Having a good time on your boat is one thing, but having the right sound system is another. It’s not enough to just have a system that can play some music. You want something that will make you and your companion have a good fishing time.
Nonetheless, buying a new stereo can be overwhelming. There are so many different brands and features to choose from. You can think of durable and waterproof speakers. So how do you know which one is right for you? We’ve got you covered!
We’ve reviewed six of the best marine stereo available in 2023 and will walk you through their features and specifications so that you can make an informed buying decision.
6 Best Marine Stereos
- Best For Compatibility-Fusion Entertainment MS-RA70 Marine
- Best Budget Option-BOSS Audio Systems MGR350B Marine Gauge Receiver
- Best For Audio Quality –Prospec Electronics JBL-PRV175
- Best For Harsh Weather Conditions-Dual MXCP494BTS Digital Media Receiver and Bluetooth Receiver
- Best For Stereo with LCD Display-JL Audio Marine Performance Audio Kit: STAGE 1 (Starter Kit)
- Best For Powerful and Loud Music-JL Audio Marine Performance Audio Kit: STAGE 3 (BASS Upgrade Kit)
1. Fusion Entertainment MS-RA70 Marine
Best For Compatibility
- Has IPX6-rated water-resistance
- Features High-quality Sound 4x50w class-A amplifier
- Has a full Apple or Android devices interface
Simple to use, Fusion’s MS-RA70 is a compact and elegant marine radio with bluetooth and so many high-end capabilities. It has the most recent maritime technology and is considered one of the most easy-to-use boat radio installations.
This Fusion boat radio is an amplifier of 4 x 50W class A with many functions. It features advanced Bluetooth functions to stream Bluetooth-enabled devices’ smooth music and video. AUX inputs, USB port, and AM/FM radio are also available.
The Fusion-Link app compatibility is one of the most intriguing features. This app links your smartphone directly to the device, enabling you to use it as wireless remote control, managing source navigation, track selection, all from your phone’s interface.
2. BOSS Audio Systems MGR350B Marine Gauge Receiver
Best Budget Option
- Has compact boat AM FM radio
- Features an IPX6 water resistance
- Designed as circular gauge-style radio perfect for mounting on a boat’s dashboard
The MGR350B is made of high-grade, waterproof, and marine-class materials, protect against UV damage, and provide excellent music via an easy-to-use, inconspicuous interface—all for a low price.
It can immediately play your favorite music from the SD card reader, USB drives, and external devices. Bluetooth audio streaming is available, enabling you to utilize Spotify and Pandora on the move.
An Aux input for connecting smartphones and MP3 players and a USB connection for streaming data and charging gadgets.
3. Prospec Electronics JBL-PRV175
Best For Audio Quality
- Features a fancy LED display that lets you know what station you’re tuned to
- Has a circular gauge-style design for easy installation
- Features a top-notch Enrock radio antenna
The PRV-175 Marine Digital Media Bluetooth receiver is an excellent device that provides high-quality audio and a practical and user-friendly interface at a reasonable price.
There’s a water-resistant and dust-proof rubber cover, UV-resistant components, and a water-tight and water-proof main chamber to keep salt, sun, and moisture out while you’re out on the lake.
It has an auxiliary input, a USB input, and an interesting AUX to USB converter. It, of course, has an AM/FM radio with a top-notch Enrock radio antenna, which is one of the finest boat radio antenna configurations available.
4. Dual MXCP494BTS Digital Media Receiver and Bluetooth Receiver
Best For Harsh Weather Conditions
- Protect your audio from the weather and marine environment with a splash guard
- Wired Antenna to Aid in the location of local radio stations
- With integrated Bluetooth technology for the hands-free call and streaming music
This MXCP494BTS has USB and aux inputs of 3.5mm, which are easily placed on the receiver’s front, with a fixed face for further weather protection.
The USB inputs let you access your music collection up to 16GB via a USB flash drive or phone.
When you unplug your device, it transforms into its own hand-held remote for controlling your music collection, or Download the Dual APP to control radio functions directly from your device. It comes with an antenna, four 6.5″ grade marine speakers, and a radio splash protector.
5. JL Audio Marine Performance Audio Kit: STAGE 1 (Starter Kit)
Best For Stereo with LCD Display
- Has a 2.8-inch full-color LCD
- Features easy-to-use, large controls for marine/Powersports applications
- Has day/Night lighting modes with user-defined display brightness and themes
This package contains one pair of M3-650X-S-Gw 6.5-inch Marine Coaxial Speakers with White Sport Grilles and one MediaMaster® MM50 Powered Marine Source Unit with 2.8-inch, full-color LCD and 4 x 25W built-in power.
It comes with a quality 40-inch dipole antenna with stannum-plated conductors and connections to resist severe maritime conditions. It also has an ultra-compact, flexible design that fits into almost any installation site.
It is acoustically designed to provide strong, clear sound in open-air boat settings. What’s more, it exceeds industry requirements in terms of salt-fog and UV exposure, corrosion resistance, and UV resistance.
