Best Marine Stereo : 14 Key Factors to Consider before Purchase

if you don’t have a lot of time, the Best Marine Stereo is the Kenwood Max Power Marine Audio System

The top marine speakers and stereos are engineered to withstand wet conditions while delivering superior sound. We’ve reviewed five of the best marine speakers on the market and paired them with a comprehensive buying guide. It doesn’t matter if you’re floating down the bayou or sailing across the sea. With the right marine sound system, you will be able to tune into your favorite radio program, podcast, or playlist while enjoying the great outdoors.

The Best Marine Stereos go as follows:

  1. Kenwood Max Power Marine Audio System
  2. SONY–DSX-M55BT Marine Digital Media Player and Speaker Package
  3. DUAL–MCP378SXM Digital Media Receiver, Speaker Package
  4. DUAL–MXCP49BT Marine Digital Media and Bluetooth Receiver/Speaker Package
  5. Pyle Masrine Radio Receiver and Speaker Set

 

Best Marine Stereo Reviews

The top marine stereos as rated by verified customers go as follows.

1. Kenwood Max Power Marine Audio System- Editor’s Choice

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5/5

Features

  • Amplifier: Kenwood KAC-M1804 Compact 4-channel Marine Amplifier and 4 X 6.5″ Inch Kenwood Marine Audio Speakers
  • Receiver: Kenwood Marine Digital Media Bluetooth Receiver
  • Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth,
  • Power: 50 watts

The Kenwood Marine Stereo Set comes with a weather-resistant receiver, amp, speakers, and antenna. The receiver puts out 50 watts of power. It is capable of reconstructing compressed sound files, such as MP3s, WMAs, and more. A rapid-charging Android power source ensures that the receiver is live and ready to go at all times. You can even sync the device with two phones. Once you do, you can send and receive calls with just your voice. The receiver is protected by an IP-rated protective coating.

This impressive stereo system also comes with a four-channel amplifier that is engineered for boats. It boasts 45 watts of power, with 4 ohms dedicated to each of its four channels. The coated circuit board is designed to perform in harsh marine settings. It even comes with preamp and speaker controls. Not to mention, it includes all the essential cables and harnesses.

Of course, this amazing audio system would be nothing without its set of 6 1/2-inch flush-mount marine speakers. These speakers feature injection-molded polypropylene cone woofers with distortion-absorbing rubber surrounds. The amp’s preamp and speaker-level inputs give users ultimate control. The dome tweeters that are built into the grilles help even out and refine high notes. The speakers’ 60 to 20,000 Hz frequency response promises clear highs and lows. Like the other audio elements in this kit, the speakers are water= and UV-resistant. As such, you’d be hard-pressed to find audio elements that are better for your boat.

>>What Customers Think<<

It’s also worth mentioning that this kit comes with a weather-resistant antenna. This 45-inch piece strengthens radio signals. It is made of high-quality water-resistant materials. It has a braided cable that can withstand plenty of abuse.

Customers found it easy to install the Kenwood Marine Stereo System. Most customers felt that the speakers put out high-quality sound. While the setup offers manual controls, it also works well with Bluetooth-compatible smartphones and MP3 players. Not to mention, it boasts a 1-year warranty as well as a 30-day moneyback guarantee.

Pros

  • 2-way 6 1/2-inch flush-mount speakers with durable white grilles
  • USB, AUX, Bluetooth, and iPhone connectivity
  • 45-inch marine antenna
  • Hands-free calling
  • Front panel USB screen with buttons
  • 1-year warranty and 30-day moneyback guarentee
  • Access preset playlists
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Comprehensive kit, not just speakers

 

2. SONY–DSX-M55BT Marine Digital Media Player and Speaker Package – Customer Favorite

Sony DSX-M55BT Marine Digital Media Player and Speaker Packageimage 8792258 13739708

>>Check Price on West Marine<<

5/5

Features:

  • Amplifier: Two XS-MP1611 speakers
  • Receiver: Sony’s DSX-M55BT Digital Media Receiver
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, SongPal technology, AUX- and USB-inputs, AM/FM radio capabilities, and Sirius XM compatibility
  • Power: 145 watts (65W RMS)

This incredible Sony marine stereo set will help bring your boat into the 21st century. It comes with Sony’s impressive DSX-M55BT Digital Media Receiver as well as two XS-MP1611 Dual Cone Marine Speakers. The speakers can handle up to 145 watts of power. They’re designed to put out the premium sound without succumbing to salt, water, or precipitation.

