Top 10 Best Marine Stereo Reviews 2018 with Expert Buying Guide
What’s marine life without thrill and music? Not too exciting I think, specially for music lovers like you and me. Thinking and being motivated by that, I bought a good fit of marine speaker right away when I bought the first fishing boat for me.
But the second part of the story is quite sad for me. As I weren't aware of all the pros and cons of a marine speaker, that first purchase was nothing but a $100 went in vain.
It was really sad for me.
After a couple of months, I did a weak-long research on my second stereo. A number of facts like- the connectivity, the radio reception coverage, the input methods, the outputs and a handful of other features were in my consideration. And thankfully, I ended up with the best product by all mean within my budget.
When we started writing reviews for this blog, I had a plan to come up writing a first-hand review for the best marine stereo receiver sets and share my experience on this. My and my team behind this blog research on the latest picks of marine grade stereos and finally filtered out the top 10 list.
For our readers to know, we’ve set a certain priority for ourselves when we were reviewing products for this list. You’ll see them in action as we proceed to our review section.
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
4.5 out of 5
5 out of 5
4.5 out of 5
What and Why You Need a Marine Stereo?
Let’s cut it short- Marine stereos are devices that are both radios and music systems, dedicated for nautical purposes. Necessarily, most of them are widely used on personal basis.
Here are some foremost benefits of them-
1. Marine stereos are great for recreational pastime on boats and cruises. Combined with a musical source (Mobile, USB storage, CDs), they can immediately turn into a personal music center.
2. Now and then, they can be in rescue by providing the weather forecasts from local radio stations.
3. For watercraft users who love to drive themselves alone in the water, these help them to remotely receive phone calls.
4. Lastly, they are a plus to the visual appeal and décor of the boats. Most of the modern ones come with a sleek and stylish portable design, which is, of course, soothing for eyes.
A few more significant benefits are there to encourage the use of a marine stereo on your watercraft. But for now, let’s proceed to the core of today’s article, the review section.
1. Pyle Bluetooth Marine Stereo Reviews
We’ve really come all the way for the top-rated marine stereo of today’s market. After taking all the products through our filter of real-time benefits, and price-quality ratio, we’ve ended up with the Pyle Bluetooth Marine Stereo Receiver as our best marine stereo package.
Let’s explain why.
At the first glance, you’ll be happy with the rounded unit head. It’s great to fit within any watercraft system or dashboard compartment. As it’s supposed to be best used in water, it has maintained all those measures of being waterproof and water resistant. So, don’t worry about that.
That was about the music’s outputs. But what about the ways of inputting them?
Talking about input methods, I’ve seen many stereos to receive music from USB or AUX sources. But very few of them can accept SD cards as an input method, like the mighty Pyle Bluetooth Marine Stereo Receiver. So, you can take out the memory card from your smartphone or iOS device, and can use it directly as a media source for this player.
I’ve become a super fan of how versatile it can allow users to instantly play music- quickly and easily. The connection is pretty simple and it works for almost every kind of devices.
The front panel of the unit head has got some super sensitive touch buttons. The screen that is by the buttons are of LCD technology with ID3 digital tag readout.
You’ve already told my first impression about this Pyle Bluetooth Marine Stereo Receiver. But I am not done yet. The last impression it left on me is it’s sleek, stylish and royal White design. No matter you play music on it or not, just the presence of this beautiful stereo will be a plus for your marine life.
So, get this best marine radio with Bluetooth on your dashboard, and let the music flow while you afloat!
2. BOSS Audio MGR350B Weather-Proof Marine Stereo
Heard of the brand BOSS audio? If you’re a music freak yourself, I’m sure you did.
Our runners of the race of 2018’s best waterproof marine stereos are the BOSS Audio MGR350B. The way the manufacturers have built, designed and specialized it in music, I’m sure you’ll love it without any flaw. Let’s dig a bit deeper for now.
Let’s talk about the connectivity first. Its A2DP audio streaming is a complete audio protocol for Bluetooth powered devices. It can connect with your compatible device and turn it into a full-scale music player. No matter whatever the audio format is, it will take and play it right away. So, if you’re a subscriber of Spotify, Pandora or anything else, you’re full on into musical mode.
The output unit is super powerful for the 4x60W output option. Literally, in many of the other popular stereos, I've seen maximum 50 Watts as output power. Thanks to BOSS Audio for surprising me.
A fully marine product is termed so because it was designed to have protection against waters, salt-water corrosions, and splashes. The good news is, BOSS Audio MGR350B has got it all. Thanks to its weather-proof technology.
If you want to connect an external device to it, it's pre-amp output will hold it for you. You can connect up to 2-amp digital signal processor with BOSS Audio MGR350B.
