2017 Water Sports Gear Guide: Electronics

Find the right gear to enhance your audio system and maximize fun on the water.

2017 Water Sports Gear Guide: Electronics
2017 Water Sports Gear Guide: ElectronicsRoswell

Music is as integral to watersports as boats and boards, so enhancing your audio system ahead of next summer should be as much a priority as upgrading your wakesurfer.

When it comes to marine audio systems, your budget and the size of your boat are your only limits. Whether you’re looking for a simple setup or an on-the-water orchestra of subwoofers and tower speakers, here are the keys to your perfect system.

Ample Amplification
Onboard amplifiers are relatively weak, so while they'll suffice for a basic setup, you'll need to add dedicated speakers if you plan on taking your system to the next level. The most important thing to consider when shopping for an amplifier is making sure it's properly powerful. If you have 50-watt speakers, you don't want an amp that puts out only 50 watts per channel, because the amp and speaker will be overworked. A good rule of thumb is to get an amp with 20 to 30 percent more wattage than your speakers require.

Materials Matter
Durability is key in any marine environment, and that is doubly true in salt water, so you need to verify your new components will hold up to the elements of your boating environment. Make sure your audio gear has good UV, water and salt resistance and that crossover and amplifier circuit boards are Conformal-coated so they hold up to humidity.

Tower Power
Take advantage of the additional real estate provided by your tower. When it comes to hanging speakers, options abound, but they'll likely fall into two categories: sound bars or self-contained tower speakers. The biggest advantage of sound bars is space. They cluster together multiple smaller speakers, so they don't extend as far down as dedicated tower speakers. What you save in space, however, you'll give up in the level of the audio.