The speaker system’s wireless remote (sold separately) is super convenient. You can even use your voice to control the music while manning the wheel or doing some deep-sea fishing. The Sony Marine Sound System is equipped with SongPal and Siri Eyes Free. It also is set up to receive and send calls with the help of Bluetooth technology. A built-in microphone and an automatic phonebook syncing feature ensure that you never miss a call while on the water. You can even download the Sony app for complete control using your smartphone. The stereo system’s onboard control panel and LCD screen also provide a way for users to manually adjust and monitor the sound.

The Sony Marine sound system is resistant to water and UV rays, making it a far better option than a car radio. It has a moisture-resistant circuit board coating, an IPX5 resistance rating, and corrosion-resistant hardware. The entire package is backed by a lengthy one-year warranty.

>>What Customers Think<<

The system’s 6 1/2-inch diameter flush-mount speakers are designed to sink into the walls of nearly any watercraft. Due to this marine stereo system’s small size, you only need to make a 5-inch diameter cutout that is 2 1/18 inches deep. The speakers have simplistic white plastic grills that look great on almost any watercraft. Most customers found it easy to install this stereo system. However, some customers felt the need to purchase stereo wires after the fact.

The speakers boast a 45-20000Hz frequency. As such, high notes never fall flat. They are also equipped with rigid woofer cones. This amazing sound system wouldn’t make it to the top of our list if it didn’t have a bumping bass. The speakers do not struggle to overpower whirring boat motors. Despite their boisterous environment, these speakers are consistently clear and crisp.

Pros

  • Voice-activated control system
  • Bluetooth calls
  • 6 1/2″ polypropylene dual cone design
  • Recessed white speakers
  • Monochrome backlit LCD screen
  • Wireless remote
  • Pairs with other interfaces

Cons

  • Speaker wires not included

 

3. DUAL–MCP378SXM Digital Media Receiver with SiriusXM® Tuner, Bluetooth, USB and MP3, Speaker Package – Best Budget Option

Dual MCP378SXM Digital Media Receiver with SiriusXM Tuner, Bluetooth, USB and MP3, Speaker Packageimage 8792258 13739708

>>Check Price on West Marine<<

4.5/5

Features

  • Amplifier: 50-watt Dual amp and and two 6.5-inch marine-grade dual cone speakers
  • Receiver: MCP378SXM Digital Media Receiver
  • Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth, SiriusXM® Tuner, ,MP3,
  • Power: 50 watts x 4

The Dual Marine Stereo System is the perfect solution for music-seeking boaters with tight budgets. This impressive system comes with a SiriusXM-compatible receiver and two flush-mount speakers. The control dock features a silver faceplate with a monochromatic LCD screen and blue lights. The receiver can be hooked up to Bluetooth, USB, SiriusXM, and more. Music streaming has never been so easy. This sound system even boasts the technologies that enable consumers to use the stereo to remotely receive and set calls.

The system has a fix-faced design with removable silicone input covers. These elements provide optimal protection against water and salt. The injection-molded polypropylene cones and poly-coated cloth surrounds are also designed to withstand plenty of wet and wild fun.

The system comes with a 200-watt receiver that pairs with Bluetooth-enabled devices to offer hands-free calls and endless audio streaming. You can also use the receiver’s USB and AUX ports to manually plug into a device. This beast of a machine can playback compact FLAC and MP3 files. You can also pop on an AM or FM station to catch up on the weather and news. The sound system even comes with a 3-month trial subscription of SiriusXM.

