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JL Audio M3 vs. M6 Marine Speakers

JL Audio M3 vs M6 Speaker Comparison Mobile Banner JL Audio M3 vs M6 Speaker ComparisonDesktop Banner


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Speaker Sizes

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Grilles

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Tower Speakers

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Subwoofers

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Power Handling

Speaker Efficiency Navigation Icon

Efficiency Rating

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Tweeters

6.5 Inch Speaker Navigation Icon

6.5" Speakers

7.7 Inch Speaker Navigation Icon

7.7" Speakers

8.8 Inch Speaker Navigation Icon

8.8" Speakers

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Conclusion


Introduction

M3 or M6? What the heck is the difference? At first glance they look very similar, and in some aspects they are almost identical. We hope to clarify the difference between both "M" lines from JL Audio so you can decide what speaker line best fits your marine application.

JL Audio released the M6 in early 2019 and then followed up with the release of the M3 later in the year. The JL Audio M6 speakers were completely re-designed and JL Audio challeneged themselves to engineer and build the best marine speakers the world has ever heard. If you were wondering if they did it, they did. In addition to coming up with superior sound quality, they also introduced their transflective LED technology for the M6 speakers that uses a translucent cone and RGB LEDs that are located behind the cone. The M6 speakers are the only speakers in the world that have the LED's behind the translucent speaker cone. All other speakers, including the JL Audio M3 have the LED's on the back side of the speaker grille and shine the light back onto the cone. JL's transflective technology gives you a smoother brighter light output that doesn't have the ring and halo effect that you can see when the LEDs are located behind the tweeter. The Transflective LED technology is bright and provides better overall illumination.

Available Sizes

The JL Audio M6 speakers are available in 6.5", 7.7" and 8.8" sizes while the M3 speakers are only available in 6.5" and 7.7".
M3 Speakers
6.5"
7.7"
M6 Speakers
6.5"
7.7"
8.8"
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Grille Options

Both the M6 and the M3 speakers are offered in sport white, classic white, and sport gunmetal speaker grille options for all sizes. If you want LED's the M6 speakers are offered with white classic grilles with LEDs, but the M3 speakers are not. With the M3 speakers, they do not have the Transflective technology and instead the RGB LEDs are integrated into the back side of the grille, behind the tweeter. If you want the RGB LEDs in the M3, you will need to select a sport grille in either white or gunmetal.
JL Audio M3 & M6 Marine Speaker Grilles
M3 Speakers
• White Classic
• White Sport
•• White Sport w/ RGB LEDs
• Gunmetal Sport
• Gunmetal Sport w/ RGB LEDs
M6 Speakers
• White Classic
• White Classic w/ Transflective RGB LEDs
• White Sport
• White Sport w/ Transflective RGB LEDs
• Gunmetal Sport
• Gunmetal Sport w/ Transflective RGB LEDs
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Matching Tower Speakers

The M3 tower speakers are only offered in a 7.7" diameter. The M6 tower speakers come in both a 7.7" and an 8.8" sizes. The white speakers come with gloss white enclosures and the gunemtal speakers come with satin black enclosures. The clamps for the tower speakers are sold separately and you have your choice between fixed clamp, swivel clamp, surface mount, or OEM tower adapters for select boat models.
JL Audio M3 & M6 Marine Tower Speakers
M3 Tower Speakers
•7.7" Diameter
M6 Tower Speakers
•7.7" Diameter
• 8.8" Diameter
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Matching Subwoofers

Both the M6 and the M3 have matching 10" subwoofers available. Just like the speakers, the M6 has an RGB LED option for each color and style of grille while the M3 only offers RGB LED's for the sport style grilles. M3 Subwoofers are only available in 10" widths while M6 Subwoofers are avialable in both 8" and 10" widths.
JL Audio 8 Inch & 10 Inch Marine Subwoofers
M3 Subwoofers
• 10" Subwoofers - Best used with amplifier power in the 50W - 175W range
• RGB LEDs Available for Sport Grilles Only
M6 Subwoofers
• 8" Subwoofers - Best used with amplifier power in the 50W - 200W range
• 10" Subwoofers - Best used with amplifier power in the 75W - 250W range
• Transflective RGB LEDs Available for All Grilles
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Power Handling

The power handling between M3 and M6 vary by speaker size. The 6.5" M3 speakers handle 60W RMS and the M6 handle 70W. The 7.7" M3 handle 70W RMS while the M6 can handle 100W. There are no 8.8" M3 speakers, but the M6 8.8" speakers can handle 125W RMS.
Jl Audio Speaker RMS Power Handling
M3 Power Handling
• 6.5" Speakers - 60W RMS
• 7.7" Speakers - 70W RMS
M6 Power Handling
• 6.5" Speakers - 70W RMS
• 7.7" Speakers - 100W RMS
• 8.8" Speakers - 125W RMS
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Efficiency Ratings

