TESTED: FUSION MS-AV700

By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH

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  • Trade-A-Boat

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Marine stereos have come a long way in recent years. Kevin Smith reports on a system that really packs a punch — the Fusion MS-AV700.

TESTED: FUSION MS-AV700
MARINE ELECTRONICS: FUSION MS-AV700

Having a quality stereo on the boat is an essential for me these days, but it wasn’t that long ago — when dedicated marine stereo systems were just about unheard of — that I relied on nothing more than a cheap wireless lying on the console. Tuned to my favourite station, it provided me with some company, but I wanted more.

Next on the list was a car stereo system modified to suit the boat. It was mounted in a Tupperware box that just happened to "go missing" from the kitchen, but the exposure to sea air saw it conk out within 12 months.

The rule here is simple: if you want quality tunes on the water, you need a quality marine-specific stereo, and that’s where Fusion Marine’s products come into the picture.

To start, I fitted the 600-series Fusion with iPod / iPhone dock to my 425 tinnie which, when on the water, resulted in a few unfriendly glares from disturbed boating neighbours being levelled my way.

The tinnie then made way a new Bonito 500CC and, once again, some loud AC/DC was in order. I put on my pith helmet, grabbed my elephant gun and went hunting. Again, Fusion was first in my sights, but this time I wanted to up the ante, eventually settling on the latest 700-series unit with an ear-pounding 280W of output, no external amp required.

The 700 series can also play DVDs (great for the kids) when hooked up to a screen and it has NMEA 2000 and Ethernet connectivity for interfacing with the latest Raymarine and Garmin systems, with other brands of GPS sonar hopefully being added to the list soon. On top of that, the Fusion can be optioned up with the iPod / iPhone / USB docking station and it boasts a whack of other fancy features.

The new Fusion-Link app remotely operates the system from an iPhone or iPad. Yes, it’s a slight case of overkill for a centre console, but what the hell, I wanted it!



WIRING UP

Normally, I wouldn’t attempt to connect electronics due to the complex spider-web of wires that need to be figured out, but in this instance Fusion provides a very simple labelling system and a diagram that even dim-sparkies like yours truly can manage, and without the job consuming a month of Sundays.

To complement the 700’s head unit I added the water-resistant iPod / iPhone / USB docking station to avoid having to carry around CDs, even though the head unit still plays MP3s, CDs and DVDs. And let’s face it, iThings are the "in things"; nearly everyone has something to do with an iWhatever these days.

I opted for dual front and rear 7in Fusion True Marine two-way speakers. I’d previously had two speakers, but I found it difficult to hear the music while running at high engine speeds, so this was going to be the bomb.



CRANKNG UP

Crystal clear, undistorted sounds bellow through these speakers and the system is super-loud — just ask my neighbours. Operating the unit is simple thanks to a basic menu system and dedicated buttons to access the different play features. The system also comes with a small remote control, which works a treat when you’re facing the unit directly but struggles a bit when out of line of sight.

There are a few other options available for remote operation, like a separate hard-wired remote that can be positioned elsewhere on the boat or, even better, the aforementioned Fusion-Link app for the iPhone / iPad / iWhatever, but the catch is you’ll need to install a wireless router to receive the signal from the unit. But this is not an issue; it’s a $30 item with a 12V adaptor and is easy to link up.

Once up and running you then have a far better menu to work with, rather than constantly referring back to the head unit. It also has one hell of a range, so sit back on the boat or the beach with some mellow tunes or crank up the party, all at the touch of a finger.



THE WRAP

This is the ultimate sound system for any boat, although I would say it’s better suited to larger cabin-style trailerboats and even classy superyachts, especially because of its zone controls and DVD function.

What I really like about Fusion range is that there are quality systems to suit all budgets and applications. I’m looking forward to future developments such as wireless links instead of direct links through routers, and greater integration with a wider range of GPS brands — possibly even the ability to play DVDs wirelessly to iPads and other tablets.

This 700 series was put through five months of torture testing: it was subjected to the elements in the centre console, deliberatley blasted with salt spray, and generally neglected, but at the end of those five months it was displaying no sign of corrosion or any evidence of water penetrating its seals.

This is a sexy and top-quality, so it gets a big thumbs up from me.

ON THE PLANE

  • Crystal clear, and loud, sounds
  • Fusion-Link app control
  • Can handle a beating
  • Looks classy and solid
  • Ease of installation

DRAGGING THE CHAIN...

  • It would be nice to see the wireless router disappear
  • App price
  • Won’t interface with my Lowrance HDS-7s
  • Won’t interface with iPhone 5 (but that’s in the pipeline)



SPECIFICATIONS: FUSION MS-AV700

HOW MUCH?

Priced from: $749

Price as tested: $1206

Options fitted: iPod and USB docking station; 4 x 7in Fusion marine speakers

Fusion-Link app: $10.49

Entry-level packages including speakers: from $249



MANUFACTURED & SUPPLIED BY

Fusion Electronics

Tel: 1300 736 012

Web: www.fusionelectronics.com

Originally published in TrailerBoat #294, April/May 2013

Find Fusion Electronics for sale.

 


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