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How to Install Boat Subwoofers

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You might already have a marine stereo in your boat. To really pump up the volume, cosider adding marine subwoofers and amplifiers.Boat subwoofers produce the low frequency bass beats that enhance the sound of your music. Subwoofers are an absolute necessity if you want a commanding sound system on your boat.

Mounting Options

Subwoofers can be mounted with a baffle (free air) or in a box. By nature of a boat’s dimensions, you more than likely will end up mounting a subwoofer in a location where a box cannot be used. If you plan to do so, make sure the subwoofer you choose is designed for this purpose. Most marine subwoofers are designed for free air mounting and baffle installations. Even if you plan on using a box, marine subs are the optimal choice for boat installations because they are designed with water and salt resistant materials.

If you do choose to install your subs in a box, the front compartment of the boat is a practical place to mount the box. To install your subwoofers into an enclosure, merely connect the leads to the terminals and screw in the subwoofer along the diameter of the enclosure hole. See the wiring configuration section below for more information.

You can also install manufacturer enclosed marine subwoofers. Some of the most popular enclosed marine subs are bass tubes. Bass tubes are water-resistant cylindrical enclosures loaded with subs. They have various sizes, ranging from 8” to as big as 15” loaded bass tube subwoofer enclosures. Bass tubes come preloaded with subs, and are either powered (do not require an external amp) or unpowered (require an external marine amplifier).

Enclosed subwoofers are popular for boats because they save space and you do not have to build a custom box. The manufacturer figures out the specific box size required for optimal performance, and designs an enclosed sub accordingly. They are usually easier to install. Bass tubes come equipped with mounting straps for easy and secure mounting. After it is mounted, you will need to connect the loaded enclosure to the amplifier using speaker wires.

Wiring Configuration

You have two choices when wiring an unpowered component subwoofer to an amplifier. You can wire the subwoofer in series or parallel. To wire in parallel, simply connect the positive leads of both subs to the amp’s positive terminal and the negative leads to the amp’s negative terminal. Wiring in parallel will lower your impedance, and a lower impedance value will enhance your amp’s power capability. To wire in series, simply connect the positive leads of the subwoofer to the amp’s positive terminal, but then connect the negative terminal of one subwoofer to the positive terminal of the second sub. Then connect the latter sub’s negative terminal to the amp’s negative terminal. You will need to connect the amp to the boat battery with a power and ground wire.

For powered subs, just purchase an amp kit for power, ground, and lead wires, and then run the wires to the rest of your system and boat battery.

You’re ready to cruise the seas with exploding beats and vibrating seats. Happy sailing!

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Staff writers at Sonic Electronix are experts in their field. In addition to a complete in-house training program, these experts typically have many years of hands-on experience in their specialty. Some come from car audio installer backgrounds, while others come with extensive retail experience.
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