Transcript: Having been in the business since 2003, we have a lot of experience with marine stereos. One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at Rock The Boat is, "what is the best marine stereo?" Well, that is not necessarily a simple question to answer as it depends on your situation. What is right for one boat, may not be right for another.
That having been said, if money was no object, you had no installation restrictions, and you just wanted the most features and the best quality stereo out there, what would it be? We set out to answer that question by listing our top 5 marine stereos of 2017.
Number 5 Jensen MS2ARTL This may surprise some people who have a negative view of Jensen products from the past. If you are one of those, this brand might deserve a second chance. Since it was bought out by parent company Auxiovox, the quality of Jensen marine stereos has steadily improved and in recent years they have really upped their game. The Jensen MS2ARTL is the culmination of that.
This unit has a waterproof IPX5 rated face plate that can withstand splash and spray. There is no CD player, but it has excellent connectivity to mobile devices. You can stream your music via Bluetooth or connect via the rear USB port. It has apple compatible software so you can play music from iPods and iPhones. You can also connect up to 3 wired remotes that can be mounted in convenient places throughout your boat. The price for the features you get make this a popular model.
Number 4 Rockford-Fosgate PMX-5 Rockford is known for making excellent amplifiers and speakers, but they also make a great marine stereo. This unit has features similar to the Jensen previously mentioned with a few nice additions. The full color display stands out at first glance, but this stereo also is SiriusXM satellite radio ready. Connect a SiriusXM receiver box to the rear and you have access to all of the satellite network's programming controllable right from the stereo faceplate.
There are 2 wired remotes available for it and this is the only stereo in our list compatible with a remote with a full color display identical to the one on the stereo faceplate.
Number 3 Infinity PRV350 Infinity is a high end stereo brand manufactured by the same company that produces JBL audio products. This unit has features similar to the Rockford stereo, but with a full color display that is nearly twice the size.
This is the only stereo in our list that has an unusual chassis size. All of the others require a standard DIN 7" x 2" cutout hole, while this one needs about 5" x 3". The advantage is that the mounting depth is very shallow, only 2 1/2 inches deep so it can fit in many locations where the others can't. Fortunately, a mounting plate is available if you want to use it to replace a standard DIN sized stereo.
Number 2 Aquatic AV AQ-MP-5UBT Aquatic AV is a smaller, less well known company that focuses exclusively on marine stereo equipment. Their strength is the durability and quality of their products. This high end stereo has all the features of the other units already mentioned with a few extras.
This is one of the only waterproof stereos available with a removable face plate. To make the stereo less appealing to theives, you can remove the face and replace it with a dummy that is included. The waterproof dummy protects the chassis that remains behind. Another important feature is the internal device storage area. Instead of a CD mechanism there is a device dock inside with a USB port and audio input connection. You can store your phone inside, protected from the elements while it recharges and you play your music. Control song and folder selection right from the face plate without having to touch your phone.
Number 1 Fusion MS-UD750 Fusion has been making waves in the marine stereo industry for a few years now. They offer very high end, high quality products. Not only is the face plate of this stereo waterproof like the others, but the chassis is sealed as well, so there is no need to worry about water that may leak behind the console or dash where it is installed.
This unit offers features similar to the Aquatic AV with a few more. Fusion was recently purchased by Garmin. Many of their stereo models, including this one are NMEA network compatible. That means you can interface the stereo with chart plotters, fish finders, and other NMEA compatible devices. You can potentially check speed and water depth right from the stereo or it's wired remotes. Or maybe you prefer to change songs using your chart plotter.
Another great feature is the FusionLink app. Download the app to your smart phone and your device becomes a fully featured wireless remote that can control all aspects of the stereo.
Lastly, this unit is 4 zone capable which makes it ideal for larger boats. You can set it up to control the stereo volume independently in up to 4 different areas of your boat.
That's our list! These stereos have more great features that we didn't have time to mention, so be sure to check out the specifications on our website. Also, we are always happy to answer any questions you have about them.