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Best Marine Stereos Reviews

From punishing sunlight to splashing water to extreme temperatures, a marine stereo has to endure a lot of abuse. And that’s just when your boat is tied up at the marina. Thus, if you’re seriously into audio, and you’re wanting great sound on your boat, you need a marine-rated receiver that’s designed to withstand harsh outdoor conditions.

Choosing the best marine stereo for your boat can be a challenge. There are various marine receivers to choose from, and there are many different features to consider.

In this today’s post, we’ll take a look at some of the best marine receivers that you can buy. We’ll also take a look at what makes these rugged receivers different from their automotive counterparts.

Best Marine Stereos Reviews

1. Sony MEXM100BT

Sony MEXM100BT

  • Detachable face with dual-zone variable color illumination
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • NFC for easy pairing with compatible phones
  • Siri Eyes Free with compatible devices
  • EQ10 10-band equalizer
  • High- and low-pass filters
  • Time alignment
  • Compatible with SiriusXM satellite radio tuner
  • Front panel auxiliary and USB inputs
  • 6-channel preamp outputs

Last update on 2020-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sony is a conglomerate in every sense of the word. The company has made a name for itself in the consumer/entertainment industry. From the PlayStation to the wide selection of 4K TVs, Sony has been able to make and release products that can be used in every aspect of daily life.

The MEX-M100BT is one of the best single DIN marine stereos that Sony has to offer. It’s well-built, user friendly, and it’s loaded with a variety of features, plus the water-resistant toughness you need.

Sony MEX-M100BT is featured with Bluetooth connectivity which offers the convenience of hands-free calling and wireless audio streaming. It also has Siri Eyes Free with compatible iPhones.

Additionally, this unit sports NFC (Near Field Communication) technology which will make it a lot easier to pair up your smartphone to this headunit — simply align the devices, touch the NFC logo on this Sony’s face, and pair things up. It’s a very handy feature to have on a boat.

Along with Bluetooth connectivity, the MEX-M100BT has a CD/DVD drive, an AM/FM tuner, and is SiriusXM satellite radio ready with the addition of an extra-cost tuner.

In terms of sound shaping controls, this unit sports a 10-band digital graphic equalizer, time alignment, a digital sound enhancement engine which improves digital file sound quality, as well as a Mega Bass feature which adds low-end depth to your music.

The MEX-M100BT has a front panel auxiliary and USB inputs. It also has 6-channel preamp outputs. This unit is incorporated with a built-in amp rated at 40 watts RMS per channel, which like having an outboard 4-channel amp driving your speakers.

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2. Kenwood KMR-M325BT

Kenwood KMR-M325BT

  • Anti-glare 1.5 line LCD display
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • Variable-color illumination
  • Control your music with Kenwood's remote app
  • 13-band EQ & Drive EQ
  • low-pass filter and sub level control
  • SiriusXM satellite radio ready
  • Front USB and AUX inputs
  • 6-channel preamp outputs

Last update on 2020-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Kenwood is the go-to-brand when it comes to auto audio components, particularly headunits. They offer a wide range of stereos of different types at reasonable prices.

The KMR-M325BT is one of the best marine digital media receivers that Kenwood has to offer. This unit is very well-engineered, loaded with great features and most importantly, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

This marine unit sports a 13 digit 1.5 line LCD display with bright variable colors which can be adjusted to match any color dash lighting, a large volume knob and buttons which are intuitively placed, as well as a theft deterrent faceplate.

As with most aftermarket headunits, the KMR-M325BT features Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling and wireless audio streaming. This headunit sports dual phone connection which means that you can pair up to two smartphones to this receiver and quickly switch between them.

If you extensively use streaming apps, you’ll be happy to know that the KMR-M325BT is Pandora/iHeart Radio/Spotify App Ready. These and other apps can be used with this unit via a Bluetooth connection. The KMR-M325BT is also compatible with Siri Eyes Free for iPhones.

This is a digital media receiver, which means that it does not come with a CD player. However, It is SiriusXM satellite radio ready with the addition of an extra-cost tuner.

Kenwood KMR-M325BT has front mounted auxiliary and USB inputs. It comes with 3 sets of 4V preamp outputs for use with a separate amplifier, as well as a built-in 22-watt-by-4 amp (RMS).

This unit has a high-pass/low-pass electronic crossover, subwoofer control, and loudness/low-frequency boost. To further tweak sound, you get a 13-band graphic equalizer and time alignment feature.

