Lowrance Simrad SonicHub, some details revealed

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.

19 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Incidentally, Garmin MFDs can also control at least one audio source over NMEA 2000, if the system includes a GXM 51 XM satellite receiver, discussed here recently:
    And hence there’s the same issue of controlling the audio when the MFDs would normally be shut down. I’m wondering if Garmin is working on a small N2K XM audio head?

  2. Chris s/v/ Pelican says:

    And don’t forget that Raymarine can also control Sirius radio through their C/E/G etc. MFDs when you have a Raymarine Sirius receiver.

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I’m pretty amazed to learn that SonicHub includes iPod video output and control (and I’ve added a screen shot that illustrates it above). Apparently you only get the video resolution native to your iDevice, currently 480×320, but that may improve with the next generation. This is going to make some boaters very happy. And given that Fusion’s own video out dock is $150, SonicHub seems a bargain.

  4. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    Having used the Raymarine feature to control Sirius radio thru my E-80, which was done very very well with channel lists, soft buttons, etc. I have experience with this type of feature, and as a result I am not so thrilled with the ability to control music at the MFD. There is a big pitfall that needs to be addressed.
    First let me say, that I very much like the ability to instantly mute music in response to an emergency on my own boat, a channel 16 broadcast, or even something as simple as a cell phone call or the need (on a sailboat) to ask crew to tend to an adjustment, etc. Each time I mute this I am reminded why I might want to keep using the radio controls via MFD.
    This could be just a litte bit better, if the mute button was a dedicated control on the charplotter or a softkey that is available on the menus most people leave their charplotters on, but thats a little nit pick.
    I very much DISLIKE that my family is at the MFD constantly changing the channel or changing volume whenever they don’t like a song, or making me the DJ doing the same. To avoid this issue it would be ideal if a capability existed for a seperate wireless remote or the Raymarine ST70 instrument display could be used to remote control the music controls on the MFD, so family members need not disrupt the chartplotter presentation.

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Maybe you should fence off your helm, Dan 😉
    Seriously, alternate controls is an issue with MFD integrated entertainment. That’s why the option of a dedicated Fusion remote is good news regarding SonicHub. That’s also why NMEA 2000 based control systems may be a good idea. All the Ethernet-based systems like Raymarine Sirius may not be able to control audio without an MFD or at least an Ethernet hub powered up.

  6. Sam Slaymaker says:

    Hey Ben, I’m trying to integrate a broadband radar with chart overlay, with a PC navigation system like Fugawi. What is the simplest way to do this? Thanks, Sam

  7. Well. an old curmudgeon like me would say that there is no way to justify connecting navigation-critical displays and entertainment. If the issue is the extent to which your music player (of whatever persuasion) is taking up real estate on your primary navigation display, then that is a real no-brainer!

  8. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Sam, there is only one Broadband Radar now — the Navico BR24 that is sold with Lowrance, Simrad, and Northstar labels — and there is no way at the moment to use it with anything but MFDs from those companies. However, we know that it’s quite possible to adapt a BR24 to PC charting, if and when Navico lets it happen:
    Michael, Isn’t your critical navigation on a PC? I don’t understand how that’s safer than an MFD, no matter how many optional apps are made for the latter.

  9. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    Michael wrote “there is no way to justify connecting navigation-critical displays and entertainment”.
    Most of the time when I am at the helm I feel like I am less the captain or navigator, and more the chief entertainment officer. I am in favor of some MFD capability that aligns with my work behind the helm.
    My racing crew was asking me just the other day why my electronics have not evolved to the point of selecting a youtube video to play on one of the auxillary displays, to play multi minute instructional videos on how to trim the sails, the meanings of various navigation rules, etc. either after we make a mistake or on the ride to the race course, and then recaps from our navigation software of our track on the way back to the dock.

  10. Ben, I have never made the argument that a PC is safer than a MFD, just more capable and cheaper. I watch DVDs on my nav computer, but only after the hook is down. The problem is not the availability of apps, but their concurrent presence on the screen (and maybe eating cycles).
    Dan, my concern is with the little taskbars, buttons, etc, that eat up screen space. When you’re relaxing and heading back to the dock under VFR, the nav computer, as such, is pretty redundant and might as well be used for something else.

  11. John Easton says:

    Will the video output from the iPhone only work on the Simrad or HDS as well?

  12. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    John, I’m nearly positive that the iPod video you can see in that last screen above could be going to any display with an RCA video input, and that seems confirmed by the installation manual now up at the SonicHub site:

  13. John Easton says:

    Thanks Ben, but the HDS only has the NMEA2k network, no RCA.

  14. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Sorry, I forgot that. I’d guess that you can control iPod video with an HDS and SonicHub but the video output would have to go to another screen.

  15. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I got to try the SonicHub interface on an NSE in Newport last week, and was impressed by how fast it is. And of course the big, bright screen is great for looking through a long list of iPod content. But neither video nor the Fusion remote control were set up. Has anyone out there tried those?

  16. I have got my eye on an NSE for this very application. Any idea what the brightness (nits) are of the NSE8 and 12. I can’t seem to find it anywhere.

  17. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I don’t know about NSE nits values, John, and that measurement is only vaguely related to what you actually see. I do know that the NSE 12 seems as bright or brighter as the other premium MFDs. It’s worth noting though that while its brightness stays fairly consistent when viewed from the sides or from above, it falls off steeply when viewed from below the screen.

  18. peter coupland says:

    NSE12 and 8 are rated 1500 nits,this is the highest I have seen,the Geonavs are rated at 1000 nits.
    The NSE’s are also the only ones with LED backlighting.
    I have powered up my NSE12 and it does seem very bright to me.

  19. 1500 nits is very good. I will certainly start the ball rolling on acquiring an NSE. Thanks to you and Peter.

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