Powersports speaker upgrades for UTVs and side-by-sides are all the rage these days. Car audio manufacturers offer pods, soundbars and enclosures to let your local specialty mobile enhancement retailer add or enhance the sound system on your Polaris, Can-Am, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki or Textron vehicle. Let’s look at some of the options available to make your time on the trails or dunes more enjoyable.
Choosing Suitable Powersports Speakers
Not all speakers are created equally. When it comes to powersports applications, you’ll want to search for a solution with elevated real-world power ratings. Look for speakers that are rated for at least 50 watts of continuous (sometimes called RMS) power handling. These systems get played loud, so having a speaker fail because it overheated wouldn’t be much fun.
Next, you should choose products that are designed specifically for outdoor applications. It’s pretty much guaranteed that your speakers are going to get dusty and dirty – everything else on a side-by-side does. If you are a bit more on the adventurous side, things could get wet if you are blasting through puddles, swamps, ponds or even a small lake. Finally, since most powersports vehicles spend most of their time outside, you’ll want to pick a speaker solution that is built with UV-resistant materials and tested to meet industry specifications.
As always, you should listen to the speakers you are considering purchasing using music you know well. Be sure to crank up the volume and see if the overall tonal balance changes when things get loud. Higher-quality speakers sound better at elevated volume levels. You don’t want the speakers to get bright or harsh when you turn things to 11.
The Importance of Proper Installation
Before we dive into the speaker options available for your side-by-side, we want to reiterate the importance of having your mobile sound system installed by a qualified professional. Using proper wiring, making secure electrical connections, mounting equipment securely and, of course, configuring each system properly is crucial to ensuring that the system will be reliable and sound great for many years. Yes, it will cost a little bit to have your audio upgrade installed by a pro, but it’s a good investment.
Vehicle-Specific Speaker Pods
Companies like Rockford Fosgate, JL Audio, MB Quart and MTX offer vehicle-specific speaker pods for a variety of side-by-side vehicles. In most cases, these pods are constructed from a reinforced ABS plastic to provide a good balance of strength to weight. A few companies build their pods from fiberglass. Fiberglass is more rigid than ABS plastic, so while they may cost a little more, they might sound better.
Most vehicle-specific front speaker pods mount down in the footwell area of the average side-by-side. Some applications include options for dash-mounted speaker upgrades. The pods typically mount in place using factory fastener locations or use band-clamps that attach to the tubular chassis of the vehicle. While mounting the pods can be fairly easy, running the wiring to the amplifier and ensuring that it’s safe and secure can be tricky. The last thing you want is to get your feet caught in a speaker wire while trying to drive.
Universal Speaker Upgrades
Another option to add or upgrade the sound on your side-by-side is to use an enclosed speaker system, like marine wakeboard tower speakers, on the rear of the vehicle. These pods mount to the rear roll-cage and chassis and can be angled and aimed to direct sound right at the driver and passenger. Speaker pods are available with speakers sized between 5.25 and 10 inches. Many solutions have RGB LED lighting options if you want to add a little more style to your ride.
Powered and Bluetooth Sound Bars
Another easy way to add sound to your side-by-side is to choose a soundbar. These compact speaker systems typically include four or six 4-inch speakers and a pair of tweeters. Many are available with built-in amplifiers and a Bluetooth receiver, so the system is fully self-contained. All you have to do is pair your smartphone to the receiver and you can play music or listen to a streaming audio service like Pandora or iHeartRadio. Many bars have RCA preamp inputs so they can be integrated with a factory or aftermarket source unit.
Custom Speaker Solutions
As always, if a drop-in solution doesn’t exist, your local specialty mobile enhancement retailer can craft a bespoke speaker installation for you. Let them know what you have in mind, and they can build something that fits perfectly with the vehicle and sounds great.
Upgrade Your Powersports Speaker Today
Whether you want to upgrade your existing speakers so the sound system on your side-by-side or UTV will sound better or play louder, or you want to add an entirely new audio system, your local specialty mobile enhancement retailer has dozens of options available. Drop by today and ask about their powersports speaker solutions.