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Author Topic: Do I need amp with radio?  (Read 3919 times)
belfert
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« on: September 01, 2009, 12:18:58 PM »

I am planning to install a new car type radio in my bus.  I will have two speakers up front for the driver and four speakers in back for the passengers.  Do I need an amplifier for the four rear speakers in this case?

Any recommendations on speakers that won't sound like total crap, but won't break the bank?  I don't plan a subwoofer at this time.  I am happy with the factory audio in 95% of the cars I have ever been in.  I am not looking for audiophile stuff and I am not trying to make the whole bus rattle with the bass.
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2009, 12:48:39 PM »

This new generation of Receiver is way beyond what was on the market 10 or 15 years ago.  Still, I think you should go with a bass speaker just for the quality of sound it generates...not the window rattling aspect.  That being said, you don't sound like you are too finicky when it comes to music.  Go to a radio/audio store and listen to the various models and see what thy sound like thru various speakers.  Ask the sales man which radio he recommends and what speakers he thinks you could get away with hooked up to it.  Many are crooks but many are in it to sell good stuff and demo their knowledge.  Experts!

You may have tin ears and then maybe not.  When you hear a really good sounding system you should experience some level of joy.  It takes not only the physical ability to sense the sounds but also a mental thing that allows you to understand it and like it.  You may not feel that a bass is needed but more than half of the listeners will find that it enriches the quality of the sound.

You will not be able to run 4 rear speakers and 2 fronts and get any sort of quality sound. 

If you like I will go audition car stereos and make a recommendation.  You can then buy on EBay and save a bunch.  Contact me by PM if you want me to do that.  I haven't looked at what is on the market for years and I enjoy doing that.  Oh, and I have a $4k Nakamichi multi disk "with tape" and power amp and bass.  Mikey likes it and I am inspired but it ain't for everybody and mine came with the car, anyway.  But, I was an Audiophile way back when.

John
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2009, 12:51:08 PM »

Most modern inexpensive car radios come with outputs for 4 speakers, two front, two rear, with a fader control to balance them.  If you wanted to, you could hook up your fronts to the fronts, simple, and connect two pairs of rears to each of the rear outputs.  you wouldn't be able to control the level of the rear  speakers indepenantly from each other.  You'd have to check the minimum impeadance allowable for the outputs of the radio.    the typical output might be 4 ohms to 16 ohms, or similar, and you'd have to be careful in how you wired and selected the speakers to make sure you stayed in close to those limits.  That's doing it on the cheap and dirty, how I would do it, frankly.  If you get into the amps and all of that, woofers and tweeters and other barn-yard anmals, then seek advice from a teenager...

I spent a lot of my youth chasing ultimate car and home audio, and quit when CD's came out...  The $100 car radio I just bought for my bus is about a thousand percent better than the $1000 systems that used to get stolen out of my car, until the insurance company stopped paying for them...

Brian
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2009, 01:33:26 PM »

It's a length of string question - the answer depends upon lots of things. Technically whether you need an amplifier depends upon the stereo in question - some cheaper ones may lack a line-out or pre-out, and therefore will not even support an amplifier. Conversely, not many stereos are going to have speaker outputs for six speakers (although 2 + two pairs would be ok depending upon the ratings).

Then there is the power issue - in a bus you will probably need more power than in a car, so a higher end stereo, or stereo+amplifier(s) may be required, depending upon where the passengers will be sitting in relation to the speakers, and the general level of background noise etc. Power in a stereo is a bit like power in a car - it's better to have a lot of power and only use 20% of it, rather than having 'sufficient' power but needing 80% of it to achieve the same results.

