Video: How To Aim And Position Speakers On Your Boat
By Matt Champneys
When choosing a new location to install marine speakers, it is important to consider that speakers are very directional, which means they push sound in the direction they are pointed. When your speaker is pointed this way, the best listening position is going to be over there. When your speaker is pointed that way, the best place to listen will be over there. You may be amazed at the drop off in sound quality when a speaker is pointed away from you.
In a home or car, speaker direction is less important because there are so many surfaces for the sound to bounce off. On an open boat sound can get swallowed up in the air rather quickly! Be sure to point the speakers where your ears are going to be.
Obstructions between the speaker and your ears make a big difference also so you want to avoid them as much as possible. The higher sound frequencies are the most easily blocked, so the first thing to go is the "sparkle" or clarity of the sound. Bass frequencies are the most persistent, so an obstruction tends to turn the sound "muddy" and muffled.
The human body itself can absorb and block a remarkable amount of sound so you will need to take into account where your boaters will be sitting. Ideally, you always want to mount your full range speakers as high as possible for the best quality sound. Avoid mounting them under seats or down by your feet. On larger boats, and wherever possible, you should consider mounting speakers above your head.
Subwoofers, on the other hand, are just the opposite. They are not very directional and they should always be mounted as low as possible.
Stereo sound is much better quality than monaural sound and you will want to mount your speakers so that the listeners will be able to hear from at least two speakers at once. Our brains interpret the distance and location of sounds based on what we hear from both ears and comparing the difference between what each ear is hearing. Stereo fools our ears by producing one set of sounds for each ear from each speakers. You will get the best sound if you position your speakers so both of a stereo pair are pointed at your ears at the same time. Farther apart is actually better, because it enhances the stereo separation. If you can only hear from one speaker you will only be getting half the experience.