>>What Customers Think<<

Customers found it easy to install the Dual Digital Sound System. This system includes all the essentials for a price that cannot be beaten. Users can play music from nearly any app or device. Not to mention, they can connect to the stereo system without a wire. Even the volume and sound settings can be adjusted via remote control. On top of that, the system’s quality parts and coatings provide it with a lifetime of protection against moisture and dirt.

Pros

  • Fixed face and meshless unit is protected from the elements
  • AM/FM receiver with 30 preset stations
  • Four preset EQ curves (pop, rock, jazz, flat)
  • 40-inch soft wire antenna
  • Dual injection-molded polypropylene cones and poly-coated cloth surrounds

Cons

  • Remote does not work well with faceplate down

 

4. DUAL–MXCP49BT Marine Digital Media and Bluetooth Receiver/Speaker Package – Best Small Boat Stereo System

Dual MXCP49BT Marine Digital Media and Bluetooth Receiver/Speaker Packageimage 8792258 13739708

>>Check Price on West Marine<<

4/5

Features

  • Amplifier: Two 6.5-inch marine grade speakers
  • Receiver: 200 watt AM/FM receiver with built-in Bluetooth
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB, 3.5mm auxiliary
  • Power: 200 watts

If you don’t have a lot of space on your watercraft, check out this compact Dual Marine Digital Media Kit. It comes with a 200-watt digital receiver with Bluetooth compatibility and plenty of ports. The receiver’s fixed face protects the inner working from water and salt. It also gives users access to AM/FM radio stations, EQ curves, and more.

The kit also comes with a set of 6 1/2-inch marine grade speakers. These flush-mount speakers boast decorative white grills. The device projects quality sound without succumbing to the elements. The speakers have two control zones for more accurate sound production.

We were shocked to see the low price of this astounding marine sound system. It includes a marine-grade receiver, speakers, and antenna for well under $100. The system is easy to install and comes with all the essential power cords. You’ll know that you’re in business when the LCD screen lights up. Keep in mind that there is very risk involved in this purchase. It comes with a lengthy 2-year warranty.

Pros

  • Mechless receiver with solid faceplate for protection against the elements
  • Low price
  • Monochromatic LCD
  • Two two-channel 6 1/2-inch marine-grade speakers
  • Water-resistant coating
  • Wireless Bluetooth connection
  • AM/FM radio

Cons

  • Flush-mount speakers are more difficult to install

 

5. Pyle Masrine Radio Receiver and Speaker Set – Best Four-Speaker Set

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4/5

Features

  • Amplifier: 2 way dual cone speakers
  • Receiver: white waterproof receiver features a digital LCD
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, AUX, USB, SD, AM/FM radio
  • Power: 120 watts

We are thrilled to introduce you to this inexpensive marine-grade audio system. It comes with a powerful Pyle waterproof receiver. The device has a white frame and a blue-lit LCD screen. The buttons and knobs are clear to see. Not to mention, there are frontside AUX, USB, and SD slots. A onboard AM/FM radio provides users with a link to the outside world. Of course, the receiver is compatible with Bluetooth, giving you access to all your online and app-based playlists.

>>What Customers Think<<

We love the way the Pyle receiver pairs with the set of speakers in this kit. These are marine-grade dual cone speakers that offer 60-watts of power, 4 ohms of impedance, and EQ sound control. Users can fiddle with the bass, treble, fader, and balance to create a custom sound.

The Pyle receiver and speakers are easy to install and mount. They even come with a remote control, enabling you to adjust the music from afar. Customers standby the company’s claims that this radio can hold up to salt, water, and sand.

Pros

  • EQ sound configurations
  • Receiver is easy to mount
  • Comes with remote control
  • Bluetooth compatibility and several audio ports
  • Comes with connection wire
  • Four cone speakers that offer 120 watts of power
  • Sleek yet inexpensive design

The Ultimate Guide to Marine Stereos

Why use a Marine Stereo?

