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Marine Speakers Vs. Regular Speakers: What’s The Difference?

Marine Speakers Vs. Regular Speakers: What's The Difference? Find out at Boating.Guide.

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So, you want to know about marine speakers vs. regular speakers? You’re in the right place. Owning a boat can enhance your life, but what can improve your boating experience? The answer is adding a stereo system. However, you may be wondering if a regular car stereo will do you good or should be putting worth on a marine speaker. 

The difference between regular and marine speakers is durability, given their exposure to salt and water must withstand a regular beating. A car or TV speaker does not experience the same condition, so their durability is not primarily the critical selling point.

You might wonder if it’s worth spending the extra money on a sea-worthy stereo system. We’ve concluded that it is. Read through the rest of this article to learn about the hidden differences between regular and marine speakers.

Marine Speakers Vs. Regular Speakers: What’s The Difference?

Items such as marine receivers and head units come with coated circuit boards and rubber and plastic guards over any exposed inputs or knobs. Therefore the stereo system used on marine vessels also comes with plastic cones and rubber covers (the main difference). It is the reason why they can survive the rough and unpredictable waters and life on your boat.

It may surprise you that marine speakers are made of plastic because metal can easily combine with oxygen, forming rust that can cause them t break easily. Think of all the intricate parts inside of a speaker. Now think about adding rust to them; it doesn’t look good, does it? Car speaker wiring does not have any protection. It is because the chances of them being subject to harsh weathering are minimal. Therefore, car speakers are much less durable than marine speakers.

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Can I Use Marine Speaker In My Car?

The short answer to this is yes; however, I would not recommend it unless you know how to rewire speakers, as this is a tedious task to try and do yourself. Another thing to keep in mind is that they are both just speakers so you could use marine speakers in the car or vice versa, but of course, they are intended for different environments and engineered for various uses, which is something to keep in mind.

What Are Marine Speakers?

Simply put, marine speakers are mainly for marine environment use. Its engineering design is in a way that makes them more durable, especially in wet, humid, and salty conditions. They are typically made from plastics as this material proves very resistant to corrosion in situations you would find on the open ocean. 

Marine speakers will improve your sailing experience, especially if you prefer sailing to be a social affair; whether you’re fishing or just sitting on the deck with your friends, music can drastically improve your experience. However, the ocean is unpredictable, and your beautiful sunset can turn into torrential rainfall in minutes. It is why marine speakers consider the durability of prime importance. 

Why Are Marine Speakers More Expensive?

You may also notice that marine speakers are more expensive than regular speakers. It is mainly due to the differences in functionality; marine speakers produce sound in large open spaces, whereas car speakers can only produce sound in smaller, closed areas.

Furthermore, the build quality of marine speakers is a much higher standard. As I said earlier, the wiring in marine speakers is protected and coated, ensuring that the speakers are almost entirely waterproof. Despite this, you must not fully submerge the speakers, meaning they are only splash-proof.

What Makes Marine Speakers Different?

Key differences include price, build quality, durability, and sound production. Functionality is also a significant difference. Car speakers are nicely tucked away, usually on the inside of a door, meaning that they are never subject to or exposed to the outdoors. 

Leaving your car door open in the rain could break the speakers; however, marine speakers can also withstand the effects of weather. Plastic-coated wiring inside the marine speakers and the rubber guard overexposed inputs ensures that water cannot ruin the electrics.

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Meanwhile, the car counterpart does not have this, as the speakers have a car for an exoskeleton.

Sound Quality

Marine speakers must produce high-quality sound in an open area cover.

Therefore, the speakers must be able to create a much louder sound compared to regular speakers. It is tough to do as low-frequency sounds (the bass) become distorted. It is the polar opposite of car speakers because car speakers only need to create high-quality sound in an enclosed area.

Having to engineer this is a much easier task. Nearly every car has a surround sound system, meaning creating high-quality sound is relatively easy. The fact that cars usually have a speaker in every door means they can produce surround sound. 

Durability

Most speakers cannot withstand sudden temperature changes; on the other hand, marine speakers must tolerate this regularly. Along with plastics, marine speakers are usually stainless steel components. It ensures they are rust-resistant and can resist corrosion in the harshest ocean environments. 

