Speakers and the great outdoors make for a bad combination. Speaker exposure to elements is bound to ruin your listening experience. Marine speakers have come a long way to ensure we can listen to our music regardless of the environment. Built for use on a myriad of vehicles and boats, these speakers are less vulnerable to effects of moisture, UV, and salt-fog. Tested for all conditions, these speakers are suitable for all outdoor uses.
To pick the best rated marine speakers, we looked at pros and cons for each. Polk Audio MM651UM pros include its compact size, rugged good looks and premium materials used for construction, high-quality sound, integrated cross-over, light weight and non-corrosive terminals. Drawbacks include it’s fixed, non-removable covers might make it difficult to use replacements as screw holes may be a bit offset.
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Fusion Electronics MS-FR6020 highlights include a super-compact size, IP65 approved, hard-wearing plastic grille, light weight and great sound. On the downside, however, the quality of the bass could have been better.
Polk Audio DB652 is yet another great marine speaker. Its pros include being usable in both cars and boats, great low price, crisp sounding highs, and mids and also being dust and debris resistant. Bass though leaves a lot to be desired.
We liked the Kicker KM654 for their multi-color LED accent lighting, moisture draining system to keep those speakers dry, and loud clean sound.
Finally, we also considered the JL Audio M650-CCX-CG-WH. Not only are these top of the range speakers easy to install but they also pack a punch and have a high-quality build. Only con though is their high cost.
Without major gripes on any of the speakers, a balance between cost and features is the best judge. As such, the Polk Audio’s MM651UM lead the pack by a mile. However below is a more detailed look at each of the speakers.
Best 6.5″ Marine Speakers
Our Pick: Polk Audio AA2652-A 6.5-Inch
Coming in as our best 6.5″ marine speakers on the list is the Polk Audio MM651UM. Built around technology found on the company’s flagship SR series, the compact 6.5″ coaxial speaker is a well-rounded performer. It’s grilled, the rugged front is not only designed for good looks but to also keep the speaker’s back completely waterproof. Keeping with its compact design, the crossover is neatly concealed by having it sealed around the magnet. This implies that an extra box to hide the crossover is not required.
Poor quality materials for terminals shorten a speakers life span. The Polk Audio MM651UM’s terminals, however, are built from top of the range materials. It’s heavy duty steel terminals reduce chances of corrosion ever taking hold. The rest of the speaker is built from premium materials as well. The high-tech carbon composite baskets and woven-glass composite speaker cones manage to keep the speaker light while performance at its peak. The speakers are also thoroughly tested on salt fog and different UV conditions.
On the sound front, the output quality is phenomenal! The output is comparable to higher costing speakers. Equipped with a powerful Neodymium motor structure, thanks to the over sized voice coils, these pair of marine speakers manage to keep true to audio reproduction.
Runner Up: Fusion Electronics MS-FR6021 6-Inch
The modern, sleek looking, Fusion Electronics MS-FR6020 come in at a close second (these are 6″ not 6.5″). Extensively tested, these speakers bear an IP65 rating. In simpler terms, the speakers are built to be dust and waterproof. As such, they can be comfortably be installed on a boat or marine vessel. With a non-industrial look, they are suitable for blending in with neutral environments. Their small size adds to this fact. The range comes in a choice of two colors, midnight black, and ice white.
At 6″ in diameter, they are truly compact. Additionally, they have a 3″ installation depth. In its miniature-sized housing are the speaker’s magnet, crossover, and tweeter. The grille on the front keeps the speaker’s elements secure from knocks and keeps it properly rigid. Holding the grille in place is a central core titanium tweeter speaker. Additionally, this protects the high-pass crossover components.
The company’s CURV technology enables the creation of composite cones. This makes the speakers produce dynamic sound ranges with superior output while keeping the speaker abrasion resistant and particularly tough. CURV technology is also responsible for keeping the speaker light.
On The Budget: Polk Audio DB652
If you are considering upgrading full range or old OEM speakers, the 6.5″ Polk Audio DB652 offer an affordable alternative. The DB range of speakers is well renowned for their dynamic, high-performance sound. Probably the most versatile listed speaker set, the Polk Audio DB652 are built for both vehicles and marine vessels. The speakers are IP55 rated, meaning their seal keeps water and dirt out. The tweeter is also set deep to the speaker flush when installed.
With a plastic grille, chances of corrosion are kept low. As with other speakers in the list, it too is UV, salt-fog and humidity tested. Furthermore, the cone is made from polypropylene, which makes it UV tolerant and waterproof. Polypropylene keeps your speaker looking polished at all times by reducing susceptibility to degradation and discoloration. Each speaker is also equipped with stainless steel mounting hardware. This goes a long way in keeping the back of your speaker safe from outer surrounds.
A maximum output of 300 watts and 100 watts RMS is more than sufficient for most scenarios. Coupled with its high-performance sound range, there is little to complain about. The non-resonant materials keep performance efficient with little to no distortion.
Also Great: Kicker KM654LCW
A great alternative to the Polk Audio DB652, these 6.5″, coaxial marine speakers are well worth a look. If not for the great audio, then for the delightful accessories integrated with your speaker system. The speakers have built-in LED lights, that have a range of about 20 colors. These can be easily changed by remote control. For an evening out on a boat, the combination of music and lighting sets the aura to your to your mood or liking.
Grilles can be customized according to the installation site. The two options, charcoal or white can match most environments. The grille also has an integrated system that drains moisture away from the speakers. A molded injection cone with a UV treated Santoprene surround, these speaker manages to remain weatherproof.
The Kicker speakers are fitted with titanium tweeter dome. Titanium domes, unlike silk domes, allow highs and midrange sounds to be ‘bright’. It can also be turned up to high volumes without much distortion, unlike their counterparts, silk domes. As for their performance, the peak is at 195 watts, with RMS power at 65 watts and an impedance of 4 watts. It might also be important to note that the lows could be deeper. They tend to be a bit outmatched by the lows and mids.
Top of The Line: JL AUDIO M650-CCX-CG-WH
Not to be left out of our list, this top of line 6.5″ speaker pair, has a 2-way cockpit coaxial speaker system. Unlike the metallic domes used by some of the speakers above, the JL audio speakers come equipped with silk domes. These have better performance for mid to low ranges.
A low excursion woofer design and efficient power management, guarantee the speaker’s great output. In comparison, this would probably the heaviest set in the list. For its mica-filled polypropylene woofer, the speaker compromises on weight, but more than makes up for it in sound quality. It’s 1″ tweeter keeps the high crisp and clear.
Just like most of the marine speakers above, it has a 4 Ohm impedance. Though they can be operated with as low as 25 watts, it is recommended by the manufacturer that one uses 75 to 150 watts per channel. With its 2-way crossover cleverly concealed in its protective casing, additional boxes to hide the crossover hardware becomes unnecessary.
For most outdoor activities that require sound, whose enjoyment can only be impeded by weather elements, the range of speakers listed above are fit for the job. Open boats, motorbikes, ATV vehicles would do well to install any of these pairs. Boats, however, would benefit the most. The salty air, humid or wet conditions they operate in, would corrode most speakers available on the market. Specialized materials keep these speakers going for a long time. The only compromise when compared to ordinary, non-weatherproof speakers, is that they are a bit heavy. This is, however, a small price to pay for the performance given.