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What are the best marine speakers?
But for a full breakdown, check out our best marine speakers article.
Things to think about when Buying Marine Speakers:
- What size speaker fits your boat?
- Do you want LED Lights?
- What are you trying to accomplish
- Do you have a wake tower?
How Do I know what size marine speakers I currently have?
How Do I know if I can fit bigger marine speakers?
If You Install Bigger Speakers, Do You Still Need a Subwoofer?
How Do the LEDs work in Marine Speakers
How do You Wire the LEDs in Marine Speakers
The LEDs in marine speakers work independently of the speaker wire. Simply wiring the speaker for audio will not power the LEDs. The LEDs on marine speakers work off of your 12 volt power system.
If the speakers have single color LEDs, they just need a power wire and a ground wire. You can use speaker wire as the wire to do this, or you can use regular, 20 AWG primary wire. You can use the REM wire on the amplifier as the 12v power source from your head unit to power the LEDs if you want the LEDs to light up when you turn your stereo on. However, this means that the LEDs will always be on when the stere is on. If you want the ability to turn the LEDs on and off regardless of whether the stereo is on or not, you then need to wire them to a switch.
If you have RGB LEDs, you can wire your speakers to the color of your choosing by grounding certain color wires. For example, if you have 12V power to the LEDs and you ground the red wire, the speakers will light up red. If you ground the blue wire, they will light up blue. If you ground the green wire, they will light up green. If you ground red, blue, and green, they will light up white. You can also mix and match wires to light up other colors, like red and blue to make purple, but you get the point. If you want the ability to easily and quickly change the color of your speakers or if you want your speakers to constantly change colors by fading or flashing, you can add an RGB LED controller. With an RGB LED controller, you can set the LEDs to virtually any color you want and you can select between a bunch of different modes for a full on disco party if you want. Many RGB LED controllers have Bluetooth built in and can be controlled via an app on your phone. The easiest way to wire RGB LEDs is with RGB speaker wire. Instead of standard, positive and negative speaker wire, this speaker wire is jacketed cable with 2 larger conductors for your speaker wire and 4 smaller wires for the RGB LEDs, a black wire for power, and then red, blue, and green wires to connect and ground.
Do You Need an Amplifier for Your Marine Speakers?
6.5" Marine Speakers6.5" marine speakers are the most popular and best selling size among all of the marine speaker sizes available. The 6.5 inch is going to be what comes standard on most boats and it offers the most options in terms of brand, speaker quality tiers (good, better, best), colors, and the option to add LED lights. The most common setup in boats would be four 6.5" speakers and we offer them from top brands including JL Audio, Kicker, Rockford Fosgate, Wet Sounds and more. If you are looking to upgrade or add speakers to your boat, this is a good, safe place to start.
8" Marine Speakers8" marine speakers offer improved sound qualty and volume over their 6.5" counterparts. The 8" cone is going to give you better bass reponse and the 8" speakers usually have larger tweeters. Because there is more surface area, the 8" speakers can usually handle more power and therefore play louder. We recommend measuring first to ensure that you can actually fit the larger speakers, but if you can, the 8" just sound better than the 6.5". JL Audio offers a 7.7" speaker instead of a true 8", but we classify them in this category as they are roughly the same size. In addition to JL Audio, we also offer 8" marine speakers from Rockford Fosgate, Kicker, and Wet Sounds. If you are looking to upgrade your boat's audio or just looking for an overall great sounding stereo, the 8" option is a great way to go.
Wake Tower SpeakersWake tower speakers are popular with wake boarding boats as their name suggests, pontoon boats, or any other boat that has a tower where speakers can be mounted. Wake tower speakers allow you to mount enclosed, marine speakers up high in order to have your audio travel long distances. These are perfect for playing tunes for the people that you are towing, or if you just want to make sure that others can hear you and your music. We offer wake tower speakers with both fixed and swivel clamps as well as with direct fit brackets for many of the popular wake boarding boats. If you tow, or you like your music loud so that everyone can hear you, add one or two pairs of wake tower speakers and you will be ready to rock.
6x9 Marine SpeakersIf you have an older boat, it may have come with 6x9 speakers. 6x9 marine speakers were the most popular size back in the day and although many of those boats are still around, there are not as many 6x9 speaker options as there are for round coaxials such as 6.5" and 8". We offfer 6x9 marine grade speakers from Kicker, Wet Sounds, and Boss Audio. If you have an older boat and it came with 6x9 speakers, check out these options to improve your audio. If you have a newer boat, we recommend going with 6.5" or 8" speakers as they do not distort as easily at high volume due to the round speaker shape vs. the oval shape of a 6x9.
4" Marine Speakers4" marine speakers are not a popular size speaker. These are mainly used in older boats that came with 4" speakers and there isn't enough room to make the hole larger to accept a 6.5" speaker. There are also some powersports applications where a 4" speaker is ideal. We offer 4" marine grade speakers from both Boss and Kicker.
5" Marine Speakers5" and 5.25" marine grade speakers are used as factory replacement speakers for boats that came with these smaller speaker sizes. The 5.25" speakers were also used on Harley Davidson motorcycles from 1998-2013. We offer 5" and 5.25" marine speakers from both Boss Audio and Kicker.
6" Marine SpeakersThe 6" marine speakers are made by Rockford Fosgate and was their version of the 6.5" speaker for a while until they came out with a true 6.5" speaker. The 6" Rockford Fosgate marine speakers are used as OEM replacement speakers for boats that came with the 6" size from the factory.
