When you are out there on the water, clearly the most important thing is the tunes. Forget the navigation and safety equipment — if you are going to get stranded out there for long periods of time, you better have a killer audio system.
All kidding aside, Rockford Fosgate delivers when it comes to the marine audio speaker game.
Whereas most other manufacturers can take a pair of their 6-inch coaxial loudspeakers for the car, spray them with some “waterproof coating,” and then ship them out to the customer, Rockford Fosgate takes the time to engineer a specific 8-inch coaxial speaker for marine applications. The build quality is overdone in true Rockford Fosgate fashion. The rear of the speaker magnet is housed in a marine-grade plastic enclosure to make sure no salt gets into the speaker windings. Rockford Fosgate touts them as “UV-stable Centrex injection-molded plastic parts and gold-plated input terminals.” And gold is good on a boat. That thin layer prevents the terminals from turning green with oxidation and corrosion. The 8-inch area on the speaker cone allows boat owners to get loud without having to add a subwoofer. But feel free to, anyway!
A bridge comes across the diameter of the coaxial to hold an aluminium alloy tweeter. The crossover is integrated into the speaker design, which is better for installation on a boat. Although outboard crossover networks are cool, having them integrated into the speaker makes sense on a boat to keep the connections to a minimum. The units are rated to handle 100 watts per channel RMS, which is way more than the Clarion multimedia unit on the boat could churn out.
I replaced a pair of rotting Dual Electronics marine coaxials whose surrounds had literally turned into sauce. The exposure to the sun and salt made the surrounds morph into a viscous goo where only the cone survived — which made for some pretty nasty-sounding speakers. Rockford Fosgate to the rescue!
I just had to cut the hole larger to accommodate the 8-inch speakers versus the 6-inch speakers. There are many ways to go about this — the easiest being a router with a circle template — but I didn’t want to make a special trip back to my shop. So I traced the new speaker hole using the provided template, then carefully drilled holes around the circumference. Finally, I connected the dots using a scroll saw.
Once the speakers were installed and the terminals hooked up, it was just a matter of aligning the grilles and using an Allen key bit on the trusty Makita. Once wrapped up, I hit the back of the speaker with a little silicone sealant to be on the safe side.
I cranked up the Clarion marine head unit, and everything came to life. Although these speakers face outward so it is not a true stereo system, the speakers provide the tunes and entertainment to keep the whole crew happy. Installed with stereo in mind, they would do a pretty good job on conveying a stereo image. However, in most boats, that usually isn’t practical or the first priority. The Clarion unit was robust enough to provide power to the Rockford Fosgate speakers, but an outboard amplifier would really wake them up. Get away with the head unit as long as you can and then splurge for an amp! On a wakeboard tower, these would be ideal.
Rockford Fosgate has always designed great products with the car or boat audio enthusiast in mind. These speakers should provide years of entertainment on the water. Check out Rockford Fosgate’s website for more info.