6. JL Audio Marine Performance Audio Kit: STAGE 3 (BASS Upgrade Kit)
Best For Powerful and Loud Music
- Features a cast aluminum chassis for high resistance to corrosion
- Has an IPX7 water-resistance rating
- Features an adjustable low-pass crossover and a bass boost EQ
This set includes an MX300/1: 300 Watt Monoblock Class D Wide-Range Amplifier and M3-10IB-S-Gw-4 10″ “White Sport Grille Subwoofer Driver.
The MX300/1 monoblock amplifier uses our high-speed NexDTM switching architecture to provide powerful music without straining marine charging systems.
The MX300/1 amplifier has a durable black powder-coated finish, a gasket control cover, and stainless steel hardware.
With proper system configuration, a subwoofer relieves your primary speakers of a load of reproducing low frequencies. It enables your system to play louder and cleaner at all volumes.
What Is A Marine Stereo System?
Marine stereo is comparable to a car stereo, with the difference in their materials. A boat stereo must withstand much more difficult circumstances than a car.
Car stereos are protected from the elements by a waterproof enclosure. On the other hand, a maritime stereo system is vulnerable to harsh weather conditions like sun, rain, wind, and saltwater spray.
That’s why it’s critical to choose a simple marine-grade system developed with all the features in mind.
Things to Consider When Buying a Marine Stereo System
If the water gets into or closes your system, you’ll require corrosion prevention. So it is crucial to make all the metals rust-resistant and that all internal electrical and circuit boards have a specific corrosive coating and plated components.
One of the essential things a marine stereo requires is water resistance. Water resistance implies that an item can resist mild sprinkling, spraying, and rain but not diving.
It may be immersed to a degree if something is watertight. Water resistance and waterproofing differ in levels. Thus it is important to check the rating for every product to decide what is ideal for you.
As you are on a boat, water contact is more or less unavoidable; thus, it is important to have water resistance.
It is essential to invest in marine stereo systems that can play your media at total volume. While full-volume music is enjoyable, it is required for maritime applications. Your boat radio must be loud enough to be heard over the din of motors, waves, and wind.
Looking for a marine stereo with many outputs is a smart method to obtain a lot of loudness For boaters sailing in loud and difficult circumstances, a more excellent power rating is recommended.
However, if you’re on calmer seas, a high-powered system isn’t likely to be required.
One of the most neglected characteristics of marine and outdoor stereo systems is UV protection. Most boats are exposed to the elements, with the sun being one of the most damaging.
UV rays may cause harm to almost everything; therefore, it’s critical to wear some UV protection. It is true not just for your receiver but also for your speaker cones and any remote controllers.
Most marine stereos include more than just a CD slot. Radios nowadays are highly sophisticated and can play a wide variety of materials from many sources.
Almost all marine stereos include an inbuilt AM/FM radio system to pick up broadcasting stations and weather information. Marine radios are a must-have feature while out on the water.
Most contemporary marine radio includes an AUX-in connection that allows you to plug in a music player.
Modern maritime stereos also include a rear USB port, and some have SD card readers. Media may be stored on USB sticks or SD cards and played back via your stereo. AAC, WAV, and MP3 are the most common file formats.
Furthermore, they also include built-in Bluetooth connectivity. It enables two devices to communicate using a wireless connection. Connect your phone to the boat radio and play music from your selection without any wires.
The latest best marine radio support is the SiriusXM satellite radio. They may be updated with separate satellite radio. With satellite radio, you may listen to virtually any station in the globe from 200 miles away.
Fit & Installation
When purchasing a stereo, think about where you will install it. If you replace an outdated stereo, there will certainly be a void left behind that has to be addressed.
The easiest solution is to purchase another marine stereo of the same size to fit into the pre-existing hole. It will simplify the installation and have you back to listening to music in no time.
Another option is to expand or shorten your current area to accommodate your stereo. Installing from scratch is easy, but if you have an existing location, you’ll need to figure out precisely how it will appear.
If you want to improve the sound quality of your stereo, you should be able to extend your system with amplifiers and subwoofers. If you do, be sure your stereo has the necessary connections and enough space to accommodate these additional devices in your boat.
Most marine stereos will support this extension, which is occasionally required if you’re in a very loud area.
How to Install a Marine Stereo
Installing a marine stereo system isn’t difficult, but it does need some skill.
You must choose the correct location for your audio system, usually near the console, since this is the safest. There are bracket-mounted stereos and flush-mounted stereos that need a sufficient hole to be drilled.
After measuring the precise size hole, a jigsaw may be used to cut it out.
After making the hole, insert the receiver.
The last stage is to link them all, and the connections should be color-coded. The stereo system will include a red hot wire for the positive battery terminal, a black ground wire for the negative battery terminal, a yellow memory wire, and a blue cable for external media.
If you aren’t sure about the installation, you may hire an expert to perform it for you, saving you time and offering you peace of mind.
So, which is the best marine stereo on the market? The answer is mainly determined by your requirements, in which you are sailing, and the size of your budget.
However, these will be the top options if we narrow down our list to the finest of the best.
We suggest the Boss Audio MGR350B to sailors seeking a radio receiver that looks good, performs the job, and isn’t too expensive.
If you want excellent compatibility and interface, go with the Fusion Entertainment MS-RA70 Marine.