Did you know that listening to music is good for your health because it can actually lower your blood pressure? And can you think of a better way to boost your mood and set the atmosphere on your watercraft than turning up the volume of your favorite song? Then you will find the right answer in picking up the best marine stereo for your boat.
Our team has done its homework to offer you an extensive guide including all the details you need for a well-informed purchase based on your needs. And since you are here, make sure to check our
marine stereo reviews where we have briefly described some of the top units on the market and also pointed out their advantages and disadvantages.
Best Marine Stereos Comparison Chart
BOSS Audio Systems Marine Stereo
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JVC Marine Mechless
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Pyle Marine Receiver & Speaker Kit
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Fusion Entertainment Marine Entertainment System
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BOSS Audio Marine Gauge
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BOSS Audio Marine Stereo
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Best Marine Stereo Systems (Newest Models)
We will begin with our product reviews, and our team hopes that the information in them will give you a better insight on what to expect when getting ready for purchase.
1. BOSS Audio Systems Marine Stereo
We will begin our reviews with a surround audio system that is uniquely designed to withstand harsh weather conditions while giving you exceptional sound and exclusive features. With the BOSS Audio Systems’ product, you can easily choose, play and control your music files via Bluetooth audio streaming using your Smartphone or MP3 player. Moreover, there is an AUX output in case your wireless connection is not an option.
Another great feature is the switchable US and Europe tuner which is a necessity at any time when you set sailing. These characteristics will undoubtedly make your time on the boat more enjoyable, but as a watercraft owner, you are probably wondering about the quality and durability of this unit. Therefore, you will surely value the UV protection, corrosion resistance and the high waterproof rating of this audio system. And finally, you will not just get the gauge receiver, but also the 6.5-inch full range marine speakers and a marine dipole antenna.
- 3 Year Warranty
- 180 watts speaker power
- 90 watts RMS
- IPX 6 rated
- Switchable US and Europe tuner frequency
- No SD port
- The USB port is only for charging
2. JVC Marine Mechless
JVC is known for its quality products, and this is the reason why JVC marine Mechless is in our reviews. This product is easy to install and operate and is also compatible with Apple iPhone 6/6+ and iOS 8 software. Moreover, there are AUX and USB ports at the front of the panel and a built-in Bluetooth which will ensure straightforward access to all your favorite music.
You can control your music files either manually, by downloading the JVC remote app for Android or even with a wired marine controller, which, however, should be bought separately. And apart from using the USB port for playing music, you can charge your phone as well, but it can be a little bit slower.
Another thing you will like is that the package comes with everything you need to install the in-dash receiver as well as setup 4 speakers to its wiring harness. The only thing that might be inconvenient is the need for better labeling of the front panel control buttons because they are hard to read.
- 50 watts x 4 channels
- Built-in Bluetooth technology
- Can change the background color
- Detachable faceplate
- Not waterproof
- Thumb drive only
3. Pyle Marine Receiver & Speaker Kit
Here we have a reasonably-priced product which has all the features you might be looking for. The Pyle audio system comes with two 5.25” speakers that have marine-grade waterproof construction, 300 watts power receiver and handy remote control.
This unit can play your music files using the built-in Bluetooth technology and is also compatible with all Bluetooth devices like smartphones. Also, there is an SD slot which means that you can put on all your most-liked playlists. Also, there is an AUX port and a USB flash input connector, but the latter can be mainly used for charging your phone.
Another thing that may bother you is that if you want to listen to more than a few radio stations, you should get an external AM/FM antenna. Nevertheless, this unit is very compact, easy to install and you will not need the manual to figure out how to work with it. Also, you can add two more speakers without the need for an amplifier.
- Built-in Microphone for Hands-Free Talking
- LCD digital display
- Remote control
- 100 Watt max power and 50 Watt RMS
- The faceplate is not removable
- The receiver is not waterproof
4. Fusion Entertainment Marine Entertainment System
In case you need an audio system to pair with your Chartplotter, then Fusion Entertainment has a great product to offer you. The MS-RA70N comes with a built-in Bluetooth which is of outstanding quality, and you can use it to connect your smart device to the unit wirelessly. Also, you will be able to use it as remote control via the free remote control app.
