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New music sysyem

May 3, 2008
Catalina 310 Catawba Island
On my 2001 #118 C310 that I bought new, I have 2001 era stereo receiver, a 12 CD changer and 4 hard wired speakers - 2 cabin and 2 under perch seats. The system needs to be replaced. I would prefer to not to replace the speakers. Suggestions? Replace CDs with Pandora or XM with a new receiver? or?? This stuff is a mystery to me. Sage advice appreciated.
Oct 19, 2017
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
I'm not a music-head, but I have a thought for general a configuration.
If your CD changer still works fine, consider routing everything through your notebook docking station. Use your computer or smart phone to access Pandora and still be able to listen to your CD library when out of network. I know nothing about availible hardware, but I see no reason this can't be done effectively.

-Will (Dragonfly)
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Sep 11, 2015
Hunter 31 Marina del Rey
This is a popular question. My suggestion is a small class D amp (energy efficient, 12V, which is a consideration on a boat) such as the one linked below for $79. It has Bluetooth and will drive a subwoofer when you decide to add one. Then you connect your phone via Bluetooth and use any service such as Pandora that you like. You will need an external switch to select inside or outside speakers.

If you insist on a radio (I personally think it is useless) then you can look into car audio units which will give you more features such as radio, CD, fading between front and rear speakers but the problem with those is that 1) they consume more power and 2) fiddling with the settings, while convenient when stuck in traffic in a car, is a distraction on a rocking boat. I ditched my car unit for the Fosi and have been very happy with it. For example, you listen to a tune in the car, get to the boat, flip one switch and the music continues. Zero hassle. Before, I would need to press a button for a couple of seconds to turn the unit on, then connect Bluetooth, then adjust the sound between front and rear (it took 30 key presses to switch from full back to full front), guests on board had difficulty using it because it was too complicated to operate or connect their phones to it.

Lastly, the subwoofer, anyway you look at it, if you want to have good sound, you need to add a subwoofer. I added mine in the cabin. I also have the TV connected to it so that when I watch a movie I get a good 2.1 sound that rocks the boat. I think 2.1 is enough for the boat. You may be tempted to go full surround and some boats have it but then it becomes quite complex, you need a surround sound amp and the space in the cabin is difficult for surround sound.

If you insist on SiriusXM you can go that route as well (a car unit will be best in this case). Definitely stay away from marine units, they are not worth it in my opinion. Marine speakers are worth it because the plastics fades slower and you can upgrade your speakers later if you so desire.

SV Pizzazz


Jan 26, 2005
C&C 110 Bay Shore, Long Island, NY
Take a look at some of the Fusion gear. Nice quality, marine oriented with lots of options.
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Jun 1, 2004
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Replace the CD changer/tuner with something like the Fusion RA70. Nobody want to mess with cd's and tapes on a boat anymore. Go digital. You can leave the speakers in place, simply switch leads over to the new Fusion device. You can use a Bluetooth device, usb stick/device, or even XM service as your music source. I like XM personally.
The Fusions are also N2K compatible so you can control them from your N2k multi function display... is you like.+
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Feb 21, 2013
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
I hooked up a cable from my cell phone to my $70 cockpit Panasonic stereo, which has a MP3/CD player and AM/FM, to listen to Pandora.
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Jan 1, 2006
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
I'm hardly one to give advice on music solutions but that won't stop me. But here are some of my experiences: Pandora and other internet based suppliers of "Content" are only available when you can be online. For us that was pretty rare - even at the dock. And we weren't in the wilderness. We used Serius or the other satellite supplier with a portable satellite radio which had a 12 v power chord, a portable antenna and could broadcast to our obsolete "Stereo." We always had reception. Even that sufferred from Play List-itis. In other words I would tire of the repetitive nature of programing which is true for the online services too. So, often we would listen to AM and FM radio. AM coverage sometimes for sports and FM for more variety in programming. We had a CD playing stereo for AM, FM and video for which there was an output we could plug into our flat screen TV. Reception of TV air broadcasts was non-existent. If you trash the stereo what will you do with the hole in the bulkhead? I would keep the CD player, or find a new one with video, satellite and bluetooth to put in there. You could set up a network and use a wifi based system like Sonus to distribute the signal to speakers but I couldn't begin to explain how. If you're experience is like mine and find that technological systems usually don't work as promised or only do so with a lot of time devoted to working them, obsolete isn't so bad.
Aug 29, 2016
Catalina 2004 310 (Hull #250) BC
I installed the Fusion RA70N and love it. No one uses CD’s or extra clutter anymore as it is easy to stream all the music or use Bluetooth from an iPhone. Fusion also has an app that allows you to control the unit from anywhere.
I will also integrate it via NMEA 183 to my new Garmin 942xs plotter.
Feb 26, 2004
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada

