8" Marine Speakers
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There are 2 tiers of 8" marine speakers mid-tier and premium. With 6.5" speakers, there are 4 tiers because there are economy and value priced products. When it comes to 8" speakers, you need an amplifier and because you need an amplifier, we skip to mid-tier. The mid-tier 8" marine speakers deliver really good performance, it just means that there are better, more expensive options. For most customers, the mid-tier 8" marine speakers are more than enough and you will be extremely happy with how your boat sounds. The premium tier 8" marine speakers are those that are designed for ultimate performance performance. These speakers have everything that the mid-tier products have, they just handle more power and do it better. Since these speakers are more expensive, you want to make sure you are giving them the power they need to hear what you are paying for.
This fits the mid-tier 8" marine speakers. These are speakers that we recommend powering with an amplifier. Can you get by without one? Yes, but you could probably step down a tier and save yourself some money and not hear a difference. This is where you start getting into the good speakers that can handle the power from most amplfiers and it will more than likely, blow you away with the sound quality. As long as you have a good amp (we only sell good amps) that actually puts out the rated power, you are going to love the way it sounds. This is the sweet spot for the majority of our customers that want a legit stereo system in their boat. Will there be some guy that spent way more money that has a louder, better, stereo system? Yes, but that guy also spent way more money and you usually get what you pay for.
If you want the best and you are willing to pay for it, the Premium tier 8" marine speakers are the go to choice. These are the best 8" marine speakers in the world. The sound quality and volume is unmatched, but you are also paying up for a better product. It is important to make sure that you are powering these Premium speakers properly to ensure that you can hear the sound quality and volume that you paid for.
There are several different tweeter types among 8" marine speakers and they are classifieid into two different types, hard dome and soft dome. Hard dome tweeters tend to play louder, brighter, and crisper than soft dome tweeters. Soft dome tweeters are found more in high end speakers and they are known for true, rich, warm, balanced output.
There are two different hard dome materials in marine speakers, plastics and metals. The 8" marine speakers with hard dome tweeters will play brighter and crisper than those with soft dome tweeters, and then metal tweeters tend to be brighter than the plastic ones. While some may argue that metal will stand up to the environment better than a hard plastic, some others find metal tweeters harsh and shrill. In addition, metal tweeters like aluminum and titanium tend to cost more than the PEI or LCP, hard plastic tweeters. For example, titanium is probably the best sounding metal tweeter because it isn't harsh like aluminum, but the speakers with titanium dome tweeters are more expensive than the speakers with aluminum or PEI dome tweeters.
Silk is the most popular soft dome tweeter. Silk is not found often in marine speakers because it needs special treatment in order to withstand the marine environment. Silk dome tweeters are only offered on the JL Audio M3, JL Audio M6, and Fusion Signature speakers. These speakers are in the "Premium" tier, require an amplifier, and are among the more expensive 8" marine speakers.
It is important that the 8" marine speakers you buy match up well with your power source. You should be powering your 8" speakers with a marine grade amplifier. If you are currently powering your speakers off of your head unit, we recommend adding an amplifier. If you already have an amplifier, you want to make sure that your amplifier is providing enough RMS power for the speakers you are looking to buy, or you should consider different speakers that have lower RMS rating.
Here's an analogy to help explain it. Think of your boat as your speakers and your tow vehicle as your amplifier. The higher the RMS power of your speakers, the bigger boat you have. The higher the RMS power of the amplifier, the higher towing compacity of tow rig. If my power source (Tow Rig) is a Toyota Tacoma, I probably don't want to tow a 44 foot boat with it. Now, if I already have a 44 foot boat (High RMS Speakers), I want to make sure I buy a tow rig (amplifier) that is going to be able to it tow it, like a semi-truck.
The sensitivity rating of the 8" marine speakers measures the decibel level of the speaker at 1W/1m. This tells you how efficient the speakers are. The higher the dB rating at 1W/1m, the louder that speaker will play, when everything else is held constant. For example, a speaker with a sensitivity rating of 91dB at 1W/1m is going to play louder than a speaker at 89dB at 1W/1m. The higher the sensitivity rating, the louder that speaker will play if you were comparing them with equal power and listening at the same distance. Now sound quality with 8" marine speakers is much more than just volume, and assuming you don't have the volume turned up all the way, you can always turn up the volume on the head unit to play louder. But, this rating at least gives us something to compare the efficiency of one speakers versus another. If you compare the efficiency of an 8" speaker to the 6.5" version, you will notice that the 8" are usually more efficient. There are some exceptions to this like the Wet Sounds RECON speakers, but most 8" speakers play louder and are more efficient than their 6.5" little brother.