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3. JVC KD-X35MBS

JVC KD-X35MBS

  • Single-line display and variable-color illumination
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • High- and low-pass filters
  • Easy EQ with 11 presets and 13-band graphic equalizer
  • Time alignment
  • Front USB port & front Aux input
  • 6-channel preamp outputs
  • Compatible with SiriusXM satellite radio tuner

Last update on 2020-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The KD-X35MBS is another great marine stereo from JVC. It’s very well put together and it’s featured with a variety of bells and whistles.

This JVC unit sports a 2-Line VA LCD display which offers a broader angle of view and better visibility. It also has variable-color illumination, which allows you to choose from one of 49 presets colors or customize your own color by adjusting the intensity of RGB (Red, Green, and Blue).

JVC KD-X35MBS features Bluetooth connectivity and supports dual 2 phones full-time connection. Calls to either phone can be received by a push of a key on the receiver.

When it comes to streaming music, you can connect up to 5 Bluetooth devices simultaneously to the KD-X35MBS, so you and your friends can take turns streaming music creating a club-like atmosphere.

Additionally, this headunit features controls for Apple Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio and Spotify. These and other apps can be used with the JVC KD-X35MBS via a Bluetooth connection. The unit is SiriusXM satellite radio ready with the addition of an extra-cost tuner.

The AVH-3300NEX has front-mounted USB port and Aux input. It also has 4-volt preamp outputs for use with a separate amplifier, as well as a built-in 22-watt-by-4 amp.

There’s high-pass/low-pass electronic crossover, subwoofer control, and loudness/low-frequency boost. To further tweak sound, you get a 13-Band graphic equalizer and a customizable graphic equalizer, space enhancement, sound lift, speaker time alignment, and more.

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4. Fusion MS-RA70

Fusion MS-RA70

  • Built-in Bluetooth connectivity
  • LCD display with brightness adjustment
  • Rear USB and AUX inputs
  • Discrete pre-outs and sub-out for each zone

Last update on 2020-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is what you can get if you’re willing to shell out some serious dough. This marine receiver is going to be the most expensive pick of the lot by far. Is it worth the extra money? Let’s find out.

First of all, it must be cleared that this is a digital media receiver. It has no CD player. It can fit into the standard DIN-sized opening, and at 2″ tall, you can install the MS-RA70 in a wide variety of vehicles on land and sea.

This receiver is specially sealed against the elements for use in the marine environment. It’s featured with intuitive controls that make it easier to manage your music when you’re underway. For more convenience and comfort, you can use the free Apple® or Android™ Fusion-Link remote control app to control this unit directly from your smartphone from wherever you are on your boat or in your campsite.

In addition to AM/FM tuner, rear-mounted USB and Aux port, the MS-RA70 marine stereo features built-in Bluetooth for wireless music streaming from almost any Bluetooth-enable device.

Furthermore, this unit offers advanced localized menu controls, including zone naming, so you’ll be able to customize and control the listening experience in each zone. Each audio zone will play the same source, but the unit offers independent volume control of each Zone.

It also comes equipped with two discrete stereo preamps and a sub-out in each zone to ensure optimal performance and expandability.

With all of that being said, it’s safe to say that the Fusion MS-RA70 is truly one of the best marine radio with bluetooth you can buy.

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5. Kenwood KMR-D375BT

Kenwood KMR-D375BT

  • Built-in Bluetooth with dual phone connection
  • Plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RW discs
  • Conformal-coated PCB circuit board
  • 13-band equalizer
  • Low-pass filter and sub level control
  • Compatible with SiriusXM satellite radio tuner
  • Front USB and AUX inputs
  • 6-channel preamp outputs

Last update on 2020-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you haven’t ditched CDs in favor of digital audio format yet, and want a marine grade receiver that can play CDs, then the Kenwood KMR-D375BT is a good option to consider.

Design wise, this unit is almost identical to the Kenwood KMR-M325BT (mentioned above), except for the fact that this one can play CDs.

The Kenwood KMR-D375BT has a glare-resistant 1.5-line display with easy-to-read white background. It comes with Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calls and wireless audio streaming. Thanks to its dual phone connection feature, you can pair up to two Bluetooth-enabled phones to this to the Kenwood receiver.

You can also plug your smartphone into the front-panel Aux or USB input to access your playlists, or use the Kenwood Remote App to operate this receiver like a wireless remote control.

If you’re a satellite radio fan, you can add a SiriusXM tuner to the KMR-D375BT and enjoy a myriad of music, sports, and programs, even when you’re miles offshore.

Sound shaping wise, this unit is fitted with a 13-band equalizer to let you get exactly the sound you want. There’s also a digital time alignment, a comprehensive crossover network, and a speaker size selector.

