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Marine Audio Gear – More than Just a Color Difference
Yes, marine gear tends to be white and/or silver compared to the darker, black products you’d see in your car. But there’s a LOT more going on under the surface that you might not know. The elements can be tougher than you think on electronic audio systems.
Understanding the marine-grade designation
First, “marine-grade” does not necessarily mean waterproof (see IP Rating below). These products are manufactured to withstand elements within marine environments – water splashes or rain, strong winds, and saltwater corrosion – and function long term in those conditions.
What do IP ratings mean & are they important?
IP (“Ingress Protection”) ratings define levels of sealing effectiveness against foreign bodies like dirt and moisture, indicating which products are best for different purposes. So yes, important. The first digit after the “P” indicates solid body protection, and the second digit moisture protection. For example, a speaker rated IPX5 is water-resistant only, but an IP65 speaker is both water-resistant and dust-proof.
How Are Marine Products Built Differently?
Receivers – Conformal-coated circuit boards to guard against rust, UV protected & water-resistant faceplates.
Speakers – Wider dispersion path for greater sound projection, increased power performance, stronger grilles.
Amplifiers – Rubber caps for RCA inputs, silicone boots for fuses, gasket-sealed front covers, conformal-coated circuit boards.
Subwoofers – Waterproof rubber gaskets, sealed motors, UV-resistant cones, and improved magnetic shielding.