Regarding choice of speakers:- I would stick with a known mid-market brand and avoid anything that looks like it has been made to appeal to the boy-racer crowd (dramatic brand-names and lots of red paint, unnecessary chrome and multi-coloured anodised aluminium). I've used JBL, Pioneer, Soundlab and Kenwood at different times, and all have been perfectly good at a reasonable price. I've also had my fair share of 'cheap' speakers - many of them seemed to be nicely designed and made but inevitably turned to be money badly spent

Jeremy
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2009, 01:48:46 PM »

I would just put another radio in the back and let the passengers listen to what they want (Unless it's your kids and you want to limit the volume).
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2009, 01:49:44 PM »

What about using a home type receiver instead?  I'm not sure it could have speakers for the driver with speakers for the passengers too.  The driver in a Dina sits at least 18" below the passengers.

The issue with a subwoofer is space for one.

Can anyone recommend a decent amplifier that could handle six speakers?  Prices seem to be all over the map.  I assume some of the lower end ones from China are probably crap.  A lot of amps are also designed for the sub only.

The Pioneer lines of head units has been recommended.  I am looking at something like a DEH-P510UB.  I don't see any reason to go more expensive, but maybe I am missing something.
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2009, 01:51:18 PM »

Since you have AC  Why not check into home audio.  May end up spending less money and get more sound.  

A small powered sub will fit behind the couch or the driver and the other speakers could be smaller.

check 7.1 surround sound and you'll have you're 6 speakers and sub.



Nice computer speakers are inexpensive with powered sub and you can just hook it to your lap top or ipod
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2009, 01:54:20 PM »

I would just put another radio in the back and let the passengers listen to what they want (Unless it's your kids and you want to limit the volume).

I kinda suspect having two different radios not playing the same thing would be an issue.  The radio currently in the bus is a piece of junk so it needs to go anyhow.

I will have 8 or 9 people total for a trip this year.  One of the guys makes a play list on his iPod of songs and everyone seems to like them.  It would be nice to reduce the volume when most of the passengers are sleeping.
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2009, 02:21:23 PM »

OK, Never mind  Smiley  I was think more like a couple of kids in the back bedroom and the driver up front.

One slightly related point.  My MH has a nice CD/Radio in the bedroom but the lights on it are too bright for sleeping.  I just pulled the fuse as we never used it anyway.
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2009, 02:28:03 PM »

That Pioneer model looks fine, although if it were me I would look around to see if there are any alternatives with a much larger display. One thing it doesn't have is digital radio - I've acquired a car recently that has a JVC headunit with digital radio, and it's brilliant - thousands of weird and wonderful stations to discover on long journeys.

Oddly enough, having gone through the whole gamut of CD changers I could now live quite happily without a CD player at all - one $5 flash drive is more than sufficient to replace every CD I've ever owned (many times over, probably).

I'm not sure about the use of a domestic stereo system - fine when camping, but I'm not sure how well it would work on the move. I'd be interested in finding out

Jeremy
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2009, 04:38:58 PM »

Kenwood model KDC-BT742U   $219  Tuner with blue tooth and usb input and cd and Etc Etc.  Remote control  BASS output for separate bass speaker


Kenwood model KFC-C68821E  $69.99 a pair speakers  best I have ever heard for less that $150

I like the house system idea.  I will have 5.1 for the flat screen and a receiver/control that will take cd, Blue Tooth, Sat TV, Sat Radio, broadcast, pod or other mem devices.  Has a bass.  You can select "speaker system 'B'" and have your rear 4 on there.  I think you need this system, especially for the vid games that kids can't live without.  You and I are way to mature for that crap.  Right?