Why invest in a marine stereo? For starters, these hardy audio systems are built to withstand harsh environments. They may boast water-resistant components, such as coated grills, plastic cones, rubber linings, and sealed circuit boards. Marine stereos must also be able to overcome noisy backdrops, including roaring motors and howling wind.

You can improve your boat by installing a quality marine stereo and speakers. Quality audio components will last a lifetime. Unlike traditional stereo equipment, marine-specific systems will not rust or degrade.

Marine Stereo vs Car Stereo

Car stereos are engineered to produce sound inside small, enclosed spaces. On the other hand, marine stereos must produce sound in wide, wet areas. Marine stereos utilize waterproof coatings and parts. Paper cones and other fragile car stereo elements are a no-go in the marine audio world. As such, marine stereos utilize a combination of plastic, rubber, and coated metal parts.

Since marine stereos are exceptionally fortified, they typically cost more than car stereos. While car stereos are often installed in boats, they rust and degrade faster than the marine alternatives. As such, a quality marine stereo is the best option for boat-based music and sound.

If you have a minute, check out this heated Q & A session. Here, two audio experts discuss the differences between marine and car stereos.

Resistance of Elements

How do you know if your audio equipment will hold up in a harsh marine environment?

Water Resistance

Be on the lookout for marine stereos with water resistance ratings. The equipment may be able to withstand anything from a few splashes to complete submersion. The degree of protection may be rated with an IP code. IP codes, or International Protection Markings, are a common way of identifying a product’s durability. Products may also be categorized as water-resistant, water-repellent, or waterproof. While these labels may seem interchangeable, they are actually quite different.

Water-resistant equipment can handle a small amount of water exposure. Meanwhile, water-repellent equipment deflects small amounts of moisture. On the other hand, waterproof equipment is completely impervious to moisture. As such, it can be completely submerged.

Thermal and UV Resistance

It’s important to remember that marine equipment is exposed to all the elements, including the sun. UV-resistant marine stereos will not fade or degrade when subjected to UV rays. UV-resistant stereos may boast housings and faceplates that keep the internal elements from succumbing to heat and light. Plastic and stainless steel elements are popular options because of their resistance to UV rays.

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How to Choose the Correct Marine Stereo

 

Boat Modifications

You must decide if you are willing to modify your boat to install a marine stereo system. You must cut holes in the sides of your deck to install flush-mount speakers. On the other hand, tower speakers can be mounted directly onto a deck.

If you are replacing an old marine audio system, you may wish to find a replacement that is the same size. Flush-mount speakers require holes with precise depths and diameters. On the other hand, box speakers can be attached to any flat surface. It’s also necessary to consider the size of your boat before selecting a marine sound system. You will want a system that delivers enough sound to reach every section of the boat.

You’ll also need to consider the size and power capacity of the receiver. The head unit usually sits alongside the helm. You may want to measure the precut slot so that you can find a receiver that slips easily into the opening. You may also choose to install your receiver below the deck. There, it will be protected from the elements. If your control dock is buried out of sight, you will want a remote control to help you man the music from the helm.

Inputs and Outputs

You must choose a marine stereo with appropriate inputs and outputs. You don’t want to cut corners when it comes to connections, as it will limit your access to music and other audio files. The most impressive marine receivers feature Bluetooth, USB, AUX, and SD inputs. Some may even pair with satellite radio programs, such as SiriusXM.

Ports enable you to manually plug an audio device into your receiver. On the other hand, Bluetooth technology allows you to stream music from a remote location. If you ask us, it is helpful to have both options.

