Garmin releases 4-zone compact stereo for boat lovers who value a premium audio experience and dash space

4 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    The new Fusion Apollo WB675 hideaway audio system seems to be only a slight improvement on the WB670 introduced in 2020, but that makes this press release a good place to note how terrific the original model is.

    I installed the WB670 shortly after the introduction — — and use it almost every time I’m on the boat, afloat or in winter storage. Zones 1 and 2 feed two sets of speakers in the main salon while Zone 3 goes to an early Fusion amp and speaker set on the flybridge.

    The White Box — I think that’s what they mean by the WBxxx model name — also connects via Ethernet to Gizmo’s WiFi router and hence to the compact color ERX400 control head that’s a sharp part of the boat’s latest (and greatest) lower helm setup:

    But the ERX400 is not necessary to the system because FusionLink apps running on my iPad or Android phone work well as remote controls and also support deep configuration and firmware updates. Meanwhile on the flybridge, the Furuno TZT2 offers excellent Fusion control via NMEA 2000 while underway, and there’s also a simple ARX wireless controller for sundowner time.

    Audio sources I use are Apple AirPlay 2 from the iPad (great fidelity and range), Bluetooth from the phone (good enough), the FM receiver, a library of digitized music on USB sticks, and sometimes the boat’s PC sound via RCA aux input when streaming video. All this sounds and works really well, and could easily be expanded to more zones and multisourcing with more Apollo gear.

    At any rate, that’s why I’m quite confident that this new WB675 is a solid performer. Plus the added fourth zone could be useful, and nice that the price has only inflated modestly since the original WB670 came out nearly three years ago.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      And, yes, for those of you following the recent uncertainty about Vesper Marine products under Garmin ownership — — there’s an interesting contrast here. I think of Fusion and Vesper as similar small companies that distinguished themselves with wave after wave of useful innovation in their respective niches.

      But while Fusion has seemed to thrive under Garmin ownership — no innovations lost — that may not be the case for some Vesper features that many boaters appreciate. Or at least it looks that way at this point in time.

      My tentative conclusions:
      * Generalities about Garmin mismanagement of acquisitions don’t make sense
      * Nuances behind the scenes — like supply chain and dev team issues, product margins and market share — have more to do with these transitions than we end users realize
      * Some optimism that Vesper features will resurface in multiple Garmin Cortex products

  2. Anthony Cooke says:

    An argument could be made that fusions position in the market when aquired by Garmin was big and growing. As the use of marine stereos is wayyyy bigger than ais systems. Not tnexclude the RV market that fusion and Garmin seem rather large in as well.
    I really hope Garmin didn’t aquire vesper to remove competition but instead looks t how they can intergrate improve and grow the brand

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *