IBEX 365 News

2023 IBEX Innovation Award Interview with Hertz Marine

Crystal-Clear Audio Beyond the Wake

Innovation in the marine industry is exciting to watch. Why? Because our boats contain such a broad range of technologies. Some of those technologies (diesel engines, lead-acid batteries, refrigeration systems) are relatively mature and settled, exhibiting only incremental changes around the edges. Others (lithium-ion batteries, electric propulsion, advanced driver-assistance systems) are still in their infancy or early adolescence; in those segments, nearly every new product is an innovation unto itself.

Look at it that way, and stereo speakers certainly fall into that first group of mature tech. Faraday’s Law of Induction, the same principle our alternators use to charge the boat’s batteries, was discovered in the 1830s. Electroacoustic transducers, translating electrical current to mechanical energy, have been with us since the 1920s. In this old and settled field, what could possibly be new?

Well, along comes Hertz to school us.

What problem was the HTX 8H S-FL-G designed to solve?

Traditional tower speakers use the horn on HF to increase the sound projection at farther distances. This solution focuses the SPL into a narrow area (sweet spot) where the tower is directed. The disadvantage of doing this is that the sound is not uniformly distributed over a wide area and only whoever enters the sweet spot has the best sound experience.

This fact is very limiting when practicing water sports because it is virtually impossible to keep yourself at the ideal listening point. Outside the ideal listening point, the sound quickly drops in intensity and becomes dark due to the drastic reduction of high frequencies.

HERTZ SOLUTION: Our product uses the cone as a horn and still allows sound projection but offers a wider sweet spot. This feature is paramount because it allows the sound to be well distributed. In a horizontal angle reaching 120 degrees, the sound remains fully balanced across the entire frequency spectrum and without loss of sound pressure.

What are the advantages of a single motor-compression driver?

Using a compression driver unit to get high SPL and low distortion means an increase in weight and space consumption within the tower enclosure.
In a boat installation, saving space and weight is critical. Marine towers are installed overhead and, if too heavy, they risk compromising the optimal balance of the boat. Bulky enclosures can detract from the overall aesthetic result because they are very visually impactful.

HERTZ SOLUTION: The common motor coax unit uses a single magnetic system which is shared between woofer and compression driver. This results in lower weight and less space consumption within the enclosure allowing for better low-end extension on bass frequencies.

Hertz Marine HTX 8H S-FL-G

In addition to performance advantages, a more compact product in the boat is more aesthetically appealing and facilitates installation.

We use a rubber damper on top of the cone to close the gap horn and voice coil. This rubber damper increases the mass on the moving equipment thus decreasing the achievable SPL. If a higher SPL is needed, a bigger magnet system is needed and we are again increasing weight or cost. Furthermore, the rubber damper introduces higher non-linearities to the speaker suspension system resulting in a more distorted sound at mid-high SPL levels.

Speaker efficiency is a key parameter in achieving an appropriate sound pressure level for water sports practice. A less efficient speaker forces us to use more powerful amplifiers with more wasted energy to compensate for the loss of sound pressure.

HERTZ SOLUTION: The use of the cone as a horn and a special fiber dust-cap – that avoids the water/dust ingress but allows for sound output – permits us to avoid the rubber damper thus eliminating all its disadvantages. The HTX H passes with flying colors all the tests Hertz reserves for its marine-use products, maintaining a market-leading efficiency value. This ensures that the HTX H sounds louder and can effortlessly reach the sportsman who is practicing in the water.

Who is the target market for these speakers?

Our products are made for luxury surf, wake, and ski boat manufacturers. We are also working to develop products and relationships in the pontoon and deck boat industry, creating the sound experiences that those users desire.

Who is currently using these speakers? What feedback have you received?

For TIGE we developed the tower speakers for their new ZX ULTRE boat using the same technology outlined above.

During the first demo test, they immediately realized that our 8” tower speakers perform much better than the 10” tower speakers from their previous vendor. Simply put, our speakers are louder, clearer, and project wider and farther than any competitor.

What obstacles arose during the R&D process?

Every new technology has been its own challenge in this project as we worked to develop the highest quality sound experience imaginable. The LED lighting system which is integrated into the speaker magnet’s inner supporting structure has also been challenging to develop and to produce. Our sound signature, achieved through the speaker development and the fine tuning, operated into the massive passive crossover was an important phase of the development as well as all the hard marine testing!

What impact do you see the HTX having on the marine audio industry?

We intend to create a new benchmark in the market. This is just the beginning and there many new products based on this technology are in the pipeline that we can’t wait to share with the industry soon!

What makes the HTX stand out in such a saturated market?

It is true that the market is saturated. But it is also true that, until now, all of the products in that market have been similar. Our new technologies, our sound quality, and our commitment to excellence are unparalleled.

The IBEX Innovation Awards showcase outstanding marine product development to the recreational boating industry and beyond. The program, managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and judged by Boating Writers International (BWI), is one of the marine industry’s most prestigious honors recognizing manufacturers and suppliers who bring new, innovative products to market.

Hertz Marine

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Hertz Marine high-performance control units, speakers, and amplifiers are designed to operate in the marine environment, thrilling with the emotions of music while enjoying boating.

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