As noted, Crutchfield is a great place to buy equipment. You could also do a simple search on "stereo" and read (pretty much the same conclusions) for days.

Good luck.
Jan 17, 2013
Catalina 310 St. Simons Island, GA
Just get a bluetooth stereo receiver and you can stream your music from your cell phone via Pandora or Spotify or something similar.
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Dec 15, 2006
Catalina Catlina 310 Campbell River BC
We had the same setup CD AM/FM radio 4 speakers what we did is removed the outside speakers (old and rusty) and used a Monster waterproof Bluetooth speaker for outside also can be used on the beach with Ipod/iPhone/Ipad for the music center the Ipod hold over 35 hours of mp3 's give or take a few hours. all of this is connected to a USB plug system for power while under sail.
Nov 18, 2010
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
We have ditched the stereo all together. We use JBL flip 4 units. You can connect multiple units together to have the same thing playing in multiple areas. We connect it to the laptop to watch TV. They cost about $85 each some of the larger units have deeper base.
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Feb 14, 2017
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
I run XM on my phone app and ot is connected by BT to the radio. The radio has a USB connection which also keeps the phone charged. I have XM on 3 cars and am not adding another subscription.!
Jan 7, 2014
Beneteau 45F5 51551 Port Jefferson
I also recommend a car stereo from Crutchfield. You can pick up a decent unit for under $100. They come with bluetooth so you can play pandora, spotify or whatever you like via your phone. I installed mine last year replacing a cassette player car stereo. The PO had done a nice installation of an equalizer and speakers. The cockpit speakers were ratty looking and one didn't work so I replaced them with "kicker" speakers from Crutchfield. The sound is fantastic. My phone does need to be near companionway though for good reception to the unit down in the salon though.

Ward H

Nov 7, 2011
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
One comment about streaming music services. Pandora has been mentioned a lot but I lost track of it.
I do know Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple iTunes all allow you to download music to your device so you can listen to your music when you are outside of WiFi range. Even if you are within cell range, listening to downloaded music saves you from using your data plan.
I use old iPads or iPhones. I download my music when on WiFi. I play the music on the device and send it to bluetooth speakers.
Aug 28, 2006
Bavaria 35E seattle
If you're looking to save $, follow up on Pizzaz's suggestion. These amps work well.
May 20, 2016
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
I second fusion. I have a remote at the helm - connects via NMEA2000. Sounds good, I the two zones canon and cockpit so volume can be independently controlled.
Oct 3, 2011
Anam Cara Catalina 310 Hull #155 155 Lake Erie/Catawba Island
As you can see you can get really exotic about this-we use a USB cord and spotify!
That and a memory stick you can get HUNDREDS of Songs! like spotify though! We have a Bluetooth speaker also!
Good Luck
Sep 24, 2018
O'Day 25 Chicago
Since you have six speakers and not just four, you need to measure how many ohms each speaker is. Typical car/marine audio will be 4ohms per speaker. Anything below 3.5 or so ohms would require an amplifier or other external device since few headunits are rated for less than 4ohms per channel. Do you have the ability to fade the level of each of the speakers (in pairs I would assume)?
Sep 25, 2018
Catalina Capri 22 Capri EXPO 14.2 1282 Stony Point
As a day sailor on a 22 foot boat, I bring along a Jambox bluetooth speaker and all my music on an old ipod if i feel like listening to music. Mostly I listen to the sounds of nature and obnoxious power boats as I tool around on the Hudson. If I cruised I might want something more permanent. On a 22 footer, you can hear your dog fart from anywhere on the boat!