We are often asked if our car speakers work on a marine vessel. While the answer is technically yes, we always recommend choosing true marine grade speakers for many reasons. First and foremost, JL Audio marine products are built to withstand the moisture and UV rays in a marine climate. A great deal of technology goes into marine grade parts to ensure that our marine products deliver a reliable audible performance in a harsh and demanding environment.
Our M6-Series and M3-Series speakers are designed to withstand extended periods of time in the hot sun, continuous water exposure (from a slight splash or rain to hosing down your boat), rapid temperature changes, as well as the harsh effects of extended exposure to salt. Our marine speakers endure extensive environmental testing, far above the industry standard, in order to ensure that our products are capable of standing up to such rigors.
Marine products going through Moisture Testing in the Q-Fog machine.
Moisture testing examines the speaker’s ability to operate properly during or after exposure to water. Each and every component of a JL Audio speaker is tested to ensure that adhesives and materials will not fail if they come into contact with moisture of any kind.
Thermal and UV testing is done to ensure that the plastic-based material used for grilles and frames can withstand extended exposure to UV rays, as well as sudden changes in temperature. For example, it’s common for a marine speaker to sit in the hot sun all day and then suddenly be splashed with cold water. For many grades of plastic, a sudden change in temperature like this can cause the plastic to become brittle or simply crack.
Extended UV exposure is also known to make plastic brittle, soften rubber surrounds, weaken adhesive bonds, and cause discoloration or fading of a product’s finished surfaces. JL Audio marine products have been designed with the demands of a marine climate in mind and are capable of withstanding years of this type of abuse. We also choose stainless steel hardware that will not corrode, rust or deteriorate during or after testing in order to ensure proper sound quality, reliability and appearance.
In addition to enduring the harsh marine climate, our marine products have been designed to overcome major obstacles when it comes to sound. When out on the open water, the speakers in your boat must compete with noise that wouldn’t be present in other applications. These noise challenges include but are not limited to: waves, wind and the roar of an engine(s). If you choose a standard speaker, the presence of this noise could lead to a severe case of mid and high frequency cancellation. With these hurdles in mind, our M6 and M3-Series speakers are far more aggressive than our car audio speakers. The advanced technology used to build these speakers allows them to sound fantastically powerful in the presence of the many obstacles presented by the marine setting.
A wide dispersion path is needed to provide optimum sound when behind the vessel.
Another key element of a marine speaker’s design is its projection and dispersion abilities. A speaker’s sonic responsibility does not only lie within the boat, but also behind the boat when used for wakeboarding or waterskiing. A speaker mounted to the boat’s tower must project far behind the vessel so that the highs, mids and lows can be enjoyed while riding the wake. Additionally, watersports activities rarely guide you in a straight line directly behind the boat. Your path is going to be much wider than a straight line, so your marine speaker must maintain a wide dispersion path in order to provide loud and clear music that can be heard and enjoyed no matter where the rope pulls you. Our marine speakers’ wide dispersion and powerful projection capabilities are achieved through larger and strategically placed tweeters for the high frequencies and midrange drivers with larger cone areas (8.8” & 7.7”), voice coils and power handling abilities.
A marine speaker might cost more than a traditional car speaker, but a JL Audio Marine speaker is designed by marine enthusiasts that know and understand the demands on the water. They are built to withstand the abuse of moisture, salt and UV rays, while providing tremendous output, sound quality and overall performance that’s second to none.