What could be better than spending a day out on the water in your very own boat? Listening to your favorite tunes can make this already awesome experience even more amazing. Listening to music on a boat can be a challenge though. Boats are exposed to harsh conditions, including water and salt, which are ideal for traditional speakers. Additionally, the speakers that are used on a boat have to compete with several loud sounds, including the engine, waves and splashing, and wind, not to mention anyone who is on the boat, or other vessels that you may pass.
Marine speakers are specialty speakers that are designed to withstand the elements and that can provide the necessary sound to override the noises that are heard on a boat so that you can enjoy your favorite tunes while you are setting sail.
If you are on the market for a great pair of marine speakers, you may find that it is a more difficult task than you anticipated. There are several options available, which can make finding the best marine speakers for your needs a bit of a challenge. To help you avoid the challenge, we have put together this hand buyer’s guide, which is full of valuable information that you can use to find the best marine speakers possible.
Types of Marine Speakers
There are four main types of marine speakers, which include:
- Dual cone marine speakers
- Coaxial marine speakers
- Component marine speakers
- Subwoofer marine speakers
Each of these four types of speakers offer different benefits, and it’s important to understand the difference between each type so that you can choose the best option for your needs.
Dual Coal Marine Speakers
Dual cone marine speakers feature a small whizzer cone, which is attached to the center of the woofer, which reproduces high frequencies. Dual cone speakers have a single sound output source, but they use two separate cones; one of these cones is larger than the other. The larger cone is geared toward the mid range and low frequencies, and the smaller cones is used to emit high frequency sounds. Dual cone marine speakers are inexpensive, which is a plus; however, they do not deliver as broad a spectrum of sound frequencies as other types of marine speakers, which means that your sound won’t be as good.
Coaxial Marine Speakers
Also known as two or three way speakers, coaxial marine speakers use multiple drivers to handle different frequencies. The tweeter, which handles the high sound frequencies, is usually located in the middle of the speaker. It is surrounded by a woofer, which is responsible for handling the mid range and low sound frequencies. These speakers are easy to balance because all of the sound comes from the same place instead of being distributed across a certain area. Standard coaxial speakers consist of a woofer and a tweeter. Three way coaxial speakers also include an additional tweeter. There are also four and five way coaxial marine speakers, which feature even more tweeters. The additional tweeters increase the depth and quality of sound.
Component Marine Speakers
Component marine speakers usually consist of more than one speaker. They separate the woofer and the tweeter and usually contain a subwoofer, which transmits really low frequency sound. Both the high and low frequencies are handled by completely separate speakers, which boosts the quality of the sound that they produce. A crossover device is used to make the sound.
Subwoofer Marine Speakers
Subwoofer marine speakers are only designed to handle bass frequencies. They are typically used when producing higher volumes of sound. Because boats are noisy places, even the best marine speakers can struggle when it comes to making high volumes. To avoid this type of situation, you can choose to use an amplifier in conjunction with the speakers. Amplifiers can amplify the signal and maintain the clarity of the sound, even at high volumes. Subwoofers also help to preserve the value and the condition of the speakers so that they are not constantly being strained.
Factors to Consider When Buying Marine Speakers
When you are buying speakers for your boat, there are several factors that you should take into consideration. These factors will help you find the best speakers that both fit your needs, and that fit the needs of your boat. You should consider the size of the speakers, type of speakers, and the price, among other things.
Size of the Speakers
When buying speakers for a boat, it is important to consider the size. To do this, you need to consider where the speakers will be installed in the boat. If you are buying new speakers to replace existing speakers, you’ll already have a space where the speakers can fit, and you need to make sure that the size you choose will fit in that space. Make sure you measure the width and the diameter. If you are cutting a new hole to place the speakers in, you should also measure the space where they will be installed. Taking accurate measurements will allow you to get the precise dimensions for your speakers.
You should also consider the depth of space behind the speakers. If the speakers are flush mount, you should make sure that there is an adequate amount of enclosed air space behind and around the speakers so that you can improve the resonance of the sound.
