Marine Audio Installation Tips
By David D. – Product Specialist
Now a days it’s rare to be on the lake or river and see a boat without some sort of sound system in it. Some of them sound good, and some don’t. In this article I will provide you with some useful tips on how to install a good quality sound system in your boat.
A head-unit is usually the first thing you purchase when putting together a sound system. There are head-units manufactured specifically for marine use such as the Kenwood KMR-700U. When you mount your marine stereo, the recommended mounting angle is 20° and should never be mounted over 30°. If you do choose to mount the deck at an angle over 30°, the CD player will still function but you risk losing the shock protection, this could permanently damage your newly acquired headunit.
When it comes to the Marine Speakers, there are a couple different ways of mounting them. You can get flush mount speakers, box speakers, or a set of tower speakers. Flush mount speakers require you to cut a hole in your boat to mount them. This method takes up the least amount of space and keeps the speakers out of the way from any activity going on in the boat. With box speakers, there is no need to cut a hole anywhere in your boat, they come equipped in a boxed enclosure and are already set up for peak performance. The downside of box speakers is that they do not mount flush and they can take up space. Tower speakers are great for wakeboarding boats, these speakers mount on the top of your tower and can be aimed or positioned however you please. When dealing with any kind of Marine speaker, you want to aim them where your ears are going to most likely be. In a vehicle this is not that important because the sound has surfaces to bounce off of. In a boat, there is a lot of airspace the sound can get lost in. When wiring your speakers, you want to try to stay away from normal speaker wire; it has copper that can easily corrode due to moisture. An ideal marine speaker wire should have some plastic coating on the wire that extends from end to end. You can also wrap all your wires with electrical tape for extra caution.
To power your marine audio system, you will need a marine specific amplifier like the Kicker ZXM350.4. When installing an amplifier in your boat, it is recommended to use 1 amplified channel per speaker, however you can use more than one speaker on one amp channel. If you plan on doing that, you have to be careful because if this isn’t set up properly because you could damage your amplifier. Please read the owner’s manual of your amplifier to make sure you’re not exceeding the power ratings. The amplifier is the so-called “brains of the operation”, so when choosing one make sure that this isn’t the component you try to save money on.
I hope some of these tips helped you and I look forward to hearing you out on the lake.