Quality Marine Audio
What to Look for in Marine Stereo Systems
By Julia A. Russo
Marine CD players, speakers, and other equipment are specifically designed to withstand the abuses of the elements such as the heat, sun, and saltwater. The quality and options in marine stereo equipment has really exploded in recent years; this is great but the huge selection can make it difficult to narrow down what you should buy. Here are some specifics to look for when purchasing a stereo system for your boat:
- Water-resistant/Waterproof material: This is the most important thing to look for in a marine stereo system. The components should be able to withstand getting splashed and being in the rain. This does not necessarily mean they can be thrown overboard and complete submerged in water, but some probably can.
- Rust proofing/Corrosion protection: With all of the sun and salt out on the ocean, this is another must in a good marine stereo system. Rust and salt corrosion can quickly ruin a stereo system if it is not designed for the marine environment. Components should be specially coated to resist rust and corrosion.
- Heat/Sun resistance: A good system will be able to withstand and function normally in high temperatures and withstand the sun without fading. The component should be UV protected.
Features Available in Marine Stereos
Find a system with all of these features and you will be enjoying the music all summer long. There are many great marine stereo systems out there with all of the features you expect including iPod/MP3 docking, satellite radio, USB inputs, Bluetooth, and good sound quality. Most of the top audio system manufacturers make systems specifically designed for the marine environment and there are several that specialize in these types of systems. Many of the features you are looking for are the same as in a traditional sound systems such as good clear sound with no distortions and powerful speakers.
Placement and Installation
Once you've purchased your equipment, you need to install it. If you are replacing an existing system then it should be pretty straightforward. If this is going to be a new installation then you need to decide where to place it and make cuts in the boat paneling and run some wires. A good option is the glove box with some speakers tucked under the aft seating. Most systems are designed to be hooked up to your boat battery. Once installed, it's time to sit back and enjoy the summer!
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