Good luck,

John
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« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2009, 05:18:23 PM »


A little google for ideas,  has speakers and all, and plays ipod and mp3(usb maybe?)

http://www.nextag.com/Philips-HTS3566D-37-Home-610763227/specs-html
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cody
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« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2009, 06:26:55 PM »

We use a 500 watt sony home theater system powering a 500 watt creative labs computer speaker system, that is both ends of the system, in between we use a driverack supplemented by a sonic maximizer to further clean up the sound and give us the absolutely pure DVD Audio, we quit using cd's several years ago when dvd audio came out, as DJ's, our livelyhood depends on the quality of our sound.  The driverack is an electronic eq system that reads the room for hard or soft qualities and automatically adjusts the sound to the room, it's critical for DJ useage, a bar will change acustically thruout the night as people come and go or just relocate within the lounge and the driverack continually monitors this and adjsuts for the best sound.  We carry a few disks with us on the road, for personal listening, somewhere between 2 and 4 thousand dvd's, we have a personal library of around 7500 we use for gigs, we do enjoy good sound, BK's seen some of our system, the bus sustem is very much like the home but smaller sizewise lol. For bar use we push 10,000 watts of pure DVD audio.  The pic is our primary system and libby, good sound is important to us.  The bar system is a mackie amp, 10K total wattage thru 8 channels, for the bus we use the sony, no need to remove windows or paint lol.
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« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2009, 07:14:27 PM »

If I did a home audio system, would 7.1 have any advantage if I am strictly playing songs from an iPod?  No TV now and don't know if I will ever have one.

Jeremy, I almost never use the radio.  We use an iPod for music.  Digital radio must be a lot better over in the UK because here it doesn't add all that much.  Some stations have an extra digital station or two, but most rebroadcast their analog signal.  The Pioneer does have an HD Radio option.
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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2009, 01:22:57 AM »

I'm a huge radio fan, and there does seem to be an awful lot of esoteric digital stations here. The BBC alone have a dozen or so specialist digital stations. I spend most of my working day listening to BBC 7, which repeats classic plays, dramas, comedies etc (Sherlock Holmes, The Goon Show, Hitchhiker's Guide, stuff like that). I think it's brilliant and I've recommended it to loads of people (available through the BBC website too!).

The last car journey I did I spent some time listening to British Forces radio (ie., the Army's radio station), which was interesting too.

Jeremy
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« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2009, 07:25:32 AM »

Brian,

I currently have a RV type wall mount system that takes an external audio input for using the Ipod etc.

It has A/B speaker switch or both.

After using it on for several years, I can tell you that I am still going to put in a separate dash unit.

My main issue is that I don't always care to listen to what others are, as I am basically the only driver.

And if they are watching TV, it uses the stereo speakers.

The separate dash unit will give me the ability with a headset to listen to what I want, even during quiet times for the crew, as well as put the controls at my finger tips.  I will put two speakers over the drivers seat with a head phone jack that breaks the speakers out when plugged in.

Cliff
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« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2009, 08:53:30 AM »

I think 7.1 is wasted in the confined space of a bus/RV.  5.1 or 3.1 is more appropriate, in my humble opinion and trust me....its humble.  More like a hunch, but, there is a sweet spot to appreciate stereo affects and that I know.  That spot becomes mere feet wide in distance from the speakers and placement in a small area or when you are close to the speakers.  Sinking a bunch of money in equipment of this sophistication is a waste in an RV environment.  They make head phones with multi speakers in each ear piece and they create surround sound for the listener and I think that finds application for those wanting to not disturb and also those that listen in a difficult acoustic environment.

All that being said:  The better home rigs will "synthesize" the 5.1 audio signals from the input radio and TV and IPOD signals.  Really pleasurable listening.  Not Audiophile quality by any stretch but nice.  And here is my bottom line: the "packaged systems that include the array of speakers and the amp and the sophisticated receiver are way cheaper and better performing than you can get if you mix and match  on your own.  Way, way cheaper and better performing.

Don't limit you system capabilities to your current needs if you can embrace a wider spectrum of performance for little added cost.  You are not the only user but you are the primary so your min must be met.

As for listening to "your" stuff while the rest of the coach indulges their tastes.....environment noise cancelling high performance head sets are my solution.  Wireless is an inferior performer but if you can't tell the difference then enjoy the mobility.