Most 8" marine speakers either come standard with LEDs, or you have the choice to buy a version of the speaker that comes with LEDs. There are two different types of LEDs for 8" marine speakers, static color, or RGB. The static color LEDs light up in a single color and that color is your only coice. The LED version of that speaker comes with blue LEDs and if you don't like blue LEDs, there are no other options. Most LED lit, 8" marine speakers come with RGB LEDs. With RGB LEDs, you can connect certain wires to wire the speakers to the color of your choice, or you can purchase and LED controller and change the color of the LEDs. With most LED controllers, there are multiple modes to select from and the speakers will flash, fade, and change colors in a set pattern. Some controllers even have Bluetooth connectivity and an app that allows you to change color and control the mode from your phone.
When you get into the Mid-Tier and Premium level 8" marine speakers, there are some that are designed for the best sound quaity and others that are designed to play really loud. Designing speakers for sound quality makes a ton of sense because, who doesn't like better sound quality? The issue is that the materials that help for sound quality, like a silk-dome tweeter, don't tend to play as loud and bright. In a marine environment, you have a significant amount of environmental noise. The boat engine, wind, and water create noise. Your speakers must cut through all of that ambient noise and some of that ambient noise will cancel out the fidelity from the "sound quality" speakers. How, when, and where you use your boat, as well as your personal preference will help determine which might be better for you.Things to Keep in Mind:
- How fast are you usually going on your boat?
- How Loud is Loud Enough?
- Are you willing to sacrifice sound quality for volume?
- Are you the person that wants to play your music loud and you want to make sure others can hear it?
- Are you, yourself a fan of loud music?
- Are you towing a wakeboarder or skier?
- Do you go out and just hang out, and float with other boats?
- How often do you use your boat's stereo system as your stereo when docked?
- Are you that person that loves a good ol' fashioned dance party with the music blasting, or do you think that is totally obnoxious?
All of these 8" marine speakers will play plenty loud so that anyone on your boat can hear the music crystal clear over the engine, water, and wind noise. It comes down to your personal listening style and your personality.
- Kicker KM65
- Memphis MXA60
- Rockford Fosgate M1
- Rockford Fosgate M2
- Wet Sounds RECON
- Wet Sounds REVO
- Fusion Signature Series
- JL Audio M3
- JL Audio M6
Yes. As long as you can fit the 8" speakers in your boat, the 8" speakers will always sound better. The 8" speakers have more cone surface area and most models have larger tweeters than the 6.5" model of the same speakers. You will want to make sure that you have an amplifier to power 8" speakers as the larger size requires more power. Since the 8" speakers are more expensive, you want to make sure that you are hearing and enjoying what you are paying for.
Usually, the dimension that limits your speaker size is the amount of height you have on the hull itself, where the current speakers are mounted. If there are specific speakers you want, there are three important dimensions, the outer grille frame diameter, the mounting hole diamter, and the mounting depth of the speaker itself. You want to make sure that all three of those dimensions will fit. The grille, outer frame diameter will make sure you have the space to install the grille. The mounting hole diamter will tell you if you need to enlarge the opening and by how much you will need to enlarge the cutout. Finally, you want to make sure you have enough space behind the speaker to fit the magnet and still be able to secure the speaker to the mounting surface.
The honest answer is literally .3" inches. Some boats come factory with 7.7" speakers and that is why JL Audio and Fusion make a 7.7" diameter speaker. From an aftermarket standpoint, there isn't a difference. The advantage of going with an 8" speaker vs. a 6.5" is that they handle more power, they play louder, and you can get more mid-bass response out of an 8" than you can a 6.5". If you are a JL Audio person and for example, you are debating between JL and Rockford Fosgate because the Rockford is an 8" and the JL is only a 7.7", you are overthinking it. Go with the JL Audio 7.7" speaker because that is what you like.
This depends on the boat and the owner. 8" marine speakers will not make up for the bass output of a subwoofer. While the 8" speakers will provide much better bass output than a 6.5", the full range 8" can't do what evan an 8" subwoofer can do. Part of this equation has to do with the amplifier and signal processing too. Your 8" marine speakers are full range speakers that have a frequency response range somewhere between 30Hz-30kHz. On the amplifier, that power is focused across the entire frequency range. When you have a subwoofer, you have an amplifier and a filter that is putting all of its power to those sub-bass frequencies, usually below 80Hz. The ability to turn on the low pass filter, cross it over at 80Hz, and send all of that power to 1 speaker allows a subwoofer to outperform an 8" marine speaker when it comes to bass output.
Yes, you will need an amplifier to power 8" marine speakers. With the larger surface area, larger tweeter, and higher power handling that you get with 8" marine speakers, you want to make sure that you hear the difference. If you just power the 8" speakers off of your head unit, there isn't enough power going to the speakers to justify the extra money it costs for the 8" vs. the 6.5"