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Old 09-06-2009, 12:37 PM   #1
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Has anyone upgraded their audio?

We take delivery of our 2009 Ventana this week and I want to upgrade the audio system.
Has anyone upgraded speakers or amp and dvd players in their Newmar?
I would also like to add a set of exterior speakers.
I know a lot about audio equipment but I'm curious about routing of speaker wires and such.
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:22 PM   #2
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When my folks purchased their '07 MADP (off the lot). I tore out almost every piece of A/V equipment, from the dash stereo, to the television/DVD/surround setup.

I have since replace everything with much higher end equipment.

By far the hardest part was running wires, in fact if I had to do it again I wouldn't... According to Newmar they have never seen so much work (A/V wise) done on one of their coaches.

I am not that familiar with the Ventana, but in my experience an RV is an RV whether it was $100k or $800k...

Anything specific you need answered?
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Old 09-07-2009, 09:50 AM   #3
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Hey Monkey,
What equipment did you use in place of the stock stuff?
My main concern is music, the stock TV will be fine since we never watch TV when we are camping
I'm assuming that the stock speaker wires are garbage (18 or 20 ga.) ,and I would want to run 12 ga. If the wiring is a pain I might just eliminate the surround sound and stick with 2-channel. I have some speakers picked out that I could have swing down from the ceiling instead of using the ceiling mounted ones that I assume are junk.
How much depth is in the ceiling for swapping out the speakers?
I guess my biggest challenge will be getting some outdoor speakers to mount on the passenger side outside wall. I just put some James Loudspeakers on our patio and they sound excellent. Running those wires will be tough.
How much depth is in the audio cabinet? I have a nice high end integrated that I'm hoping would fit. I think I will be limited by space in the audio cabinet, but
I'm thinking I could replace that cabinet with a larger and deeper one
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Old 09-07-2009, 05:47 PM   #4
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Welcome katoomer to the Newmar forum and congrats on your new Newmar.
If you check out Quick Tips & Mods just below my signature you will see some of what I did and many others have done or added to their coach's.
While what I did is not the Heavy stuff you want to add it will give some idea what you may run into when wiring.
I would leave all existing wiring thats in coach now so you can put back if you ever sell your coach.
You can always run wiring under coach and wire up thru cabinets, walls will all be blocked on exterior walls and ceiling also. Some have wired thru the AC duct work I'll leave that up to you. Some interior walls can be fished all depends where your spk's are going.
The surround system I installed with DVD & FM was in two other coach's I had looks like this is its last stop. All other coach's were rewired back to original set-up when sold.
You may have some room in cabinet with a Tape Player if it was installed thats where I had this Amp placed in our MA, the overhead cabinet was deep enough.
With your new coach I believe you have a Audio Video cabinet.
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Old 09-07-2009, 09:20 PM   #5
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Katoomer, as I stated I am not familar with the Ventana, but most RV's have zero clearance within the ceiling. It is full of insulation, except for the HVAC duct.

I myself would avoid using the HVAC duct to run wires, you are just asking for trouble by doing that.

As for what I did. I took out all of the surround sound system. It was medium grade equipment (Pioneer elite HTIB), but Newmar had junked the average quality Pioneer speakers (part of the HTIB), and replaced them with garbage swap meet quality cubes.

I did not replace any of the surround system. I instead I finished out the factory speaker cabinets and used them for more storage.

The main reason I did not replace the equipment is because I drastically changed the floor plan layout. Instead of the TV facing the rear of the coach, I created a TV lift in the passenger slide, and added theater chairs to the drivers slide. For a space this small I didn't feel the effort to wire the slides for surround would be worth it.

If you are keeping the factory TV location, in my opinion I would re-use the factory speaker wiring. Yes it is ~20ga, but if you replace the A/V equipment with above average HTIB you would never push enough watts to stress the wire. I would not ever install highend theater audio in a coach because it ends up being a waste. It doesn't take much to fill such a small space.

Now for stereo sound, that is very different. You need to look at the interior of your coach like you would an automobile interior.

What I did was "repurpose" two over head cabinets to create a custom speaker enclosure. I only have completed photos, I seem to have lost my in progress photos



The original cabinets doors had a center section that I removed. Using acoustically transparent speaker grill material I covered the opening. It looks factory.

Within the cabinet I used 1/2 MDF lined with dynamat to create a box within a box. I built a sealed cabinet for nice tight bass.

Because of the rectangular shape of the space I was forced to use JBL 3 way 6x9's. I know 6x9's are not perfect, but the end result was impressive.