If you don't have AM and FM broadcast reception then just how in the heck can you get the nightly Rush Limbaugh "news" and have any chance of staying up on current events/informed?  Just answer me that. Wink Roll Eyes Grin Grin  PBS might be out there but who would listen to that propaganda?

Pioneer has some trendy and worthwhile systems that can only be made to work if the pieces are all made by Pioneer.  I bought it and like it very much.  It ain't Audiophile by any stretch.

John
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« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2009, 09:01:55 AM »

I installed a surround sound system that is hooked up to TV/DVD. I then also installed the car sterio up to it as well, only adding a couple of speakers to the drivers compartment. That way I can turn the suround sound down with a remote and only leaving the speakers going that are by the driver.

Grant
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« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2009, 09:47:10 AM »

Unless your goal includes installation of a multi-channel home theatre, my personal recommendation would be to stay with an automotive style head unit.  You can achieve sound quality that pleases even the fussiest audiophile, and I think there are several advantages over typical 110VAC home use audio equipment.

1) Space - Automotive style units are inherently space efficient.

2) Power requirements - An automotive unit connected to the house batteries is about as simple as it gets. Parked or not parked, just turn the unit on. I don't need to turn on an inverter (or even have one).  ... and those people with an inverter, having an automotive system leaves more 110VAC watts for other uses. I also have to believe that the automotive units are more efficient, especially factoring in inverter losses.

3) Controls With an automotive style unit you can mount it in-dash, giving the driver easy access. Or, as in my case, Sony makes a great little control stalk thingy that puts all the controls at your fingertips, with head unit mounted elsewhere. It is always there, with no need to reach for an IR remote.

4) Inputs -  When I first started looking at car stereo equipment for the bus, I was concerned that I might not be able to connect all the equipment to it that I might want.  Not true. I discovered that Sony and others have ways to expand the inputs.   With my system I have AM, FM, cassette, 10 disc CD changer, iPOD connection, USB port connection to a laptop, and an audio feed from the TV.


I drive 4 Polk speakers, and the sound quality is very, very good.   Other folks may prefer a home stereo set up, but for my personal tastes, I couldn't be happier.
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« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2009, 09:52:32 AM »

I'm heading over to a car stereo place as soon as I post this.  It is only a mile away so taking the bus over there is easy.  I'll ask them what they recommend.  I probably won't buy there as the place has gone to heck in the last year or two.  They seem to mostly have generic Chinese junk these days, but I still hope they have some advice.  I would be happy to buy there if they had something decent.

My bus has an extra place for a radio where the controls for the passenger A/V system used to be.  It is pretty much lined up with the center aisle so passengers could use the remote to manipulate the iPod if necessary.
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« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2009, 11:45:32 AM »

Prices at the local stereo place were totally out of line with even an expensive online retailer like Crutchfield.  They also didn't have the Pioneer brand and I really like one particular Pioneer head unit.  They didn't really want to help me since I wasn't looking for a $1000+ system that could vibrate the bus apart.

I ended up ordering a Pioneer head unit, amp, and speakers from Newegg.  Newegg was only a few dollars more than Ebay sellers and they are a reputable outfit.  I still need to find some speaker wire and an antenna.

Will one of those glass mount antennas work on the driver's side window or should I use a flexible rubber/vinyl antenna on the roof?
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« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2009, 12:15:45 PM »

When you say 'glass mount' do you mean a self-adhesive plastic film containing a metal element, or a conventional 'stick up in the air' type antenna that attaches to the window in order to transmit the signal through the glass via a metal contact on both sides? If the latter they work fine for cell phone antennas but I don't think I've seen a radio antenna like this - but they are probably available.

The element principle is fine in theory, but on a bus (where the high roof means security and car washes aren't really an issue) I would probably choose a conventional 'stick up' antenna if I could. The OEM antenna on most modern cars use the element principle, but there needs to be a signal amplifer to boost the signal, and almost always a minimum of two antennas in order to get coverage from all angles - often the rear screen's heating element is used as one, with a small dedicated element in another window. This principle is called a 'Diversity Antenna', and you can buy aftermarket versions with up to four antennas working together, although this is usually used when you have TV in the car, rather than just radio.

