PDA

View Full Version : Question about a motorcycle audio setup



Romans5.8
11-08-2012, 09:03 PM
Hello there!

My name is John, I'm new around here and not all that knowledgeable about car stereo systems, but I do know that I like nice sound! I have a decent setup in my car, and I just have to have some tunes on my bike.

Right now, I'm rocking two 3-1/2" speakers mounted to the handlebars with bass blockers and a 25 watt RMS x2 amp. It's decent, but, well, obviously not good.

I'm planning on ordering a fairing for my bike, and I have some questions for you folks. I know many of them are covered in the realm of car audio, but, in this case I'm dealing with something that is much different acoustically than a car. For example, bass just isn't happening. Guys have spent tremendous amounts of money putting huge subs all over their bikes, and once you get on the open road, the bass is gone. Way too much deafening wind noise (and wind in general) for that. So the concerns are clear, loud music that can be heard on a motorcycle on the interstate!

It's a Kawasaki Vulcan 900 cruiser, setup as a touring bike, if anyone is curious!

1) The manufacturer of the fairing makes two styles. One has two 6x9 speakers, the other has 4 5 or 5-1/4" speaker holes (they say either will work). An amp isn't an option due to the limited power output of a motorcycle alternator, so whatever I do will be driven purely off of a head unit. Again, bass is no concern here, because I won't hear it anyway. Which setup; 4 5.25" speakers, or 2 6x9 speakers is going to be clearer and louder at speed. The speakers will be facing me directly and be in front of me.


That's also the type of bike this is going on. In the case of 4 5.25" speakers, they will be in place of the two 6x9's, head unit in the middle.

2) Any brand recommendations for marine grade speakers in either size range you recommend? I was considering going with the polk db series, which are marine certified. These will get rained on, deal with direct sunlight, and be generally abused. For that matter I'd take head unit recommendations as well (single din). Was pretty set on the sony DSX series with the 'tune tray' that allows you to stick an iPhone INSIDE the head unit and play music from it, which will be nice. Otherwise I have to figure out a place to mount or store the iPhone, run wires, and still somehow make it look nice!

3) I am considering (not a deal breaker, not even sure if I want to do it or not) adding 5.25" speaker pods to the back. I also have a touring trunk on the bike, and a few companies make 'pods' that mount to it and allow the mounting of 5.25" speakers. If I did the 4 5.25" route, is there a way without an amp to run 6 speakers on one head unit?

Again, the MAIN concern here, is which is going to be loudest and clearest, 2 6x9's, or 4 5.25" speakers. Acoustically awful environment.

goingdef
11-08-2012, 09:36 PM
go with the 6x9 and add a small amp in the luggage compartment should be plenty even at speed maybe even go with a 4ch amp and get the pods too.

mylows10
11-08-2012, 09:38 PM
look at cdt them hit me up for a price

Romans5.8
11-08-2012, 10:25 PM
Thanks for the suggestions.


Any particular reason why 6x9's? Lots of people are telling me one way or another but I'm looking for reasons why. Again, bass is not reproduced on a motorcycle, too much air moving.

An amp is out of the question. It's not about mounting. There's enough room in the fairing for a full sized car amp if I wanted. In fact I even have a small amp in a closet somewhere for a previous car setup. There just isn't enough juice to run an amp. Most motorycles don't use alternators like cars, but rather a very simple oil submerged stator and regulator/rectifier setup. Just a head unit is pushing the envelope. I'm going to switch the bike over to all LEDs but that won't free up enough for an amp.

Ill look into cdt. Is their stuff marine grade? The speakers are gonna get wet. Sometimes very very wet. The head unit will be sealed inside of a waterproof enclosure however, although I'm considering marine grade there just for the better UV and humidity tolerance.

mylows10
11-08-2012, 10:26 PM
will be even less with 6x9 speakers .best option is 6.5

Romans5.8
11-08-2012, 10:40 PM
will be even less with 6x9 speakers .best option is 6.5

Okay but why?

I appreciate the help I really do and I don't mean to be a 'choosy beggar', but I'm looking for the why. Here we have two differing opinions, both from people I don't know! LOL.

Either way, 6.5 isn't an option. Options are 4 5.25" speakers or 2 6x9, there isn't room for 6.5 speakers.

Again the issue is NOT bass, it's quality and clarity at higher volumes with tremendous wind noise (and while wearing a helmet!)

I've ridden bikes with tremendous bass systems before and boy do they rock. At a stop. Recently rode an HD Electra glide with 4 5.25" speakers (2 front 2 rear), 2 8" subs mounted in the lowers, and the tour box was converted into a sub box running a single 12" sub. Once you got on the highway is was muddy muffled lows. Sounded better with the subs off and bass turned down. I don't know much about audio but I so know from experience and from what other motorcyclist say, there is just too much air moving to reproduce bass. (Those bikes have big dual stator charging systems by the way, so they can handle that. My bike, unfortunately, does not. So I'm stuck with head unit only power. I'm not expecting a rocking system on my motorycle. But, I do want the best volume and quality for my limited options).

