Marine audio systems are a bit different from the usual land-based stereo system. It’s a unique market that requires special considerations. Before you set up your marine audio system, make sure to consider the following.
- Where will the marine sound system be located? (For instance, if it’s in a small cabin, you wouldn’t need something too powerful. But if you’ll set it up outside, you need something to compete with the engine and wind noise.)
- What speaker installation size do you require?
- Do you want a full system or just some components?
- Does the existing control station (helm) have an enclosure or other sound system features built-in?
- What are your electrical system’s limits?
- What features are you looking to enjoy? (i.e. Bluetooth, remote control, surround sound, etc.)
- What is your budget?
- Are you looking to invest in a premium system? (Think about the lifespan and replacement costs)
- Do you require a specific number of speakers? (i.e. 2 tower, 2 bow, 2 stern)
- Have you decided on the speaker placement? (Are you going to cut holes in fiberglass or just mount with screws?)
- What kind of amplifier and how much wattage is suitable for your current electrical system?
- What wattage speakers work with your chosen/ existing amplifier?
- Do you need Subwoofers. If yes, what size can fit? (Will you be cutting holes?)
- Is your wiring fit for the marine setting?
- How will you protect the audio connections from saltwater, strong wind, and other external elements?
Here are the special considerations to make:
Marine-grade equipment: When buying a new receiver, go for marine-grade. It should be water-resistant and protected from UV rays. Look for something with anti-corrosion properties.
Location: It’s recommended to choose a tinted radio cover to protect your unit from direct sunlight, moisture, and other elements. Wherever you choose to install the stereo, just make sure it’s safe and secured.
Pre-outs: If you choose to use an amplifier for over 4 items, using speakers or subs with three pre-outs is ideal.
Wiring: As you run wires to the new stereo, conceal the wiring and other equipment in a dry and secure location. Though marine audio models are generally more resilient to external elements, it’s still best to keep the audio gear as dry and secure as possible.
External Remote: For added convenience, secure an external remote for your marine audio system especially if you have a swim platform or you spend time in other areas other than the main deck and cabin.
Marine Grade Equipment: Go for weatherproof speakers designed for marine environment. Even when exposed to corrosive atmospheres and other outdoor applications, marine-grade speakers will remain durable and water-resistant.
Marine Speakers: In the marine environment, you need to run a higher volume, so you’d need a speaker system that will still sound good at high volume. Choose marine speakers with high sensitivity and power handling. If there’s no wire run and cut-out to your desired speaker location yet, custom installation could be necessary.
Tower Speakers: If you want to hear the music even as you do wakesurfing or wakeboarding, tower speakers can come in handy. Custom installation is also necessary to run speaker wire to the tower speaker locations.
Marine Subwoofer: Since boats are in an open-air environment, it’s best to add a lot of bass. If the space is just limited, an infinite baffle or free air subwoofer is ideal as it doesn’t need an enclosure. But maybe you want a subwoofer than requires an enclosure, secure a professionally built custom box for it and install it in a dry location using water-resistant materials. Check our DS marine subwoofers here>
Multi-battery setup: Going multi-battery is best, so you can have fun out on the water without worrying about power. Check if you can set up a second battery for more peace of mind and enjoyment.
Battery Switch: It’s best to have a battery switch to seamlessly change over to the second battery, start the engine, and then switch back to fully charge the drained battery.
Marine-Grade Amplifier: DS18 Marine amplifiers already have a water-resistant coating and stainless steel connections.
Wiring and Installation Kits: Make use of high-quality wiring and keep all the wires as dry as possible. Also, don’t run them in areas where water accumulates.
Multiple Amplifiers: You may require more than one marine amplifier depending on the number of subwoofers and speakers you have. For better sound quality though, it’s best to amplify all the speakers on the boat. You may check out DS18 for some high-quality Marine amplifiers for your sound system.
Location: Install your amplifier in a location that’s as dry as possible. Even if it’s marine-grade, it’s still best to take care of your equipment to further expand its longevity.
Amplifier Power: Make sure that there’s enough power for each speaker to achieve the best possible sound and the best possible experience in your marine adventure.
Boating is supposed to be fun, and it’s going to be even more enjoyable with a trusty and high-quality marine audio system in place. Do not settle for a substandard marine audio system and secure a high-quality, functional audio system that amplifies the experience and doubles the fun.