Special Considerations when Shopping for Marine Audio
Taking your boat out on the water with family or friends is certainly a fantastic way to spend a nice day, but upgrading your sound system can make the experience even more enjoyable.
What are some of the best ways to enhance your marine entertainment system?
Marine audio systems use many of the same components as your car such as receivers with newer features, better speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers. When these items are installed on your boat you’re exposing them to the elements, and there are some additional factors to consider.
- Marine Grade: When purchasing a new receiver for your boat buying marine-grade equipment is highly recommended. Your receiver should be water resistant, protected from UV rays, and feature anti-corrosion properties.
- Location: A tinted radio cover is recommended to help protect your equipment from moisture, direct sunlight and UV rays. Regardless of where you install your stereo, it is essential to make sure it is properly secured.
- Pre-outs: If you will be using an amplifier to power more than a total of four items, speakers or subs a marine stereo with three pre-outs is recommended.
- Wiring: When running wires to your new stereo it is essential to conceal all wiring and equipment in a secure and dry location. Although marine audio equipment is more resilient to the elements, it is still important to keep your audio gear as dry as possible.
- External Remote: If you have a swim platform, or spend time in any other areas that are separate from the main deck or cabin, an external remote can be an extremely convenient add-on.
- Second Battery A multi-battery setup is a terrific way to add peace of mind while out on the water. Many boats already have a second battery, but it is advisable to check before planning a system upgrade.
- Battery Switch: A battery switch is necessary just in case you inadvertently drain your battery while listening to your audio system. A battery switch allows you to change over to a second battery, start your boat engine, and then switch back to charge the depleted battery.
- Marine Grade: Marine speakers are typically more water resistant and use more durable materials. They also tend to come with more durable speaker grills.
- Marine Speakers: For marine applications, you want a speaker system that sounds good at high volume. Consider purchasing marine speakers that feature high sensitivity, durability, and increased power handling. If there is not already a cut-out and wire run to your desired speaker location, then custom installation will be required.
- Tower Speakers: If you want the ability to hear music while wakeboarding or wakesurfing, a set of tower speakers are a great option. Custom installation may be required to run speaker wire to tower speaker locations.
- Marine Subwoofer: The open-air environment of many boats makes it especially important to add as much bass as possible. If space is limited, a free air (infinite baffle) subwoofer is an excellent option because it does not require an enclosure. If you do decide to purchase a subwoofer that needs an enclosure, it is advised to have a custom box professionally built and installed in a dry area using water-resistant materials.
- Marine Grade: Marine amplifiers typically have stainless steel connections and water-resistant coating.
- Wiring: Use high-quality wiring, keep all wires as dry as possible, and do not run them in bilge spaces or anywhere water can accumulate.
- Multiple Amplifiers: Depending on how many speakers and subwoofers you are installing you may need more than one amplifier. It is advised to amplify all the speakers on your boat for better sound quality, particularly at higher volumes.
- Amplifier Location: Make sure to install your amplifiers in a dry location even if they are marine grade.
- Amplifier Power: You will want to make sure you have enough power going to each of your speakers for the best possible sound.
Despite the ‘Car’ in our name, Car Toys carries a great selection of marine audio equipment, and our experts can help you improve the sound system and technology features in nearly any vehicle. Visit a store to learn more, or browse our selection!