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Using no radio head, just an amp and phone?

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Using no radio head, just an amp and phone?

Old 07-06-2014, 06:47 AM
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Default Using no radio head, just an amp and phone?

This was mentioned in a thread a few months ago, but wasn't discussed in detail.

Two am/fm/cd head units have failed on my bay boat over the past year. Granted, the first one was on the boat when I bought the boat and I don't know the age of that unit. The second unit was supposedly a "marine" unit, but was only $150 at Academy, purchased on the fly as I didn't want a weekend without tunes.

So now I can buy a new/better? head unit, OR just go with an amp (mounted under the console for hopefully a more protected environment), wired directly to my phone. (using iTunes, Pandora, etc)

I'm considering
http://www.amazon.com/JBL-MA6004-4-Channel-Full-Range-Amplifier/dp/B000N3S83K/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1404653590&sr=1-3&keywords=marine+amplifiers http://www.amazon.com/JBL-MA6004-4-Channel-Full-Range-Amplifier/dp/B000N3S83K/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1404653590&sr=1-3&keywords=marine+amplifiers
for the amp.


For the connection from phone to amp, there are a couple choices that I don't know the best answer: 1. earplug to RCA jacks 2. 30 pin to RCA (but would cause issues for other phones on the boat, iPhone 4/5/droid connectability) 3. Bluetooth adapter to RCA jacks
Best solution here?

Here's a link for some connection options: http://www.computerlane.com/ipod-to-...444934A4664A49


Even is the amp only solution doesn't work, I can buy a head unit, couple it with the amp for hopefully a better solution anyway.

Any advice on any of this?
Old 07-06-2014, 06:56 AM
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It will work, but with reduced volume even with the amp gain adjusted to max.
The head unit functions as a pre-amp, and also turns the amp on/off, so without it, you'll have to add a power switch. Also, headphone jack to RCA cable will work best, the 30 pin or Bluetooth will not interface directly from the amp, again, the head unit is the interface etc.
Old 07-07-2014, 08:51 AM
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Jensen makes a marine amplifier with integrated Bluetooth, which makes it about as simple as it gets...I heavily considered it before deciding just to use a portable Bluetooth speaker on the boat...
Old 07-07-2014, 09:10 AM
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If all you do is use your phone using just an amp is a perfect solution. The phone output will pre amp the music as loud as you want it..

If you think your are going to use multiple phones a headphone to rca would be easiest unless you want Bluetooth. And a phone holder would probably help.

I just replaced my stereo and can't speak for longevity, but it accepts an sd card and I just loaded it up and it stays in there permanetely. If I did it again I would have got one of the gauge mount head units with Bluetooth but I sure like the sd card option.
Old 07-07-2014, 11:10 AM
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We use these Wet Sounds bluetooth knobs often. Real easy way to go right to an amp. Makes pairing and volume adjustments easy http://boemarine.ecomm-search.com/re...ee-shipping%2F
Old 07-07-2014, 12:25 PM
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Or go with speakers to amp and connect this directly to your amp and mount on dash:

Amazon Amazon

Then use a cable from the mini jack to your phone.

Or also add this for bluetooth: http://www.boemarine.com/fusion-ms-b...gle-map-39-99/
Old 07-08-2014, 04:32 PM
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Thanks for all the tips. I'll have to decide if I want to go with the earplug wire or the bluetooth.

One other question. We have the two JL Audio MX650-CCX, which are rated at 60 watts.

Do you think this Jensen (with built in Bluetooth) rated at 40w RMS would push these speakers okay? I'm kinda guessing this is more power than the head we currently have (and I don't know it rated output offhand.) Jensen Amp: http://www.jensenmarinedirect.com/je...amplifier.html
Old 07-08-2014, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Brokenline View Post
Do you think this Jensen (with built in Bluetooth) rated at 40w RMS would push these speakers okay?
I believe it will be more than sufficient, unless you listen at really high volumes. The little Buetooth speaker I use has performed flawlessly, and I've been 20-30 feet away from it.
Old 07-08-2014, 08:12 PM
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Excuse me while I interrupt my own thread with a tangent.

As I was considering this situation, I decided that I wanted to connect my cell phone via Bluetooth to my home stereo. After reading many online reviews for Bluetooth adapters, most all only worked a very short distance (like 3 feet), no matter that most advertise 30 feet.

I found one called Amped, that supposedly worked for up to 50'. Bought it, was delivered next day (for free shipping)... A+ for fast ship, WalMart. This thing literally will not work with my phone more than 1' from it. WTH???

Why does this matter? I have to wonder how far the Jensen amp will pick up. Especially after it's mounted under the console.

My current head unit (that the Volume knob is failing) has Bluetooth, and it works up to about 4'.

I wish someone who owns one of these Jensen bluetooth amps would speak up and review it!
Old 07-09-2014, 08:50 AM
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Jensen indicates a range of "up to 30 feet" for the Bluetooth connectivity...I'm not sure why some have short range...I had my little UE Boom speaker on my patio when working on the boat while on the lift behind the house, and it started cutting out as I went to the back of the boat which was easily 40' away...I would think you could be anywhere on the boat and the amplifier would pick up a signal from the phone...

I don't think the console will impact connectivity...I can use the portable speaker in the house, and from 30'+ away, it works through walls just fine...
Old 07-09-2014, 09:38 AM
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I believe you were referring to my thread on the same question basically. I did have just the amp and Bluetooth as well as aux jack installed. When I picked up the boat and started messing with it we found a continuous beeping coming through the speakers sort of like a backing up truck sound. We could not trace it back to anything specific and ended up putting a filter on the amp and it seemed good.

The volume can be set through Bluetooth or on your device as well as the bass, treb, etc. The Garmin 7212 will also do volume control for the XM.

For some reason I was just not satisfied with the set up so ended up putting a Fusion head unit on it in the end.

It works and you can do it without a head unit for sure. It is just a bit odd in not having a head unit.
Old 07-16-2014, 06:26 PM
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I do exactly this in my Jeep. It works flawlessly and I honestly kick myself for not doing it in the boat, and fitting a VHF in the head unit cut-out (still may do this in the future).

As for the bluetooth adapter, they are very hit or miss. I have had a few and some work the way you describe, others work flawlessly. None work over a distance of greater than about 10-12 ft w/o direct line of sight. Any I have heard severely limit the input volume. Direct RCA connection will not do this.

As for your amp choice - the JBL you listed looks decent, but I would avoid anything that Jensen makes. Perhaps they have gotten better over the past 10 or so years, but when I was doing a lot of stereo they were absolute garbage. Not like "I could have gotten something better" garbage, but literally a half step up from shoving a set of RCAs into a half rotten potato.

The single largest functionality you will loose is not "loud" but rather the ability to tune your system.

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