What Makes a Marine Amplifier, a Marine Amplifier?
Summer comes rolling around and it’s as though there is a boat infestation in your city. You see boats in driveways and in the ocean or on the lake stretching their muscles after a nice hibernation during the winter. Believe it or not, some of those boats have high powered amplifiers running extensive marine audio sound systems, not unlike a car audio sound system. You will often see two identical amplifiers with one labeled “Marine” that has a different color scheme then its car audio counterpart. With all the specifications being the same, what is the difference between a marine certified amplifier and a normal car audio amplifier?
4-Channel Marine Amplifier- Kicker ZXM350.4
The difference is going to be additives to the circuit boards of the amplifiers. Internally, the circuitry will be the same for both marine and car audio amplifiers which mean power ratings and specifications will be the same as well. The marine environment is harsh because of salt and water combined with harmful UV radiation. Most circuit boards are conformal coated, which is a protective coating that gets into the nooks of the board without interfering with its function. Protection from moisture is the name of the game and you will find many different coatings that do just that. Any number of materials can be used, such as epoxies, acrylics and even silicon to keep saltwater out and balance the temperature of the amplifier.
In a nutshell, the difference is more protection from the harsh elements of the marine environment. These amplifiers can be used in off road vehicles, boats, RVs and anything that experiences the outside world, even your car. Is it worth the few extra bucks for the added protection? Yes it is! Amplifiers and moisture do not mix and turning on your system to impress your friends only to find a blown amplifier is just not cool.
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Written By: Kyle Duffy