A big conventional antenna sticking up above the high roof of the bus will probably give you the best reception you can get

Jeremy
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« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2009, 04:41:43 PM »

I can only tell you what we used.  We wanted an antenna we could install in the roof for the best reception.  We purchased a "Rubber Ducky" type through the roof mount antenna at Radio Shack that is approx 16"-18". almost 10 years later (and a few small branches hitting it), it is still working great.  Jack
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« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2009, 05:13:07 PM »

The type of antenna I was think of using works similiar to a glass mount cellular antenna.

I will probably use a rubber ducky type antenna since I figured out how to get to the back of mine to replace the broken one.  I have a fiberglass ceiling panel that prevents access to stuff mounted on the cap.  I realized this afternoon I should be able to remove a passenger clock mounted up there and reach in from there.

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« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2009, 07:20:13 PM »


Which unit did you get and how are you working out the 6 speakers?


does it have 4 preamp outputs?
can you use the internal amp for the front speakers and another amp for the rear 2?

the sony in my jetta has remote(like needed in jetta Cheesy)  plays wma/mp3 on cds, has ipod connector, usb connector for stick or mp3 player, and can play about anything with a head phone jack.  and sounds pretty good too

boogie down!! Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2009, 08:10:21 PM »

I purchased the Pioneer DEH-P5100UB radio.

I will use the built-in for the 2 front speakers and a Pioneer 4 channel amp for the 4 rear speakers.  The amp has four speaker connections.
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« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2009, 08:10:54 AM »

I am planning to install a new car type radio in my bus.  I will have two speakers up front for the driver and four speakers in back for the passengers.  Do I need an amplifier for the four rear speakers in this case?

Any recommendations on speakers that won't sound like total crap, but won't break the bank?  I don't plan a subwoofer at this time.  I am happy with the factory audio in 95% of the cars I have ever been in.  I am not looking for audiophile stuff and I am not trying to make the whole bus rattle with the bass.

Solve all of your problems at one time -- get a set of decent COMPUTER speakers for the back.  These are amplified, have a separate volume control (so the people in the back can turn the volume down when you want it up in the front), are already in enclosures, and they are easy to hook up.

Look for a set which use a 12V wall wart for power, and mount the subwoofer toward the middle of the coach.

. . .or maybe you could put in a couple of thousand watts worth of sound system, then rig the airbags to make the world's first Boing-Boing Bus . . !
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« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2009, 09:10:29 AM »

Solve all of your problems at one time -- get a set of decent COMPUTER speakers for the back.  These are amplified, have a separate volume control (so the people in the back can turn the volume down when you want it up in the front), are already in enclosures, and they are easy to hook up.

I already purchased regular car speakers.  Car radios have a fader that can be used to balance the volume between the front and rear speakers, or shut off one set of speakers all together.
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« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2009, 10:58:59 AM »

Solve all of your problems at one time -- get a set of decent COMPUTER speakers for the back.  These are amplified, have a separate volume control (so the people in the back can turn the volume down when you want it up in the front), are already in enclosures, and they are easy to hook up.

I already purchased regular car speakers.  Car radios have a fader that can be used to balance the volume between the front and rear speakers, or shut off one set of speakers all together.

Yes, but that's at the radio -- in the front, not back where the people are who want the volume adjusted.  And you can't just put in a pot or cutoff switch back there, because the radio power amp transistor can burn up if there is no load on the output.
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« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2009, 11:05:39 AM »

Yes, but that's at the radio -- in the front, not back where the people are who want the volume adjusted.  And you can't just put in a pot or cutoff switch back there, because the radio power amp transistor can burn up if there is no load on the output.

