Turn it up to 11 with our Marine Stereo Systems

Boats and their surrounding environments can be quite noisy: the sound of flogging sails, the drone of the engine, or the captain’s booming commands. Here at West Marine, we offer everything you need to get loud on the water with a marine stereo system.

If you intend on using your stereo at anchor in a quiet cove, you will probably require a different set up than someone blasting music across the water to pump up a wakeboarder being towed 20 feet behind the boat. In order to properly outfit your boat, you will need a pretty good idea of the type of equipment and amount of power your boat needs to amplify your time on the water.

Stereo Receivers Built for the Marine Environment

Boat stereo receivers face exposure to not only humidity but salt from the sea and air that can take a heavy toll on unprotected units, even if they are removed from the boat after each use. This is why an automotive stereo simply won’t do. Unlike car stereos, the circuit board assemblies of marine stereos have a conformal coating that protects against damage due to the salt and moisture inherent to the marine environment.  The cost of installing a marine-specific stereo on your boat is offset by the years of trouble-free use.

Choosing the Right Speakers

When it comes to quality sound, multiple speaker elements are better than one. Multiple speakers in one enclosure will reproduce a greater range of audio frequencies compared to a single cone. Higher frequencies are better handled by a small, rigid speaker called a tweeter. Low frequencies are best reproduced by a large conical speaker called a woofer. For even better distribution of the “work” of a speaker, a third element called a midrange speaker may be added. All stereos need at least two speakers for minimum quality of sound. 2-way speakers have a woofer and a tweeter while 3-way speakers add the midrange.

Many marine speakers may be waterproof by default, but that doesn’t mean they will last forever. Most manufacturers use polypropylene for their speaker cones and attempt to waterproof the speaker magnet assembly by dipping it in varnish or plastic. Make sure you find a product with a corrosion-resistant grille and frame for your boat.

When installing marine speakers or when using portable speakers, do not place them close to your autopilot’s compass or your boat’s steering compass. This is because the magnets inside speakers can adversely affect the accuracy of a compass. Some brands of speakers are specifically designed to have low magnetic fields (Polyplanar) and may be more appropriate for installations where the speakers might otherwise interact with the compasses.