A speaker is a speaker, right? Many people wonder whether they can use their car and boat speakers interchangeably. Do you also think the same?
Let’s say you wake up one morning to lovely weather, good enough for an adventure on your private yacht. The waters are glistening under the sun’s rays, and you’re all set and ready, only to discover that your boat’s music system is glitching.
If you’d feel tempted to quickly have regular car speakers installed, you’re not alone. Though the two are audio systems, they’re not essentially the same. In this article, we will discuss the key areas where car and marine stereos differ to help you make an informed choice.
The number one distinguishing factor between car and marine radio and speakers is durability. The latter is often built to withstand harsh aquatic environments, including the possibility of salt corrosion.
A car speaker does not need to survive such a rough environment and hence scores less in terms of durability. Your boat also gets exposed to direct sunlight and water splashes. In most cases, a car’s speakers are secure in the cabin (seldom exposed to such elements). Your yacht needs speakers that are more durable in their build than car speakers.
Even when it comes to the wiring, a boat-suitable system will differ from that of a car. BOSS Audio Systems states that the former comes fully protected with waterproofing material. This is done to prevent any moisture from getting into the speaker’s wires.
When it comes to car speakers, this is not generally the case. Be it factory-installed stereo or aftermarket alternatives, car speakers are usually not waterproof. This is because the probability of moisture damaging the wiring is quite low.
So, you must invest in marine-specific speakers since preventing water from entering into the stereo system is extremely challenging.
The materials used in building a car speaker are strikingly different from those used to develop marine speakers. In the case of the latter, all materials used are heavy-duty to ensure they are highly durable.
When maintained well, these speakers can easily last for over five years. The average lifespan of car speakers is also over four years, but the materials used are not water-resistant or heavy-duty. Interchanging the two will defeat their purpose and shorten the stereo system’s longevity.
Car speakers may be developed using metals, but most marine speakers are made using highly durable plastic (known to withstand corrosion and the elements).
The price factor also plays a major role in differentiating between car and boat speakers. In general, marine speakers are more expensive, given the durable materials used to manufacture them. Car speakers may also be expensive based on the features they provide, but they are generally cheaper than boat speakers.
A speaker is a huge investment for your yacht. It is better to spend money on good-quality marine speakers than to install car speakers that may leave you feeling shortchanged.
Another major difference between the two types of speakers is the sound quality or production. Since marine speakers need to play in larger (more open) spaces, they are built to produce loud music.
A car’s speakers are designed to work well in smaller spaces. If you were to install them on your yacht, you would barely hear their sound beyond a few meters. Also, marine speakers produce music that is audible over the noise of the gurgling waters, boat’s hull, roaring engine, etc.
If there is loud talking inside a car, sometimes it becomes difficult to hear the music comfortably. A car’s speakers will not produce loud enough sounds for a much larger boat.
Can The Two Speakers Be Used Interchangeably?
Car and marine speakers indeed have major differences. However, this does not mean they cannot be used interchangeably. In other words, you can install car speakers on your boat in case of an emergency.
But, keep in mind that this move is not an investment as the speakers will not last long. It is even possible that they do not survive a single aquatic adventure and start glitching mid-drive. Constant exposure to water and sunlight will cause the speakers to tear or crack.
This is not even an issue of the brand since the reason lies with each speaker’s design. On the other hand, the major issues with marine speakers in cars would be related to sizing and wiring. Therefore, it is always best to use each speaker for the use they’re designed for.
In conclusion, both marine and car speakers are audio systems, but they’re built for different uses. All parts and wiring must be compatible for the two speakers to be used interchangeably.
But, the question of the hour is, why would you want to do that? Invest in top-quality marine speakers that will last you for years down the line with proper maintenance.