Fusion MS-IP500, really here

Fusion TrueMarine MS-IP500 grey 

I’ve been keeping an eye out for the new Fusion marine stereo systems since the prototypesimpressed me at METS. Well, they’re not only official as of yesterday’s announcement, but at least the MS-IP500 model above, and bigger here, is already available at West Marine, which apparently has a U.S. exclusive. And the details sound even better than what I heard in Amsterdam.

For instance, the iPod garage behind that IP500 faceplate is purportedly not just splash proof, but waterproof, and will accept not only iPod Gen5/6 Classics and Gen2/3 Nanos, but also the beauteous Touch model that some people can’t stop fondling. What a bummer to drop one of those on a wet deck. What a pleasure to tuck it away safe and yet have all your gigs of music, audio books, and podcasts available over as many as four custom audio zones along with AM, FM, and Sirius radio. You can also have CDs if you get the CD500 model and a separate iPod dock. Plus Fusion has various speakers, amps, and what looks like a nifty remote that uses CANbus to avoid line interference and for power. Oh, and that 3.2” display is transflective, and I buy the claim that the button and knob interface will be easy to use even at a jittery helm. The Fusion Audio site doesn’t yet have dope on the MS-IP500 family, but no doubt will soon. In the meantime, maybe you can figure out what the heck is playing on the unit above. Funky Lancey?



Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

24 Responses

  1. DefJef says:

    Nice concept, Not on their site and I can’t find dimensions, but it looks larger than a standard car radio. Do you have specs?

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Def, there’s more info if you Google “Fusion Audio” and then select the Australasian region. But couldn’t find dimensions. It’s not a marinized car stereo and may well be bigger. Why should boats be limited to what fits on car dashes?

  3. rxc says:

    Can you feed it music/sound from your computer, if you have a computer full of MP3s that you want to play? Or can you feed it the sound from a TV tuner in the computer, so that you can use one set of speakers for radio/TV/music?

  4. DefJef says:

    Size may not matter at all, unless one is replacing an existing auto type radio, which are fairly common since there are not that many marine stereos.
    In the late 80s or early 90s I used a removable radio in a “benzi box” and literally moved the same radio from car to boat!
    Speaking of Ipods. We were cruising and anchored in Newport and invited a young couple who anchored near us over for a cool drink. When they came below the fella started to laugh a bit which surprised me as I find nothing humorous about my cabin. Why are you laughing I asked him. He pointed at the lovely CD shelves I had which carried scores of CDs (originals before copying them was accessible to me) which a moved from home to boat and back seasonally.
    He pulled out his iPod and told me he had thousands of tracks on it, perhaps 5 times my collection and he takes them from home to car to boat. YIKES, that made so much sense! Why all the plastic when you only want the digital data!
    So a few years later I joined the iPod generation and now am looking for a neat marine solution to dock the iPod with a decent interface. I’ve got limited space to mount this Ipod dock since I am using a Kenwood CD car stereo at present. So dimension specs are a consideration here. I want something other than a port to plug into the headphone jack with the Ipod sitting on a shelf or the chart table. This product’s concept interests me.
    What to do with the custom CD shelves now?

  5. Drew says:

    I put an Alpine car stereo deck in both my car and sailboat which has an excellent Ipod interface. The Ipod is controlled from the radio controls, and the newest one I bought for my car has some really neat features for the Ipod like rapid song search. I would highly recommend this (or the equivalent Pioneer, Sony, etc) to anyone condsidering an Ipod interface. Simple, no modifications to existing car stereo cutouts…

  6. Merlin says:

    I use an ipod plugged into a 12volt outlet at the nav station using an FM transmitter. Just tune the stereo to the same frequency and away you go !
    I am sure the rest of the space on your shelves will disappear.

  7. Dan (b393capt) says:

    I use the aux jacks on my XM enabled Sony XPLOD radio, running a 2nd cord for power to my iPod sitting on one of those holders designed to hold mobile cell phones on your dashboard. I have to unplug the XM when using the iPod.
    While cheap and workable, I yearn for a replacement system would have a remote at my helm that could control my iPod and radio. It would also support XM, iPod, HD Radio, plus transmitting music to bluetooth headphones (when the crew is asleep). Something like this would be ideal in a smaller form factor (so it could take the place of my SONY) without the iPod storage or waterproof features.

  8. Norton Rider says:

    Why anybody would introduce a new receiver that doesn’t have HD Radio capability is beyond me.

  9. Seajet says:

    Great, I want one. But, they are not yet available. It will probably take a couple of weeks for stock to be on hand at West.