By the way a while back I emailed the manufacturer of the fairings and they claimed both setups sounded about the same. If that's the case ill do the 6x9 purely for the better looks, and the fact that this would leave two channels open for rear speaker pods in the future.

mylows10
11-08-2012, 10:47 PM
the 8x9 speaker just isnt design as well as the round speakers for producing the bass needed for your bike.they can get loud if thats what you want .if i had to go with 6x9 speakers id do components ,you'll get better results that way

Romans5.8
11-08-2012, 11:00 PM
The only options with this limited mounting setup are what I listed. Components won't work either because there really isn't anywhere to mount the tweeter(s) and there are not many options for marine grade component setups. And again 6.5 is not an option, only 6x9 and 5.25. I know a 6.5 can be mounted with a plate inside a 6x9 mount but looks are a concern here.

Finally, I'm really not worried about bass. Really not. It won't happen no matter what I run. If I couldn't hear bass out of a 3 sub system I won't hear bass out of any speakers.

By the way I really appreciate the help and the dialog.

Here's a picture of a similar fairing (hopefully, wasn't letting me post pictures before);

http://www.tsukayu.com/web%20photos/DetachableFairing%20with%206x9%20speakers/VN900/bikeNbags%20003.JPG

That's (obviously) the 6x9 version. I'm pretty limited on what I can do with that, because vibrations and the like can cause it to crack if I start putting more holes in the inner fairing liner, so a component system or modifying the fairing to fit a 6.5" speaker are out of the question. (Plus, modifying 6x9 cutouts to fit a 6.5" speaker will look bad there, and that is a concern).

So, it's between what's pictured above,

And this;

http://i.ebayimg.com/t/Harley-batwing-Detachable-fairing-for-Yamaha-1600-1700-Roadstar-Road-Star-5-/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/$(KGrHqJ,!p!F!QSW(DJbBQQs-B!Viw~~60_57.JPG

(Although obviously that one is unpainted and unequipped, but you get the idea). And yes there is 'room' to bore that out to run 6.5" speakers but, there is a need for some strength there to prevent cracking over time due to vibrations and shock. (If I hit a bump, that thing is gonna feel it!)

mylows10
11-08-2012, 11:03 PM
CDT Audio HD 690COM (http://www.cdtaudio.com/main_series/hd/hd690com.htm) these and get the braxial kit to mount the tweets in the sub like a 2 way

Romans5.8
11-08-2012, 11:13 PM
CDT Audio HD 690COM (http://www.cdtaudio.com/main_series/hd/hd690com.htm) these and get the braxial kit to mount the tweets in the sub like a 2 way

Are those (and the crossover as well) marine grade? Doesn't say so on the website. These WILL get rained on. I do a lot of long distance touring and have ridden through thunderstorms and will likely do it again! My little polk marine handlebar speakers I have right now are hilarious splashing water out of them the whole time!

The fairing itself is not sealed from weather either. The inside of the fairing is likely to get damp in heavy rain. The head unit is inside a water proof 'shround' that mounts into the fairing, so that's covered. But obviously speakers don't work well in cases! So everything outside of the head unit needs to be waterproof.

mylows10
11-08-2012, 11:14 PM
not sure i will find out for you tho

bsipes30
11-08-2012, 11:43 PM
Check out Polk audio. I just picked up some tweeters and some 4" speakers for my boat that are marine grade. I'm sure they will have the size you are looking for.


http://www.polkaudio.com/products/marine/speakers-and-systems

Romans5.8
11-08-2012, 11:49 PM
Check out Polk audio. I just picked up some tweeters and some 4" speakers for my boat that are marine grade. I'm sure they will have the size you are looking for.


Marine Speakers and Systems | Polk AudioŽ (http://www.polkaudio.com/products/marine/speakers-and-systems)

Yeah like I said above, polk is a brand I'm considering. My question was more about which would produce more volume (mids and highs) at speed, 4 5 1/4 speakers or 2 6x9's.

Romans5.8
11-09-2012, 12:44 AM
not sure i will find out for you tho

I appreciate that but in looking at them, there is absolutely no way the crossovers are marine certified. They are in an open/mesh enclosure and the circuits are obviously not coated. Either way, that is a little outside of what I'd like to spend. For one, there is so much sound degradation from the exhaust and wind anyway that there is really a diminished return out of a high end system (and with no amp I won't be able to take advantage of the higher wattage capacity). Further more that's a lot of money to spend on speakers that are so incredible exposed to the elements, AND, can be so easily stolen. It's not like you can lock the doors on a motorcycle. I just have a bad feeling about having $400 speakers in a motorcycle fairing. A few minutes with a screwdriver, or even less time with a sharp knife, and they're all yours. I suppose that could happen with cheaper speakers too.. but, it hurts a little less that way!

But ultimately, these are going to be abused. Direct sunlight for hours on end, cold, heat, rain, debris, consistently at high volume. I wouldn't be surprised if whatever I put in only lasts a couple years. Lots of guys with even marine setups on their boats don't see more than a couple years out of a set of truly exposed (deck) speakers. I can handle replacing $150 marine 6x9's (though I would prefer not to, but, it's just something I'll have to accept with a setup like this), but $400 is a lot of money.

