Updated: Mar 13, 2020
I love music. I love all types of music. I am not a big fan of "gangster rap" or blue grass. But, I listen to rap and hard rock before I play an ice hockey game. But, if someone were to look at my playlists they might think the iPhone belongs to Sybil. My musical tastes are eclectic to say the least...from AC/DC to Mozart, and Notorious BIG to Rinken Band (yes, I still like Okinawan Min'yō...my favorite song is Funa Yare). Lately, I have been listening to a lot of urban Latino...you know...Shakira, Daddy Yankee, and Bad Bunny.
Anyway...when I built my hard dodger I disconnected the external speakers and they have been sitting in a box. I also had 2 internal speakers in the salon area, and the Kenwood radio and CD player was mounted in the nav. station. The dilemma ty gear, self-steering vanes, water-maker, and frivolous things like a radar arch...even though I will mount my radar antenna on my mast.
When I built my hard dodger I disconnected the external speakers and they have been sitting in a box. I also had 2 internal speakers in the salon area, and the Kenwood radio and CD player was mounted in the nav. station. The dilemma was where to remount the external speakers.
First, I would never cut a hole in the boat to mount speakers. Speaker cones are weak; the ocean is strong. Built in speakers are a potential liability. One problem with mounting them inside the cockpit was they faced aft. So, if I were laying in my hammock on the foredeck I could not hear the music, or at best it was muffled. Then I thought...hey...I could mount them on the arch! But, again....if I am on the foredeck I would have to have the music cranked up to about 140 decibels. I also considered that some areas I might travel in the future (Hawaii...which is my first stop) are high petty crime areas...and externally mounted speakers would have to be removed if I ever had to leave the boat for any length of time.
Then I considered my usage over the past few years. I rarely listened to the radio. And the only thing CDs are good for is taking up space, or stringing between various points to try to keep birds from shitting all over the boat. Basically, when I wanted music I would simply plug in my iPhone and select the playlist for my mood at the time. At anchor I'd put up the hammock and take a small portable Bluetooth speaker to the foredeck and listen to my music.
So, after much contemplation and research I finally decided that the best sound system for the boat would simply be the iPhone connected to a series of Bluetooth speakers that can be joined together via Bluetooth connections. NO WIRES!!!
I looked at various models. I wanted something reasonably compact and waterproof with good sound output. There are several models and manufacturers to choose from, and
I finally decided on 2 Sony SRS-XB41 speakers. They can be setup as a left and right channel, or chained together with more than 2 speakers if I ever wanted music in the cockpit, foredeck, salon and maybe the head. I think the lighting effects are kind of cheesy, but they can be turned off. I also think the software (Music Center) is kind of clunky and not intuitive.
But, bottom line...if you are contemplating a new stereo system for your boat I would highly recommend going away from the outdated AM/FM/CD/MP3 blah blah blah systems that have to be hard-wired into the boat. Later, when I have some free time I will build some enclosures or maybe even simple straps to secure the speakers in the cockpit while sailing. Nothing like listening to Jimmy Buffet's Southern Cross on a downwind run, or Daddy Yankee's Gasolina cranking at the start line of a beer can regatta!