Houseboat Stereo Roundup

Published in the November 2013 Issue November 2013 Product

It doesn’t get much better than lounging around a houseboat, relaxing, soaking up some rays, and taking an occasional dip in the water. The only thing that could possibly make it better is having the perfect sound system on your houseboat. The question often comes up though, what kind of sound system should you get? What makes a certain sound system better to install in a houseboat than another? We have chosen to highlight a few sound system companies that have been recommended by various houseboat manufacturers in hopes of clearing up some of these questions.



Fusion is one sound system that has become very popular among houseboaters. One of the reasons for this is because of how inexpensive it is.

Dillon Graber, who works at Destination Yachts, founded Fusion and developed it into the houseboats.

“Fusion has a low-cost system that works with a downloaded app for you iPhones. It has multiple zones, is one of the least expensive systems available and has really good sound,” said Graber.

He also said they get lots of requests for the sound system when the boat is being built, but not as many requests after that. In most cases the systems are designed to be added to when needed.

“Usually we just go with a basic stereo in the helm and then from there you got power speakers throughout the boat,” said Graber.

One of the benefits of purchasing a Fusion sound system is that you can use your iPhone to play music straight through the speakers.

Graber said that it’s pretty easy to install and he has never had any complications come from doing it.

“If you can install a car stereo you can pretty much do it,” says the Destination Yachts employee. “If it’s an existing boat, running the wires will be the hardest part.”

The houseboating industry has grown a lot over the years, not just by the make and model of the houseboats, but also by the quality and type of sound houseboaters are seeking.

“More and more people want different sound and different types of music,” adds Graber. “They want to listen to different music on both the front and back deck. It’s just getting more integrated.”

He recommends the Fusion stereo system because you get the same quality sound and entertainment that you would get from any other higher-end system. (


JL Audio

Many boaters tend to turn to JL Audio when looking for a new system for their houseboat. If you want something that can withstand any type of weather conditions, JL Audio is the place to look.

 “The marine audio products are similar to the auto sound line of products that we carry but they have been specially designed to withstand the harsh elements of all types of weather environments,” said Lucette Nicoll, a representative from JL Audio.

There are many different options at JL Audio when it comes to marine and boating sound equipment. These options include subwoofer drivers, amplifiers, and component and coaxial systems.

If you ask any employee at JL Audio whether or not you really need to have a subwoofer driver for your boat, they would not hesitate when saying yes. The reason? You will be receiving more sound and better quality with it. The reason JL Audio recommends its subwoofer drivers is because a running boat produces a lot of low frequency noise. By installing subwoofer drivers to your boat, not only do you receive better sound quality, but you are also able to drown out the unwanted noise coming from the boat. The company also offers two top-of-the-line, cutting edge amplifiers: M and MHD Marine. These two amplifiers fully deliver the benefits of full-range switching technology. They offer outstanding efficiency, which results in small size and less current draw per watt. Each series offers a wide range of models to fit the needs of any serious marine audio installation.

JL Audio marine loudspeaker systems and components are specifically designed and tuned for an open-air boating environment, ensuring phenomenal quality at cruising speed or while anchored at your favorite swimming spot. JL Audio offers two series of marine speaker systems: M and MX. The MX-Series easily outperforms conventional marine speaker systems and is sized to work as a direct replacement for them. The M-Series products are maximum-performance, no-holds-barred speaker systems with higher power handling, a larger tweeter and greater output capability. JL Audio has made it a point to continually look for ways to improve its marine audio equipment in order to withstand any extreme weather you may come across. (



Clarion is one manufacturer that you can always count on when it comes to maximum quality and sound. The company offers a variety of marine audio equipment including speakers, amplifiers, source units and subwoofers.

Gary Smith, vice president of sales and marketing at Skipperliner, says there are a number of different factors that they look at when choosing which sound system to go with.

“Two things that we focus on are the company we are looking at and the quality of their products,” says Smith. “We look for companies with well known-brands, quality reputation, customer request, warranty support, and robust equipment.”

When selecting speakers for your houseboat, there are a number of different options that you are presented with.

The 7-inch Water Resistant Marine Coaxial Speaker System has 100-watt maximum music handling and 50-watt RMS, helping to provide you with the best quality sound possible.

It also has a 7-inch Mica-Injection Polypropylene Cone Woofer as well as 1 1/4-inch cone tweeter.

If you are looking to add some style and design to you houseboat, you might seriously want to consider installing the Marine Watertight J1939 Receiver, which serves primarily as a CD and MP3 player. This particular model is built and made to withstand all of the fog and saltwater that you might come across while onboard. Purchasing this particular model will give you confidence, knowing that you don’t have to worry about the quality or reception while in the marine environments.

Purchasing the Marine Single 4-OHM Water Resistant Subwoofer will only add to the experience as you relax and enjoy your music. This subwoofer has 350 max watt power handling. It has Mica-Injection Polypropylene Cone Woofer and a Liquid Drainage System. Not only that, it also has a rubber mounting gasket, gold-plated speaker terminals, and magnetic shielding integrated into the basket.

Smith adds that many houseboats now days are custom made, providing the interested buyers with the opportunity to choose what system they would like themselves.

“Since all of our houseboats are custom made, we let our customers choose what type of marine audio equipment they would like to have,” says Smith. “We have a number of different marine audio manufacturers that we work with, giving the interested buyers options to choose from, with Clarion being one of those options.” (

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