Stereo upgrade options - after the fact

Deke

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Hello everyone, fantastic forum, I have gained a ton of information here. Took delivery on a brand new 25GFB two weeks ago. Have been out on the water the last two weekends. Everything is great, and so far only 1 regret - the stereo. I did not opt for any upgrade options with that, so I have the base kicker stereo, 4 interior speakers, 2 rear facing speakers, the lighted kicker ones. Frankly it just sounds bland. No oomph or pop whatsoever. I have tried playing with the equalizer and what not and I just can't get it to sound decent at all. Have to turn it damn near all the way up to get any decent volume out of it while underway. For the price of this boat, I am highly disappointing in the factory stereo. I was getting nuts with other upgrades and the sticker just kept going and going, lol, so I decided against the stereo upgrades. Kicking myself now.

That said, any suggestions for improving or upgrading? The kicker amp and subwoofer upgrade was somewhere around $1,500 from the factory. I am not sure what kicker head unit I have now, but it seems pretty basic. I can fade the sound to the front and the 4 interior speakers play, if I fade to the rear the two outside speakers play. I have debated asking the dealer for the cost for them to install the kicker sub and amp now. Does that option keep the same head unit I have now? Looking myself, the kicker amps range from $150-$400 depending on the model, and the subs are $300-$350. Is this an easy install myself? My wife likes the lighted speakers, so I don't want to lose those. Should I be looking to replace the standard kicker speakers too?

I am not looking for an audiophile sound system, just something with a little more pop to it without breaking the bank. I appreciate any input. Thanks!
 

Marantzer

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I have the Kicker upgrade and it's equally disappointing in my opinion. The volume needs to be pretty high to enjoy it and then you get distortion. I doubt it'll be on this year's to-do list but a stereo upgrade to JL Audio or Wetsounds will likely be something I look into in the future.
 

the-little-B

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I would visit an independent car audio shop and talk to them. They can get you marine components as well and know more about sound than anyone at your boat dealer. Plus I’d about guarantee they’ll crush a boat dealer on price too.

If you are somewhat handy they aren’t that hard to install or upgrade either. Places like Crutchfield can walk you through any trouble spots you have and help you pick out the right components where it won’t be much harder than a plug and play install.
 

Havasu

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Well, I had the Kicker upgrade (amp/sub/deck) with the Wetsounds speakers. The Kicker deck and amp work very well together but my amp wasn't adjusted properly. Bennington doesn't want you to fool with it but I did and it made a world of difference. Adjusting the deck output to the input of the amp isn't that hard but it does take a little stereo know-how. Cranking the deck to 75% then dialing the amp in to that is all it needs.
 

Crobby

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I hear ya my man. I went basic as well. By year 2 I invested in a jbl amp (plus sub) which only made it 2 seasons. The sub was a game changer which sits in the helm. Then went with a $900 kicker amp to replace said jbl. Last year upgraded kicker receiver to KMC10 which I have really enjoyed. More for the Ability to adjust volume with knob as opposed to those darn up and down buttons, hated those things. Petty I know. On the deck just yesterday I had my audio guy install a separate remote unit (kicker KRC12) so I can be floating off the back and adjust song track, volume. Anyway, in addressing your questions I had an audio guy install on all occasions. He said on Kicker, subs and speakers fine quality, receivers are junk. Bennington must now be finally aware bc my salesman just this week told me in an email there is now an available receiver upgrade to Rockford. Interesting.
 

Unishot

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I got Kicker 6.5" speakers and a Kicker subwoofer. Using a 300 watt JL Audio Marine monoblock amp for the sub, and a JL Audio 100 watts per channel marine amp for the 6.5" speakers. The head unit is a Kenwood marine model which I chose because it had 4 volt pre-outs. It sounds fantastic. Not an end-all be-all system, but you'd have to spend an awful lot more money to get just a little bit better sound.
 

Skbourgo

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I just bought a new SSRXP and was blown away that there are only 4 speakers...2 front 2 mid and none in the back seats.
Bennington is missing the mark on this. It's my second and final Bennington>
 

Alicedream

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I just bought a new SSRXP and was blown away that there are only 4 speakers...2 front 2 mid and none in the back seats.
Bennington is missing the mark on this. It's my second and final Bennington>
Wow...Over a stereo. I think i will pick next boat based on a stereo also.
 

Skbourgo

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Wow...Over a stereo. I think i will pick next boat based on a stereo also.
Oh that's just the beginning. Unfortunately the next closest Bennington Dealer is 2.5 hours away. Let's see brand new boat, told it was ready for pickup. Showed up and it had no gas in it, windshield laying on the helm seat, no stearn light, no seat covers as ordered, steering column has a noise in it, etc. etc. So not only the Stereo.
 