I forgot to mention, it's a mode switchable FM radio player. Its selectable tuner functionality lets you grab FM/AM radio waves; both in the USA and European standard.
In case if you’re running out of charge in your USB device, the BOSS Audio MGR350B can be the savior. It has a 1A USB charging port built for this purpose.
This device doesn’t have a CD player. But that seems to be not a problem for most of us, as we carry music with us digitally.
3. Pyle Bluetooth Marine Audio Stereo Kit
Our next pick from the brand Pyle, which is a perfect fit for all kind of boat or watercraft system. A highly reach head unit, combined with awesome range and connectivity are the reasons of such good rank in our list. The product is Pyle Bluetooth Marine Audio Stereo Kit.
Let’s dig deep and talk about the significant features of Pyle Bluetooth Marine Audio Stereo Kit.
An amazing head unit is that one thing catching my attention at first glimpse. A number of devices and features are packed inside the headbox. The list includes an AM/FM radio of 30+ stations, a free talking device, card readers and USB memory slots, Audio input jacks, and MP3 support. Literally, what else can you think of in a mid-range marine stereo set?
Not every marine stereo has the option to setup it away so easily. But thanks to Pyle Bluetooth Marine Audio Stereo Kit’s universal ability of mounting. You can adjust and replace this stereo instead of the old one, or can setup it up newly.
The installation will be easy and quick. There are a single DIN standard head unit couples with 6.5 inches marine grade speakers. Both of the parts are designed with parts of OEM in mind. So again, you really don’t have to face any difficulties.
In many cases, we have pay attention to either AM or FM mode radios, don’t we? Pyle made it easy with a built-in AM/FM radio mode display along with the frequency. It has a wireless remote control to switch between the bands.
To find out all the frequencies that are casting right now, the Pyle Bluetooth Marine Audio Stereo has a cycling-searching capability. What it does is- it starts searching for the current frequencies and finds out all stations until the completion of the cycle. You can set some of the stations with the reset buttons also.
Talking about the loudness and your control on it, Pyle has done a good job in this model. It has a volume control knob that can control the loudness of the speakers. With the default Equalizer or EQ button, you can enable or disable the equalizer.
4. Pyle PLCDBT65MRW Bluetooth Marine Stereo Receiver
Another product from Pyle, another new example of how a simple stereo can take your marine experience to next level.
This time, the pick is Pyle PLCDBT65MRW Bluetooth Marine Stereo Receiver, shortly called Pyle PLCDBT65MRW. This is our fourth pick of top rated marine stereo and we’ll explain why.
Firstly, come to the awesomeness it had brought in its playback quality. T has an upgradable sound system with a 6.5-inch built-in speaker couples with it. The power of the speakers is 150 watt at max, which is highest of even the best products of the market. So, no doubt that you're going to enjoy a superb musical journey on your boat with Pyle PLCDBT65MRW.
Another important fact for music is noise nautical environment is the bass boost. Unlike other products, Pyle PLCDBT65MRW has a default bass-treble balancer adjustment. Besides, the default EQ audio configuration will help it more to create a home alike musical mood. What else can we expect?
Moving forward, the second important concern is its reception with media devices. Well, it's capable of taking inputs from SD memory and USB flash devices. All you need is an SD card reader in case of SD cards.
It has a 6.5 inch built-in speaker that would let enjoy music to the fullest even without any external speaker. And in case you have one, there is an AUX 3.5mm connecting
As you have seen, some of even the best products on the market doesn't have a default of CD player. If you're still in love with your CD collection, you can have the freedom to use it to create a musical marine drive. Pyle PLCDBT65MRW Bluetooth Marine Stereo Receiver is right beside you to help.
If you ask me, I'd definitely keep it on my marine stereo shortlist. Because of the perfect blend loud and powerful playback, a wide range of connectivity, and a good price, we won't mind suggesting you do so.
5. Kenwood InDash Marine Boat Stereo
I you are a lover of swift and loud music on the board of a watercraft or boat, Kenwood InDash Marine Boat Stereo is for you. It's such perfect blend of all lucrative features including- EQ Technology hassle-free music streaming, built-in Bluetooth action, hands-free remote control of music and calls and many more. We've ranked this product as #5 and we hope you'll like rest of its features too.
First thing first, let’s talk about the sound quality of this stereo, as this matters most to all of us.
The speakers of this awesome set are a 6.5 inches high-grade polypropylene cone. So, they are waterproof and corrosion resistant. With the two-way attachable grilled design, it can provide prior protection against shakings and waves on the sea.
