In this article: I'll unbox JBL's latest Club Marine 6.5″ coaxial speakers, walk you through some of their key features and demo their lights on my test bench to show you their LEDs in action.
If you're on the lookout for some new speakers to improve the sound quality of your tunes on your boat, and also want to add some flare at dusk or dawn – here's a great option for you to consider. JBL's Club Marine 6 1/2″ coaxials are an excellent mid-level speaker that are designed for the harsh environment on the water – from UV and years of sunlight to water splashes and spills.
In this article, I'll open up the box to a pair of new Club Marine 6 1/2″ coaxials and give you a closeup look at some of the key features they offer. I'll show you how their interchangeable, twist-locking grilles work and then demo their LED lights on my test bench. By the time you're done reading, you'll have everything you need to know about JBL's Club Marine speakers and whether they're a good fit your your boat, RV or marine application! And if you're also interested in JBL's alternative marine speakers, the Stadium Series, take a look through our in-depth review of the JBL Stadium Marine speakers!
Unboxing and First Impressions
Like their sister lineup, the Stadium Marine Series, JBL's Club Marine (new in 2023) offer a lineup of products that are designed to work well together as a part of a larger system. Joining the 6 1/2″ and 8″ speakers with a matching 10″ or 12″ subwoofer is an easy way to build a rounded system. This includes:
- 6 1/2″ Two-Way Coaxial Speaker
- 8″ Two-Way Coaxial Speaker
- 10″ Subwoofer
- 12″ Subwoofer
Rather than piecemeal a system together with 8″, 6 1/2″ speakers and a sub, you can pick from a selection of products to really round your system out well (and match while you're doing it!)
Each of the Club Series Speakers comes neatly packaged and secured. When you open up the box for the first time, you're greeted with the instructions manual along with JBL logos that will be used to adhere to the front of the grille. The instructions manual is high level but provides key information and specs about the speakers along with LED wiring instructions that will help you understand how to wire the lights with or without an LED controller.
One of the nice features about this lineup is that JBL includes both gloss white and satin grey grilles in the package. Depending on the interior of your boat or the color scheme of the vehicle/location you're installing you can easily swap one color for another. And if you get tired of one, you can swap it out on the fly while they're installed. I'll demonstrate this later in the review.
What's in the Box
Let's talk about what comes in the box of these 6 1/2″ Club Marine JBLs. This will also be similar to what you'll receive in the 8″ Club Marine speakers as well:
- 2x 6 1/2″ speakers
- 2x gloss white speaker grilles
- 2x satin grey speaker grilles
- Stainless steel mounting hardware
- 2x foam gasket for sealing the backside of the speaker
- 2x speaker pigtail harness
- 2x RGB pigtail harness
- 2x JBL red grille logos
- 2x JBL silver grille logos
- Quick start guide
JBL Club Marine Speaker Features & Review
Let's dive into some of the core features and specs of these Club Marine speakers. First off, both the 6 1/2″ and 8″ speakers are two-way coaxials, meaning the tweeter is mounted to the speaker. In this case, the 3/4″ silk dome tweeters are suspended above the main driver. I typically favor this suspended-design because it doesn't interfere with the cone of the speaker, leaving more surface area and producing a wider range of frequencies.
Weatherproofing & Sound Features
Some of you might be wondering why I combined weatherproofing features with sound features into one section. For marine grade speakers and subwoofers though, it's pretty standard in that all of the key sound components and features are either weatherproofed or IP rated. If they weren't, I'd probably question their longevity. So sound quality is tied closely together with weatherproofing and the technology/materials used to make a speaker water and UV resistant.
From the front, the Club Series speakers are IPX5 rated, which means they're generally water resistant and splash-proof. There are two key components on the front that really make the difference when you look at performance and weatherproofing – the cone and the surround.
The cone on the Club Marine is a polypropylene material, a very common but tried and true material for the elements, and a much better choice than a pressed paper or an otherwise permeable material that will absorb water. From a performance perspective, polypropylene isn't what you'll find on your competitive grade speakers but definitely produces great a sound ing speaker while ensuring they won't wear prematurely from some spills, sun or splashes. The surround is made from Rubber – also a great material for the elements. Nothing too special to note here.
