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What Are ATV Speakers?

By Don Kress
Updated May 17, 2024
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All-terrain vehicle (ATV) speakers are shock- and water-resistant stereo systems that are bolted or strapped onto the front or rear luggage rack of an ATV. In most cases, ATV speakers are the same as marine speakers, except that with ATVs, the stereo system must be self-contained. The reason for this is that, with few exceptions, ATVs do not come equipped with provisions for stereos or other entertainment. The ride itself is supposed to be the entertainment.

Many manufacturers produce ATV speakers, and some even go so far as to incorporate their speaker designs into luggage trunks that are locked in place on the ATVs' luggage racks. Single-passenger ATVs commonly use these types of speaker designs, but side-by-side ATVs can use speakers that mount to the overhead roll cage, leaving the luggage racks free for their intended purpose. Riders do not necessarily have to choose a special all-in-one unit for their speakers, though. It also is possible to use handlebar-mounted motorcycle speakers. These speakers can be attached to the ATV battery or can be powered by an internal battery, depending on the speaker manufacturer.

Using motorcycle speakers on an ATV means that they need to be attached to the handlebars of the ATV or to a position on the luggage rack bars where they will be out of the way. These speakers are much smaller and more inexpensive than specialty ATV speakers, but they are just as weather-resistant. Most incorporate built-in amplifiers that allow the speakers to be heard over the ATVs' engine noise, and they can be plugged into practically any type of audio playback device.

Motorcycle speakers mounted to ATVs are much lighter than strap-on ATV speaker designs, but all-in-one units usually incorporate added storage into the case in which the speakers are mounted. This is a distinct advantage on ATVs that generally don't have much storage space. Even the largest ATVs usually have only a single dry storage compartment that is accessible while the ATV is in use, and they typically hold no more than 1 cubic foot (0.03 cubic meters) of gear.

When purchasing ATV speakers, it's important for the consumer to keep in mind the durability of the speakers and the unit in which they are housed. High-quality marine speakers, motorcycle speakers or ATV speaker units can be purchased from a variety of specialty catalogs as well as many local electronics retailers. Purchasing these better-quality speakers as opposed to cheap knockoffs will ensure that the speakers won't need to be replaced after seemingly every ride.

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