Poly-Planar MRD-70/RD-44, multi-zone & multi-source
Comments about the Fusion stereo testing reminded me of Poly-Planar’s somewhat similar MRD-70 audio system. With the addition of RD-44 remote head units (see below), plus amps and speakers, it becomes a multi-zone and multi-source system. That is, different zones can use different sources, which the multi-zone Fusion system can not do. Plus it has intercom functions and wireless remotes, and Poly-Planar recently added an improved iPod interface. But no marine, or even automobile, system I can find has caught up to what some iPods can do…
Wouldn’t it be neat if you could play iPod videos—TV shows, vidcasts, movies, You-Tube clips, etc.—on your boat’s AV system, video-capable plotters included? Apparently it can look good on a bigger screen. I hear that one or more manufacturers are working on this capability, and I think it could be a winner. But I’m not holding my breath. Heck, I went around METS last year looking for a simple marine stereo that could also play DVDs with video output to the screen of my choice. No luck, though I thought it available years ago. Now I notice that the new MB Quart Nautic may do this nicely. And maybe there are others?
Also, has anyone had hands-on experience with this Poly-Planar gear? I was impressed enough two years ago to give it a Sail FKP Award (note the much improved Sail site), but I never did get to try one myself. Incidentally, I could swear that I already wrote about this system on Panbo, but I can’t find it. The good news is that a better Panbo—improved search, easier comment sign ins, forums, and more—is in sight. Really.
Jensen actually still has one 12 volt Marine DVD player that is a standard single Din. http://www.asaelectronics.com/detail.html?pid=172
Thanks, John. I see from the manual that the Jensen DV2007 has dual video outputs and an auxilary A/V input. Could integrate nicely with a helm, and the head costs less than $200. Note that Jensen doesn’t list this unit in its “marine” line, though several marine outlets sell it. And I bet all those little buttons would be a pain to use in a seaway.
By the way, I think the Fusion head unit also fits in single DIN hole, though the face is oversize.
I spoke to Fusion and Poly-Planar at METS.
Poly-Planar did not push the MRD-70 as a “multisource” solution. The way it was described to me you can use multiple heads, amps and sources, but then you cannot control all sources from all heads (which is how I’d define true multi-source). This sounds all wrong compared to what’s on their website, which says you can do multi-source, although, if I read their documentation correctly, you do need an MZ-100 amplifier per zone.
The RD-44 has intercom functionality between the zones, which could be very interesting depending on the boat & users.
Fusion was also out in force. I liked the look of the unit and remote, very chunky and boat-like. The display impressed me less, it looked washed out at all angles.
The way that changing the volume for all zones works where you keep the relative settings was also very good.
Oh — before I forget: Fusion is coming with a DVD version! That may be worth waiting for those who are looking for a DVD solution at the helm. The size and overall styling will be the same, with slightly different buttons and colors. You can still add the separate “iPod dock”.