Using car speakers on a boat or in a marine environment would be disastrous and demand regular replacements. Car speakers should not have exposure to salty, humid, and wet environments, nothing like sailing on the seas. 

Build

The build quality is another significant difference; car speakers consist of paper cones (this is to save money). However, paper cones do not apply to marine speakers. It wouldn’t take long for these paper cones to become wet and the speaker to stop working. Protective grilles covering a marine speaker are much stiffer than a car speaker. This more rigid grille protects the speaker from any sudden collisions. Finally, marine speakers are tested vigorously under harsher conditions before production. It makes sure that the speakers can survive a rough 

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storm without vulnerability.

What Are The Best Marine Speakers?

By this point, you may think that marine speakers are worth spending the extra money on. I will now be talking to you about the best marine speakers on Amazon.

Pyle PLMR605W Dual 6.5″

If you’re not looking to spend a fortune on speakers, then the Pyle PLMR605W Dual 6.5″ Waterproof Marine Speakers could be for you. At such a reasonable price, you get a lot for your money. 

The speakers claim to be completely waterproof, so no matter how much rain or spray you get on your deck, they will still function like new. They’re also highly weatherproof. The cone is polypropylene with a Butyl rubber surround, making a rugged and durable design. 

It is also essential to combat UV sun rays as they can fry circuit boards or warp plastic, but these speakers do a great job protecting themselves. Needless to say that the speakers look the part; they have a low-profile sleep design. It means you could mount it on a wall, the side of your boat, and on your house. Check the current price.

Rockford Fosgate T1650 Power 6.5″

This product is mid-tier between expensive and cheap. However, as a general rule with speakers, the more you play, the better your sound quality, and these Rockford speakers are no exception! 

They have excellent sound quality, and Rockford is a big reputable brand, meaning you will get a quality sound system. The speakers boast a carbon fiber and polypropylene injection molded cone assembly, which provides a rigid and lightweight structure that allows the midrange to belt out your music to concert quality levels. 

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It, in turn, means that if you’re willing to spend a good amount of money on your speakers, this is an excellent option. If you purchase with Amazon, the speakers even come with a 1-year warranty, so you can feel confident that this is a good product. Check the price here.

Kicker 6.5″ Charcoal LED Marine Speaker

There will be a great option if you have a lot of money to spend on your marine stereo system. These top-of-the-range speakers even have colored LED lights which can be controlled and changed to create mood lighting. These impressive speakers can last up to 8 years! It is a long time for any speaker, never mind that it’s on the open ocean. 

These speakers are a fantastic option if you can splash the cash on a sound stereo system by combining durability, longevity, and style. They also come with a protective charcoal grill to protect the speaker from damage, ensuring that these speakers will last. On the other hand, they will set you back a couple of bills. Despite this, you get a pack of 4, which can add good surround sound to your boat. Check the current price here.

Are Marine Speakers Necessary?

That is a subjective question, and you can answer it yourself. Only you know whether or not a sound stereo system is necessary for your boat. However, I could ask whether having a radio in your car is a necessity. 

The answer’s probably a yes. Think about how tedious a car journey would be incomplete in silence. However, sailing a boat in just the noise of your vessel cutting through the open water could be therapeutic, but it may be boring to others. It just depends on your opinion and preferences. If sailing is a social event for you, I recommend that spending the money on a sound stereo system is worth it. 

No one wants awkward silence between conversations, and background music is a good distraction. In short, they probably aren’t necessary, but they’re a great addition to your boat to enhance your sailing experience.

Car Stereo Vs. Marine Stereo

Functionality

Marine stereos are the marine environment. They are made from stainless steel and plastics, have rubber surroundings, and sturdy metal grilles. The apparent reasoning behind this is that marine speakers must be able to withstand the challenging environment of life at sea. 

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They must be reliable and durable to be consistently helpful. Car stereo systems must only be relied upon in an air-conditioned environment and protected by a door in nearly all cases. It means that car speakers can consist of cheaper materials. 

