2023 JBL R4500 Wake Series Source Unit

The JBL R4500 Wake Series offers full-featured audio for your boat.
JBL R4500 Wake Series Source Unit powered on
The 4-inch LCD screen is easy to read in sunlight. Courtesy ProSpec Electronics

Anglers’ intense focus on fishing electronics means their marine audio system needs to be robust, full-featured and easier to use than a spinnerbait. The new JBL R4500 Wake Series from ProSpec Electronics fits the bill.

First off, it’s rugged, durable and waterproof, so it will not only stand up to the inevitable jolts and jostles of life aboard a boat, but it will also withstand spray, spilled beverages and damp hands. The faceplate is rated IPX7 weatherproof, which means it can be submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Additionally, JBL—the audio company that powered Woodstock, as well as untold numbers of trucks over the years—conducts extensive testing against salt spray, UV light and other environmental factors. 

The JBL R4500 should prove easy to use. First off, it boasts a rotary dial, which we find easier to operate with damp hands and when underway than devices with solely touchscreen control. Second, the 4-inch LCD screen is easy to read in sunlight. Third, a series of no-brainer icons representing features makes it easier to operate than text references. Bluetooth BT5.0 ensures a good source of signal from your phone, whether you are seated at the helm or fishing up on the bow (in fact, it ranges to 100 feet!). Built-in AM/FM and weather band proves that JBL did not neglect the basics.

JBL R4500 Wake Series Source Unit wiring
Three sets of line-level differentials allow you to control left, right and sub for each zone. Courtesy ProSpec Electronics

The JBL R4500’s 2 ohm stability means you can add speakers without the need for installing a separate amplifier, an important benefit aboard fishing boats, where so much space is already devoted to gear stowage, livewells and batteries. The built-in amplifier blasts 4×55 peak amps at 4 ohms. Three sets of line-level differentials allow you to control left, right and sub for each zone. An MFi chipset enables album artwork to appear on the screen via USB and Bluetooth Mode. The R4500 is NMEA 2000-compatible and will network with other N2K devices.

Seeking full-featured audio for your boat? Explore the JBL R4500 Wake Series source unit.

High Points

  • Rugged, waterproof and “angler-proof” construction.
  • Its rotary encoder dial makes operation aboard a boat super simple, even on choppy waters. 
  • Full featured with 4×55 peak amps at 4 ohms output, big LCD color display, BT 5.0 Bluetooth, NMEA 2000, and MFI chipset, which can display album art on the screen.
  • Neat available accessories include a silicon faceplate cover, a powered antenna, and more.

Pricing and Specs

Output:4×55 watts at 4 ohms peak
Inputs:Aux; USB
Mounting:Flush-mount or back-mount
Faceplate:(WxH): 67/16″x3″
Chassis:(LxWxH): 41/4″x5″x115/16″

Prospec Electronics – Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina; prospecelectronics.com