Moving forward, the 400-watt peak power combined with 1 inches high power Kapton voice coil, the speaker had turned into something amazing. 900 dB power of sound that comes from a 4-Ohm impedance, will lead you to a supreme sound quality.
For fishermen who’re having a stereo speaker for the first time, it’s a hard nut to crack. I am talking about the installation and mounting process here. But you can get some assistance from the brand. They provide you a mounting gasket, a set of custom grills and a few installation hardware. Also, a braided cable will come up. So, that’s basically everything you need to set up a DIY marine stereo.
Lastly, many of us look for some help from these battery-powered stereo systems to charge our android mobiles. With Kenwood InDash Marine Stereo, there is a couple of android charge port. Surely, during the crisis period, it can be a savior for you.
6. Pyle PLMRKT46BK Bluetooth Marine Stereo Receiver
Pyle- the brand has brought a number of series watercraft stereos, based on the upgrades on each. Pyle PLMRKT46BK Marine Stereo Receiver is our product right now and like other models of the brand, this receiver has some unique upgrades in it.
The first and most appreciated functionality of Pyle PLMRKT46BK is its range and reception of radio waves. Apart from the previous one that had been able to capture Bluetooth signals of 10 meters at max, this had a longer range of capture.
Moreover, the sound output and versatility in it are praiseworthy. Like all other Pyle marine stereos, it can receive wireless Bluetooth signals from devices. You can connect music sources through USB/AUX port as well. Additional sources like smartphones, tablets and MP3 players are good to go.
What do you think about the controls and inputs? Let us tell you.
The button controls are quite illuminated on the head unit of the device. The 3.5mm connector jack and its fabulous wireless connectivity have made it the desired product of every hangout ninja out there.
To view the video of the music, and get into the complete musical mode, Pyle PLMRKT46BK Marine Stereo Receiver has an LCD display for you.
Lastly, to protect the stereo itself from natural calamities, it comes with a metal chassis frame bracket. The outer portion is covered with an outer trim frame. So, you buy it once and use it for years and years without any flaw in the performance.
7. Kenwood KMRM318 Marine Digital Media Receiver Review
It's an age of the smartphone and how come your boat stereo has no connectivity with it? The product we're talking about here is a master of connectivity. It has a hand-to-hand relation with smartphones and I'm sure, you'll love it to see in action.
Kenwood KMRM318 Marine Digital Media Receiver has a pretty clear display with blue digits in it. That seems to be quite matching with the ocean-blue surroundings. Moving forward, it allows the user to operate it in the easiest way. The volume control knob or the make/receive call button, both are the proofs in my opinion.
The sound quality is pretty impressive. Kenwood has provided a 13-band equalizer with detailed audio tuning. To provide an optimal sound quality, it has a built-in time alignment feature. Pretty good, isn’t it?
Now you can ask, how do they connect with devices? Well, I have some really satisfactory answers for that.
One amazing feature that inspired us to keep this best-quality marine stereo system in our list is its great connectivity with devices. At a certain time, it can intake 5 Bluetooth devices connected to it. All you have to do is to switch devices to listen music from your friends and families nearby.
Not only the connectivity, there is a smartphone application that enables controlling the stereo from the app. It contains all the basic functions and works through Bluetooth.
And the quality of the music that it drives from the devices is still same as a mobile headphone. It's a master at grabbing and playing high-quality audios like aptx or AAC.
So, sit back, relax and allow yourself to enjoy the musical environment to the fullest.
8. Pyle PLRMR27BTB Bluetooth Marine Stereo Receiver
Pyle PLRMR27BTB is another product of our top10 list and another popular pick of the marine stereo series. Let’s figure what’s god in this already popular Bluetooth marine stereo receiver.
It has almost everything that a good quality marine stereo receiver should have. Let's talk about the design first-
The Pyle PLRMR27BTB is one sleek and stylish designed stereo, especially the head unit. It has a deep black frontal design with almost all of the control buttons on it. I’ve seen stereos to provide some basic control buttons on the front, the case is a little bit different in the case of Pyle PLRMR27BTB. The Preset radio bands, the musical control (Play, Pause, Next, Previous), the phone call receiver button, the USB, and SD card slot, the AUX input and lastly, the volume knob- everything is ion the front panel.
Like every other good Pyle product, this is boosted a good connectivity feature. You can take inputs from USBs, media devices, micro SD cards and whatnot? Also, the rear RCA output connector jack is there to provide an output if you have an external speaker.
The Pyle PLRMR27BTB has been modified so that you can take the maximum benefit of the Bluetooth technology. You can connect your pocket devices for music connectivity, and can also receive/decline calls through it. As I mentioned, there is a call receiving button on the frontal panel of the device.
