Hitting the open water on your boat is one of the greatest pleasures of life. Whether you're fishing, sightseeing or celebrating with friends and family, boating activities are always time well-spent. Like many of life's prized moments, being out on the water is even better when your favorite songs are playing in the background — or pumping out of your speakers in full clarity.
A high performance marine audio system can take your boating experience to the next level. If you're thinking of building a sound system for a boat, start your journey here. Use this checklist for creating a marine audio system to ensure your final product is ready for years of great tunes on the open water.
What Should You Be Looking for in Your Marine Audio?
One aspect of marine audio to keep in mind is that a boat sound system is a lot different than a car sound system. Both types of systems seek to deliver great sound quality, but their area of use is quite different. Car sound systems must deal with bumps and potholes while staying mostly protected from the elements. Boat sound systems have to handle waves, mist, direct sunlight and even some precipitation from time to time.
As you look for the best components for your boat's audio system, keep in mind that they will be exposed to the elements. Look for products with the following terms attached when choosing the best components for your marine audio system:
- Water-resistant: When dealing with water on a consistent basis, water resistance is the bare minimum to look for in your marine audio system. Water-resistant items can withstand the occasional splash of water and light rain without suffering damage to their functionality. Products will have differing levels of water resistance depending on the manufacturer. Remember that water-resistant items are unable to handle full submersion.
- Waterproof: Waterproofed items can handle complete submersion up to a certain point without suffering damage. When looking at waterproofed audio components, keep in mind that different manufacturers' products will have varying levels of waterproofing. An item's waterproof level comes down to two factors — the amount of time submerged and the depth of submersion.
- UV-resistant: The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your speakers and other audio components. Make sure your items are UV-resistant so they stay in great shape, even in direct sunlight.
- Anti-corrosion: Manufacturers design items with anti-corrosion properties to withstand the harmful effects of saltwater. Saltwater can cause parts of your marine audio system to rust and fall apart, including circuit boards and electrical connections. Buy anti-corrosive components for longer-lasting results, especially if you plan to boat on the ocean.
There are a few kinds of components you'll need for a complete marine stereo system setup. Use this list to help you keep track of what you need for a high-quality audio experience on the water:
- A head unit: Your head unit or receiver will act as the centerpiece of your entire marine audio system. Most head units have the ability to send adequate power to four speakers so you can enjoy a stereo or surround-sound effect. You'll control volume, select tracks or radio stations, and even stream music wirelessly through your smartphone using the head unit.
- Loudspeakers: The loudspeakers are what produce the sound sent from the head unit. With so many different types of loudspeakers on the market, you'll have plenty to choose from. Research the type of sound you're looking for and find the speakers that best meet your needs and preferences.
- Amplifiers: Amplifiers supply more power to your speakers and subwoofers than a head unit can by itself. When you want more bass in your subwoofer or want to get the most out of your loudspeakers, connect your system to an amplifier to maximize the performance.
- Subwoofers: Subwoofers handle the low-frequency sounds in the music played on your boat's stereo system. You can experience rich bass and deep kick drums on your boat by adding a subwoofer to your system.
- Marine grade speaker wire and cables: Make sure you have enough marine grade speaker wire and cables on hand in case you need to do any custom wiring in your boat.
Where Is Your Existing Audio System Located on Your Boat?
Once you have your audio components, the next step is to install them in your boat. Custom installation is always an option. With this method, you can mount your components anywhere, running custom wire and building custom mounting structures. This gives you full control over your sound system and is essential if your boat lacks an existing audio system, but it can be tricky for a DIYer to get right.
The best option is to have a professional install your new components in place of your existing audio system components. Your new parts will go in the exact location of your boat's existing sound system. Your new head unit will rest where your old head unit currently is, your new loudspeakers will fit in the same openings and areas where your old loudspeakers are, and so forth down the list of components. In some situations, you can even use your boat's existing audio wiring setup, making the task even easier.
Finding the best location for a sound system can be difficult with the limited space available on many boats. You should trust a professional to install your audio investment while setting it up in the best way possible. Often, this includes using the location of your existing audio system. Locate your audio system to learn the shapes and sizes that may be compatible with your setup.
Where to Get Quality Marine Audio Parts
When choosing parts, first make sure they meet the following qualifications:
- The sum of each component's price should fit your budget.
- The components should fit in your existing sound system's location or allow for custom installation.
- The components should deliver the experience you're looking for, from crisp vocals to full-bodied bass and soaring, clean high frequencies.
- Your components are from a reputable audio component manufacturer and dealer.
Audiopipe is an industry leader in high-performance audio equipment, and we make every component you need to upgrade your marine stereo system. We create components that can withstand the rigors of the water, so you can enjoy all your favorite songs regardless of what the weather throws at you.
Find an Audiopipe Dealer to Start Upgrading Your Marine Audio System
When you're building a sound system for your boat, you need the best marine audio system components. You need Audiopipe audio equipment. We make our products with reliable weather-resistant capabilities, so you can have confidence in your investment and enjoy great sound quality on the water for years to come.