Choosing marine speakers that have a higher power handling ability will allow you to get the best sound. Speakers with high power handling will be better able to control the increase in power. Power handling is usually measured in both RMS wattage and peak wattage. RMS wattage is the average power that they speaker can be expected to handle over time. Peak wattage is the maximum amount of power that the speaker can handle at any given moment. You should consider buying speakers that have an RMS and peak power figure that is greater than the RMS or peak figure of the stereo or amplifier.
The Sound Quality
You want to make sure that your marine speakers will provide you with the best sound quality possible. Make sure that you test out the speakers before buying them so that you can determine if they will provide you with the sound quality that you are looking for.
It is also important to consider the installation. If you are going to be installing your marine speakers yourself, you want to make sure that you can easily do so. An instruction manual should come with the speakers and it should be easy to follow. If you are not prepared to install the speakers yourself, you should have a professional install them for you so that you can avoid doing any damage; however, do make sure that you consider the price of installation, as it will impact the amount of money that you are going to spend on this purchase.
You should also consider the price when buying marine speakers. Everyone has a budget, and in order to ensure that you stay on budget, you want to make sure that you buy speakers that you can afford. Usually, the higher the quality the speakers are, the more expensive they will be. Make sure you keep this in mind so that you don’t spend more money than you want to.
Features of Marine Speakers
Several marine speakers offer additional features. These features aim to boost sound quality and help to make it easier to enjoy your music while you are boating. Do keep in mind, though, that additional features will drive up the price of the marine speakers, so you should definitely keep your budget in mind when determining whether or not the features are a good choice for you.
A speaker dock is a device that acts as a base for an MP3 player. It also has the ability to charge the device while it is being docked, while playing music at the same time. Some speaker socks are made to handle a variety of audio devices, while other are specifically designed to work with only one style or brand of audio device. The design and the quality of the speaker docks can vary significantly base on the price and on the purpose. Some are geared more toward the role of a portable charging station than as a high quality speaker system, which means that they may have small speakers that do not allow great sound quality or high volume. Some types are made to be used as high quality speakers and allow for exceptional sound quality.
Portable USB Speakers
Portable USB speakers are designed to connect to a computer, a phone or another device. These speakers emit amplified sound through a cable that is connected to a USB port from the USB speakers. USB speakers come in a large range of sizes. Smaller sizes offer better portability, but larger ones produce better sound quality.
Portable Bluetooth Speakers
Portable Bluetooth speakers are small speakers that have the ability to communicate wirelessly with a device to play music, as well as other sounds, including phone calls.
If you use your boat at night, or you just want to add a cool visual effect to your music listening, you might want to consider marine speakers that feature LED lights. These lights illuminate your speaker and change color with the music to enhance your listening experience. The lights go under the tweeter and reflect off the woofer. They can change colors and flash in different patterns.
If you want to protect your investment, look for marine speakers that come with a warranty. Should anything happen to the speakers during the span of the warranty, you could have them replaced or you could have your money refunded. Do make sure that you read the details of your warranty to ensure exactly what it covers.
Best Marine Speaker Brands
In our opinion, the best marine speakers are capable of producing great sound quality without distorting while being able to stand up to the harsh conditions that they are exposed to on a boat. After we conducted extensive research, we have concluded that the following brands of marine speakers are the best of the best.
Polk has long been a well respected name in the audio industry. This company’s marine speakers are some of the highest quality speakers you can find. They offer many different types and boast a variety of features. We liked how easy they were to install and the sound quality that they produced.
Fusion produces some of the most durable marine speakers on the market. This company’s marine speakers also produce some pretty incredible sound and at very high frequencies without disrupting the quality. We were very impressed with them.
Another well respected name in the audio industry, Kicker KM produces excellent marine speakers. They are extremely durable, they boast some of the best features and they are very easy to install. We also liked that they were affordable.