Let’s try to find an answer on question How to choose the best marine stereo packages? As we are looking for the sound system for outdoor use, even more, to enjoy music on board the boat or sailboat, some specific features are crucial.
It is not so easy, actually not at all, to set the common „The Best“ conditions so we can try to find features which fit for us in the best way.
No need to say that there are some „Must Have“ features for stereo on board of the watercraft. It depends on the type of the boat and sailing area how important each one is.
I mean on open deck when salt water splashes and rain is imminent as well as fog and direct sunlight influence.
To know more about salt water, fog and UV resistance you can check testing systems IEC 60529 IPx, ASTM-B117, and ASTM-D4329.
If you can find those letters and numbers in your marine stereo instructions, then it is a good indication of the durability of the product.
This time I would not like to talk about marine stereo packages designated for cabin use or any other isolated from marine environment space of the boat or luxury yacht. There you can use a car stereo which is cheaper with the same characteristics although salty marine air can adversely affect ordinary hardware.
What else to be considered to choose the right marine stereo package in addition to water-resistant, waterproof, UV resistant and anti-corrosion features?
There are many other details which can be taken into account when buying a marine stereo system and most of them are so individual, and it’s hard to impose my personal opinion.
Choose more amps for better performance.
One additional feature I would add to must-have features is, that sound you are enjoying in a shop may not be enough on the boat. Do not forget about engine sound, wind roaring, water splash, and some other marine environment side sounds. Choose more amps for better performance.
I used to sail on both power boats and sailboats in any possible weather condition. I guess that know what I would like to have for my next boat stereo in addition to the above mentioned.
I prefer sailboats so let’s make a list of desired features for my dream boat stereo system.
No secret that the main driving force for the sailing yacht is wind and calm weather is not the best friend for sails. Sailing upwind can cover the most of the sea voyage so saltwater hitting upwind boat side and the presence of water in the cockpit is inevitable.
1. Water resistance and waterproof grade of stereo package’s components are the first indicators to be taken into account.
2. Speaker Strength is essential as sailboat tend to sail with the high angle of list, ( the degree to which a boat heel (leans or tilts) to either port or starboard). Jump with a massive boot on speakers which are located on the weather deck is the widespread situation.
3. Power consumption. Although almost every sailboat has an engine with the ability to charge onboard batteries, sometimes you have to turn off the stereo to save energy for GPS and other navigation devices. So need to make the smart choice between music volume or duration.
4. Wifi or Bluetooth connectivity to smartphone and other portable streaming devices. No wires. I can choose and listen to my favorite music without leaving the helm as my iPhone always is in my inner watertight pocket. All I need to say is, „Hey Siri, play Rod Stewart, I am Sailing.“
5. CD player not necessary. It reduces the price and mechanical details, thus lengthening the life of the machine. For additional storage, watertight SD card slot and USB port are enough.
6. Waterproof Wired Remote With LCD Display next to the steering helm.
7. NMEA 2000 connectivity for compatible Lowrance, Garmin, Raymarine, Simrad MFD (multi functional display) would be the great feature.
8. SiriusXM compatible to never miss your favorite talk shows or any genre music at high seas.
I guess that it will be hard to find a marine stereo package including all my wishlist features but let’s see what the market offers.
Although I have found some other more or less appropriate marine stereo packages, my choice is Fusion Marine Box with Wired Remote
It includes almost everything I wanted. Here is Amazon Product Description, short and clear.
„When space is premium at the helm, a compact entertainment solution is needed to blend performance and subtlety. There’s no room for compromise, because every boat needs a FUSION beat. Introducing the full featured Black Box Entertainment System MS-BB300; with FUSION-Link via NMEA 2000 control, Bluetooth audio streaming and Multi-Zone technology. The MS-BB300 is a true ‘plug and play’, compact entertainment powerhouse, which is compatible with the world’s leading Multi-Function Displays for intuitive True-Marine audio playback and easy, total control. Featuring advanced Apple and MTP Android/Windows media device support and USB/AUX connection options, the FUSION Black Box MS-BB300 Entertainment System is an elegant solution for a limited space helm. Included with this product is a MS-NRX200i Wired Remote Control for intuitive system navigation, featuring a large LCD display and easy scroll rotary encoder, for a familiar FUSION True-Marine experience. The MS-BB300 and MS-NRX200i are supported by an industry leading 3-Year limited consumer warranty. Sources: AM/FM/SiriusXM-Ready/USB/AUX/iPod/iPhone/MTP/Bluetooth Amplifier Power: 4 x 50 Watts Audio Zones: 3 Zones (Zone 1 + 2 are powered by internal amplifier, zone 3 requires additional amplification) Auxiliary: 2 Stereo Inputs Display: MS-NRX200i required for display (included) or compatible FUSION-Link Multi-Function Display (not included) F.A.S.T: FUSION Alpha Search Technology Included FUSION-Link: NMEA 2000 Support iPod / iPhone: Made for iPod and iPhone Line Out: 1 (1 x L + R Zone 3, requires amplification) Nameable Zones: Yes NMEA 2000: NMEA 2000 Certified LEN 1 Sub Out: 1 (Zone 3 Line Out) Tuner: AM/FM with RDS. “
In company with SiriusXM SXV300v1 Connect Vehicle Tuner Kit for Satellite Radio
and a couple of Fusion MS-FR6520 6-1/2″ 200W 2-Way Speakers
It comes for less than $600. For me, it is an excellent deal for the best marine stereo packages to enjoy incredible sea adventure and fresh breeze with your favorite music in any weather.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Hi Andrejs, great stuff this Fusion Marine Box with Wired Remote. If I want to use a good system outdoors with access to 12V I think this is a great choice even on the back of a pickup truck or in a beach cabin. How many watts/amps does this device deliver?
