If you are looking to invest in a new audio entertainment system for your boat, there can seem to be an endless amount of options to choose from.
But a word of warning – if your gear is not designed to withstand the harsh marine environment, it will not last a season. That is why it is so important to brush up on the tech that is available and choose an audio system that offers you both sound quality and durability.
Consider materials that will stand up to the elements and make sure that all the electronics on your boat are protected against salt, sun and water. Marine stereos are rated either spray-resistant or waterproof.
Look for CD slots that are sealed with rubber gaskets. Faceplates can withstand either spray or complete immersion, depending on the receiver. In reality, marine stereos often are not rated by clear, objective waterproofing standards, but are ‘marinised’ for surviving in salt-water environments. Some receivers, especially those from Fusion, come with a submersible IP waterproof rating.
Since you will be listening to your music out in the open ocean, you will want plenty of power for clean, clear sound. Better specs mean better sound quality, on land or at sea. For receivers, look for multiple sources available such as USB, MP3 and FLAC playback, Bluetooth streaming and AM/FM radio, waterproof or water-resistant display, flat or flush mounting installation options, built-in amplifiers for louder and clearer audio and, if you have a larger system in mind, look for a marine receiver with multiple sets of preamp outputs.
Most aftermarket marine receivers come with built-in amplifiers, but if you love it loud or want to drown out the nautical background noise, you might want to consider adding an external amp to your system. Adding amplifiers to the system allows you to play your music at a higher volume without straining the equipment, so it sounds better and lasts longer. Subwoofers are the missing element in many boats, but once installed they will give you the low-end bass that makes your music come alive.
For those who want the biggest, most extensive audio system on the market, but are limited due to power and space constraints, opt for an all-in-one plug and play solution – like Fusion’s Panel Stereo – that has all the performance of a powerful and durable audio entertainment system, packed into a compact form for easy installation.
So you have picked out your system and you have got it installed – the only question left is, what song are you going to blast first?