Furthermore, this receiver has low-pass filter and sub level control, as well as three sets of 4-volt preamp outputs, so you’ll be ready to add marine amplifiers to your system.

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6. Boss MGR350B

Boss MGR350B

  • Built-in Bluetooth lets you stream your music
  • AM/FM/Weather Band receiver
  • Waterproof, conformal-coated circuit boards
  • Rear auxiliary input and USB port
  • 4-channel preamp outputs

Last update on 2020-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re looking for a compact marine receiver that can fit into a standard gauge opening, Boss MGR350B is your best bet. It packs a decent array of features into its compact design.

The Boss MGR350B features an IPX6-rated water-resistant face panel and weather-resistant controls. In addition to its rear USB or AUX inputs, this unit has Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calls and wireless audio streaming.

As far as sound tailoring is concerned, this unit sports 3-band equalizer with 8 EQ presets. There is also an XBass (Bass Boost) feature that can be turned on or off.

To further expand your sound system, this unit comes with 4-channel preamp outputs; 2-volt front pre-out and a 2-volt rear/sub pre-out.

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7. Rockford Fosgate PMX-2

Rockford Fosgate PMX-2

  • IPX-6 front panel for excellent water resistance
  • 2.7 inch color display
  • Fits into a standard 3 inch gauge opening
  • Built-in Bluetooth for music streaming (will not make calls)
  • Global AM/FM/Weather tuner
  • Punch EQ boost and 7-band graphic equalizer
  • Rear USB port, rear aux input (RCA)
  • 4-channel preamp outputs

Last update on 2020-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’ve ever taken any interest in car audio components, Rockford Fosgate is a brand you likely recognize, and for good reason. It’s one of the top rated brands in the industry.

Rockford Fosgate has been in business for quite a long time and has mastered the art making top-notch products, the PMX-2 is no exception.

The unit at hand is designed to stand up to the harsh outdoor elements including dust, UV, temperature, water, corrosion…etc. It’s IPX6 rated, which means that it can resist high-pressure, or heavy sprays of water.

Rockford Fosgate PMX-2 offers lots of entertainment options in a remarkably compact package that fits into a standard 3″ gauge opening.

The PMX-2 features a large faceplate with 2.7″ color display, a large rotary knob and a couple of backlit LED buttons. It comes with all the functionality you’d expect from a conventional headunit including AM/FM/Weather tuner, rear-mounted USB port and Aux input, as well as Bluetooth connectivity for music streaming but not making for making calls.

Furthermore, this receiver has 4-channel preamp outputs, and independent subwoofer level control, Punch EQ boost and 7-band graphic equalizer to tweak the sound to your liking.

On the debit side, this receiver costs a pretty penny. If you want to go balls to the wall and purchase these speakers, you’ll be looking at around $300 price tag.

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8. Pyle PLMRB29B

Sale
Pyle PLMRB29B

  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • USB flash drive reader
  • SD memory card reader
  • Aux (3.5mm) input
  • Rear panel RCA connectors

Last update on 2020-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re on a tight-budget and looking for an affordable marine stereo that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, then Pyle PLMRB29B is a decent option to consider. It’s one of the cheapest marine stereos that you can buy.

This unit is designed to be a decent replacement to factory receivers. It only has a few basic features such as Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, SD memory card reader, aux input, along with rear panel RCA connectors.

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What makes marine stereos different?

Unlike car audio components — which are designed to be installed in an enclosed vehicle where they’ll be safe from outdoors elements — marine audio components have to be able to withstand an open climate. The water, extreme temperatures, moisture, salt and sun that make sailing and boating so much fun for you can wreak havoc in your boat’s electrical components. Therefore, if you audio components aren’t made for this sort of abuse, they won’t last too long.

Marine audio manufacturers know this. That’s the reason why they put their components through hundreds— if not thousands — of hours of extensive pre-production testing to make sure they’re durable enough to stand up to harsh marine elements.

These pre-production tests include but not limited to :

  • UV test chambers to simulate years of direct sun exposure.
  • Special “salt fog” chambers to simulate years of exposure to harsh salt water environments.
  • Water splashes to test every seal and ensure that every button, knob, and port is moisture-proof.

With that said, here are the three key things to consider when you’re looking for a marine-grade audio equipment, be it speakers, receiver, amplifier or subwoofer.

  • Water resistance: Any marine equipment that is water resistant can handle water splashes and light rain, but isn’t built to handle submersion. Only water-proof gear can be fully submerged without getting damaged.

 

  • UV resistance: Being able to withstand sun damage (ultraviolet rays) is one of the most important feature to look for on receiver faceplates, speaker cones and remote controls.

