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Breaking the mold and setting a new tone

By Adam Quandt

Fusion Marine Entertainment launches new product series

“The days of putting average on a boat are simply not there anymore,” said Fusion Marine Entertainment’s Managing Director Chris Baird, in a past interview with Boating Industry.

Fusion has maintained its above average stature with the introduction of its new Apollo Series.

Following the purchase of Fusion by Garmin, Baird said that Fusion has more than doubled the size of its engineering team in the past couple of years.

The expanded engineering team, capital from Garmin and three years of research, development and production lead to the release of the new Apollo series, which Baird called the best of the best from Fusion.

“We have spent a lot of money and a lot of time to design engineer this product, and we’re absolutely sure the market’s going to love it,” Baird said.

The RA770 (above) and the SRX400 are the first products from Fusion’s Apollo Series.

First out for Fusion’s Apollo Series is a pair of head units, the RA770 and the SRX400.

Both units feature the first marine entertainment system one-piece glass touchscreen display, built-in Wi-Fi streaming, digital signal processing technology (DSP), and Fusion’s new PartyBus capabilities.

The Fusion Apollo RA770 and SRX400 feature a 4.3-inch and 2.7-inch display, respectively, are IPx7 rated for dust and water protection from the front when installed correctly, and include an internal Class-D amplifier. The RA770 features two RCA auxiliary inputs, one SPDIF port for TV audio output, one Ethernet port, one USB 2.0 port for phone charging and media playback, one SiriusXM port, one Motorola antenna connector port and it is DAB+ ready. The SRX400 has one Ethernet port and one Motorola antenna connector port. Both devices offer multi-language support and include English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch and Italian settings.

“For many years our head units have defined marine audio entertainment,” Baird said. “While there has always been an ability to add features, no one has created a paradigm shift in this space, until now. After listening to our customers and closely examining trends and innovations in other industries like touchscreen and glass helm systems, we knew it was time to change everything.”

The use of DSP was something focused on very heavily with the new series. Through DSP, Fusion created a stereo unit that can sense peaks in music before they happen, thus making it impossible to blow speakers or get distorted sound from a system. The DSP technologies in the Apollo Series also allows the user to load preset optimized system profiles for specific boat zones on specific boat brands.

“We spent about a year-and a-half profiling different speakers in different environments in order to create the perfect custom OEM profiles for all of the boats we are in partnership with,” said Fusion Marketing Manager Marcus Hamilton.

Also new for the Apollo Series is Fusion’s PartyBus capabilities, which allow users to link multiple head units in different zones of a vessel. For example, the main RA770 can link to one or more smaller SRX400s in other parts of the vessel to play the same music as the main unit, or conversely the units in another zone can break off from the “party” and play their own audio source.

The new head units were unveiled to the American market at an event in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where Boating Industry and other members of the marine media were in attendance.

In addition to the presentation on the new series, members of the media were taken out on six boats — a Sea Ray SDX290, a Regal 2500 RX, a Jupiter 38 HFS, a Grady-White Freedom 325, a Streamline 26, and a Leopard 51 catamaran — to highlight various aspects of the new head units, as well as different speaker, subwoofer and amplifiers in Fusion’s production line.

Since joining the Fusion team, Baird has put a large emphasis on partnerships between the company and OEM boat builders. During the event Baird recognized some of Fusion’s older partners like Regal, and also announced a new exclusive partnership between Fusion and Sea Ray.

“By leveraging the complete line up of premium Fusion Apollo source units, Signature Series speakers and amplifiers, Sea Ray will have a complete system of components designed to provide the ultimate listening experience for our Sport Yacht and L Class owners,” said Ron Berman, vice president of product portfolio, Sea Ray Boats.

Fusion used the event to also unveil their new Panel Stereo — an all-in-one stereo product with a thin profile for flexible installation options — and release the new, free Fusion-Link smartphone application. The application can be used to wirelessly update stereo units, control audio settings and sources, and upload various DSP profiles to their stereo, all from the convenience of the user’s smartphone.

The new head units were only the first release for Fusion’s Apollo Series. Baird said that Apollo Series speakers and amplifiers would follow within the next year.   

Check out Boating Industry’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/boatingindustry for an exclusive interview about the new product series with Fusion’s Managing Director Chris Baird.

 

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