Considering the other features as well, this Pyle PLRMR27BTB is a good buy for users of all budgets.
9. Premium Waterproof Marine Stereo
I a lover of the music itself, but don’t want to miss the video either. Even not in a marine drive on my family boat.
If you’re a person like me, congratulation. I'm going to show you something really cool.
Premium Waterproof Marine Stereo is a latest model marine stereo playback speaker from the brand Pyle. It has a cool musical system, that can receive music tracks through a lot of gateways, and can play it all the way along with the video. Plus, the cool head unit comes with an awesome design that creates an individual appeal itself. Overall, I've become a great fan of the stereo itself.
Let’s look what sort of music quality this awesome device has got.
It has 4 speaker outputs, 28 Watt each, along with a frequency response to 20 Hz- 20k Hz. With a marine grade Impedance rating of 4 Ohm, you can’t deny it’s acceptance in the loud nautical surrounding.
An impressive part of the Premium Waterproof Marine Stereo is its round and perfectly maneuvered head unit. It has got such an eye-catching display that you can’t take your eyes off it. The head unit contains a decent LCD display and a number of control buttons on it.
It supports USB flash devices up to 32 GB. You can literally take thousands of video/audio songs with it and create your favorite musical environment on the blue ocean. As it supports all sort of digital media (MP3, MP4, WAV, WMV, MOV etc.) don’t worry about the issues of compatibility and all.
I really love the way this stereo connects to the wireless device. It's the latest Bluetooth version 2.1 and it can take clear input within a range of 10 feet. And almost every type of devices like Androids, iPhones, iPads Tablets are acceptable to the Premium Waterproof Marine Stereo.
Lastly, does it have a remote control? Of course, It does.
10. Pyle Bluetooth Marine Stereo Receiver [Weather Band AM/FM Radio] Water-Resistant/Weatherproof, 3'' Color LCD Display, MP3/USB Reader (PLMR15BW)
Eventually, we are the last pick of today’s list of best marine stereos. In the end, we go again with the brand Pyle. And this time the product is Pyle PLMR15BW Bluetooth Marine Stereo Receiver. Although the product is quite pricey than the other good products, we didn't mind at it. Because this latest pick has a combination of rich combination and the price almost fits within this rich feature.
Firstly, the most outstanding feature is its single DIN frequency receiver that fits in both automobiles and boats. No matter you use it on the water or the air-tight car, it knows how to protect it well.
I am talking about the security of this product here against weather. It’s resistant and proof against water, corrosion, and UV. So, once you buy it, you don’t have to think about another one for next couple of years.
As a radio, Pyle PLMR15BW Bluetooth Marine Stereo Receiver is more than good. Like every other good product, it has more than 30 preset option for radio frequencies and you can play them later with either the remote control or the console.
When I had the first glimpse of this product, I was pretty charmed by the design of this one. The stylish color scheme of while body and blue texts (of the buttons) seems to be a fine combination. Also, the frontal part is designed in such a way that you can’t resist it have a look frequently.
Last but not the least, the product has a superb wide range of 32 feet.
So surely, it will be a plus from both senses of performance and beauty.
How to Choose a Marine Stereo
The Strength of Water, UV and Corrosion Resistance
Marine stereos are way different compared to the card audio subsystems or anything similar. The car audio or stereos are in a water-tight environment and away from natural hazards. But think about a marine audio stereo. The sunlight, the water, the salt and everything that makes the marine environment, are threats to marine stereos.
So, it’s crucial that the gear should be able to take these climate factors and still be in function. Otherwise, you can't expect it to long last.
To protest against these threats, good quality marine stereos go through many hours of pre-production testing. This testing includes water resistance, UV resistance, and Anti-corrosion resistance.
Let’s have a brief on each of this test so that you can figure out that about your own stereo-
The Water Resistance Test- If a gear has a tag of Water Resistant, then it can undergo light rain and water splashes. But when it’s submerged, it can’t handle that. The capacity of resistance against water can vary from brands to brands. Also, if your marine stereo has a tag of Waterproof, it’s capable of handling splashes, light and heavy rains, and even submersions.
The UV Resistance Test- As these stereos are supposed to be exposed to sunlight for long hours, it’s a must that they can protect themselves from the harmful UV ray. Therefore, a high-quality marine stereo system should be able to survive against UV.
The Anti-Corrosion Test- Your favorite stereo can turn into ballast if it’s not protective against corrosion caused but salt water. Good brands are always concern on this, and make their marine stereos corrosion and rust protective. Most common practices of dong so through coated circuit boards, rust resistant chassis and plated connecting cables.