Material

Car stereos can be made from paper cones, whereas marine stereos are rubber. The grilles are tougher; the last thing you want is your boat trip ruined by a rogue beer cooler sliding into your stereo system. Sound clarity is also a lot better on marine speakers. They must compete with rushing wind, waves, other boats, and the sound of a colossal engine, compared to car speakers who need to overcome the sound of the road and a machine just the faction of the size of its marine counterpart. 

What Is The Best Marine Stereo To Buy?

The best marine stereo is the Rockville RWB80B; these speakers are currently at an amazing price! They have a small compact design, meaning they can be placed pretty much anywhere but can also produce outstanding sound quality at an affordable price. A sleek finish makes these speakers look great on any surface. 

They can be attached to the deck or inside the cabin. Being certified marine means it can withstand whatever the ocean throws at them, so these Rockville speakers are an excellent choice if you want to spend around $100 on your stereo system. 

In terms of sound, these speakers have a peak power handling of 300watts and can produce 98 decibels! So whatever you’re planning on listening to, you’ll be attending in high definition and clarity! You can mount these speakers on poles or wall fixings, which puts them out of harm’s way; this prolongs their lifespan drastically. You can’t go wrong with these speakers if you love listening to music when out on your boat. (source)

What Are The Loudest Marine Speakers?

The loudest marine speakers are the Kenwood KCADR300 Memory. Kenwood is one of the most prominent and most respected brands for marine speakers, so reading that Kenwood is one of the loudest marine speakers, you shouldn’t be surprised. 

These mid-tier speakers are also reasonably priced at $130, meaning that you can get great-sounding speakers for your boat even on their sufficiently low budget. When buying from Amazon, you also get a 1-year warranty, so you can feel confident that this stereo system is one of the best.

Do You Need An Amp For Marine Speakers? 

Most of the time, no, but it can drastically improve your experience. Marine stereo systems have a built-in amplifier, meaning you don’t have to spend any more money on an external amp. But if you’re planning on your boat having more of a party scene(or you care about music quality), then, yes, you will need an amp. 

Party boats require a loud, thumping bass; getting a subwoofer would be the only way to achieve that. Marine subwoofers are ideal if you want different sound volumes for other areas of your boat, as most amps can handle two speakers per wired channel. But if you save a bit of money, you don’t have to get an external amp for your sound system.

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What Is The Best Marine Subwoofer?

Alpine SWR-M100

The best marine subwoofer is the Alpine SWR-M100. This Alpine subwoofer is excellent! It’s the perfect choice for those who want a great-sounding subwoofer. One drawback is, however, the price. It’s a bit more expensive than others, but you get what you pay for.

On the other hand, if you don’t mind spending a bit of money on a quality piece of equipment, this is a perfect choice. You can buy with confidence when choosing this subwoofer. Check the current price here.

Rockford Fosgate Punch Series

Another great choice is the Rockford Fosgate Punch Series. This marine accessory boasts a Kevlar-reinforced cone which is pretty much indestructible. For a reasonable amount, you can’t find a better subwoofer on the market comma, especially with this standard of build quality. The aluminum it’s made from dissipates thermal build-up, which keeps the subwoofer cool in any situation you may find, a fantastic buy for those who do not want to spend too much. Check the current price here.

Bazooka MBT1014

This subwoofer looks slightly different from the rest, but who’s to say that’s not a good thing? It produces excellent sound to a standard where you won’t need to buy an amp. Due to its slightly odd shape, it’s insanely durable, can withstand the harshest conditions, and only requires 200 watts to reach optimum performance. This subwoofer is a perfect choice without needing an external amp, and you practically get a two-in-one! Check the current price here.

What Is The Best Marine Speaker Wire?

MaxBrite Speaker Wire High-Performance 

The top-rated marine speaker wire on Amazon is the MaxBrite Speaker Wire High-Performance series. This wire boasts 99.9% oxygen-free copper conductors at a fantastic low price for a 50-foot spool.

In addition, it’s compatible with Bare Wire Connectors, Banana Plugs, Spade Tips, and Bent Pin Connectors, so whatever your connector, this cable is a safe bet. Having 41 strands of copper in the table provides an incredibly crisp sound quality, allowing you to make the most of your speakers for a very affordable price. Check the price here.