I am not a sailor, as you might already think and wonder is it really possible to listen to music in heavy weather?
Thanks for the review anyway and have a great sailing time.
Hi, Stefan for stopping by.
Answering your question the Amplifier Power: 4 x 50; Watts Audio Zones: 3 Zones (Zone 1 + 2 are powered by internal amplifier, zone 3 requires additional amplification). When it comes to pickup truck cheaper options can be found, but for beach cabin, it is a really cool idea. In heavy weather, good music sometimes helps concentrate but wind and splashing wales noises depending on the boat heading and wind direction just running ahead of a sailboat.
First off I would like to say that I have no knowledge in stereos, especially for boats! Pretending I was looking for a Marine stereo your post had a good Information and lots of personal knowledge was shown. Only negative could add is maybe try to edit your text and placement of your text. Overall great Review and awesome website! – Anna
Thanks Anna for stopping by good words and some critics as well. You are right that some textual and grammar mistakes could appear in my text although I try to avoid them even using Grammarly which is said to be the Number 1 in the World. I know that no program can replace a person when it comes to translation but I can not afford a translator. Sooner or later, errors will be less and less because I’m actually learning.
Yes, and one more thing is that creating of any post or page takes a double in terms of time comparing English tongue speaking people.
Despite some grammar issues people visiting my website which results in not so bad money stream.
Thanks again and good luck to you!
Hi there, great article on Marine stereo packages.
I’ve looked into various products like this over the last couple of months and I often get confused by the specs etc. My main worry when purchasing one is how loud it’s going to be?
I only ask as we live on a Welsh estuary close to Ireland – the water is near enough permanently choppy. What would be my best bet in marine stereo from this point of view?
I definitely prefer the Fusion brand. It maybe is not so popular as Pioneer or Kenwood, but for boats, it is the best choice.
This is great article Andrejs! I have new boat but unfortunately I did not find time to search for stereos and this article gives me so many options to choose. What I look the most is design because I like the most when design is powerful looking. I will take Fusion Marine Box, it looks promising.
Thanks Daniel for commenting. Definitely look for Fusion if you are about to sail in different weather zones and heavy seas.
I am not really an electronics aficionado or geek so your explanation and recommendation is very helpful. My company is in the process of finalizing improvements on a Filipino pump boat, also known as a banca, for some underwater salvage work. We’ll work at sea for months at a time and I was given the job of finding an appropriate sound system. You have done my job for me. I’ll present the info on the Fusion Marine Box with Wired Remote to my partners and we’ll see about ordering one. Thanks.
Fusion definitely is one of the best choices. As far as I know that Filipino Pump boat is open to sun and water, so you need a durable and resistant sound system. Just do not forget about a good marine battery as well. Thanks for stopping by.
When you choose outdoor speakers, waterproof is a must. I love also speakers that have good clear sound, no bothering noises and to be time resistant. I appreciate also the modern features like bluetooth or wireless. I have used Polk Atrium Outdoor system and it was good, but recently they stopped working. Fusion Marine looks like a great product, but in my opinion it’s somehow expensive.I expect it to have some extra features comparing to other market outdoor speakers. Can you mention shortly the greatest advantages it has with similar products in the market?
Hi Leo and thanks for stopping by. You are right that there are dozens of cheaper but good sound quality outdoor stereo on the market.
Fusion marine is mainly oriented on boats and heavy environmental conditions. The main advantages are durability, sun and water resistance, high sound quality and manufacturer 3 years full guarantee.
When it comes to price, then another $600 for $40K price boat is not so big money.