Summer is upon us and the weather is fine. It’s time to update your marine stereo system and see how much technology has improved over the years. Three factors you’ll want to consider before making your purchase are the physical size of your system, the power output that you’ll need, and the number and variety of features that will make your new marine stereo system worthwhile.
If you’ve already started looking into marine stereo systems or boat audio systems, then you know that boat audio systems have become more compact in size over the years. The reason is largely due to the fact that marine stereo systems have, by and large, ditched CD players. If you still love CDs, then this might be a sticking point for you.
The trend these days is moving towards a marine stereo system that uses Bluetooth to play music from smartphones or iPods. The most you might get is an auxiliary port for plugging in these devices, which might be a huge bonus provided you’re trying to conserve space on your boat this summer.
You can still find a relatively compact marine stereo system that has a radio and amplifier for catching baseball games and blasting out tunes. These are called black box stereo systems, and these kinds of stereo systems can typically be operated with a waterproof, protected wireless remote.
You’ll need a stereo system that provides enough output to enjoy those tunes. Generally, you’ll want to seek out a stereo system with about 200 watts of total power. In the industry, everything is framed in terms of peak power. Look for around 50 watts of peak power per channel on your new stereo system.
A typical setup would be 60 watts of peak power per channel and around four channels, which puts you at about 240 watts of total output. If you have a really big boat or you need more volume that doesn’t distort and get crackly, then you might need an external amplifier. Most stereo systems on the market today have a total peak output cutoff of around 240 watts.
As already alluded to above, today’s stereos have jettisoned the idea of a CD player being an absolute necessity. Perhaps you have to. Although you can still find stereo systems with CD players in them these days, it might be a harder challenge to find a high-quality stereo system with a built-in CD changer.
Units today have transitioned to either be wireless and Bluetooth or USB- and auxiliary-port enabled. Sirius XM radio might also be something you’re after. Today’s systems should include the ability to play XM radio. Today’s systems will also more often than not include a radio frequency remote that works anywhere.
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