Video: How Many Speakers Should I Connect To My Boat Stereo?
By Matt Champneys
How many speakers should you connect to your marine stereo? If you don't plan on using an external amplifier, then the short answer is 2 or 4.
Most stereo head units have 4 amplified outputs for speakers. We call those channels. You don't have to use all 4 channels, but it is usually not a good idea to try to put more than one speaker on one channel. You could potentially damage your stereo and your speakers. So unless the manufacturer specifications specifically say otherwise, it is best to stick with one speaker per channel.
You also don't want to try connecting 2 channels to one speaker. That could be equally as damaging. If you decide you only want to use 2 speakers then you should just put electrical tape over the bare ends of the wires for the other 2 channels and not use them.
You definitely want to use at least 2 speakers to provide stereo sound. The difference in sound quality from one speaker to 2 speakers is significant. Likewise, you would not want to use 3 speakers. 4 speakers will give you better stereo balance.
Keep in mind that if you only use 2 speakers you are only using half of the power of the stereo. You could double your potential volume just by adding 2 more speakers and going with 4.
Lastly, if you are using an external amplifier with your stereo, different rules usually apply. We'll talk about that in another video.