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Oct. 14, 2020

Hear the Difference

Advanced NVH testing and engineering make the 350hp and 400hp Verado outboards the quietest in their horsepower category.


Many boat owners associate a powerful outboard with a powerful sound. They assume that a high-performance engine has to be loud.

Mercury Marine® has a different take. The company understands that noise is no measure of performance, and that sophisticated performance is smooth. And quiet. And never intrudes on your time on the water.

To that end, Mercury has a long history of investment in the science of sound. Mercury constructed its first hemi-anechoic chamber (what we might call a soundproof room) in 1971, and recently invested $10 million in a new 20,000-square-foot Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) Technical Center that includes two 1,200-square-foot chambers, each capable of testing engines up to 1,000hp in a 66,000-gallon subfloor water tank. It’s the largest facility of its kind in the marine industry

The chambers are outfitted withmicrophones and high-fidelity playback and data collection equipment that allow Mercury engineers to gauge the acoustics of an outboard while it’s running. Any source of unwanted noise can be pinpointed and eliminated. Desirable tones can be tuned to predominate so the sound you hear is exhilarating, but never harsh. The performance that Mercury customers demand from a modern outboard is always maintained.

You can hear the result of this effort when you turn the key of a new Mercury L6 Verado® outboard. Or perhaps you won’t. Despite muscular ratings of 350hp and 400hp, these Supercharged L6 Verado models are the quietest engines in their horsepower category. In one head-to-head test, sound measured from the helm of a 24-foot center-console boat was 35% quieter at wide-open throttle and 25% quieter at cruising speed when operated with the L6 400hp Verado outboard versus a competing 425hp engine. Out in the real world, this is a huge difference. Hear it for yourself here.

The performance of a Mercury L6 Verado outboard will never overwhelm your conversation or your music, and will never compete with the relaxing sounds of the water and the natural environment.

The quiet starts with the careful design of the cowl, an engine air intake attenuator and muffled exhaust. The smooth operation is the result of damping vibration, accomplished largely by the Mercury-exclusive Advanced MidSection (AMS), a cast-aluminum cradle that provides perimeter support for the L6 Verado powerhead with special elastomer mounts that virtually isolate the motor from the boat. Eliminating vibration quells harmonics that could otherwise be amplified throughout the boat, with sound appearing to come from under a console, for example. So you might not hear the Verado outboard running, and you certainly won’t feel it, either.

As we like to say, the neighbors won’t hear you leave, and the fish won’t hear you coming.

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