Ear Candy: JBL Marine MR-25

Crank up the volume on JBL Marine's MR-25 AM/FM/CD stereo/MP3 decoder, and let 180 watts of power rock the boat-you'll have that glassy-calm water riled up into two-footers in no time. I tested one of these units on my 19' Twin Vee Baycat and discovered that it has what it takes for some serious on-the-water jamming.

Installation was on the easy side, thanks to the included rear support strap and hardware, wiring harness with connectors, and clearly labeled speaker and power wires. Wish you had a CD changer or a waterproof remote? The MR-25 has prewired sockets to accept these upgrades. It also has an auxiliary input for a satellite or VHF radio.

I found the controls fairly intuitive and only had to resort to using the instruction manual to figure out what the BD/LD button was all about (band/loud). Sound quality was nothing short of astonishing, although the CD did skip while cruising through a slight chop. Unlike many stereos sold on the marine market, the MR-25 is specifically designed for use on boats, and it's protected from moisture by a clear exterior film and an anticorrosion CRC coating on the circuit board. The faceplate is removable, and can be stored in a protective faceplate case. A bonus: The LCD display is four color and is visible in all light conditions.

Price $350 Contact JBL Marine, 800/394-1914, www.prospecelectronics.com