadBlu -

    yes, Your correct...

    Yes we make 6x9's but I wouldn't recommend them for your tower. Are you located in the Bay Area by chance? I see you mentioned using a Liquid trends box. Liquid Trends is a retailer of ours and if they are local to you, I'd suggest stopping in to see them. They know tower setups very well. As of last week they had 4 Exile builds happening. Might be a good chance to have a listen.

    Also what is your intended budget for this build? This will help organize the setup. The bigger the driver size, the more $$$.

    -Brian
    Exile Audio

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    28

    Default

    When I first started looking I had set a 1000 dollar budget for myself, mostly due to only looking at Polk MM or DB series 6x9's. As I've done more research, pretty sure that won't work. Was considering something that had decent mid to low bass but clear highs, don't need a sub for my boat as I'm usually fighting 5 others and a wide variety of music types. I'm actually in WV, so won't get to check them out.

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