Simrad SonicHub, hand’s on #1

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.

13 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I forgot to mention that if an iPhone in the SonicHub dock gets a call, the system does not fade the music and ring so you can take it on a Bluetooth headset, but some other Fusion systems will.

  2. steverow says:

    Hmm, not sure about this one Ben, I’m not convinced that watching video on a Primary Nav Device enhances safety that much. I’m all for technology and spend most of my time dealing with it, but sometimes it takes a wrong turn, and this looks like one to me.
    It seems a bit like having a DVD player in the drivers seat of the car, which is definitely illegal in the UK, in fact I think they’d lock you up for it most places. I see a definite place for video when shunting in and out of your berth, but other than that well….
    Anyway what’s really wrong with a decent car stereo with a mini USB and audio socket on the front, probably a much cheaper and more versatile option and if you want to watch vids, then do it in the cabin on the boat PC, which to me seems the right place.
    Merry Xmas to all
    Steve

  3. Drew Clark says:

    Ben, this looks like a powerful unit indeed…I’m especially excited by the potential such a system shows in terms of bringing together so many components into one integrated interface. But a couple of questions pop to mind…is there a capability planned to connect over ethernet to any of the commonly used PC-based nav consoles like Nobeltec or Rose? From here it could be further streamed over the growing number of media controllers and audio/video devices that are starting to appear on more moderately-priced boats. Indeed, I am not as excited to see it share precious space with my nav apps, but would appreciate the ability to do the streaming and controlling (as I described above)to an array of networked devices throughout the boat.
    I know Simrad sells more traditional MFDs, but in my experience, boat systems are becoming increasingly (a) heterogeneous, multi-vendor; and (b) black box and computer driven (in addition to MFD). This is not a new thought at all, as this open systems theme emerges regularly in this space. I hope Simrad and other marine electronics manufacturers will soon see the wisdom of such an open approach to marine systems integration.
    Drew

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Gracious, Steve, since when are boats analogous to cars? The average cruiser spends only a fraction of their onboard time underway; why not use that bright, expensive MFD screen for another function? And some boats do what might be sort of analogous to crossing hundreds of miles of wide open parking lot at 8 mph 😉
    Drew, the SonicHub is controlled over SimNet/N2K, as is XM audio by Garmin MFDs. I haven’t heard that either company is thinking of moving control or audio/video content to Ethernet. If someone is, it might be Fusion.

  5. AaronH says:

    Steve/Ben:
    Usually if a customer has a KVH or other Sat TV onboard, I’ll connect it’s video to the input on a new MFD, and audio to the cockpit speakers.
    Although watching while running at full throttle in a crowded area can be dangerous, a long, slow passage or hanging out in the cockpit, watching TV at the dock, is a great use of a very nice, waterproof LCD screen.
    I’m consistently impressed with Fusion products, just recently had the pleasure of setting up an RA200 and the customer is loving having a second “Receive-only” VHF, and the big buttons mean he can operate the stereo with gloves on.

  6. steverow says:

    OK Guys, I’ll wind my rather conservative neck in then.
    Kind Regards
    Steve

  7. Frederick G Street says:

    I’m with Steve — I see this type of unit appealing far more to the gadget-happy powerboater than to the slower sailing crowd; and the powerboater that’s at full cruising speed, watching a video on his MFD at the helm, can do FAR more damage to others.
    Besides, who wants to go up to the flybridge to watch a video on their MFD when they could sit below on a comfy couch in air-conditioned comfort?
    Fred

  8. Dave says:

    Ben . Simrad really are doing great things ‘re integration and NSE
    Did I understand it right that the video out is only available over simnet or it’s there an external video output that could drive a standard monitor etc
    Dave

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    SonicHub video output is via that yellow RCA plug on the dock. It can be plugged into one of the two video inputs on the NSE or most any other display/monitor. SimNet/NMEA 2000 doesn’t have the bandwidth for video or audio. Ethernet does, especially the gigabit flavor.

  10. John says:

    Hi Guys
    I guess everybody has an opinion on what they like and don’t like I think the Simrad SonicHub is a very nice toy for my boat.
    I’m just curious if any body knows if I can hookup an underwater camera to the device.
    John

  11. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    John, You can plug an underwater camera directly into one of the Simrad NSE video inputs. Many Raymarine, Garmin, and Furuno MFDs too. You don’t need a SonicHub for that. The only thing the Hub does with video — its Dock, actually — is to get video out of an iPhone or iPod, though that’s pretty neat.

  12. Team Old School says:

    I just installed the SonicHub for my center console and love it. I was tired of replacing so-called “marine stereos” every other season. The SonicHub sits protected behind the console away from salt-spray and moisture. Also, if there’s a guy that wants to watch movies instead of keeping watch, the SonicHub is not really the problem, it’s better than getting nagged to go in! It’s great for my young Boys too, if fishing is slow they get antsy at the 4 hour mark, but not anymore.
    The video is just a bonus, as is the priceless feature of having a waterproof, secure place to charge my iPhone!
    Thanks-
    Mike
    Captain Team Old School

  13. Mike Steffens says:

    Ben,
    I liked your articles on the Sonichub.
    I have been using mine to play MP3 files on a 8GB flash drive.
    If I have any more than a 100 songs on the stick the first few seconds of the song are garbled.
    The more songs I put on the stick 200, 300, 400,ect. The worse it gets.
    Have tried different brands and sizes of flash drives and even plugged the drives directly into the back of the Sonichub.
    I have even replaced the unit through Lowrance support.
    Are you having the same kind of issues? Or willing to test?
    I am using it with a HDS-10 Gen2
    Thanks,

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