Speakers have efficiency ratings which tell you how loud that speaker plays at a certain distance given X amount of power. It is usually done as 1 watt per 1 meter. This number tells us how loud those speakers are going to play when power is held constant. If I give each speaker 50 watts of power, one speaker has a SPL rating of 89 dB, the other has an SPL rating of 92 dB, the speaker with the SPL rating of 92 dB is going to play louder. However, speakers are subjective and louder is not always better, but you can always turn the volume down. This number just tells us how efficient those speakers are. Both the 6.5" M3 and M6 have an efficiency rating of 89.5 dB. This tells us that they are equally efficient. In the 7.7", the M3 have a rating of 90.5 dB and the M6 are rated at 91 dB. The 8.8" M6 have an SPL rating of 90.5 dB.
Jl Audio Marine Speaker Efficiency Rating
M3 Speaker Efficiency @ 1W/1m
• 6.5" - 89.5 dB
• 7.7" - 90.5 dB
M6 Speaker Efficiency @ 1W/1m
• 6.5" - 89.5 dB
• 7.7" - 91 dB
• 8.8" - 90.5 dB
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Tweeter Size

The JL Audio M6 speakers have larger tweeters than their M3 counterparts. In a 6.5" speaker, the M3 has a .75" tweeter and the M6 has a .8" tweeter. In the 7.7" diameter, the M3 keeps the same .75" tweeter while the M6 steps up to a 1" tweeter. Both the M3 and the M6 have specially treated, silk dome tweeters for a sound profile that is rich, warm, and very musical compared to hard dome tweeters which are definitely brighter but also tend to be harsher.
Jl Audio Marine Speakers with Tweeters
M3 Speakers
• Silk Dome Tweeter Material
• 6.5" - .75" Tweeter
• 7.7" - .75" Tweeter
M6 Speakers
• Silk Dome Tweeter Material
• 6.5" - .8" Tweeter
• 7.7" - 1" Tweeter
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Power Source

We recommend using an amplifier for all marine speakers because a boat is a loud, noisy, open-air environment. The more power you give your speakers, the louder, clearer, and with less or even no distortion. However, if you are powering speakers directly off of your head unit, you can use the JL Audio M3 speakers. The M3 will sound completely different and significantly better with an amp, but they will work off of deck power. If you are using deck power, we do not recommend the M6 speakers. Your radio does not put out enough power to give the M6 the juice they want. It is not worth spending the extra money for the M6 when the M3 will sound much better with deck power.
Marine Speaker Power Sources & Amplifiers
M3 Speakers
• Can be powered directly off of your head unit
• Amplifier Strongly Suggested
M6 Speakers
• Amplifier Required
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6.5" Speakers

If you are looking at 6.5" speakers, the difference in power handling is going to be very minimal. We like the JL Audio M-Series amps to power both the M6 and the M3, and that difference really comes down to your gain setting. Can you hear the difference between 60 and 70 watts at normal listening levels? Probably not. The M6 will not distort as easily as the M3 will when you want to turn the speakers up super loud, but loud is very subjective.
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7.7" Speakers

When you get int the 7.7" speakers, the difference in power handling is a little bit bigger. The M3 can handle 70 watts RMS and the M6 can handle 100 watts RMS. Does that make a difference? It will likely depend on the amplifier you are using. We like the M-series amps for all of these speakers and with the M6, you can, if you want, turn the gain all the way up. With the M3, you probably won't turn it up all the way to be safe, but you could go 95% of the way.
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8.8" Speakers

As we stateed above, the 8.8" speakers are only offered in M6. If you are going to go big, go big and you will not be disappointed. The 8.8" M6 are probably the best sounding marine speakers in the world and some might argue, the best sounding speakers JL Adio has ever made.
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Our Recommendation

The JL Audio M3 speakers are more popular than the M6 becaues of their price point. The M3 give you a marine grade speaker with a silk-dome tweeter. From a accuracy, sound quality, and a truly musical experience, the price point of the M3 speakers is tough to beat. At the same time, the M6 speakers are flat out, the best sounding marine speakers in the world. If you want sound quality and you want truly, beautiful sound that will withstand the elements, you will not find a better sounding speaker, period. However, you are paying a significant premium. If you are thinking to yourself, "I don't care, I have the money, I want the best," go with the M6. If you read this, look at the chart below, and say, "I really want the M6, but I don't know if I can justify the price difference, the M3 are going to sound really, really good and you will probably still absolutely love them." My name is Jeff and I own the company. If I am going with 6.5" speakers, I am going to go with the M3. I can't justify the expense of the M6. The tweeters are roughly the same size, they are equally efficient, and the power rating difference is negligible. If I am going with 7.7" speakers, it will depend on my budget. If I have no budget, and I want to show off with the best of the best, give me the M6. If I am looking for a great value, I would go with the M3.