GS Power 14 AWG Cable

This cable is oil and gas-resistant and has a temperature range from -40*F to +176*F, making it a perfect choice if you want a very durable wire. It’s almost wholly oxygen-free, ensuring that you get excellent music quality for a great price.

If either of the last two cables didn’t grab your attention, the 14AWG Speaker Wire GearIT Pro Series could be for you. Instead of the traditional oxygen-free copper, this table comes with CCA (Copper Clad Aluminium); the CCA cable is more flexible and cheaper, but you can enjoy the same reliability and sound quality! You can pick it up online. Check the price here.

Marine Speaker Frequently Asked Questions

Will Marine Speakers Work In A Car?

Yes, however, you will need to check that the speaker is the same size as your original car speaker. You will also need to check that the wiring is the same and that your car is compatible with the marine speaker you have in mind.

Do Marine Speakers Need A Box?

Some marine speakers come in an ergonomically designed box, saving valuable space. On the other hand, not all speakers come in an enclosed container and are flush mounted to the wall of your vessel. These speakers come with a protective grille, so they won’t need additional protection.

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Can Marine Speakers Get Wet?

Marine speakers are splash-proof, meaning you can hose it down/can be under the rain. But, you should not fully submerge them in water, so they aren’t waterproof in this aspect.

  1. Jon Paul, “5 reasons to buy new marine speakers for your boat”, Crutchfield, https://www.crutchfield.com/S-gtqSqhQN6bb/learn/why-buy-new-marine-speakers.html
  2. “Marine Speakers Vs. Car Speakers – What’s The Difference?”, December 5, 2021, https://thewiredshopper.com/marine-speakers-vs-car-speakers/
  3. “Top 10 Marine Subwoofers”,https://wiki.ezvid.com/best-marine-subwoofers
  4. Team Techsounded, “Top 15 Best Marine Speaker in 2022”, January 9, 2022, https://www.techsounded.com/best-marine-speakers/
  5. “Loudest Marine Speakers”, Crystal Stereo, http://crystalstereo.com/loudest-marine-speakers/
  6. Matt Champneys, “Do I Need An Amplifier For My Boat Stereo?”, https://www.rocktheboatmarinestereo.com/c/Video-Do-I-Need-An-Amplifier-For-My-Boat-Stereo.html#:~:text=Most%20marine%20stereos%20have%20an,of%20them%20are%20surprisingly%20powerful.&text=For%20example%3A%20A%20party%20boat,will%20need%20from%20your%20amp.
  7. Matt Champneys, “How Waterproof Is A Waterproof Speaker?”, https://www.rocktheboatmarinestereo.com/c/Video-How-Waterproof-Is-A-Waterproof-Speaker.html#:~:text=Marine%20speakers%20are%20designed%20for,are%20waterproof%20because%20of%20that.&text=That%20having%20been%20said%2C%20our,not%20designed%20to%20work%20underwater.
  8. Tom Burden, “Choosing Marine Speakers”, June 17, 2019, https://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvisor/Choosing-Marine-Speakers#:~:text=Most%20subwoofers%20are%20mounted%20inside,%2C%20for%20crisp%2C%20clean%20bass.
  9. https://www.amazon.com/Pyle-PLMR605W-Waterproof-Marine-Speakers/dp/B009JZ0ADY/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Marine%2Bspeakers&qid=1598011418&sr=8-2&th=1
  10. https://www.amazon.com/Rockford-Fosgate-RM1652B-Coaxial-Speaker/dp/B00VBI30VQ/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Marine+speakers&qid=1598011411&sr=8-3
  11. https://www.amazon.com/Kicker-Charcoal-Speakers-replacement-speakers/dp/B01EX5M3AM/ref=sr_1_15?dchild=1&keywords=Marine+speakers&qid=1598013225&sr=8-15
  12. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00J7QGD90?psc=1&th=1&linkCode=gs4&tag=hpns10-21
  13. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kenwood-KFC-1653MRW-KCADR300-Memory/dp/B00TO2XRBE/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Kenwood+KFC-1653MRW&qid=1598018374&sr=8-1
  14. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001BWZCCM?linkCode=g12&tag=ezvid-21
  15. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HZWYPZC/ref=twister_B01K71R3QA?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

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