Deke

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Just spent weekend number three on the new boat. As I mentioned when I started this thread, everything about the boat is great, except the stereo. I know some people just don't care too much about a stereo, but this is gonna drive me nuts, and it's taking away from my enjoyment of the boat. It just sounds so bland. I think I am gonna bite the bullet and buy replacement speakers and an amplified head unit, and a powered sub. I will try to research as best I can and get stuff that will fit easily with the setup and holes that are already there in the hopes that I can do this myself.

To Skbourgo's comment about # of speakers, I kinda agree with that too. I have a G25, the quad bench configuration, fast back. It's a big boat. It has two speakers at the front benches, two in the middle by the driver and passenger chairs, and then the two outside speakers facing aft. There are no speakers inside the boat by the two rear benches. When you are underway, anyone sitting there cannot hear any music unless you are blasting it, which you can't do because the standard system sucks! Without the fast back option that gives you the aft facing speakers, there would be only 4 speakers in the entire boat. There should be two additional speakers at the rear benches. For the level of quality and the price tag that comes along with Bennington's, they are dropping the ball in the stereo department.

Anyways, Crutchfield, here I come. As a good friend of mine used to say, "It's only money, I will make more of it tomorrow"
 

Alicedream

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If I was Bennington, I would not offer Stereos and leave a place for it. There is so much personal preference with Stereos that is not worth the trouble. All I did was upgrade my head unit after I purchased the boat to a KMC20 which comes with a processor and with my 6 speakers it soundsgreat and I can be going 40 MPH and hear the music fine with out blasting it at all.
 
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VitiminJ

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Can the Kicker head unit handle 6 speakers? My wife agrees that we need two speakers in the back. Can't squat back there. I really don't want to invest $1000 redoing everything. I'm hopeful adding two more speakers will help the issue.
 

Bob225

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I added a JL 4 Channel amp and a WetSounds Stealth AS-10 with enclosure with built in amp. Used existing Kicker speakers. Amp really woke them up.
 

BulldogsCadillac

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Half the reason I miss my boat is the stereo! 8 Wetsounds 6.5's, powered by a 4 channel Wetsounds amp, 2 10" tower speakers, powered by another bridged 4 channel amp, 2 10" subs in rear loungers, powered by a 1000w Wetsounds mono amp, and a Wetsounds AS-10 under the helm! She was glorious.
20161001_133938.jpgIMG_20150829_203034.jpgIMG_20150829_203026.jpgFB_IMG_1475343185946.jpg
 

sonnyhad

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Just spent weekend number three on the new boat. As I mentioned when I started this thread, everything about the boat is great, except the stereo. I know some people just don't care too much about a stereo, but this is gonna drive me nuts, and it's taking away from my enjoyment of the boat. It just sounds so bland. I think I am gonna bite the bullet and buy replacement speakers and an amplified head unit, and a powered sub. I will try to research as best I can and get stuff that will fit easily with the setup and holes that are already there in the hopes that I can do this myself.

To Skbourgo's comment about # of speakers, I kinda agree with that too. I have a G25, the quad bench configuration, fast back. It's a big boat. It has two speakers at the front benches, two in the middle by the driver and passenger chairs, and then the two outside speakers facing aft. There are no speakers inside the boat by the two rear benches. When you are underway, anyone sitting there cannot hear any music unless you are blasting it, which you can't do because the standard system sucks! Without the fast back option that gives you the aft facing speakers, there would be only 4 speakers in the entire boat. There should be two additional speakers at the rear benches. For the level of quality and the price tag that comes along with Bennington's, they are dropping the ball in the stereo department.

Anyways, Crutchfield, here I come. As a good friend of mine used to say, "It's only money, I will make more of it tomorrow"
Put a 12” Rockford Fosgate powered sub under the helm. I have the same boat I think only 2019. It made a huge difference
 

jhill

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Half the reason I miss my boat is the stereo! 8 Wetsounds 6.5's, powered by a 4 channel Wetsounds amp, 2 10" tower speakers, powered by another bridged 4 channel amp, 2 10" subs in rear loungers, powered by a 1000w Wetsounds mono amp, and a Wetsounds AS-10 under the helm! She was glorious.
View attachment 27103View attachment 27104View attachment 27105View attachment 27106
The brazier in 2nd photo must be for a gal built like a "wide track Pontiac" lol (yes, I know it is kneepads....couldn't resist stupid humor!!)
 

Crobby

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Agree 100% on the lack of speakers in the rear. The deck speakers help somewhat when running but without the post purchase amp (sits in the helm with subwoofer) hearing would have been more difficult. I requested my audio guy to add 1 speaker in the back but said would be 2 or nothing so i punted. All the better reason to purchase another boat hopefully (and wife willing) in the near future.
 
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