Nautical application help please

Hi all -

Hoping I might find some sailors out there as well as others who have put systems in small places. Am doing a stereo system for my boat. Goal is a very listenable, non-aggressive system that is musical and works well at moderate levels. Smooth mids and highs more important then big bass - doh...

Music is the great ladies, the sax men, some latin and bit of Jimmy Buffet for atmosphere but he sounds good on a Delco 3" speaker so no real concerns there. Lower end stuff would be bought new, higher end stuff bought used on Audiogon.

Specifications are specific and immutable - a sailboat cabin is a very defined space. It's the old saw about a place for everything and everything in its place - including speakers!

Speakers will have to go against the forward bulkhead in the corners - no placement options except for a bit of toe in. The space restricts the speakers to 12-13"h max and 8-9" deep max. Given those parameters width is not an issue. (This is maddening because there are enormous numbers of wonderful speakers that are an inch or two bigger in one dimension or another.) The speakers will be about 9 feet apart. Cabin is 6'4" high and somewhat vaulted. Listening area is 1-8 feet from the speakers. Lots of hard surfaces, lots of angles to break things up, lots of cushions to absorb things.

Because it is a small sailboat, the front end and amp are 12v car audio components. I have done this before with good success. There is a Nakamichi 6 CD unit with an AUX in that I will use for an iPod with Apple Lossless files. Amp is an old school Soundstream Reference made in the USofA in the mid 90s rated at 100 watts per side at 2 ohms. This will provide a very clean 25 watts at 8ohms. These are amps designed to power massive subs so you can run them very hard - and if need be I can put in a bigger one - this has a nice package size. Again - not looking for much SPL and many of the candidate speakers are actually rated at 4-6ohms which brings things up some more

So actually some pluses - no transport jitter and no AC hash. Will use audiophool grade speaker wire and interconnects. The speakers will be mounted using an Omnimount or similar - may epoxy a bit of phrenolic or G10 to the cabinet so I can tap the mounts without damaging the enclosure.

Based on perusing the boards and manufacturers websites I have narrowed my search to the following - I am looking for your first hand experience especially regarding placement, personal comparisons between any of the speakers listed below and of course alternatives that fit these very strict dimension parameters.

And the candidates are:

Spendor 3/5 or 3/5se: Small, smooth and allegedly happy up against the wall
EPO 3 or 5: Good rep for being smooth
NHT SB2 or their new Classic 2 - air suspension seems like its a plus here
Totem Mite or Dreamcatcher - perfect size and supposed to be very musical

Again, there are many wonderful candidates that are just a skoosh too big or that will not be happy up against the wall...

Also - anyone tried Ancor tinned marine wire for speaker cable?

Thanks in advance for all your help

One choice might be the Dynaudio Audience 42 the only problem is that it is 9.5" deep.

What? You're not going to gimbal mount them?!

Ok, ok. My vote for a good intersection of size/sound/reliability/humidity-proof/shockproof and compact size would be the (now in production for over 17 years) JBL Control 1 personal professional monitors.

They come in black and white, non-wood construction. Measure 6x6x9. Shielded for use near old technology TVs. Can be ceiling or wall mounted, either vertically or horizontally (a great looking and functioning adjustable wall bracket in matching color is available) List $175 ea, $158 eBay.

I've had my pair for 15 yrs, they sound great in a small space and totally indestructable!