Another key characteristic is the 2 independent audio zones which can be localized with the controls on the menu. The product is equipped with a rear USB port and a port for satellite radio. As for the ease of installation, let us just say that the shape and size of the unit will make it possible for you to replace your old marine stereo without making any additional adjustments on your dash space. Furthermore, you can mount this marine system for music either with a dash finish or directly integrate it into the glass helm on your boat.
- IPX 7 front panel
- Full Apple or Android interface
- Bluetooth remote control app
- NMEA 2000 network compatibility
- The menu is a bit complicated to use
- No receiver for a satellite radio
5. BOSS Audio Marine Gauge
This product is another excellent choice coming from BOSS. The audio, marine gauge has a square shape, very soft touch buttons and backlit display to make it easy for you to see the unit in the dark. Also, the product comes with a wired antenna that can pick up any strong signal. And the extra features will surely make your voyages more pleasurable since the MGR450B has Bluetooth audio, a USB port at the rear side, RDS tuner and a built-in AMP.
Moreover, you can use the US and Europe frequencies, and in case your battery is disconnected, you can rely on this product’s radio preset memory. This way, you will not have to search for your favorite radio station again. The product will also work with any thumb drive or USB card reader on condition that the reader has no more than 32GB memory. Finally, you can add an amplifier and a satellite radio, but the latter should have an RCA or AUX plug.
- IPX 6 rated
- 2 trim bezels in the package
- 3-year warranty
- 30 watts RMS per channel
- Condensation might appear between the lens
- The wired remote control has to be purchased separately
6. BOSS Audio Marine Stereo
As you may have noticed Boss’ products dominate our reviews and the reason for this is the manufacturer’s reasonable prices for good-quality units. The MR632UAB is not an exception and hence comes with so many features to enhance your experience while sailing or fishing. This audio receiver has a detachable panel with a UV coating for the perfect weather protection. Also, you can use the unit’s built-in Bluetooth for both listening to your favorite music and receiving calls while your hands are on your boat’s steering wheel.
Another thing that you will like is the Android app control for your smart devices. This way you can easily adjust the volume, change the songs or the radio stations while using your phone. This receiver’s frequencies cover not only the USA’s but also Europe’s radio stations. And in case you do not want to use your smartphone for controlling the unit, there is a wireless remote control that comes in the package for extra convenience.
- Detachable panel
- 3-year guarantee
- Wireless remote
- The display might be hard to see in direct sunlight
- Should buy the radio cover to protect the receiver from salt and water
7. Pyle Marine Stereo Radio
This Pyle product comes with a fashionable design and many functions to offer every boat owner. The front panel button controls of this marine stereo radio are brightly illuminated to help you see the unit in the dark or in direct sunlight. Also, it comes in 2 colors to choose from depending on the style of your dashboard, and you can remove the face easily when not on board.
As for this stereo receiver’s performance, you will be pleased to find that there are a USB port, an SD slot, and a radio antenna socket. Moreover, there is a built-in microphone for hands-free calling as well as Bluetooth, which will make it possible for you to stream audio files directly from your smart devices. And at the back of the unit, you can find an audio output for 2 RCA. This in-dash stereo receiver uses only 10A, and it can wire up to a 12-volt system which is an excellent characteristic for 300 watts maximum power.
- Remote control
- 30 station memory capacity
- 300 watts maximum power
- 40-feet wireless range
- Not water resistant
- Should buy a removable water case to protect it
What Can You Actually Get From A Quality Marine Audio System?
Listening to music or the news on the radio is quite a habit for each of us. This is perhaps the reason why we all have audio systems installed in our cars or take our smartphones or MP3 players everywhere we go. Then, the next logical step is to equip our vessels with an electronic audio receiver and speakers to enhance the atmosphere while sailing.
This, however, can turn our marine experience either into a feeling of deep contentment or come as a disappointment. Both outcomes will depend on your choice of an audio receiver for a boat, but before listing the key features to look for, check out the advantages and disadvantages of having a marine sound system installed on your dashboard.