Now, if the RGB LEDs are important to you, the Transflective RGB LED's that come one the M6 speakers are truly amazing. The light output is super bright and they illumination is extremely smooth and even. They are the best looking lighted speakers in the world and it isn't close.
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Comparison
6.5" M3 Speakers
JL Audio 6.5 Inch M3 Marine Speakers
Tweeter Size
.75"
Tweeter Material
Silk Dome
Minimum Power Requirement
20 Watts
Deck Power Compatible
Yes, but an Amplifier is Recommended
Grille Options
White Classic, White Sport, Gunmetal Sport
LED Options
White Sport & Gunmetal Sport available with Optional RGB LEDs
RMS Power Handling
60 W, 4 Ω
Peak Power Handling
225 Watts
Recommended Amplifier Power (RMS)
20 - 150 W / Ch.
Efficiency @ 1W/1m
89.5 dB
Frequency Response
55 Hz - 25KHz +/- 3 dB
Outer Grille Diameter
6.90" (175mm)
Front Grille Protrusion
.973" (25mm)
Mounting Hole Diameter
5.00-5.25" (127-133mm)
Mounting Depth
2.74" (69.5mm)
7.7" M3 Speakers
JL Audio 7.7 Inch M3 Marine Speakers
Tweeter Size
.75"
Tweeter Material
Silk Dome
Minimum Power Requirement
20 Watts
Deck Power Compatible
Yes, but an Amplifier is Recommended
Grille Options
White Classic, White Sport, Gunmetal Sport
LED Options
White Sport & Gunmetal Sport available with Optional RGB LEDs
RMS Power Handling
70 W, 4 Ω
Peak Power Handling
225 Watts
Recommended Amplifier Power (RMS)
20 - 150 W / Ch.
Efficiency @ 1W/1m
90.5 dB
Frequency Response
45 Hz - 25 KHz ± 3 dB
Outer Grille Diameter
7.70" (196mm)
Front Grille Protrusion
1.00" (25mm)
Mounting Hole Diameter
6.25" (159mm)
Mounting Depth
3.15" (80mm)
8.8" M3 Speakers
JL Audio 8.8 Inch M3 Marine Speakers
Tweeter Size
N/A
Tweeter Material
N/A
Minimum Power Requirement
N/A
Deck Power Compatible
N/A
Grille Options
N/A
LED Options
N/A
RMS Power Handling
N/A
Peak Power Handling
N/A
Recommended Amplifier Power (RMS)
N/A
Efficiency @ 1W/1m
N/A
Frequency Response
N/A
Outer Grille Diameter
N/A
Front Grille Protrusion
N/A
Mounting Hole Diameter
N/A
Mounting Depth
N/A
Comparison
6.5" M6 Speakers
JL Audio 6.5 Inch M6 Marine Speakers
Tweeter Size
.8"
Tweeter Material
Silk Dome
Minimum Power Requirement
25 Watts
Deck Power Compatible
Amplifier is Required
Grille Options
White Classic, White Sport, Gunmetal Sport
LED Options
White Classic,White Sport, & Gunmetal Sport available with Optional RGB LEDs
RMS Power Handling
75 W, 4 Ω
Peak Power Handling
150 Watts
Recommended Amplifier Power (RMS)
25 - 150 W / Ch.
Efficiency @ 1W/1m
89.5 dB @ 1 W / 1 m
Frequency Response
55 Hz - 25 KHz ± 3 dB
Outer Grille Diameter
6.90" (175mm)
Front Grille Protrusion
1.02" (26mm)
Mounting Hole Diameter
5.00-5.25" (127-133mm)
Mounting Depth
3.00" (76mm)
7.7" M6 Speakers
JL Audio 7.7 Inch M6 Marine Speakers
Tweeter Size
1.00"
Tweeter Material
Silk Dome
Minimum Power Requirement
25 Watts
Deck Power Compatible
Amplifier is Required
Grille Options
White Classic, White Sport, Gunmetal Sport
LED Options
White Classic,White Sport, & Gunmetal Sport available with Optional RGB LEDs
RMS Power Handling
100 W, 4 Ω
Peak Power Handling
200 Watts
Recommended Amplifier Power (RMS)
40 - 200 W / Ch.
Efficiency @ 1W/1m
91.0 dB @ 1 W / 1 m
Frequency Response
45 Hz - 25 KHz ± 3 dB
Outer Grille Diameter
7.70" (196mm)
Front Grille Protrusion
1.08" (27mm)
Mounting Hole Diameter
6.25" (159mm)
Mounting Depth
3.32" (84mm)
8.8" M6 Speakers
JL Audio 8.8 Inch M6 Marine Speakers
Tweeter Size
1.00"
Tweeter Material
Silk Dome
Minimum Power Requirement
25 Watts
Deck Power Compatible
Amplifier is Required
Grille Options
White Classic, White Sport, Gunmetal Sport
LED Options
White Classic,White Sport, & Gunmetal Sport available with Optional RGB LEDs
RMS Power Handling
125 W, 4 Ω
Peak Power Handling
250 Watts
Recommended Amplifier Power (RMS)
50 - 250 W / Ch.
Efficiency @ 1W/1m
90.5 dB @ 1 W / 1 m
Frequency Response
38 Hz - 20 KHz ± 3 dB
Outer Grille Diameter
8.80" (224mm)
Front Grille Protrusion
1.45" (37mm)
Mounting Hole Diameter
7.375" (187mm)
Mounting Depth
5.00"(127mm)