Another season down, and another set of speakers to replace. Part of this is probably just us on my quest for the best marine speakers but this is our third set of speakers for our wakeboard boat in the past 4 years. Originally, our Super Air Nautique had Clarion 6.5″ speakers throughout. One of our first upgrades was to swap those out for some Polk Momos several years back. We were a big fan of the MM651 and MM6501s in their hayday. When those blew – and by ‘blew', we mean our dog managed to max out both the main volume and low frequency channels on my Wet Sounds WS-420 EQ on his quest to chase a duck he happened to see while prepping the boat to wake surf – I decided to try out Polk's DB series. We're less than impressed with these Polks. Nothing like the Momos of the past. And we're ready to try something new again so we decided on the RECON 6 to match with my Wet Sounds HTX-6 amplifier.
In general, marine grade speakers aren't just your average automotive speakers with different packaging and stainless steel mounting screws. They're engineered specifically for the elements on a boat. Sun, damp or wet conditions, salt, heat, you name it – they're designed and expected to perform with the quality and volume of normal speakers while looking great and lasting in the harsh environment season after season. Expectations for marine speakers today couldn't be higher.
We put three pairs of the RECON 6s in our Super Air 210 this season. In this review we'll walk through our experience and call out some of the things we liked and didn't like.
Unboxing the RECON 6 Speakers
The RECON 6 speakers come in a pretty minimalistic box. Not to much to it to be honest – a box, two speakers, mounting templates.. We think Wet Sounds can lean on its reputation for quality and get away with the lack of design when it comes to the product packaging. In all fairness, these aren't their flagship speakers either. We've said this before, but in all honesty we'd prefer manufacturers put the money into the products themselves instead of the packaging, or extend any savings that a cheaper packaging might save to the consumers.
Opinions aside, here's what's in the box:
- 2x RECON 6 speakers
- 2x cardboard speaker mounting hole templates
- 2x waterproof speaker wire connectors
- 2x rubber sealing rings
The first thought that we had when pulling out the RECONs was quality. We were excited to get these into the boat to test and compare them with the DB6502s that were in there because you can just see the difference in quality between the two speakers. A thin, steel basket on the Polks with an exposed motor and an integrated tweeter vs Wet Sound's nylon fiberglass frame and suspended tweeter… It's a no-brainer which one is going to perform better (hint Wet Sounds) and we were excited to put them in the boat.
RECON 6 Feature Overview
Let's dig into some of the core features of Wet Sound's RECON 6 Marine Speakers, and some of the features that make them stand out!
Woofer & Tweeter
The most prominent and visible parts of the speaker – the woofer and the tweeter. Starting with the tweeter, the RECON 6 has a suspended 3/4″ aluminum dome tweeter in front of the woofer. When looking back at the key differences between the Polk Momo and DB series speakers when we made the switch, this was likely the most impacting feature that changed. A suspended tweeter allows for the cone to have more surface area, and therefore cover a lower range of frequencies more efficiently. Thinking back, it makes sense why the first thing we thought about the DB652 and DB6502 was that they were terrible with mid-low range frequencies. This is why. A suspended tweeter makes a huge difference in how well your speakers cover the lower end of their frequency range. This is essential for those who are running 6.5″ speakers throughout without a 6×9″ or 8″ speaker to cover the mid-range frequencies in their boat.
The cone itself is made from injection molded composite with a rubber surround. When it's in your hand, the rubber surround looks and feels thick, which is good for long exposure to the sun. If you were to put a normal, thinner automotive speaker rubber surround up to the elements it would likely fail/crack in a few seasons.
One other thing we noticed was the mounted grille that's on top of the woofer. In most cases, the Grille is separate from the speaker itself but Wet Sounds was smart. Who really installs a marine speaker in their boat without a grille? So they actually mounted the grill via 4 screws from the back of the speaker to fix it in place, and the tweeter is mounted directly to the grille. This also made installation a little easier since we didn't have to align the grill holes to the speaker mounting holes.