The passengers can just ask the driver to change the volume.  I don't think it will be an issue as the volume on the boom box we used in the past didn't get changed all that much.
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« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2009, 09:51:18 AM »

Yes, but that's at the radio -- in the front, not back where the people are who want the volume adjusted.  And you can't just put in a pot or cutoff switch back there, because the radio power amp transistor can burn up if there is no load on the output.

The passengers can just ask the driver to change the volume.  I don't think it will be an issue as the volume on the boom box we used in the past didn't get changed all that much.

When you say speakers in the back, I think of the rear half of the coach.  Maybe you mean the front half, just behind the driver.

I don't think I would want to be shouting from one end to the other, over road noise, "A little louder . . .no, too much, a little lower now . . ."  That would be too much like backing into a small space while someone you can't see is shouting "This way . . .now go that way a little . . !"   Wink



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NewbeeMC9
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« Reply #31 on: September 07, 2009, 03:27:16 PM »

I think 7.1 is wasted in the confined space of a bus/RV.  5.1 or 3.1 is more appropriate, in my humble opinion and trust me....its humble.  More like a hunch, but, there is a sweet spot to appreciate stereo affects and that I know.  That spot becomes mere feet wide in distance from the speakers and placement in a small area or when you are close to the speakers.  Sinking a bunch of money in equipment of this sophistication is a waste in an RV environment.  They make head phones with multi speakers in each ear piece and they create surround sound for the listener and I think that finds application for those wanting to not disturb and also those that listen in a difficult acoustic environment.

All that being said:  The better home rigs will "synthesize" the 5.1 audio signals from the input radio and TV and IPOD signals.  Really pleasurable listening.  Not Audiophile quality by any stretch but nice.  And here is my bottom line: the "packaged systems that include the array of speakers and the amp and the sophisticated receiver are way cheaper and better performing than you can get if you mix and match  on your own.  Way, way cheaper and better performing.

Don't limit you system capabilities to your current needs if you can embrace a wider spectrum of performance for little added cost.  You are not the only user but you are the primary so your min must be met.

As for listening to "your" stuff while the rest of the coach indulges their tastes.....environment noise cancelling high performance head sets are my solution.  Wireless is an inferior performer but if you can't tell the difference then enjoy the mobility.

If you don't have AM and FM broadcast reception then just how in the heck can you get the nightly Rush Limbaugh "news" and have any chance of staying up on current events/informed?  Just answer me that. Wink Roll Eyes Grin Grin  PBS might be out there but who would listen to that propaganda?

Pioneer has some trendy and worthwhile systems that can only be made to work if the pieces are all made by Pioneer.  I bought it and like it very much.  It ain't Audiophile by any stretch.

John


I don't know how good the DVD will play in a bus but if you want 6+ speakers to play CD's on you'll have all the controls for relatively cheap. Grin   you can even find them with the speakers.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4523656&SRCCODE=SMARTER&cm_mmc_o=2mHCjCmFzyfwyCjCVqHCjCdwwp
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It's all fun and games til someone gets hurt. Wink
belfert
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« Reply #32 on: September 07, 2009, 04:34:56 PM »

Yes, but that's at the radio -- in the front, not back where the people are who want the volume adjusted.  And you can't just put in a pot or cutoff switch back there, because the radio power amp transistor can burn up if there is no load on the output.

The passengers can just ask the driver to change the volume.  I don't think it will be an issue as the volume on the boom box we used in the past didn't get changed all that much.

When you say speakers in the back, I think of the rear half of the coach.  Maybe you mean the front half, just behind the driver.

I don't think I would want to be shouting from one end to the other, over road noise, "A little louder . . .no, too much, a little lower now . . ."  That would be too much like backing into a small space while someone you can't see is shouting "This way . . .now go that way a little . . !"   Wink

When I say rear I mean the living area.  Two speakers up by the driver and four in the front living area.  The speakers in the living area would be connected to the rear ouput of the radio.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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