Features

marine stereo greates hits

Sound Production

A quality sound system is nothing without a quality amplifier. We recommend opting for a set of two or four dual cone speakers. Make sure that the cones are made from water-resistant materials, such as polypropylene or plastic. Paper cones, like those in car stereos, simply won’t hold up. Marine speakers should also have water-resistant surrounds. Surrounds elements are responsible for creating clean, crisp sound waves. While car surrounds are often made of absorbent foam, rubber is a more suitable option for the open water.

Display and Controls

Opt for a receiver with a mechless faceplate. This will prevent sloshing water and fog from seeping into the electrical parts. Remember that boats can be quite bouncy. As such, you will want a receiver with a well lit and easy to control dash. The controls should be large and easy to grip in wet conditions.

Compatibility

CD slots are not a good match for wet conditions. As such, we recommend sourcing your audio files from somewhere else. Decide whether you will be using Bluetooth or cords to stream music. Some sound systems can seamlessly convert condensed audio files.

Furthermore, think about whether you want to pair your phone with your stereo. Many marine stereos enable users to send and receive calls. They may even work with voice control systems, such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa.

Extras

Many marine sound systems come with special features. For example, several of the models we reviewed boast wireless remotes. Remotes enable users to adjust sound controls and other options from anywhere on the boat. On the other hand, most Bluetooth-compatible marine stereos can be controlled from a smartphone. Users may even be able to download an app that serves as a makeshift remote control.

We also came across several marine stereos that were compatible with subscription-based radio services. Some of the stereos offered complimentary trial periods. However, the subscription services eventually cost a fee. These services provide commercial-free playlists, programs, and weather alerts.

Installation

Many boat owners do not hire professionals to install their new marine stereos and speakers. Regardless of what is or isn’t already in place, you will need to choose an optimal place to install your new sound system. You may need to install a bracket or cut holes for flush-mounted pieces. These preparations may require special tools and precise measuring. Scout out a relatively dry location. Then, take your time getting the job done.

Once all the elements are in place, you will need to connect the wires. This requires a bit of basic electric knowledge. Keep in mind that speaker wires are color-coded. Use the color codes and any written instructions to help you make the right connection.

There are plenty of informative videos online. Check out this brief installation video to get a look at home to install a stereo and speakers in a boat.

Keep in mind that most marine stereos come with a wiring harness. This includes a set of organized wires that simply need to be connected to the various components in a set. This is hard wiring, no a standard wall plug. Therefore, it must be connected to a boat’s battery to run. All wiring harnesses feature live and grounded wires that need to be connected to a viable power source. v

Power

Marine stereos need to compete with noisy nautical backdrops. As such, they typically use more power than a car stereo. Each amp draws a specific amount of power. Most marine amplifiers draw anywhere from 50 to 100 watts. This number is usually multiplied by the number of amplifier channels.

LCD and Display

Look for a marine stereo with a quality LCD screen display. Many modern marine stereos have full-color touch screens that perform well in wet conditions. Large displays provide users with a more enjoyable listening experience. Push buttons and monochrome displays can feel antiquated in a world dominated by high-definition screens. Buttons and knobs are also not the most water-resistant controls. Of course, an LCD screen makes it easier to fiddle with audio settings, such as volume, input, and skip.

Traditional marine stereos have rectangular faces. A standard car or marine head unit is called a single DIN. Single DIN slots are approximately 2 inches wide and 8 inches long.

There are also double-DIN head units. These units not as common as single-DIN units. They are 4 inches wide and 8 inches long. Square receivers also provide an enhanced display area. Keep in mind that oversized DINs and square-shaped receivers require large recessed spaces.

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed our review of the top five marine stereos! These water-resistant audio devices bring you top-notch sound. While it can be enjoyable to sit back and listen to rippling water, a solid playlist is often the key to a good time. These impressive systems pump out sweet sounds without succumbing to the elements. If that is not music to your ears than what is? If you don’t have time to read our article, check out the >Kenwood Max Power Marine Audio System. This is an impressive sound system and our editor’s choice. It comes with a digital receiver, two speakers, and an amp. It will boost your listening experience on the water without succumbing to the water and heat.

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