Mod #15: External Speakers

Mod #15: External Speakers

Submitted on: 06/19/08

     Category: entertainment
Mod Rating: 12345

(51 ratings)

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Mod Description:

Many RVs now offer factory installed audio systems that can rival some of it’s fellow car-based cousins. With 6 speaker surround sound and sub-woofers galore, blasting your favorite movie or music for all in the campground to hear is just a switch away. After all, isn’t that what an RV is all about? Entertainment on wheels? Some beg to differ, a lot. What if you just want to listen to story-telling on CD while sitting by the campfire, or some low-level background music while having dinner under the awning? External or outdoor speakers will fit the bill nicely.

Mod Difficulty:

There are several types of external speakers, from flush-mount to box-type that mount with a bracket to integrated systems that include a stereo/CD/MP3 player and speakers in one flush mount unit. Flush-mount speakers will give you the most variety to choose from as there are many sizes and colors to suite your taste and the color of your RV. But boxed speakers with brackets give you a little more freedom with mounting locations.

If you choose flush mount speakers, mounting them to the outside of your RV takes some nerve. Just be sure before drilling large holes through the wall that you know what’s behind and within the wall. Use a stud finder to ensure there are no frame members runing through the middle of where you want to cut. Try to find a location that will allow the rear of the speaker to face in to a cabinet or some sort of enclosure. This will provide the best sound quality.

Bracket mounting is usually reserved for locating box-type speakers, for example, within an external storage compartment where you can open the compartment door to expose the speakers. You have more choices with this arrangement since the speakers don’t need to be weatherproof. You can use either marine grade or standard home-type speakers. You can get some big sound for those big group party get-togethers.

The all-in-one systems that include a stereo/CD player with the speakers are decent but lack sound quality at higher volumes. If all you’re shooting for is some ambient music at lower levels, then this might be a good choice. it certainly simplifies mounting and wiring. Some units even come with external 12-volt DC and 110-volt AC receptacles, offering greater utility than just being a noise maker.

Lastly, wiring from the speakers to the stereo can be a bit of a challenge. If you don’t opt for the flush mount speakers facing in to a cabinet where you can hide the connections, you will have to deal with those unsightly exposed wires running along the ceiling, wall, or floor. You can use some wiring covers or wiring channels with colors to match where you will run the wiring. They can be found at any home improvement center.

ModMyRV recommends these parts for this mod:

Pyramid MDC7 6.5-Inch Marine 120 Watts Dual Cone Waterproof Stereo Speakers
Pyramid 3071WP 300 Watts 3.5-Inch 2Way Indoor/Outdoor Waterproof Speaker System

General Reference
Under-Floor Mounted Box Speakers

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5 Comments For This Mod

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  1. Capn Courage

    When we decided to add outside speakers to our trailer the biggest challenge was running the speaker wires. We opted to go with wireless speakers instead. There are a couple of real advantages to wireless, obviously connecting the transmitter to the stereo involved very little work compared to running speaker wires and secondly you can place the speakers in any location you want which is a big advantage when you want to sit around the fire late into the evening, you can set your speakers right next to you and your not disturbing the neighbors. The Acoustic Research speaker kit I bought has excellent range and the stereo speakers offer a decent sound and each speaker has it;s own volume control so no need to adjust the main stereo volume.


  2. Bob Vaughn

    Now in doing this mod the use of a stud finder will one work with an RV that has an aluminum frame? and fiberglass on the outside? Just wondering…..

  3. ModMyRV

    Sure. A “normal” stud finder will work just fine. I used one when mounting some extra marker lights on a fiberglass-sided TT a few years back. It had an aluminum frame and the walls were 1 1/2″ thick. The studs on that TT were even 16″ apart, just like a stick house. ;)

  4. geno92308

    I ended up installing a five channel amplifier and a external speaker plugs and run External speakers, 2 front, 2 rear and a subwoofer.

    Installing external speakers on the wall required small low-profile speakers which were really not that good.

  5. NaturalStateReb

    If your rig doesn’t have external speakers as a factory install, you should get the King LED Awning Light/Bluetooth Speaker combination. It’s pricey–about $160–but it makes for a much cleaner install, replacing the awning light with only two wires to connect.

    A word of warning–on many RV’s, white is actually ground and black is positive. Reversing them will start popping fuses. Don’t really know why this reverse polarity is used.

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