And again, I'm not looking for a competition setup. If you've ever ridden a motorcycle with a stereo, you'll know that there is a tremendous amount of distortion and 'muffling' that happens purely from the wind, even if it sounds fantastic at the same volume at a stop. Speakers work, of course, by driving air at certain frequencies to create sound. It has a lot to compete with at 70 miles an hour! But, there's no sense in just throwing anything in there either. What I'm here for is to learn what the best setup would be for my limited options. Head unit only, 4 5 1/4's, or 2 6x9's (and potentially 2 5-1/4's in the rear as well but that's more for my wife than anything, with the wind noise I probably won't hear much of them.)

HO-AUDIO
11-09-2012, 03:00 AM
Check out ARC Audio and Hybrid Audio. The Hybrid Audio Mirus speakers are amazing sounding even with low power and have a 20mm Silk tweeter and the speakers have waterproofing to them as well. I have installed a few sets of these on different bikes and they work out great

Romans5.8
11-09-2012, 03:59 AM
Check out ARC Audio and Hybrid Audio. The Hybrid Audio Mirus speakers are amazing sounding even with low power and have a 20mm Silk tweeter and the speakers have waterproofing to them as well. I have installed a few sets of these on different bikes and they work out great

Thanks! I'll definitely look into those. Any input on which would provide better sound at speed (lots of wind noise), 4 5.25" speakers or 2 6x9's?

Is a waterproof cone enough protection? These will get SOAKED every now and then, which is why I was looking at marine grade. The polks I have mounted on my handlebars now will play submerged in a glass of water! What about UV protection? These will be at the mercy of direct sunlight, not even through-glass direct sunlight. Basically, would you mount these speakers on your uncovered patio, all year round? Like I said I don't know that much about this stuff I'm just trying to evaluate my options. Those mirus 6x9's look attractive! Nice price point too.

HO-AUDIO
11-09-2012, 04:03 AM
I would probably suggest the 2 set of 5.25's simply due to the fact if you are powering the speakers off a headunit alone you will be using all 4 channels of the head units amplifier compared to only half the power with the 6x9's. 15-20 watts x4 compared to only x2 with the 6x9's will provide higher volume and cleaner power output to help overcome the wind noise

HO-AUDIO
11-09-2012, 04:08 AM
I hope the information helps and if you have ANY questions about the Hybrid Mirus speakers at all please feel free to PM me and I will gladly help any way I can

Romans5.8
11-09-2012, 04:13 AM
I would probably suggest the 2 set of 5.25's simply due to the fact if you are powering the speakers off a headunit alone you will be using all 4 channels of the head units amplifier compared to only half the power with the 6x9's. 15-20 watts x4 compared to only x2 with the 6x9's will provide higher volume and cleaner power output to help overcome the wind noise


So 4 5.25 speakers would be louder than 2 6x9's? I AM considering installing some 5.25 speaker pods on my touring trunk. It'll look like this;

http://www.eglidegoodies.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/speaker_podsw300.jpg

Though that would primarily be for the passenger. With tremendous wind noise and the speakers firing 'into the wind', I won't hear them. I'm not decided on the speaker pods or not though. The pods themselves (without any speakers) are kind of expensive and I'm not really sure they'll add much to the setup or not (kind of a diminishing returns scenario).

Thoughts?

HO-AUDIO
11-09-2012, 04:17 AM
Yes 4 sets of 5.25's should def be louder and cleaner

Romans5.8
11-09-2012, 04:22 AM
Cool beans well that's probably what ill do then. Why is that, btw? Trying to learn a little bit as I go. Is it just 4 audio sources instead of 2 or what? What makes 6x9's 'less clean'?

Finally, if down the road I DID decide to so the speaker pods, would it be possible with 4 channels? Can I run two sets of speakers (4speakers) off of one channel? Again no juice for an amp otherwise I would definitely run one. In fact I have one in a closet I'm not using! But if I did that, I'd have a dead battery at the end of the day!

Montana
11-09-2012, 05:24 AM
Get a side cart and put a "18 Fi in there.

You'd be the coolest guy at Stergus..

Romans5.8
11-09-2012, 01:11 PM
Get a side cart and put a "18 Fi in there.

You'd be the coolest guy at Stergus..

LOL, if I don't have enough juice to run a 4 channel amp I wouldn't have enough juice to run that now would I?

Would be unique! There are some crazy motorcycle audio setups out there. But the thing is, they STILL only sound good at a stop. Wind does terrible things. If you ever get up next to a motorcycle rolling down the highway with the stereo cranked, listen. It's flat and bass-less, doesn't matter what they are running. Just the facts of life riding a bike and wanting music! That's why my only concern was clarity at high volume. Even with subs the most you'll get is some vibration in the bike when it 'hits', but you still won't hear the bass. Something about the way the wind moves across the bike I guess.