Chose the Right fit of Specs
The second most important buying factor to us, is the specification. No matter it’s the sound or receiving potential, better specs means better performance. Usually, there are some criteria that defines what is good for a marine stereo. A good range of frequency response, a good CD signal to noise ratio, a decent number of USB ports, good RMS power- these are what we call good specifications of a marine stereo.
Beware of the Power
Marine stereos are devices that run on remote DC power. And as you are about to play this music in an environment with a nautical background noise, you may need something more.
In general, every good marine stereo is powered by a 4-way amplifier. But if you want to be loud with the music, you must buy a marine amp device for the stereo itself. So, before it’s late, check that if your targeted marine stereo from the Wishlist has a compatibility with marine amps or not.
A Number of Extended Features
Apart from the basics, in 2018, you should expect some more from a good quality marine stereo. Because enormous companies have already started to build radios that are almost smart as their automotive cousins.
Firstly, a built-in Bluetooth connectivity will let you make a call or stream music without even taking hands away from it. Secondly, Radio tuners with good range would help you to listen to music, even from 200 miles offshore.
Also, A good number of AUX and USB connections are there to let you enjoy music in an iPod or iPad, pen drive or MP3 player.
Get everything you love about music from a modern marine stereo. And it’s possible, you can trust on me.
How to install marine stereo on you Boat?
watch this video to know more about installation.
The Difference Between Marine Stereos and Marine Radios
One of the mostly asked query I’ve found regarding marine stereos is- What is the difference of them with a maire radio?
Well, to be practical there are lot of differences in terms of functions and prices. Once and for all, I am going to break them down for you-
The RADIO Function
Both of these marine systems have one job in common- to catch up radio frequencies. Both of them are capable of catching up a certain range of radio waves and weather forecasts.
In case of maire radios, the radio frenzy lies between 156 to 174 MHz the purposes are most of the time, is to catch up weather forecasts and internal communication. Most of the marine radios, except the ultra-modern ones, they are not focused at FM/AM reception.
What Type of Communication Device It Is?
The type of communication is quite different of them from each other. While marine radios are but input and output device, marine stereo are input only. What I mean is, radios can both receive and transmit radio signal to communicate with other watercrafts. But with a marine stereo, you can only receive radio signals.
Marine radios can play music, but only those which come broadcasted by some selected radio stations. You can’t use it as a personal music player or sound system. While stereos are dedicated to be used as a music system. They take music inputs from devices like Android, iOS, Tablets etc. and plays music through the internal or external speakers.
Compatibility with Transports
You can’t think of using a marine radio set as a radio device in a car. Because the housing and setup isn’t similar at all. They are only supposed to work in a boat or ship.
But as you have seen throughout the whole article, almost every marine stereo has the duality of working in both. You can use it as a best boat stereo system, also as a musical setup for car.
How to take care your marine stereo?
The most immediate responsibility that comes with your new boat is to keep is safe, sound and long lasting for years. If you’re about to buy one for your boat, this should be the regular tasks you should keep in your mind.
Our experts have got some exclusive suggestions for a few best marine audio systems maintenance tips. Let’s go through-
Keep It Safe from Water, Rain and Bad Weather
Marine stereos come with a number of precautions against bad weather, but you shouldn’t let these protect themselves. While you’re installing one, make sure you’ve chosen the safest place for it, where water or rain can’t harm it that much.
If your stereo is an individual one, keep it in a safe grill, installed with the proper gasket. Also, make sure that water splashes or rainfall don’t reach out the internal stereo system.
Sunlight itself does some harm with the UV rays in it. It’s better if your radio has a UV protection system. Otherwise, your duty is to keep it away from direct sunlight.
Take Ample Care of the Speaker
In most of the cases, we love to get a couple of external speakers with the stereo sets. In case the set itself doesn’t have a good in-built one.
But a speaker should be taken care with special priority. Because unlike the radios, the speakers should be taken care of with a few steps. As the speakers are more open to water and air, make sure your marine speaker doesn’t get affected from sunlight or water splashes. It’s better to use a water-proof speaker by all mean.
Be Careful with the Wires
A number of cable connections can come up if you don’t prefer Bluetooth connections to use the stereo. In that scenarios, avoid a safe and maintained power distributor amplifier.
Thanks for being till the very bottom of the article. We’d like to finish a few friendly buying advices regarding the marine stereos. No matter whatever stereo you end up with, make sure that doesn’t bring on any mismatch with the power source and distribution of the ship. As example, using a subwoofer with the stereo isn’t technically impossible. But if you do so, the DC power of the craft will be at great risk of failure. So, we hope you’ll consider all the important buying factors and make the best decision for you.