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Marine Audio Installation Tips From The Pros

Whether you're revving your Jet Ski, upgrading your speedboat or hoping to outfit the family pontoon with new speakers, you don't have to go it alone. We're here with marine audio installation tips from our in-house experts. Install yourself book an installation with our specialists at Abt and have your boat ready for summer fun.

Why Do I Need A New Marine Stereo And Boat Speakers?

A white boat background with a large white and blue JL audio speaker and touch controls
Whether you own a speedboat or a yacht, watercraft are often manufactured with only the basic audio components installed. That could mean a simple marine radio and a pair of speakers placed around the boat. But that level of audio is unlikely to cut it, especially in a boat that's made for fun. You'll need your own soundtrack as you rock across the water on your wakeboard. Even trying to enjoy the radio with the motor on can be difficult for many stereo systems: you simply can't hear music while the boat is on. But upgraded marine speakers, amps and subwoofers can help transform every cruise into a memorable experience that's backed by booming sound. Our experts are ready to help with marine audio installation tips that can help you upgrade your boat. Below, we'll give you a better idea of what you should look for when it comes to marine audio upgrades.

Tips For Choosing & Installing A New Marine Radio

When most people start their marine audio journey, a common starting point is a new marine radio with Bluetooth so that boaters can stream music from their phone. When it comes to radios, there are lots of options out there, and they might not look like the kind you already have. Most radios of the past have been the traditional DIN size and style: a regulated size that's rectangular and common. They're largely being abandoned for differently shaped versions or smaller round models, partially because people have little demand for CD players in their boats. Consider what size you would want to go with when you're opting for a retrofit. Next, consider how water-resistant you'd like your marine radio to be. Many models aren't actually completely waterproof. Instead, they're water- or moisture-resistant. If you opt for a moisture-resistant radio, you should definitely make sure you purchase a cover as well. It will help preserve the lifespan of your marine audio system and your investment. If a cover doesn't sound appealing, search for a waterproof choice.
Next up, audio zones. Some radios for boats offer users the chance to control different audio zones of their craft independently. That means you can turn the volume up in the front, all while someone lounges quietly in a cabin below the deck. Another great example is for watercraft that's designed with speakers that point backward towards a swimming area. If you'd rather keep the sound up here while the volume stays lower inside the vehicle, a radio with audio zones is a great pick.
Other marine audio installation tips in the realm of radios involve placement and control. Many radios are installed on the port (or left) side of the boat. In that case, consider whether you're interested in a wired remoter control. A wired remote control will be on the starboard (right) side of the boat, allowing the driver to control the radio without moving from their seat. Another upgrade? A wired remote at the rear of the boat by a swim platform. With this, you don't have to get out of the water to change the music. Instead, swimmers just reach for the remote. Keep in mind that these remotes are unique to each radio, so if you replace, you have to replace the remotes.

Ready For New Boat Speakers?

A new radio is just the first step along the journey. Next, you'll want to upgrade to powerful speakers that can send sound throughout the boat and even across the water. Choosing and replacing speakers can be quite the process: to make it easier, look for speakers that are exactly the same size as the ones you already have. Measuring your current speakers is an easy task: just remove the current speaker and measure the size of the hole (called the mounting hole diameter). Then search for that measurement when shopping. Some marine audio installation tips: 6.5" marine speakers are the most commonly used models, but if you're looking for more volume, go up a size or two to a 7.7" or 8.8" model. You'll get more bass out of larger boat speakers. However, you'll likely need to do more cutting into your boat, so before buying a larger speaker, make sure you have enough room to create a bigger mounting hole.
We've got more marine audio installation tips from our experts: adding a secondary pair of speakers is another great way to get more booming music out of your boat. You'll want to place these in a space that doesn't have any existing speakers to achieve a more balanced, evenly distributed sound. Consider having speakers near the popular seating areas on your vessel: one set at the front of the boat, and another at the back, for example. That way, no one will have a hard time hearing the music—and you won't have to blast the volume at the front of the boat just so that folks in the back can hear.
Finally, consider aesthetics. Many marine speakers look similar, with changes in color often simply varying between white and black. The obvious choice is to opt for what looks most like your boat's existing structure. Now there's an extra feature that more and more boaters are loving: RGB lights. These can flash and change between different colors as your music plays for an exciting effect. Perfect for party lovers and those who enjoy watersports, boat speakers with RGB lights can help bring the energy up a notch. RGB lighting does require additional wiring, as well as a controller that helps you adjust the lights to fit your needs. Make sure you're up to speed on boat navigation lighting, too: you won't want any RGB effects to be mistaken for navigation lights, which are necessary at sunset, sunrise, and during poor weather.

Do I Need A Marine Amplifier?

We mentioned earlier that you might want to hear music while your motor is on and while you're in motion. If you do, you're going to need extra power for your speakers. One of our marine audio installation tips is to boost them (literally) with a new marine amplifier. These work to isolate, elevate and increase both music and sound quality so that you can hear your tunes as you travel through rough winds and waves.
An amp is necessary if you're adding extra speakers or a subwoofer, too. These slim devices connect to the boat's battery and require a fair amount of wiring and installation work. But if you're going to be upgrading with more speakers and even a subwoofer, it's a must-have. These boxes are made to foil the acoustic problems an open-deck boat presents: open space, noisy waves and no ceilings. But with an amplifier, sounds become louder, sharper and easy to hear even when you're moving at speeds.
We have a few marine audio installation tips for amp integration: when adding an amp, you will need power and ground wire running from the boat's battery to the amplifier itself. Another must-have is a circuit breaker in the power cable. Next up, you'll have to wire RCA cables between the amp and radio, as well as from the speakers to the amp. The bottom line is that there's going to be a lot of wiring, and the amplifier becomes a hub between your audio components and the boat itself. Proper wiring is truly important here, so if you don't feel confident in your ability to manage it, bring your boat in to an expert like the installation team here at Abt.

Is A Marine Subwoofer For Me?

Just like speakers, marine subwoofers are designed to push sound out into the open air as you boat. If you're hoping to create a truly amazing sound system for your boat, then adding a marine subwoofer is definitely something you should do. And like their counterparts on land, these devices send out deep, thumping bass with every beat. The result is a more complete, fuller sound. It's a true upgrade, and helps you feel the power of your playlist. If you can incorporate one into your system, you won't be sorry.
Nearly every marine subwoofer is going to require an amp, so it's important to recognize that they're a package deal. That's because subs require a lot of power to push out that bass. Before buying, we have a last marine audio tip from our specialists: it's important to know that subs come in two varieties. Choose between infinite baffle and sealed. Infinite baffle is the most common type, and these subs can be mounted to any flat surface, requiring no enclosed box. Sealed models, on the other hand, are acoustic suspension woofers that require an enclosure. Choose the one that's best for your boat, or if you need help from an expert, call our team at 800-860-3577 for advice or to set up an appointment.

Have Your Boat Upgraded By Experts At Abt

Installing new marine audio equipment in your boat isn't always easy, even with these marine audio installation tips from our in-house experts. If you're looking for hands-on help from a local Chicagoland team, we can assist. Instead of trying to DIY it, call us at 800-860-3577 or head to our site to make an appointment with our installation team. We'll be happy to discuss your needs, what products might be best for you, and get your watercraft ship shape. You'll be having fun out on the water in no time, with a marine audio system that's unbeatable.

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Abt's Mobile Install Team
1200 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Glenview IL, 60025


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