For over 13 years FUSION has been improving the marine audio entertainment industry but the latest unveiling of its Apollo Series takes sound systems to a whole new level.
“We don’t believe in painting a product white and calling it marine,” said FUSION Managing Director Chris Baird. “We truly build products designed for the boating industry and with the new Apollo Series we’re building on our True-Marine design philosophy. It will forever change the face of marine entertainment and set a new standard by which all others will be created.”
At a recent press event in Florida, PDB magazine was given a chance to see – and hear – what all the excitement was about. The FUSION RA770 is the flagship of the new Apollo Series, epitomizing creative design and technological brilliance. The world’s first purpose-built marine entertainment system with a one-piece glass touchscreen display, built-in Wi-Fi streaming, Digital Signal Processing Technology (DSP) and PartyBus capabilities, the RA770 is truly a game-changer for the marine audio entertainment industry.
“The 770 is the pinnacle of what we do,” added Baird. “We wanted to step up to a little better and it’s the tip of the top. It is future-proof.”
Featuring a brilliant, optically bonded, full-color LCD display, the RA770’s one-piece glass touchscreen makes trying to locate the correct button a thing of the past. Users can simply tap the screen to pause and play, or swipe through a playlist to find their favorite song. The stylish display blends perfectly with modern glass helms that we’re starting to see on high-end pontoons and deck boats.
The FUSION Apollo Series also includes the SRX400, delivering a truly powerful feature set in a compact versatile form factor. Like the RA770, the SRX400 offers Wi-Fi streaming, DSP and PartyBus functionality.
“For many years our head units have defined marine audio entertainment,” said Baird. “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. We are very excited to introduce Apollo to the world.”
Fine Tune Like A Pro
For the pinnacle of sound quality, the Apollo Series harnesses the power of FUSION DSP, providing premium audio delivery to all speakers in any environment. FUSION’s system approach ensures every step of the audio chain is optimized through calculations by its audio engineers to deliver a technically superior listening experience – without the need for boat owners to have a technical understanding. Setting up DSP profiles is made simple with the free FUSION-Link app. With just a few clicks, boat owners can set up the preconfigured DSP profile to play high-quality audio customized for their ears and their specific environment. Precisely calculated loudness curves optimized for the human ear ensure quality audio delivery at every volume level – giving quality, full-range sound whether the volume is turned all the way up or all the way down.
It’s A Party
PartyBus is FUSION’s audio distribution network of the future and while not designed for trailer-style boats, it is a great feature. Engineered for those who value freedom of musical choice, to play what they want, where they want, PartyBus gives boaters the power to command the party across the whole boat. The power of PartyBus kicks in when users add more PartyBus enabled stereos to their onboard entertainment system. Each additional PartyBus enabled stereo gives the option to join Party Mode and play the same perfectly synced audio source through the entire vessel. Boaters can also opt into Personal Mode and listen to available audio sources from the stereo in their zone of choice without disrupting Party Mode in the other areas of the vessel. Again, not designed for pontoon or deck boats, but a unique feature that in theory would allow you to sync to other boats at a sandbar if equipped with the same systems.
You’ve Got Options
Offering more source options than ever before, the Apollo RA770 offers users the ability to play their favorite soundtrack via Bluetooth, Optical Audio (TV), Advanced SiriusXM features (USA only), DAB+ ready (available in Europe and Australia only), AM/FM radio, AUX and USB. The world’s first marine Wi-Fi stereo, users can finally stream music from a mobile device via Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), providing the highest quality audio streaming available. With the built-in Wi-Fi, the Apollo series can also wirelessly connect multiple Apollo stereos without running any cables, reducing installation time, cost and complexity. Simply put, because you don’t need to run cables this system is ideal for refurbish pontoon or deck boat projects.
The FUSION Apollo RA770 (MSRP $649) and SRX400 (MSRP $349) 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 has 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.
FUSION, owned by GARMIN, builds products that exceed regulatory standards using the latest technologies at GARMIN’s international ISO accredited manufacturing facility.
Our Kind Of Testing
As part of the media event we were given a chance to test the new systems on a variety of boats including a couple of deck boats from Regal and Sea Ray. The ease of use really is impressive, but the sound quality at any volume made the biggest impression. At most of the testing events that we do it’s all about gauging the handling of the boat while recording performance data so this opportunity was very different. When it comes down to it, it was basically a boat load of journalists out on the water enjoying a sunny day in Florida while listing to crystal-clear music. Not a bad gig if you can get it.
After getting a chance to control the music onboard ourselves using our own phones through the app, FUSION quickly learned marine journalists have a wide-variety of music preferences that made for an interesting day on the water. However, one thing we could all agree on is FUSION truly has something unique with its Apollo Series that the marine industry has never seen before.