Best marine radio and speaker bundles for setting up your boat’s sound system

Drew Maglio picks out six of the best marine radio and speaker bundles available right now…

Even as a veteran boat owner, professional surveyor, and former marine technician, selecting the best marine speakers for my boat is an arduous and daunting task, as there are so many options tailored to any and every conceivable customization available on the market.

Unlike car audio, marine audio is inherently custom. Before beginning, a disclaimer: if you are an audiophile or someone seeking the best stereo and speaker combos available today, this list is not for you.

Combining high-end custom components, including head units, amplifiers, and speakers/subwoofers of various sizes will undoubtedly achieve far superior results — albeit at a much greater cost, complexity, and power consumption.

This guide is, however, for the great majority of boaters who do not want the whole sandbar to hear their tunes, but rather want to install or replace an ancient sound system at an affordable price. These marine radio and speaker bundles come with everything you need to get started, with the exception of speaker wire and electrical tools and connectors.

6 of the best marine radio and speaker bundles


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Sony DSX-M5511BT

Best budget marine radio and speaker set

Reasons to buy: Affordable, quality head unit; 55Wx4 internal amplifier is best-in-class for head unit and two-speaker bundles; Features satellite radio

Reasons to avoid: While the head unit’s max power is 55W per channel, it is only rated at 17W RMS per channel; Only includes two speakers

First on our list is the Sony DSX-M5511BT, which is arguably the best overall value on this list for those who need to replace a stereo and a couple of standard 6.5” full-range speakers with high-quality, value-oriented units.

The package includes the DSX-M55BT digital head unit, which is a quality marine head unit — albeit nothing particularly remarkable. The head unit features a built-in amplifier that puts out a max wattage of 55Wx4 channels with an RMS of 17W per channel, which will adequately power most 6.5” full-range speakers, including the two bundled XS-MP1611 speakers that are rated at 65W RMS.

The radio receiver in this package features Bluetooth, satellite radio, AM/FM, an aux port, and a USB port for connectivity through all common and modern interfaces. Trim pieces, a quick connect wiring harness, as well as a battery-powered remote are included.

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Pioneer MXT-MS316BT

Best smartphone-compatible marine radio and speaker set

Reasons to buy: Very affordable; Quality head unit; 50Wx4 internal amplifier

Reasons to avoid: While the head unit’s max power is 50W per channel, it is only rated at 14W RMS per channel; Only includes two speakers that are mediocre; No XM

The next entry on our list is a similar offering by Pioneer, another mainstay in the value-oriented audio market. The heart of the bundle is the MVH-MS310BT head unit, which features a max output of 50Wx4, with an RMS of 14W per channel. While it does not have XM satellite radio, the Pioneer head unit features Bluetooth, USB, and auxiliary cord connections.

The Pioneer does also have one additional feature when compared to the previous Sony head unit: smartphone integration, or a useful feature whereby you can use your phone via Bluetooth as a remote to control the stereo, which is a feature typically only found on higher-end head units that are substantially more expensive.

The bundled TS-MR1600 speakers I have found to be acceptable from a sound quality standpoint, but should really be thought of simply as a replacement for dry-rotted stock speakers, rather than an upgrade. Paired with a set of quality amplified 6x9s, the TS-MR1600 would serve well as complimentary speakers on a modest-sized vessel.

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Fusion MS-RA60 with El Classic Speakers

Best smartwatch-compatible marine radio and speaker set

Reasons to buy: Great value; 22W per channel RMS Class-D internal amplifier; Allows control of two independent audio zones; Digital radio functionality

Reasons to avoid: Only includes two speakers; Bundled speakers are mediocre

When it comes to marine audio, Fusion (owned by Garmin these days) is widely considered the top player in the market and it seems that even their entry-level options, are generally better than the competition. The MS-RA60 is likely the best value option on this entire list.

Featuring an improved internal Class-D amplifier outputting 45W max (22W RMS) on 4 channels, the head unit on the MS-RA60 head unit is more than adequate. While the MS-RA60 is relatively no-frills as far as Fusion marine head units go, it does feature the ability to control two independent audio zones, as well as the ability to use your Garmin watch as a stereo remote.

