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What are marine speakers?

Marine speakers are stereo speakers that have been designed specifically for use in a marine environment. Their primary use is as part of a boat’s audio system. When it comes to marine speakers Canada sees just as much demand as other countries. Despite our relatively short summers, we have many lakes and rivers and huge amounts of coastline—all prime boating areas.

Are marine speakers waterproof?

As you would expect for a stereo component that’s meant to be used on a boat, marine speakers are at least water resistant and many are effectively waterproof. Look for features liked sealed rubber surrounds, corrosion-resistance, and drainage holes in the marine speaker enclosures to allow pooled water to escape. When making a choice, make sure to consider where on the boat the speakers will be installed and if it’s in a splash zone, the ones you choose should be waterproof.

Another thing to keep in mind is exposure to UV rays. A marine audio system—and especially a marine speaker—is often installed in an open location where it’s exposed to the sun as well as to water. And UV exposure can break down plastics. The best marine speakers can survive both water and exposure to sunlight.

Key benefits of marine speakers

The most important difference between marine speakers and car speakers is resistance to water and the elements. A car is an enclosed space, so manufacturers aren’t concerned about repeated exposure to waves, rain and fog. Technically you could use marine speakers in car audio systems, but unless the vehicle is a convertible and you plan to be driving with the top down in the rain, there’s not much point.

There is another key difference between the two setups that’s reflected in the design of marine audio systems. Car audio systems rely on doors, windows and a roof, which effectively act as “walls.” The audio tuning and speaker configuration take advantage of this traditional setup. Marine stereo systems are often effectively being used in an “outdoor” environment. That means the driver setup in a marine speaker is different, and often includes enhanced bass and treble performance and high power handling. Marine speakers are designed to project music that still sounds great, even with considerable ambient noise and in a location that may lack walls to bounce sound waves off of.

Types of marine speakers

There are several distinct types of marine speakers. Double cone speakers feature a single driver but two cones (one big, one small) to deliver both high and low frequency audio. Coaxial marine speakers (sometimes referred to as 2-way or 3-way speakers) have multiple drivers for optimal sound reproduction. Also available are subwoofers made specifically for boats, and even marine-grade soundbars that don’t require drilling for installation.

Marine speakers also come in various sizes. 4 inch marine speakers would be considered compact, while 6.5 inch marine speakers are more of a typical size for many marine audio systems. Regardless of speaker size, make sure you measure carefully to account for different size enclosures and mounting depth, and don’t forget to use marine speaker wire in the installation.