Wet Sounds was born from the need of high quality marine audio equipment. It's really all they do. All of their products are engineered and designed through the lens of a harsh environment with moisture and water, so naturally these speakers follow suit with that.
Couple things to call out specifically about the RECON 6 and how it's built for a marine application:
- Extra thick, Santoprene rubber surround – This helps with the constant UV from the sun and prevents failure of the surround in dry/hot environments.
- Completely enclosed motor – If you look at the back of the speaker, you won't see the magnet. The motor is completely enclosed in a solid piece of plastic to prevent corrosion and water from ruining the speaker motor.
- Santoprene rubber spider – above the motor, and below the cone, the spider is made out of 100% Santoprene rubber as well. It's impermeable and seals the motor from the top.
- Soldered terminals and waterproof speaker wire clip – using terminal clips on a boat is a bad idea. Chop + corrosion guarantees a speaker short at one point or another. Wet Sounds pre-soldered speaker wire to the terminal, connected to a water-proof connector that you can solder or connect directly to your boat harness. This prevents shortages.
Volume & Sound
When we hooked up the RECONs and re-tuned our HT6 amp, the first thing that we noticed was the fullness. Compared to the DB series, they covered mid ranges much more effectively. Even the lows. Where we previously had our WS420 equalizer bass at 0, and the high pass filter on the amp a little higher to prevent distortion, we were able to add in a lot more lower frequencies and they didn't distort.
After we tuned the system, we did the volume test. And we knew going into this that the RECONs only had a 60 Watt RMS handling compared to the DBs 100 Watt but we were expecting a little more volume out of them. Gains were increased on our HT6 amp (110W RMS x 6), the speakers had a wider frequency to cover but when we maxed the volume out, clear as day albeit, they felt like a bit of a let down. Don't get us wrong they scream but both the previous DB series and Momo series from Polk that we had previously had more volume.
Here's the breakdown of speaker specs from Wetsounds of the RECON 6:
- Speaker Size: 6.5″
- Tweeter Size: 3/4″
- RMS Watts: 60W
- Peak Watts: 120W
- Weight: 4 lbs
- Impedance: 4ohm
- Mounting Depth: 2.6″
- Hole Cut Out: 5″
- Frequency Response: 40Hz to 20Khz
- Diameter: 6.8″ w/grill
- Sensitivity: 89dB
- RGB Backlighting: No
Summary & Final Thoughts
The Wet Sounds RECON 6 were 100% a huge improvement over the Polk DB652 and DB6502 combination we had previously. No questions about that, and that was to be expected. They covered the mid-range so much better too. Again, as expected. These are a great pair of speakers that put out full-range sound better than a lot of marine speakers. They matched our REV8s too, so they looked great with our setup. They don't have LEDs, so if you're looking for some flash at night time you may want to consider the RGB version for $50 bucks more, or the Kicker KM series. Personally, we liked the secured grille with the tweeter mounted. Although if you wanted to change to a silver grille you need to buy the whole speaker. And we liked the pre-soldered terminal wire with the high end waterproof connector. It matched the same connectors that Nautique used for our boat in the dash, so you know it's high quality! The only thing preventing us from saying these were the perfect set of speakers is the volume we were able to pump out of them. We were used to higher volumes from even the DB series from Polk, along with the Momo series. That said, the sound quality is clear, crisp and full which makes up for the minor lack in volume.
What Makes Them Different
We said this before, but Wet Sounds was really founded to bring reliable, quality and high-end sound to the marine and boat applications. The quality of their products is really what defines them and what sets even the RECON 6 speakers apart from competing speakers. They're not the flagship, highest quality speakers but you can tell that they're going to last and they sound fantastic. It's the attention to detail that we love the most about Wet Sounds products, and how well-suited they are to our specific application – Wakeboard boats.