The MS-RA60 also features DAB digital radio functionality. The El Classic full-range speakers are perfect stock-replacement, shallow-mount 6.5” offerings that can handle up to 80W (20W RMS) of power.

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JL Audio Marine Performance Audio Kit: STAGE 1

Best marine radio and speaker starter kit

Reasons to buy: Ultra high-quality head unit with 2.8” full color LED display; 25Wx4 RMS internal amplifier; Includes two premium marine speakers; Allows control of two independent audio zones

Reasons to avoid: No XM; Expensive; Getting the best results, will require an external amplifier

While Fusion is a recent premium marine audio company, JL Audio has been a mainstay for decades and this bundle is no exception. As a believer in the maxim: “do it once, do it right,” this package would be a wonderful choice for those looking to get started down the road of premium marine audio, without the full budget or time required to do a complete installation.

This piecemeal approach, I have found, is often the best course of action as it helps make an arduous task of a completed marine stereo replacement look less daunting, while also reducing the initial cost of entry. This package includes the MM50 head unit, which is a premium marine head unit with a full-color 2.8” display which outputs 25W RMS x 4 channels.

The unit features NMEA 2000 compatibility, two controllable audio zones, FM/AM, Bluetooth, and USB. The bundles speakers, unlike most others on this list, are premium full-range marine 6.5” speakers which will be able to take advantage of up to 120W of (amplified) power. Paired with an amplifier, additional speakers, and subwoofer, this package would be sure to “rock the boat”.

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JVC Stereo and 4 Enrock Speaker Bundle

Best marine radio and speaker set under $1,000

Reasons to buy: Affordable, all-inclusive bundle; Will be a plug-and-play replacement for most four-speaker OEM systems; Includes an amplifier and speaker wire

Reasons to avoid: Mediocre head unit; Only includes 6.5” speakers = limited bass; More complex installation

The next option on our list aims at the budget sector, but may achieve better results than you might think at first glance. First and foremost, this kit includes everything you would need to replace or install a complete sound system on a boat, from the head unit, to 4 6.5” speakers, a Pyle amplifier, and even speaker wire!

Like the other head units on this list, the JVC KD-X38MBS receiver features Bluetooth, auxiliary cord, and USB connectivity, as well as AM/FM radio. The receiver’s internal amplifier can output a max power of 50W on 4 channels.

The four speakers, made by Enrock, can handle up to 180W of amplified power and are sure to be adequately loud for boat duty. The Pyle PMRA400 amplifier features four channels and can output a peak power of 400W, with an RMS rating 50W per channel at an impedance of 4 ohms.

The bundled speaker wire is 18 gauge marine-grade wire. A JVC wired stereo remote is also included. This bundle represents an exceptional value, but you’re going to go to all the trouble to install all of these components, you might want to consider investing a little bit more in high-end speakers.

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JVC Stereo and 6 Speaker Bundle

Best marine radio and speaker bundle under $500

Reasons to buy: Affordable, all-inclusive bundle; Comprises a complete marine sound system; Includes an amplifier and speaker wire; Includes 6×9 speakers which will provide bass

Reasons to avoid: Mediocre head unit; Most complex installation: will likely require cutting new holes and mounting additional speakers

As far as budget, all-inclusive marine radio and speaker bundles go this option is likely the gold standard. Featuring the same JVC KD-X38MBS receiver as the previous offering, this 6-speaker bundle features four 6.5” JVC CS-DR621 two-way speakers, in addition to two 6×9” JVC three-way CS-DR6931 speakers.

While the 6.5” speakers are nothing to write home about and will be adequately powered via the head unit, the 6×9” speakers, which are designed to be powered by way of the bundled Pyle PMRA400 amplifier, will be exceptionally loud with a good punch of bass for a system without a subwoofer.

Electrical connectors, speaker wire, and fasteners are included. If you’re looking to spend less than $400, this bundle cannot be beat.

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Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Head to Amazon’s dedicated boating page for more marine products.


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