9"+ Marine Speakers9 inch and larger marine speakers include the JL Audio 8.8" marine speakers, 9" and 11" towers from Kicker, and 10" coaxials and towers from Wet Sounds. These larger speakers are for those that want the loudest boat on the water. The larger cone diameter means more surface area for the basket and a larger magnet which leads to more power handling and then louder maximum volume. The JL Audio 8.8" marine speakers feature silk dome tweeters for a warm, rich, smoother sound compared to the horn tweeters and aluminum dome tweeters that come on the Kicker and Wet Sounds products. The horn tweeters on the Kicker towers and the Wet Sounds REV 10s can play at volumes that would almost melt your ear drums. These are designed for the person you are towing or if you just want everyone else to hear your music.
Speaker Brand BreakdownWe carry a wide variety of marine speaker brands and each one is a little bit different in terms of sound profile, power handling, and price. We will try to break it down so you can get a better understand of where each brand lies within the market.
- Boss Marine Speakers - Affordable, value priced product. Are Boss speakers amazing? No. Are they a really good value when compare them based on price? Yes. Will you notice of hear the difference? It all depends. Boss is really the only economy brand that we offer because we feel they make a good product that fits a need for entry level speakers
- JL Audio Marine Speakers - The best sound quality among marine speakers. The M6 speakers sound absolutely amazing. The M3 offer JL sound quality at an affordable price point. The JL speakers that come with LEDs are also the best looking LED speakers in the world and it's not close
- Memphis Marine Speakers - Memphis marine speakers are perfect if you want something that is going to get loud, but you are on a budget. They are mid-tier speakers that are better than teh $100 per pair speakers and you get what you pay for, but they are LOUD
- Rockford Fosgate Marine Speakers - There are 3 levels of Rockford Fosgate marine speakers. The RM0 is a higher-end entry level speaker that is designed to be used without an amplifer. The RM1 speakers give you that signature Rockford loud, bright, clear sound profile, but at an affordable price point. The Rockford Punch speakers are probably the best value for high-end speakers designed to get LOUD. The Rockford horn speakers are melt your face-off, make your ears bleed, holy $#!^ these speakers are aggressive loud.
- Stinger Marine Speakers - Super versatile speakers that play loud and sound good. If you are looking for something around $100 per pair, go with the Stinger. They sound good both with and without and amplifier. The best option for value priced LED speakers
- Wet Sounds Marine Speakers - Similar sound profile to Rockford Fosgate. Wet Sounds speakers are designed to get LOUD. They are not going to be as bright as Rockford speakers are, but Wet Sounds also only does marine audio. They know what works, what sounds good, and what it takes to build a high quality, high end speaker that is going to last. The Wet Sounds speakers are perfect if you want LEDs and youw want LOUD. The Wet Sounds RECON speakers are their entry-level offering that have lower power handling and they can be wired directly to a head unit.
What are Marine Tower Speakers?Marine tower speakers are speakers that come in enclosers that are designed to mount to the wakeboard tower or tow tower of a boat. They are most popular on wakeboard boats because they all have a tower. The purpose of the tower speakers is to mount speakers as high as possible to broadcast to the people are person you are towing behind your boat. Tower speakers come with various mounting options including fixed clamps, swivel clamps, surface mount, and OEM, direct fit adapters. There are two main types of tower speakers, coaxial speakers and horn loaded speakers. Coaxial tower speakers use the same speakers that are found in the hull, just in an enclosure. Horn loaded tower speakers use a special type of tweeter for maximum volume and distance. Horn tweeters are insanely loud. Most companies, except for Rockford Fosgate, do not make horn loaded speakers for the hull because they feel that they might be too loud.
How much power can my marine speakers handle?The RMS rating on the speakers will tell you how much power your marine speakers can handle. This number tells you on average, how much power the amplifier can send to the speaker without blowing the speaker up. If your speakers have an RMS rating of 50 watts, you want to make sure you aren't using an amplifier that puts out 100 watts of RMS power with the gain turned all the way up. If so, the speakers are likely getting more power than they can handle, that power generates heat and the speakers overheat, the voice coil disforms, and you that dreaded scratching sound of a blown speaker.
If your speakers can handle 100 watts RMS, do I need a 100 watt RMS per channel amplifier?No. There is a common belief in both marine and car audio that you have to always maximize everything. If you have speakers that can handle 100 watts RMS, you can put 60 watts RMS to them and they are still going to sound great. In addition, music is dynamic and the speaker cone is always moving. The movement of the speaker cone changes the resistance load and therefore changes the power output. Now at the same time, if that speaker can handle 100 watts and you put 60 watts to them, but your friend puts a 100 watt RMS amplifier to them, his speakers will be able to play louder and cleaner than yours will, if you are both next to each other trying to compare. In a real world environment, you would probably never tell the difference unless you are trying to play your music as loud as possible, all the time.
Think of it like a car or truck. If my car has 450 horspower and your car has 600 horsepower. If we are both going to the store to get groceries, neither of us are likely using even close to the amount of horsepower that either vehicle has. We are going down city streets at 45-50 mph. We aren't racing. Having 450 horsepower or 600 horspower doesn't matter.
Now, the difference between a head unit power and an amplifier is the difference between a 1100cc stock engine (radio) in a VW Beetle and a 450 hp V8 (amplifier).