What to Look for When Buying Marine Speakers for Your Boat

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Every sailor loves to turn up the volume and blast out a good playlist while enjoying a beautiful boat ride.

All this while taking in some rays, all the while gently riding the waves!

No matter where you are, you don’t want your music to sound tinny and unnatural. Boats do not have the acoustics that a room has. Also, marine speakers on a boat have to compete with all of nature’s elements, such as the sounds of the ocean, the rain, fog, and wind. Apart from that you also have the sound of the engines.

Music on a boat is an amazing experience, but what are the best speakers to get? This guide explains what to look for when buying marine speakers for your boat.

How Do I Find the Best Marine Speakers?

Finding the best marine speakers for your boat can be more than a little bit daunting. Do you like to listen to loud music while on your boat a perfect addition would be a set of boat tower speakers?

But, here are some factors to take into consideration when choosing marine speakers.

1. Box or Flush-Mounted Speakers

Box Speakers – These are the easiest to install. Box speakers have their own acoustic designed enclosure. So in effect, what you hear on the shop floor is what you will get on board. The advantage of box speakers is that you do not have to deface your boat for installation. However, they do, take up a lot of space.

Flush-mount speakers – These are an attractive alternative. They have a clean and tight fit. Unfortunately, you have to have cutouts on the body of the boat to fit these speakers. These speakers work on a moving diaphragm, which moves the air and gives out the sound. It can be tricky as you need the right amount of air space otherwise it can inhibit the output of sound.

2. Driver Numbers: Coaxial, Dual Cone, and Triaxial

Coaxial or Two-Way Speakers – A separate tweeter located in the woofer, is included in this type of speaker. That is to handle the high frequencies and to handle the sound range.

Dual Cone Speakers – These speakers are lower in quality and the cheapest. This speaker reproduces sound through one speaker driver with two different sized cones. The smaller one is responsible for the higher frequencies whilst, the larger one takes care of the bass. This kind of speaker will do the job to satisfaction but you can find better quality ones.

Triaxial or Three-Way Speakers – these speakers have an extra tweeter and woofer as well as a midrange driver for deeper bass and a more crispy sound.

3. How Waterproof Are They?

Auto and home speakers have steel frames and grilles. They also have exposed copper wires and paper cones. All these would not last on a boat.

Salt air is a corrosive element. Therefore, you need to install waterproof speakers with polypropylene cones, neoprene surround, and metal parts that are corrosion resistant.  Plastic parts also have to be able to handle the sun so, they need to be UV-tolerant plastic.

4. Shielding Magnetic Interference

Be careful not to install speakers with magnetic motors near your magnetic compass. This could move the compass needle off magnetic North. If you need to install near the compass, just make sure that your speakers are magnetically shielded.

5. Subwoofers and Amplifiers

Free-air subwoofer – Subwoofers come mounted inside special boxes. But, a free-air subwoofer does not need an enclosure. Space is precious on a boat so these are optimal. However, they need to be installed in an airtight space.

Most subwoofers are mounted inside specially designed boxes. A box or enclosure is not needed for a free-air or infinite baffle subwoofer. That is why this subwoofer saves valuable space, but, installation must be in an airtight compartment or enclosure.

Free-air subwoofers work with flat frequency response to give a clean bass and crisp sound.

Amplifiers – Unpowered subwoofers need separate powered amplifiers to drive them. Normal speakers will run from the receiver’s amp but you will get more volume and power if your speakers are driven off a power amplifier.

We all know how noisy powerboats are. An amplifier will provide the power for a brilliant sound. When installing an amplifier you need to connect a thick power wire directly to your boat’s battery. You will also need to run cables for audio output.

Installation Tips

Surface-mounted speakers are the easiest to install. Just a bit of planning on where you want your speakers. Drill a small hole for the wire and thereafter seal each hole with a lump of silicone. Make sure you keep all wires behind the bulkhead.

For fitted speakers, you must follow the manufacturer’s specifications for the cutouts on your boat. Most manufacturers include a template to make it easier for installation. Remember to measure twice and cut once!

Some tips to remember:

  • Your speakers should be installed higher up and be pointing in a downward direction pointing to listeners’ ears for clear sound on your boat.
  • Select a good marine grade wire to connect the speakers to the stereo. The marine wire has a treated coating to prevent oxidation.
  • Make sure your speakers are wired properly. If your speakers are out of phase when your wiring is connected the wrong way around.

Enjoy Music While Cruising the Waves

Marine speakers are made to endure corrosion, rust, and humidity. They have to be built to withstand mother earth’s harsh weather conditions such as wind, rain, sun, and salty water.

We believe you are now well informed on marine speakers and how to choose the best combination for your boat.  If you are still unsure, contact a professional marine audio installer for more detailed and personalized advice.

Take your next boat trip up a notch and transform a typical day cruising the waterways into a party or a chilled relaxing trip. Why not choose from a boating playlist played through your new marine sound system!

Make sure to check out the rest of our site for more tips.