Fusion Signature sound and much more, plus Clarion gets N2K

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.

6 Responses

  1. Karl says:

    Ben, with no disrespect intended, I don’t believe someone wearing hearing aids should be reviewing sound quality, myself included…I’ve used both Starkey and Siemens,”tier-2″ and “tier-3” lines, vented domes, un-vented domes, earmolds, etc. All digital, and all with a selectable program optimized for music rather than the human conversation spectrum.
    In my expensive experiences, they all suck. Similarly, an aggressive sinus infection and surgeries left me with no olfactory ability, so I no longer volunteer as a wine-taster…both examples are like pearls before swine, so I have to question your review, beyond feature set, connectivity, etc.
    Once a total audiophile, at my age(67), I would not consider that others of similar age, with a documented hearing loss, to be a credible authority in judging frequency response, dynamic range, and other audio qualities. By the time the sound from a device gets digitally processed, equalized, compressed, etc. by hearing aids, you are no longer evaluating the original source.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Clarion’s example of multizone support is pretty funny. I’m not sure playing 4 different sources on an open boat that appears to be under 30 foot would result in a very satisfying listening experience for anyone! This seems a product better suited to a vessel with at least a well separated flybridge and/or cabins. But how often does everyone hang out in separate areas on a boat? Kinda unsocial. IMO, 2 zones is enough on 99% of boats.
    Love the look of the control head though, and kudos for using Gorilla glass to make it more suited to cockpit installation.

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    You’re right, anon, multi-source audio would be silly on a center console. But Fusion (and others) are aboard some large boats, like the Sabre 66. The four speaker zones on their higher end units plus the ability to control the systems all around the boat with wired remotes, MFDs, and apps encourage that sort of use, not to mention the “true marine” build quality. But a choice of two simultaneous sources would be useful even on my 37-foot flybridge Downeast style boat, and three might get used once in a while.
    Karl, I stand by my ability to hear quality audio. I’ve loved music, all kinds, though out my life and I regularly compare notes with friends and family about the sound of recordings, concert halls, etc. Audio messiness is more prominent for me, and it wouldn’t be fair for me to criticize a stereo that others might find better. But when I hear clarity and detail, others do too.
    This definition of audiophile may be exaggerated but it also makes a point:

  4. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately Fusion left out one important feature, even on their top end units. None of their units offer HD Radio. Even low end car cars have models with HD, so obviously it is not an expensive option.

  5. eastlands says:

    Are you sure the Fusion MS-RA55 has N2K / Fusion-Link capability? I cannot see any evidence of this on the Fusion website. If it does it looks like a bargain!
    To me this looks like a good upgrade from MS-RA50 with the addition of integrated Bluetooth.

  6. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Sorry, Eastlands, apparently I made a wrong presumption. I checked the install and user manuals too, and there is no sign of a NMEA 2000 interface in the RA-55 stereo. Thank you for the correction, which I just added to the entry.

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