Music is the ideal complement to the sound of the wind and the waves whilst sailing or motoring along. Undoubtedly, blasting your favorite tunes while on the dock or anchored out enjoying an afternoon on your boat will make your time on the water even more enjoyable.
However, Unless you have a premium boat shipped with premium marine stereo system, chances are high that your boat is begging for a serious overhaul in the speaker department. Trust me on this — you don’t want your favorite tracks to sound harsh and distorted no matter where you are, let alone on a boat.
Acoustically speaking, boats aren’t perfect. They live in extreme weather conditions that are not ideal for audio speakers. That being said, consider opting for boat speakers that are marine rated, meaning they must be able to withstand elements that are associated with the open sea, such as rain, salty air,fog, dust, humidity, moisture, and corrosion. And on top of all of that, they must cut through the sound of the engine, the splashing water, the wind and the open air.
It must be noted that upgrading your OEM speakers to aftermarket ones is one of the most cost-effective ways to better sound quality. That said, let’s take a closer look at some of the best 6.5 marine speakers that you can buy.
What is a Marine Certified Speaker?
For a speaker to be referred to as marine rated, it goes through the American Society for Testing and Materials for thorough marine testing. Marine speakers must pass several tests including a salt fog test as well as a UV exposure test to ensure durability.
A marine rated speaker is quite similar to a regular car speaker; both speakers resemble each other as far as internal circuitry goes. The only difference between the two is that the former is built and designed to withstand much harsher conditions than the average.
In a nutshell, marine certified speakers differ from regular car speakers in one important aspect; protective additives. This means that all specifications and power ratings remain the same for both.
The bottom line is, moisture and electronics do not make good companions. These two enemies must be kept away from each other. For most electronics devices that are safely mounted in their enclosures, harsh outdoor conditions conditions may not be that much of an issue. However, when it comes to speakers mounted in open air on a speedboat or ATV, then extra protection becomes a must.
Top 5 Best 6.5 Marine Speakers Reviews
- Woven honeycomb glass fiber composite woofer cone
- Durable Butyl rubber surround
- 1″ soft dome tweeter
- Completely sealed front designed for protection against water instrusion
- Meets ASTM international B117-03 and D4329-99 marine standards
- Passed 600 hours of salt fog and UV testing to meet international marine standards
- Built-on grille with tweeter mount
- Sealed crossover assembly is built into the back of the magnet
- Klippel optimized components for the strongest performance even at high listening levels
- 1-3/8″ (30mm) Large diameter voice coil
- Neodymium magnet structure
- Sealed crossover assembly built into back of magnet
- Stainless steel heavy duty input terminals and mounting hardware
|Size||6-1/2″ & 6-3/4″|
|Frequency range||40 – 25000 Hz|
Polk Audio holds numerous patents in the world of loudspeaker design. Their speakers seem to hit the sweet spot for a lot of guys. And the marine speakers at hand are some of the best 6.5 marine speakers in the market.
Polk Audio continues its tradition of making great sounding speakers in stylishly designed packages — their Mobile Monitor (MM) Series Ultra Marine speakers will make your boat look as good as it sounds while meeting the challenges of environment such as sun lights and water to bring you superior sound on your boat.
Polk Audio AA2652 6-1/2″ is a great component system designed to perform to say the least. They’re built with high grade, waterproof materials which offer the best of both worlds — reliability and great sound quality in addition to withstanding harsh marine environment.
The MM6501UM speakers are featured with woven honeycomb glass fiber composite woofer cones supported with butyl rubber surround. These cones can resist and suppress unwanted resonances and respond very quickly for a crisp and powerful sound. Their large-diameter voice coils allow for high power handling capability and long lasting performance.
Additionally, these speakers are equipped with 1″ soft dome tweeters which deliver crystal clear highs that complements and blends perfectly with the low notes so the music sounds well-balanced, from the electric bass all the way on up to the cymbals.
Polk Audio AA2652 MM651UM are among the most durable marine speakers available. They feature a completely sealed front design which prevents water intrusion. So, they’ll provide great sound on your vessel for many years to come.
These speakers have passed the most rigorous tests for ASTM certification for salt, fog and UV protection, which which expose the speakers to over 600 hours of salt spray, fog and UV rays. So, there’s no need to worry about your speakers being in the sun all day or getting splashed with salty water.