Flip the speaker around and you'll find a one-piece polymer basket. I like to see single piece baskets, especially in the marine category because it's one less point of failure or for moisture to seep into the motor. From the spider to the back of the basket, there's very little room for failure and for water to enter or corrode the internals of the speaker.
One thing that I would recommend when installing these speakers is to shrink wrap both the speaker terminals and the RGB LED light. Neither are ‘weatherproofed' in a sense that they're not sealed or corrosion resistant. By shrink wrapping both, you can help prevent corrosion and increase longevity.
6 1/2″ Speaker Specs:
- Power Handling: 75W RMS, 225W Peak
- Sensitivity: 92dB
- Frequency Response: 500Hz – 20kHz
- Impedance: 4 ohm
8″ Speaker Specs:
- Power Handling: 150W RMS, 450W Peak
- Sensitivity: 92dB
- Frequency Response: 30Hz – 20kHz
- Impedance: 4 ohm
Twist-Lock Speaker Grilles
JBL includes two pairs of grilles with each speaker set – glossy white and satin grey. I personally love the fact that they include both. But not only that, they're incredibly easy to remove and replace. When I think of replacing speaker grilles, I think of Wet Sounds REVO 6, where you have to borderline disassemble the speaker between the LED wiring and the screws that hold the grille in place just to swap it to another color (that's why they sell different colored speakers).
JBL made it easy to interchange these two grilles. You could even do it on the fly while they're installed in your boat if one breaks or if you just want a color change. To swap them, simply twist the grille counter clockwise to remove it. Then, to install the new grill you simply push it onto the speaker and twist clockwise.
RGB LED Lighting
The Club Marine lineup features RGB LED illuminated speaker cones. The LED lights are mounted directly behind the silk dome tweeter in the speaker structure and fire the light downwards to illuminate the polypropylene cone. This cone-illumination style lights is pretty much the standard now and is my personal preference. By illuminating the cone, this gives a subtle and elegant lighting look without seeing each individual LED bulb. Gone are the LED ring days.
I went ahead and hooked these speakers up to power and my LED controller on my test bench to demonstrate the color density, brightness, and so on. Out of the box, these speakers can produce seven different colors, all of which are described in the instructions manual along with how to wire them. This includes Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Purple, Aquamarine and White. On my test bench, I hooked them up to a universal LED controller though, which is capable of producing 20 colors – Kicker's KMLC LED Controller. Although these speakers can be hardwired for seven different colors out of the box, you can purchase virtually any LED controller to really bring these things to life. Many LED controllers have apps and a full spectrum of color selections which will help you match virtually any color scheme in your boat (or wherever you're installing these).
The first thing I did was cycled through the colors to see how well the LEDs emit light and their color density/accuracy. Here's a few photos of the various colors:
I thought the colors were well represented. The Reds were red, blues blue, etc. On certain colors, you could very faintly see the LED light separation on the cone. But overall, I was happy with the colors and quality.
The next thing I did was go through the various brightness levels. In the color images above, I had brightness set to 100%. I used my LED controller to cycle through the various brightness settings to see how the lights would respond.
My LED controller only had three settings for brightness so it may not have been as well-represented as other LED controllers would have. But the key thing I was looking for here was any degradation in color as the lights dim. I didn't see anything concerning for any of the colors, although I did experience a slight change of color when dimming the white color. This could have been related to my LED controller though.
Overall, I thought the Club Series are priced well for the quality, performance and weatherproofing features. Marine grade speakers normally come at a premium, especially those with decent LEDs. I have no concerns about these in the marine application after opening them up and inspecting them. The one recommendation I had was to shrink wrap the speaker terminals and LED plugs on the back side of the speaker to try to prevent any corrosion. But between the polypropylene cone, rubber surround, sealed motor structure and one-piece basket, these are great candidates for your boat, RV or other marine application.
I think that the cone illuminating LEDs technology is the only way to go for lighting. The Club Series look great and represent the full color spectrum very well. Even the yellows and oranges – which are sometimes more challenging, blended colors with LEDs – looked great. Although they weren't the brightest LED I've seen, they're certainly bright enough for the interior of your boat and look great at night.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to leave us a comment or question in our comments section below!
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