- No matter whether you are throwing a marine party or relaxing while cruising, a stereo receiver with the right speakers can make your day. If you are interested in finding out more about the best marine speakers, you should definitely read our guide and product reviews to be up-to-date with the latest units on the market.
- All audio systems have a memory for radio stations, and what can be more important than listening to the weather forecast while you are in the open sea? Knowing what weather conditions to expect can actually save your life.
- Audio-streaming music files using your smartphone via the built-in Bluetooth of your marine audio receiver can make those long hours fishing even more pleasurable. Especially if you are trying to catch some fish and have no company to share jokes, listening to music or podcasts can really make a difference.
- You can install an additional satellite radio tuner. Also, feel free to check what we have to share with you about the best VHF marine radio in our extensive guide and reviews.
- Marine audio systems are incredibly durable compared to their conventional counterparts. Using an in-dash receiver for watercraft will guarantee that your unit is protected from salt, water, and corrosion and hence qualify as a long-lasting solution for your boat.
- You can connect your receiver with your current Chartplotter or fishfinder as well.
- Some audio systems do not come with an SD slot which can be a disadvantage if you have your favorite playlists stored on such cards.
- Most antennas found in a marine audio package are wired which means that you will have to buy an additional antenna for better radio frequency coverage.
- There are marine stereos that have misleading information about being waterproof. Sometimes you will find this out after several outings with your boat.
- Faceplates are not always removable, and therefore you will not be sure whether your audio receiver investment will survive till the morning.
- The quality of the material is also essential, and very often people miss that part. If most of the features are made of plastic, you may expect your unit to be easily broken.
- Some manufacturers make great marine audio systems in terms of features but forget that boat owners need a device that can be operated with ease. Trying to remember the controls on your radio and at the same time looking up a specific function in the manual is undoubtedly not what you have paid for.
After hinting on both the positives and negatives of owning a marine radio device, you can scroll down to find out what more we have to say about the must-haves of such products. Moreover, our team has explained in a simple language why such features are essential and what benefits they can bring to you.
What To Look For In A Marine Audio Receiver?
Sometimes it turns out that you do not know what all the specifications in a product description mean and this can surely make you feel confused. Moreover, the wide variety of brands in the radio systems market intended for marine use can deepen your insecurity and therefore push you to make a snap and usually wrong decisions for your boat’s stereo. This is the reason why our team has compiled a list of essential features to help you make the right choice in order to enjoy your favorite music to the max.
The dimensions of a new marine stereo should match the cutout hole of your old one, so this is the first thing to consider before paying for a new audio unit. It is true that there are mounting plates or other materials offered on the market to help you support your new marine radio in the old cutout hole, but there are cases where doing so is not an option. Also, it is better to enlarge your existing hole on your boat’s dashboard rather than searching for adapter plates.
2. Power Output
When you read the specifications, you will undoubtedly notice that the manufacturer points out the maximum power output. In case you do not know what the watts stand for in this section, we will briefly mention their purpose.
At the back of your device, there are outputs intended for up to 4 speakers. When you plug them in, they will produce sound depending on the total power output of your unit. In other words, if the total watts are 300, that would mean that the volume you will get from the speakers will be 75watts each.
Hence, the more watts a marine audio system has the better sound and high volume you will get. Also, bear in mind that you will use half the power if you have only two speakers connected to the device. And in case you wish to plug in more than 4 speakers, then consider buying an amplifier. Otherwise, there is a risk that you damage your marine receiver.
Apart from size and power output, there are other important characteristics to pay attention to. Here are some of the most common that we think you will need in order to get the best audio performance of your unit.
· Removable Face
It is incredibly convenient to be able to remove the face panel of your marine audio receiver. Just think about the crime statistics, and all those boat owners shocked to find a missing marine stereo. And it is much better to have a chance to prevent this and protect your investment from unwanted intruders.
· Remote Control
Just think about the times you tried to switch the channel on your TV without a remote. Well, the same can be applied to boat owners wishing to control their audio products for watercraft from the other side of their boat. Also, you should know that remote controls are two types – wireless and wired.