I am powering the speakers using an Alpine ipod only head unit. I would have preferred to amp the system, but my folk only use it at very moderate levels, so amping was not necessary.
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Old 09-08-2009, 06:44 AM   #6
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I've had nothing but problems with the Jamo HTIB in my Ventana. I can get the blue light to come on, but that's it. Every so often it would actually work, but not once this past weekend.

I used my wife's laptop with a Blu Ray player and hooked it straight to the TV with an HDMI cable. Without the Jamo working, the bass module was set to "California Earthquake", so I had to disconnect the audio out cables from the TV.

It bugs me that when I paid for the optional HD cables, they did component instead of HDMI.

I'm looking at an LG HTIB with Blu Ray to replace the Jamo if I can't get the Jamo replaced under the Jamo 2 year warranty. My house warranty is up.

The specs on the LG look good, but as others have mentioned, there isn't much room for speakers. I'm not even sure where exactly the bass module is. It sounds like it's back by the sink or refrigerator.

If you're OK with replacement speakers hanging down or mounting them on walls, you'll have more options.

The Eclipse/TomTom is an OK unit, but the speakers are terrible. That's an upgrade I'd like to do some day.
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
I myself would avoid using the HVAC duct to run wires, you are just asking for trouble by doing that.
It's quite common to use the ducts in Newmars to run cables.

As long as the entry/exit points are caulked/sealed there is no problem.
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 69RoadRunner View Post
I'm not even sure where exactly the bass module is. It sounds like it's back by the sink or refrigerator.
That is a funny story in it self. I have seen several Newmars where they decided to hide the subwoofer under the sink behind a false partition.

What the subwoofer is is comical. The one I took out was an ebay special car audio reject. If I remember it had a 8in driver (paper) fuzzy grey carpeting and slapped on cheezy amplifier to power it.

When I first saw it I honestly face palmed...

The sad part was the original A/V equipment (Pioneer Elite) had a basic but decent subwoofer as part of the HTIB. I don't know who at the factory took that home...
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:13 AM   #9
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I've seen that false partition. I'll have to check it out.
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:19 PM   #10
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My Intruder came with Pioneer audio systems, both house (Home Theater) and dash.

THe only upgrade I can imagine is the dash radio

I'd like to direct it to speakers that I can hear better when driving

But as it stands... There is not much room for improvement.

And as for computer audio here at the campground family center....
Bose noise cancelling headsets (The older larger ones) and frankly it does not get any better than that, PERIOD.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:40 PM   #11
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I've got a few ideas for what to do for better sound. I'll have to wait until I get ours ( it will arrive at the border today but paperwork will make us wait until Fri. to bring it home). As long as I have room for a nice integrated amp or AV receiver I can improve sound greatly. It depends on what you want to spend for equipment. I talked to someone on another forum that replaced the in-ceiling speakers with some high end speakers and they sound great but they are $1800 each. I have a McIntosh MA6500 integrated at home that I would love to use if there is room. I also plan on running a hard drive with a Sonos box for music. Ipods don't work for me because they compress the sound and ruin quality.
69Roadrunner, the HTIB are ok at best. In particular the subs are crap because they are non-powered. Just look for a good quality AV receiver and decent disc player. Once I get mine home I can take a look and come up with some ideas.
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:37 PM   #12
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The problem is my AV shelves are full with a satellite receiver in the lower shelf. There isn't a lot of room for separate receiver and Blu Ray player.

I also just can't justify the expense of a high end or even mid level system when my kids watch it more than me.

My sub must be powered, because when the Jamo actually worked, I had to cut back on the bass to keep the windows from rattling.
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:52 PM   #13
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We just went tonight to see ours for the first time. I took a quick look under the sink and I think that was the sub in there. When I mean powered sub it means you actually have to plug it into 110 because it has a built in amp. Then you run interconnects from the receiver instead of speaker wire. They all rattle the windows but the diff is accuracy.
What is that black box connected to the switching box?
Do some research on HTIB units, Pioneer or Sony will be better than the Jamo.
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Old 09-09-2009, 04:35 AM   #14
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I see you plan on running a Sonos box.

I installed an AppleTV (I run it lossless), along with a cradlepoint + amp (wireless router).

Its main purpose was to provide TV when the dish is dead in the trees. It works surprisingly well.

Now something I can't stress enough is heat management. Because of the small A/V cabinets the heat build up can be tremendous.
I built a cooling system that is nearly silent, and easily lowers the cabinet temperatures to near room ambient.

If you need details on the components let me know.

Excuse the fuzzy photos.



Here's a clearer photo. This is an older photo that shows it before the latest A/V upgrade (we are on #3 at this point)


I added the CCFL lighting, best upgrade I made to the cabinet, all with about $12 in parts.
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