  10. Chris Ellingsen says:

    According to the West Marine site, it does NOT work with the iPod touch:
    – Will not work with new iPod Nanos with video or iPod Touches
    This is understandable as there probably is not enough room for the longer case of the touch.
    According to the Fusion site there is a line-in connection that will work with other devices such as a TV, DVD, or computer.
    This looks like a really nice device, although not cheap at $400. If it is really as good quality as it appears to be, however, it is probably worth it.

  11. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Chris. I got the “Touch” info from a very recent Fusion press release, but maybe it’s mistaken. Will look into it.

  12. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    The Fusion’s faceplate dimensions are 217×79 mm and the cut-out 180×52 mm. Haven’t nailed down “Touch” compatibility quite yet, but it’s looking like West Marine misunderstood.

  13. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Chris, Fusion tells me that their new products are most definitely compatible with the iPod Touch, and West Marine is being straightened out about it.

  14. Dan (b393capt) says:

    Chris … any mention if the Fusion for the USA market will include HD radio ? Would that be with or without an external box?

  15. Seajet says:

    I received my FUSION MS-IP500 radio from West Marine the other day. It looks very well made and includes an in-depth 18 pages manual. The manual clearly states that it supports the i-Touch! Generally, it supports 8 possible iPod versions and comes with a set of different sleeves. Your iPod must be cradled in an upper and lower sleeve before you can insert the iPod into the “garage”. The US version of the Fusion radio also comes with a built-in Sirius satellite radio receiver! The chassis size appears to be DIN size, the front face is oversized, similar to a Poly-Planar MRD-60. I have not installed it up yet but that looks to be straight forward.

  16. Chris Ellingsen says:

    I am very interested in this device and would like to hear your impression of it once you get it working. It clearly says (twice actually) on the West Marine site:
    SIRIUS satellite ready … Sirius satellite tuner sold separately; service requires subscription.
    So I imagine that an additional device is needed for Sirius to work. Unfortunately I cannot find any information about a sirius tuner for this radio.
    Also, the remote control would be very useful on a boat but it is not available on the West Marine site, and I don’t know anywhere else either.
    If no one has any info on this I might send an email to Fusion asking about this.

  17. Seajet says:

    Chris, I have already emailed Fusion on Sunday about the wired remote but they have not responded as yet. It would be perfect in the cockpit. As regards Sirius, now I am not sure any longer. When I read the manual, it clearly stated to have a credit card ready when activating Sirius, which apparently pops-up on the screen with a code that must be given to Sirius. This lead me to believe that the tuner is built-in. The more so, because the manual clearly says (…Sirius…for USA units only). I will find out soon… but not before next week. Cheers, Ronald

  18. Todd Crocker says:

    Todd Crocker–Fusion Electronics,
    Our new MS-IP500 actually is a single din (normal car stereo) cut out and rear case. The front face is din 1.5…
    This product is now up and running on our site.
    Regarding our interface we would willingly compare our product to the IPOD car products. First our user interface virtually mirrors the IPOD interface.
    We can virtually play every MP3 format from a CD.
    Our construction is unrivaled… Die cast chassis etc… Take a look at the construction (West now has the IPOD product in stock at their top 72 stores). Look at the way we have handled the cables and connectors coming out of the rear of the product…
    Check out the menu structure and simple single key access to all key functionality…
    Muti zone (up to 4) so you can control areas fo the boat independently… The fly bridge probably needs to be louder than the salon or cabins…
    We have definately taken a different approach in terms of building a product from the ground up for marine vs. adapting a car piece to marine…

  19. Seajet says:

    Chris: Fusion New Zealand replied as following. West is in the process of updating their website. In fact they have the remote MS-WR100C in stock as well as our speakers FSM-65, or MS-FR402, MS-FR602 and MS-FR702. You can also see these models on our website at http://www.fusionelectronics.com

  20. Seajet says:

    I doublechecked again regarding the Sirius question and they replied: The Sirius tuner is not installed. It has all of the user interface capability. You definitely must purchase the Sirius Tuner.

  21. Seajet says:

    Regarding the wired remote control MS-WR100C, West Marine advised me today “I can special order this remote and the cost is $121.41 plus $6.95 for shipping which takes about 2 weeks for delivery”. Sounds like West is not stocking these accessories, or, they have not stocked up on them as yet. Anyway, I ordered.

  22. Microship says:

    I’m ready to buy one of these, but have yet to see any real info on the Sirius black box… not on the West Marine site. With Sirius in my truck, and their wx on the Furuno Navnet 3D (assuming Furuno actually ships one of these days *wry grin*), this is a nice bit of synergy.
    Anyone know if the Sirius tuner is shipping?

  23. Kilroy says:

    Wonder if the unit has a video output so I can witch the music videos stored on my ipod through an external monitor or the 10″ display of my Furuno NavNet via video input jack. Now that would be sweet!

  24. Kennan Hill says:

    Will the fusion radios work with the 4th Generation Ipod Nano?

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