Sunday, June 4, 2023

Garmin Tread Audio System Review

Electronics tend to make life more enjoyable. Thanks to the various options, you can enjoy your music everywhere you go. Even recreation vehicles, like a side by side, have stereo options. Garmin is a company that has been making excellent products for decades. And while you may think of GPS products when you think of Garmin, they have expanded. They now have a stereo system for recreation vehicles like side by sides. Up for review is their Tread Audio System, with an $1,199 MSRP.


Features and specs:

Audio Box

Weight: 997 g (2.2 lbs)

Physical Dimensions (LxWxH):  210 mm x 130 mm x 55 mm (8.27" x 5.12" x 2.165")

Water and dust rating:  IP67

Input voltage:  8 to 14.4 Vdc

Current (max):  40 A

Current (muted):  less than 650 mA

Operating temperature range:  -4° F to 158° F (-20° to 70° C)

Storage temperature range:  -40° F to 185° F (-40° to 85° C)

Compass safe distance:  203 mm (8")

BLUETOOTH wireless range:  up to 10 m (30 ft)

ANT wireless range:  up to 10 m (30 ft)

Fuse:  15 A mini-blade type

Peak power (Watts):  Four 200 W per channel

RMS power (Watts):  Four 100 W RMS at 14.4 Vdc input, 4 ohm

Warranty:  1 year


Weight:  2.49 kg (5.5 lbs)

Physical Dimensions:  177 mm x 233 mm (6.97" x 8.78")

Water and dust rating:  IP67

Operating temperature range:  32° - 122° F (0° to 50° C)

Speaker size:  6.5"

Peak power (Watts):  200 W per speaker

RMS power (Watts):  50 W

Sensitivity (1 W/1 m):  91 db

Frequency response:  80 Hz - 18kHz

Nominal impedance:  4 ohms

Recommended amplifier power (RMS):  20 - 150 W

LED lighting:  yes (RGB)

LED supply voltage:  10.8 - 16 Vdc

LED load current @ 14.4 VDC:  150 mA

Voice coil diameter:  30 mm (1.18")

Cone material:  polypropylene (PP) cone with cloth surround

Tweeter type:  aluminum dome

Supported roll bar sizes:  33.4 mm (1.31") to 50.8 mm (2.00") outer diameter

Warranty:  1 year

Wiring:  3 m


The Garmin Tread Audio System came in a great color printed box with photos of the system. Opening the box revealed a well-protected product held in place by custom sized cardboard. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic with some metal. Quality of materials used, as well as fit and finish, was excellent. Also included were the adaptors for installation, wire connectors, and owner’s manual.


I really like the design of the Garmin Tread Audio System. It’s an all-in-one system, with a processor/amp, and two tower speakers. The amp processor unit is the brains of the system, and powers the two speakers. There is an app, and through the app and Bluetooth you control the system and use your smartphone for your tunes. It’s all you need.


The amp/processor controls the system, and provides a lot of functionality. It taps into your electrical system with ground and power connectors, and has other connections for the two tower speakers. There are also additional connections for the LED’s. It even has expansion options with line in/out, USB, and an antenna connection for AM/FM radio. Thanks to Bluetooth, all you really need for your tunes is your smartphone. Pull up your favorite music streaming service, or your favorite tunes you have stored on your phone, and you’re good to go.


To set-up the system, you would download the app on your phones. Once you have the app downloaded and your phone paired with the Tread system, you are ready to go. The Tread app is actually pretty simple, almost too simple.  You can select your input, like if you have an antenna, or just using your smartphone.  And then there’s buttons for Zone, Mute, and Volume. The Tread app is also not just for the audio.  There’s a drop-down menu on the top left that allows you to add additional devices, as well as use Group Ride, and Maps.  The Tread app is an app to use with all of their Tread products and not just the Tread Audio System.  I was still a little surprised at the app not including additional audio setting, like an Equalizer and DSP options.


Garmin did a great job with the Tread Audio System. It’s designed to handle the elements it could find itself in, in a side by side. It’s also very durable, being able to handle what you throw at it. The amp processor provides good power for the tower speakers. With a co-axial tweeter and woofer design, the tower speakers also provide great sound, and with the inputs for an antenna for radio, USB, and inputs, you also get great functionality. There’s even wires included in the wiring harness for a second paid of speakers. Using the system, I can see that Garmin succeeded in providing an audio solution for your outdoor vehicle.


I was impressed with the installation. Owner’s/Installation manuals can be hit and miss. Some can be hard to follow, but with Garmin it was well written and easy to follow. The wires were also extremely well labeled. This further increased the ease of installation. Mounting the tower speakers, thanks to the included brackets, was simple. And tapping into the electrical system with the wiring harness, was also pretty straight forward. Now let’s see how it sounds.


Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Sky: Snaps and drums were nice and dynamic. Vocals were very smooth with good texture of the timbre, and threw a very wide soundstage that also had good depth. Strings were smooth with good resolution of the bow on the strings. Bass also had good depth and played with authority.

Van Halen – Jump: Synthesizer was crisp and clean. Drums were very dynamic with good extension and pitch definition of the midbass. Cymbals were also crisp and clean. Guitar was nice and raw. Vocals were smooth with good timbre.

Rush – Tom Sawyer: Drums were epic, with very good dynamics and good authority, depth and definition of the midbass. Guitar was nice and raw. Vocals were pleasantly smooth with very good resolution. Cymbals were crisp and clean. Soundstage was again nice and wide and with depth.

I was impressed with the sound quality of the Garmin Tread System. They are designed to play loud, mounted on a recreation vehicle, like a side by side, and they delivered that in spades. Yet while being able to play loud, they also provided a very good amount of resolution, and good bass for their size. And a component more thought of with a high-quality home stereo system, they also provided a wide soundstage with good depth as well. While the highs were on the bright side, that can be toned down with equalization.  The LED built into the speakers was also really cool.  I preferred the setting for the lights to adjust to the music.  While Garmin may have a reputation for high quality GPS devices, they have taken that leadership and experience to create other products of the same quality.  As the saying goes….the truth is in the pudding.  And the Garmin Tread Audio System is that pudding.

The Garmin Tread Audio System appeared to be a great audio system on paper. Having used the system, the design proved to be a success. And not only did it sound great, the Garmin Tread Audio System is also very well made, to provide years of audio enjoyment. Garmin is proving that their leadership in great navigation products can transfer to providing other great products as well. If you are in the market for an audio system for your recreation vehicle like a side by side, the Garmin Tread Audio System deserves to be on your short list. Based on its design, features, quality and performance, the Garmin Tread has earned our Editor’s Choice Award. Kudos to Garmin on such a great product. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at