- Wireless remotes do not use infrared light but RD (radio frequencies). This way the signal they emit can reach the receiver regardless of obstacles like walls, doors or other objects.
- Wired remotes can be mounted anywhere on the boat which makes them an extremely convenient way of controlling the marine audio. In addition, you can install more than one depending on your needs.
· Remote Control Apps
Some marine audio system’s manufacturers offer applications for your smartphones so that you can control the radio with a quick tap on your touchscreen. This function is very user-oriented and will undoubtedly save your time staring at the receiver’s control buttons and searching for the play button.
· Bluetooth Compatibility
All marine radio receivers are designed to receive and transmit a Bluetooth signal. That makes them extremely convenient when it comes to directly streaming music from your smart devices. However, there are some marine in-dash receivers that support specific software or just the opposite-do not work with them. For example, Apple has a particular operating system that does not comply with all audio systems.
· USB Port
A USB port is something that will additionally enhance the atmosphere on your boat. When connecting your MP3 player or smartphone to it, you can stream your music files like MP3 or WMA on your receiver. Or, you can stick a flash drive to it for this purpose. However, some units can support memory sticks of no more than 32 GB which may limit your playlists.
Another great thing about USB ports on marine audio receivers is that USB charging works for your phone or any device compatible with the port will be right at hand. So, you can say goodbye to low battery messages on your smart devices.
· SD Slot
This is another excellent feature to look for in a marine stereo. It has the same functions as the USB port, but SD cards have better memory storage and larger capacity.
· Built-In Microphone
Imagine using your audio system for your personal calls? It sounds great to be able to talk to your friends and family without the need to hold your phone, right? With built-in microphones, you can actually do that, and moreover, your hands will be free to steer the boat or hold the fishing rod.
4. Antenna Type
Most marine products for listening to music come with a wire type antenna which means that if you have a good signal on your boat, then it can quickly pick it up. But if you need a device to receive a wider range of radio signals, then you should buy an additional one and make sure that the cable connector matches the AUX port of your stereo to connect it.
5. IPX Rate And UV Protection
All marine products, especially technologies like audio receivers and radios, are designed to resist harsh weather conditions like salt, sun rays, water, corrosion. It is especially important that your radio receiver remains unaffected by such unfavorable circumstances and that is why you should carefully read the unit’s specifications’ list. Most face panels are made UV-resistant, but not all marine audio systems are waterproof. The IPX rate actually guarantees that the product has been tested for water penetration and hence can be safe to use on boats.
You can find so many other great products with functional features as mentioned above in our marine audio systems homepage, so do not forget to check it out.
Marine Audio For Boats Installation Tips
In this section, our team will give you some practical advice on installing a marine radio receiver.
- Make sure the cutout hole on your boat’s dashboard fit. It is best if the size of your new unit fits perfectly because you have to consider its protection and ensure it doesn’t bounce while you are sailing.
- In case the cutout hole is bigger or smaller, make adjustments or buy mounting plates or adaptor plates.
- Connect the cables for the receiver before you install it.
- Secure the unit and fix the hardware provided for the installation.
- Place the face panel and after that turn on the device for testing.
- Connect your smart device to your newly –installed radio receiver and enjoy!
As a precaution, make sure to read the manufacturer’s manual, especially if you have any further questions.
Maintaining Your Marine Stereo
Electronic devices need special care especially if they are mounted on boats. And since you will use this device in all types of weather conditions, you need to know how to keep it in good order. So, here are some practical tips for maintaining your marine stereo.
- Take care of the visible parts like the screen and the control buttons.
- Make sure to use a soft cloth or a PC screen cleaner.
- Do not use abrasive cleaners to remove stains like fingerprints or dried water drops.
Here we have come to the end of our best marine stereo guide. We hope that the information we have provided you with will help you make a wise choice and that reading the product’s specifications will no longer be a mixed-up experience. And if at that point you are still not sure on what receiver exactly to spend your money on, then go back and check our marine stereo reviews.
As always, we are open to your feedback and would appreciate any comment left by you. If you liked the article, show it to your friends or share it online. Let us know if anything can be changed or improved. Thanks for reading and as always – stay put!