Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How Loud Is Loud Enough - Speakers For The RV

    When you are listening to music or watching a movie/TV in (or around) your RV, the amount of volume and clarity available can directly affect your enjoyment of the content. That's a fancy way of saying, "If it's too loud, or not loud enough, it isn't fun." I have worked on setting up a lot of entertainment devices in my RV. From Digital media players and flat screen monitors to a full-blown projection system and screen. The video portion is only half the equation. Having a decent speaker system will add to your enjoyment. Believe me...I know. So, how do you make sure you have one that works well with your system?

Bluetooth Dual Speaker
A Speaker's output power is usually measured in Watts and sound volume is measure in dB (Decibels). I have found that when selecting a speaker or set of speakers nothing beats listening to them! -- if possible, in the environment they will be used in. I've found that unless you are looking for ear-bleed volume levels for your music, much lower power levels can give you great, clear sound. That translates to much smaller speakers with lower power requirements.

There are lots of styles of speakers. Depending on what you want to listen to you can choose a really simple single (or dual in one box) speaker or, if you want to be adventurous and you watch lots of movies, you can buy a full-on 5-speaker system (or 6 or 7!) that includes surround sound, center channel and a subwoofer too. These usually come complete with a powered amplifier. The more speakers you have, the more power they will require. Make sure you don't exceed your capability to supply it -- especially if you are boondocking! In this case...less IS less!

It's Really Tiny!
The alternative is a soundbar. These have multiple speakers in a single enclosure and use sound field "tricks" to make you believe you have many more speakers around your space. They can work quite well. I have a tiny one that runs on a rechargeable battery pack and connects via bluetooth or cable. It's not all that loud, but in the small space of my RV (where I have my projector screen sitting) it's plenty loud enough and quite clear. The best part about a soundbar? The setup time is minimal. Plug it in to power (or charge the battery) and your entertainment device and you're ready to go. Yes, you can adjust all sorts of things, but that's mostly personal preference.

Most RVs have a nice flat screen installed -- either from the factory or later on by an owner. The pictures are amazing! The sound from their speakers ... not so much. Any of these basic speaker and/or amplifier setups will fix that. As for listening to music ... any of these work great! But I still just run my regular old dashboard stereo for that.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"


  1. Rich
    Good article. I installed a sound bar/DVD/FM tuner under my bedroom TV. Allows me to watch DVDs, tune into local FM plus my XM radio that transmits on FM. Its kinda big, but I had a shelf right under the TV that was mostly empty since we went to DTV Genie and scrapped the big DVRs.
    My issue is usually the sound is too loud when in a park. Don't want to annoy the neighbors. So, I installed a Bluetooth transmitter on the TV so I have wireless headphones when the windows are open.
    Thanks for the great articles.

    1. Monte,
      Thank you for you compliment, it means a great deal to know I've provided (and continue to provide!) useful information. I am sold on the concept of the soundbar. It's amazing that my tiny RV interior transforms so easily into a "screening room."

      Bluetooth transmitter and headphones...what a great idea! Hmmm my RV dash stereo does bluetooth.....

      Rich "The Wanderman"

  2. Just what we need when camping the guy beside us craning up his 10,000 watt stereo system.. I stopped staying in commercial campgrounds years ago because of this and now it is also invading the Boondocking scene.

    1. Seann,
      I'm not the biggest fan of campgrounds either, but the neighbors should really be more considerate!

      Rich "The Wanderman"


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