Additionally, the MM651 speakers feature a sealed crossover network on the back of the magnet. So, there’s no need to find room to hide an extra box.
As for cons, It’s really difficult to think of any. The only missing feature on these speakers is gold-plated terminals for optimal signal transfer in a high-humidity environment.
Since your marine speakers play in an open acoustic environment, it’s mandatory for them to be quite loud, and the MM651’s power handling makes them the loudest marine speakers we reviewed on this site. I mean, think about it, these speakers are rated for a sensitivity rating of 92dB and can handle up to 100 watts of power on continuous basis; both are the highest of any marine speaker we reviewed.
- Polypropylene woofer cone with UV-resistant rubber surround
- Grille-mounted 1″ polypropylene semi-dome tweeter
- Cast-polymer basket and stainless steel mounting hardware
|Frequency range||50-20,000 Hz|
Infinity is one of the most serious contender brands under the Harman International umbrella of loudspeakers. However, as with many speaker brands, their marine audio products are slim pickings, with just a few models available in the Marine series.
Infinity Marine 652M speakers are among the best 6.5 marine speakers that you can buy. They’re featured with polypropylene woofer cones bonded to durable, UV-resistant rubber surround which allows for long lasting performance while maintaining excellent resistance to sunlight and moisture.
Additionally, the corrosion-proof, one-piece cast-polymer basket, and sealed magnet allow these speakers to hold up against deterioration caused by sea spray, salt, and UV rays, while their stylish fixed grilles are specially treated to retain their bright white finish.
The Infinity Marine 652M speakers are designed to cut through noisy engines, splashing waters …etc. With the grille-mounted 1″ balanced-dome tweeters which offer excellent high-frequency projection, you’ll hear the clarity of your audio as if you were in your home.
One of the best features of Infinity Marine 652M speakers is their high sensitivity rating of 92dB. This means that these speakers will convert power into volume quite efficiently, which is very important for boat speakers because of the imperfect acoustics environment they’re meant to live in.
Their continuous power handling of 75 watts combined with their 92dB sensitivity rating allow the Infinity Marine 652M speakers to sound quite loud.
One of the major drawbacks with Infinity Marine 652M speakers is the lack of ASTM certification for fog, salt and UV resistance. Sure, the woofers, tweeters, grilles and frame are made of high grade materials that can withstand nature elements, but without the ASTM certifications, you can’t be sure your speakers will last long enough.
- Plus One™ polypropylene cones
- Hi-roll synthetic rubber surrounds
- 1″ Grill mounted balanced mylar dome tweeters
- UV- and corrosion-resistant polymer baskets and grilles
- 1″ high temperature aluminium voice coil
|Frequency range||50-20,000 Hz|
|Top-mount Depth||2 3/4″|
JBL has always been a trusted brand when it comes to blasting out quality sounds in the wide-open spaces. They offer a wide range of different types of speakers, from stacked living room Hi-Fi speakers to portable Bluetooth speakers to the underlying system of a car stereo.
JBL is one of the most popular audio brands under the Harman International umbrella. And as with most car audio manufacturers, JBL also offer a few great sounding marine speakers such as JBL MS-6520 which are an excellent affordable upgrade to your boat speakers.
JBL has built these great-sounding MS 6520 speakers for use in the harsh marine environment. They’re manufactured with high grade materials that can handle nature elements such as sun, spray and moisture. These speakers are featured with waterproof motor structures, a one-piece cast-polymer basket, a sealed magnet, and durable rubber surrounds.
As for sound quality, it shouldn’t come as a suprise that JBL makes some great sounding speakers, and the MS-6520 speakers are no exception. These speakers have patented Plus One™ polypropylene cones which give you an impressive speaker-cone area, so you can enjoy higher sensitivity, increased low-frequency output to complement their smooth, bright highs.
Speaking of highs, these speakers feature grille-mounted balanced-dome tweeters so you’ll hear all the musical details without any obstruction. That said, musical notes (such as brass, vocals, …etc) that used to sound distorted and muffled on your old boat speakers will sound crystal-clear through these JBLs.
