How Does Marine Audio Equipment Differ?

Apr 7, 2022

Marine Audio equipment is specially designed and manufactured to perform in the harsh conditions of the marine environment: sun, rain, spray, salt, and the shock of pounding waves.

Marine audio equipment is either waterproof or highly water-resistant. The internal circuit boards are specially coated to resist corrosion. In addition, metal parts are often made from stainless steel to resist corrosion.

Marine audio equipment is more expensive than car audio equipment. Unless the stereo is inside a boat cabin, a car stereo system will not last in a marine environment. 

Furthermore, because of the open-air nature of a boat, a marine stereo is required to produce more sound and, at the same time, be efficient on electrical demands from the battery.

marine audio parts and components

Boat stereo equipment is specially designed to perform in harsh marine conditions. Fusion is a top brand and is made by Garmin.

Components and Parts of a Marine Audio System

  • Stereo Receiver – The stereo receiver is the main component that installs into the dashboard or the console of the boat. The stereo is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, so you can wirelessly connect to a smartphone or other device. The receiver comes in either a standard DIN size, which is 2 inches high by 7 inches wide, like a standard-sized car stereo. Or it can be a double-DIN, which is 4 inches high by 7 inches wide and is sized like many marine electronics. The receiver should be installed where it is protected from direct spray but easily accessed. It can also be remotely controlled through your phone or a separate remote control.
amplifier and boat sterring wheel

The main boat audio component is the receiver. It is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity so you can connect a smartphone or other devices wirelessly.

  • Amplifier – The second component is the amplifier. This is a hidden component that is protected from the elements and out of sight. In order for your music to overcome ambient noise like engine, waves, and wind, a powerful amplifier is required to drive a sub-woofer and four or more speakers. A marine amplifier is designed to run cool and be efficient on power draw from the boat’s battery. Because of the open-air environment, boat audio is different from car audio or home audio, where the sound bounces off of walls or enclosed areas. More available power translates into less distortion for thundering bass and crystal-clear high range.
boat amplifier

The amplifier is tucked out of sight in a protected area. More power means thundering bass from the sub-woofer and great clarity in high range.

  • Speakers – The third components are the speakers. Marine speakers are manufactured using waterproof material like polypropylene that can withstand direct spray from waves and washdowns while producing superior sound quality. Marine audio speaker systems utilize a subwoofer to produce bass, and generally, four or more speakers are distributed throughout the boat. Since a boat is an open air, speakers need to be pointed directly at listeners for quality sound, so placement is important.

Speakers may be surface mounted on the vertical fiberglass or wood interior of a boat and sometimes have built in LED lighting for a mood enhancing affect. 

There are also box speakers that can be mounted overhead like on a canopy frame, or tucked underneath seating. The best speakers like from JL are built in fiberglass boxes so they are both weatherproof and rigid for superior sound performance.

marine audio wiring

Box Speakers can be placed to blast clear crisp sound directly at the listeners. Kicker is a top brand of marine stereo equipment.

Wiring Requirements For Marine Audio

Because of the nature of the outdoor and marine environment, special care has to be taken with the wire selection and electrical connections.

Special marine grade wire is used that is “tinned”. The copper in the wire is specially coated so it resists corrosion. The wire is covered in a special plastic jacket that tightly encases the wire, so it cannot get air or water inside to create a short or become corroded.

Wire connections are made waterproof by using heat-shrink tubing. An installation using standard electrical tape will surely lead to corrosion or connection issues in little time.

Because of the power and efficiency requirements, plus often long wiring routes, over-sized wire is used to maximize efficiency and minimize distortion.

marine audio kicker

Oversized marine wire is to supply ample power for maximum clarity. Use of heat-shrink tubing makes electrical connections secure and waterproof.

Why Use Lakeside Marine For Boat Stereo Installation?

Lakeside Marine is a full-service marina. Our professionally trained and talented staff is capable of performing complex marine audio installations to the highest standard. After all, practice makes perfect.

Lakeside Marine puts customer needs first with aggressive pricing on the best quality marine audio brands. We specialize in clean custom audio installations, professional and creative designs, and high performance sound that brings satisfaction to every listener.

Lakeside Marine is an authorized dealer for the leading brands in the marine audio industry including Fusion, JL, Polk, Monster Tower, and Kicker. Call us at (678) 322- 7877 or Email customerservice@lakesidemarine.com and let us design and install a boat audio system that will exceed your expectations.

Lakeside Marine is a trusted installer for all types of marine electronics including marine radios, marine stereos, chart plotters, navigation systems, radar systems, fish-finders, custom interior lighting, underwater lighting, and more.

Trust your marine electronics installation to a professional boat shop. Lakeside Marine has earned the reputation as the most trusted boat shop on Lake Lanier and has been voted the Best Boat Service and Repair Shop for multiple years in the Best of Forsyth. We look forward to assisting you to install new or upgraded electronics on your boat.

boat marine audio service lakeside marine

Success at achieving countless custom installations has earned Lakeside Marine a reputation of excellence for boat audio and marine electronics installation.

Contact Us for Marine Audio Service

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