How to Choose a Marine Amplifier for Your Boat

Last Updated on August 17, 2020

It’s always great having a music system in your boat. However, when your boat has powerful marine speakers, but the stereo is too weak for them, then you won’t get the best sound. But how can you enhance the sound that your boat speakers receive from the stereo?

The best option is adding a marine amplifier. Basically, an amp amplifies sound signals and makes them more powerful. By adding an amp to your boat stereo, you’ll get more power to use a subwoofer for bass and add more powerful speakers.

How to Choose a Marine Amplifier

With the many marine amps to choose from in the market, it can be quite confusing to make a choice. Luckily, we have prepared a guide on how to choose a marine amplifier for your boat. Here’s what you should consider.

The Number of Channels

Different amplifiers output sound signals into different channels. They range from mono to 2, 4, and even 6 channels. Your choice should be based on the intended use. This depends on the number of speakers you’ll connect and whether you’ll add a sub. Most mono amps for boats are used for connecting subwoofers.

You can even connect multiple subwoofers to a single channel depending on the power rating of the amp and sub. Amps with more channels add versatility. For instance, a two-channel option can feed a pair of marine speakers.

The channels may be bridged to power a powerful marine sub. A four-channel option can feed more pairs of speakers and a subwoofer. Thus, choose an amp with output channels that will be enough to feed your entire marine audio setup.

Frequency Range

Music beats and sound is based on frequencies. Some frequencies are low while others are high. For instance, bass frequencies are the lowest, with mid being on the average and treble on the high. Boat amplifiers are typically made to amplify sound signals within a certain frequency range without changing the amplitude.

The sound frequency audible to the ears ranges from 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz. In case you choose an amp with a minimal frequency range, you might end up missing to hear some sounds. If the amp frequency range is low, you might only hear some frequencies and miss others. Thus, choose an amp with a wider frequency range such that you’ll hear the bass, midrange, and treble for the best audio experience.

Power Rating

Marine amps are usually rated based on their RMS power or peak power. RMS can be described as the continuous power that an amp can feed to a speaker. Peak power of a boat amplifier is the maximum power it can feed to a speaker within a short period.

If the peak or RMS power is beyond what the load can take, the output signal may be distorted. Basically, peak power is twice the RMS power. Thus, take note of these differences in power ratings to avoid confusion when choosing an amp. Ensure you go for a type that’s powerful enough for your boat audio set up.

Mechanisms for Sound Control

Different amps for boats come with different mechanisms for controlling sound. When selecting an amplifier for your marine vessel, consider features such as filters, bass boost, and noise elimination. For instance, the bass boost increases the bass output.

This works alongside the amp filters such that you can easily adjust the audio signal using low and high pass filters. These filters cut off the frequency level higher or lower than their cutoff level. This way, you can adjust the sound to either low or high frequency depending on the frequency you want to hear, be it bass, mid or treble.

Also, choose an option with noise cancellation mechanisms to cancel noise in the audio signal. Noise cancellation improves the overall quality of sound.

Build Quality and Protection from Weather Elements

The marine environment is extremely tough. It’s full of humidity, scorching sunlight, rain, and salty water. These weather elements are always bad for electronics. Thus, when choosing an amp for your boat, you need to go for a marine-rated type.

It should have a high-quality build to withstand these weather elements. The material should not be prone to rust. Also, the body should be waterproof to keep the interior circuit protected from water damage.

Remote Control

It always helps if you can control a gadget wirelessly. Thus, you should consider an amplifier that comes with a remote. This way, you can adjust its settings without going over to the deck or where you have installed it. You’ll not have to rely much on the onboard buttons. Thus, you can ride your boat while controlling the amp easily.

Ease of Installation

Obviously, it would be cumbersome to struggle with the installation process when adding an amp to your boat. Only go for a marine amplifier that is easy to install and operate. It should have an installation kit to assist you with the entire installation.

It should have multiple and different input ports to give you more input options. Choosing a marine amplifier for your boat does not have to be really difficult. Simply consider these factors and you’ll surely make a better choice.

By choosing the best amp for your boat, you’ll enhance your boat sound set up and enjoy the kind of sound you have been missing. Don’t forget to use high-quality cables when connecting your amp to the boat audio stereo and speakers.


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