JBL MS-6520 speakers are rated for 90dB sensitivity rating which is average. While the sensitivity rating doesn’t affect sound quality, it’s still one of the most important things to look for when shopping for a new set of speakers. It tells you how efficient the speakers are at turning power into volume. In a nutshell, the higher the sensitivity rating, the better, especially an open air environment, where the acoustic landscape is far away from being perfect.
As for the downsides, let’s start by stating that the power handling on these speakers is relatively weak. Don’t get me wrong on this, these speakers are still capable of sounding quite loud, but they aren’t close to the best boat speakers (the Polk MM), which can operate at 100 RMS watts and have a higher sensitivity of 92 dB.
Another downfall with these speakers it the lack of ASTM certifications. Despite these marine speakers being built with high quality materials and while JBL claims that the speakers can withstand harsh nature elements, certifications for salt, fog and UV protection are critical for marine speakers.
- Multi-color LEDs
- Twenty color options as well as 19 dynamic modes
- UV treated injection molded polypropylene cone
- Santoprene speaker surround
- 3/4″ Titanium Dome Tweeter
- Neodymium tweeter magnet
- Rubber magnet boot cover
- Splash and rust resistant design
|Frequency range||50-20,000 Hz|
These great looking speakers from Kicker are quite different in that they feature customizable built-in LED lighting for setting the mood of a party on your boat. In addition to that, these speakers come with charcoal and white grilles, so they’ll look great in any boat even with the multi-color LEDs being turned off.
By using the KMLC remote, you can manage colors, and dynamic mode functions. You can also adjust the brightness, fade, speed/strobe..etc and access twenty color options as well as 19 dynamic modes.
The Kicker 43KM654LCW marine speakers are tough enough for marine duty. They’re featured with durable poly woofers and balanced dome titanium tweeters which can cut through wind, waves, and engine noise to deliver great sound without annoying harshness.
We’ve found that while these speakers produces excellent bass tones, the midrange and high tones are nothing to write home about. So, if you’re a basshead who likes playing heavy bass tracks, you’ll probably love these speakers.
These marine speakers scored average in terms of continuous power handling (65 watts) and sensitivity rating (90dB). That said, if you were to compare the maximum volume output of the Kicker 43KM654LCW to the Polk MM (our highest rated marine speaker), the former would only be about a third as loud. However, since these Kicker speakers with the LEDs lighting are designed for parties when the boat is still or anchord down, It’ll be hard to notice the lack of volume output compared to lisetning to your music while wakeboarding, when it will be easily drowned out.
The 43KM654LCW are some of the best boat speakers that Kicker has to offer. They’re certified by the ASTM for fog, salt and UV resistance, which means you can trust these speakers to handle harsh outdoor conditions.
Choosing the Best Marine Speakers for Your Boat
Choosing the best marine speakers for your boat is a daunting task. There are various things that you should take into account prior to buying your set of speakers.
The most important thing that should be taken into consideration when looking for boat speakers is durability. Obviously, not all speakers are create equal. Unlike car speakers, speakers that are meant to be mounted in a boat should be marine certified.
Because these speakers will be exposed to harsh outdoor conditions such as UV rays, salt, moisture, corrosion…etc, they must be built with high-quality and protective components that allows them to withstand all of that and keep sounding great.
It lets you know how much power (measured in watts) a set of speakers can handle. If your car stereo system is powered by an external amplifier, then you should consider speakers whose power handling is close the output of your amp(s). Otherwise, if you’ve got a low-powered system running off a car radio, then your speakers aren’t required to handle a lot of power.
The key spec in power handling is the RMS (Root Mean Square) and not the peak power handling. RMS ratings RMS ratings realistically measure how much power a set of speakers can handle on a continuous basis, not just for a short period of time.
That said, a set of speakers rated at 10-50 watts RMS will make a good match for low-powered stereo than another set of speakers rated at +80 watts RMS.
Sensitivity rating indicates indicate how well the speaker uses power applied to it. Speakers with high sensitivity rating (over 90 dB) will make a better match for your low-powered system. If you car sound system (16 watts RMS or more) is powered by an aftermarket headunit or an outboard amp, then you can consider speakers with lower sensitivity ratings.
Low-efficiency speakers can sound great, but they require extra power juice. Properly powered, they’ll provide excellent sound quality.