 

  • Anti-corrosion protection: salt water and moisture are known to substantially decrease the life expectancy of electronic components. Thereby, look for components that are designed to resist rust and corrosion. These components are usually featured with coated circuit boards, plated connections, and rust-resistant chassis components.

How to Choose the Best Marine Radio

In order to choose a good marine receiver, here are a few things you should take into consideration:

The right specs

Just like car audio components, better specs means better sound quality. When it comes to marine receivers, look for a high CD signal-to-noise ratio, high RMS power output, at least one USB port and Aux input. And if radio is your thing, check the FM sensitivity spec — the lower, the better.

Features

Nowadays, aftermarket receivers are incorporated with a ton of bells and whistles you need to stay entertained at the dock and on the water. Today’s aftermarket marine receivers are every bit as powerful and feature-packed as their automotive cousins.

They have Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling and audio streaming, HD radio, satellite radio, Siri Eyes Free, Pandora® Internet radio control, and various other sonic goodies. It basically boils down to this simple fact: the more features you want, the more money you’ll have to shell out.

High Power Output

Because no boat cockpit/deck isn’t acoustically perfect, and since you’ll be listening to your music out in the open, high power output is a must for crystal clear sound. Most marine receivers are incorporated with built-in 4-way amps, but if you’re a serious audiophile who loves it loud, you might want to consider adding an external marine amp to your system.

Expandability options

If you’re planing to build a strong audio system, consider a marine receiver with multiple sets of preamp outputs. That will make it a lot easier to connect and control external amps and subs as you build your ultimate marine audio system. If you like listening to Satellite radio, consider a receiver that’s SiriusXM satellite radio ready.

Types of Marine Receivers

Marine receivers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations. Choosing the right one for your boat will depend on the space you have for the receiver, the features you need, the available audio sources, and the type of the receiver. Speaking of types, marine stereos come in 5 categories.

Single-DIN marine receivers

Single DIN marine stereos look and perform like standard single din car stereos. They’re the most popular and versatile marine receivers on the market.

Unlike their auto counterparts, marine-grade single DIN receivers are designed to withstand harsh marine environment. To stand up to moisture, sunlight, and salt, these receivers are featured with conformal-coated circuit boards, water-resistant faceplates, and special covers for CD openings and/or USB and AUX port.

Single DIN stereos will fit neatly into a wide variety of boats, but it’s mandatory that you measure the depth of the cavity you’re working with before buying your receiver.

If the cavity of the stereo isn’t deep enough to accommodate a regular single DIN stereo, then you might want to consider a digital media receiver. Since there’s no built-in CD player, the digital media receiver’s chassis doesn’t need to be nearly as deep, so it’ll fit into tighter spots and smaller boats.

Gauge-mount marine receivers

Because they have no built-in CD drive, gauge-mount digital media receivers tend to be quite compact and versatile, which makes them ideal for smaller boats.

These receivers are designed to fit into standard-size (3″) openings. If you boat has no dash opening already, the design of these receivers makes it easy to create one.

Like all marine-grade receivers, they’re coated and sealed in all the right places, so they’ll give you great performance for many years to come.

Oversized DIN receivers

Oversized” DIN receivers feature larger faceplate which allows for more controls and bigger displays. Despite being relatively large, these receivers can still fit into a standard 2″ tall opening.

These receivers are a bit tricky to install as they require a little more mounting space for the faceplate, so bear in mind to not only take the depth in mind, but also the area around the cavity. Measure twice and cut once, by the way.

“Black box” marine receivers

This type of receivers are designed to be installed out of sight. They perform just like a regular and are feature with all the functionality and connectivity you’d ever want from a marine stereo.

These receivers come in two pieces, the box and the control unit. The former is not nearly as water-resistant as marine grade receivers specifically designed for outdoor duty, so mount it somewhere where it won’t be affected by the elements. The latter, however, can be mounted just about anywhere in the boat’s cockpit.

Mounting each of these will depend on the layout of your boat. That’s part of the versatility of the concept.

Square receivers

Like their oversized-DIN cousins, these close-to-square receivers feature a relatively large faceplate and can fit into small panels. And since these digital media receivers don’t have come with a CD player inside, they usually don’t require much mounting depth.

Alex Brown

Hey There, my name is Alex Brown, I'm a music lover and a car audio enthusiast who loves everything from new receivers to car security. I've been in this industry for years now. I enjoy creating solutions and simplifying everyday needs. My passion for music came at an early age. I love helping people get great sounding gear, thereby, saving the world from bad sound one customer at a time.

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