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Nitrousbird

Are these Fusion marine units any good?

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Nitrousbird

http://www.fusionelectronics.com/marine

I am NOT in the market at all (happy with my Alpine gear), but a friend will be shortly.

Fusion of a few years ago (when I was more up to date on this stuff) was a total joke (at least for their car audio stuff) and looking at their current car audio stuff, that seems to continue to be the case - though I could be wrong.

But their marine audio stuff, at least their source units and remotes, is looking really impressive. Does it perform as well as it looks?

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jk13

We looked at the car line and came to the same conclusion, so we chose not to sell them. Got the story that they came to the US as a budget line and planned to bring higher end stuff once the name was established. Seems backwards to me. Hard to believe the marine head units are drastically better, but as an endorsement MC is using them as OEM in new boats.

As a counterpoint when we picked up Eclipse in 1992 they told us the opposite--they're going to be high end to begin with and then fan out to less expensive and eventually big box stores to ride the wave. And that's exactly what they did over the next 15 years or so. We knew up front it would be a ~10 year deal for us.

Edited by jk13

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shawndoggy

starting from scratch, a marine HU doesn't really offer much other than remotes for the small segment of peeps who demand them.

The clarion M704 looks nice for a flagship unit. I'd trust clarion more than fusion just based on their longstanding commitment in the U.S.

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Nitrousbird

We looked at the car line and came to the same conclusion, so we chose not to sell them. Got the story that they came to the US as a budget line and planned to bring higher end stuff once the name was established. Seems backwards to me. Hard to believe the marine head units are drastically better, but as an endorsement MC is using them as OEM in new boats.

As a counterpoint when we picked up Eclipse in 1992 they told us the opposite--they're going to be high end to begin with and then fan out to less expensive and eventually big box stores to ride the wave. And that's exactly what they did over the next 15 years or so. We knew up front it would be a ~10 year deal for us.

The Eclipse method didn't work out. :( I had a couple of their head units in the good years in the late 90's / early 2000's plus some of their speakers. I have one of their last Nav units in the wife's car and a couple of their amps still. I miss their stuff.

starting from scratch, a marine HU doesn't really offer much other than remotes for the small segment of peeps who demand them.

The clarion M704 looks nice for a flagship unit. I'd trust clarion more than fusion just based on their longstanding commitment in the U.S.

M704 looks nice if you have the space. Looks like the Fusion stuff also has some app capability via wifi as well.

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David

I have no direct experience with Fusion. At a quick glance their value appears to be in head units and remotes with some unique feature sets. However, I have read some very positive reviews from people whose opinion I respect. The comments on the MasterCraft forum also seem to be all positive on the recent models.

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robtr8

I had Fusion in the Monterey. I liked it because the HU was over in the glove box and the remote had a real volume knob. The HU's amp section was very good and the UI didn't suck. If I were doing a small cabin cruiser and needed multiple zones, this would be a great system. Best way to buy Fusion is print off the pricing from Defender.com and walk into the local West Marine. I agree with shawn, I don't see needing a HU in a 'Bu.

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David

It's off topic but I can't help taking the bait on the Eclipse parallel and their rise and fall.

Reese Haggott was the individual most instrumental in Alpine's success beginning in the late '70s. He had the vision, cultivated and rallied the dealer base, created a distribution model and most important, he wrestled control away from the Japanese management.

And, it was Reese Haggott that later introduced the Eclipse product. Early on Eclipse had great momentum with tremendous promise. But as the Japanese got control back, much like Alpine, things deteriorated but far more rapidly in the case of Eclipse. At the end Eclipse wasn't a good product.

I owned a great Eclipse CD player for years.

If you are around long enough you will witness the rise and fall of countless brands.

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jk13

Huh. The Eclipse business plan that was shared with us was 15-20 years and done.

It went roughly like this from what we were told in the initial meetings:

Years 1-7 ultra high end head units for boutique stores only, then mixing in some amps, then subs, then speakers last.

Years 8-15 lower price points, continuously add a wider dealer network, greatly increase production and volume of sales.

Years 15-20 no more money on R&D, trickle down from the older stuff and ride the wave until market share depleted, then pull the plug.

Fujitsu Ten is a massive company and Eclipse almost seemed like a pet project for someone involved. Only thing that wavered from the original plan that seemed odd was that the first subs we saw were stamped steel basket $150 woofers (sounded great though), the higher end woofers didn't come for a few years after. The first year their entire product line consisted of two head units. One for $550 and one for $850 in 1992(?). Both had fluorescent tube (OEL was their term) displays and the volume was controlled by sliding your finger across the bottom of the display. Way, way before any other touch screen.

I guess if I hadn't been there I'd be disappointed too (still am), but it helped a little knowing the rough plan from day one.

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David

jk13,

Not too sure of that logic of building brand equity, which is very expensive, and then throwing in the towel willingly.

IMO, Eclipse tucked tail in the states due to poor product at the end and poorer sales.

I've heard a lot of B.S. from national sales managers.

Btw, Eclipse continued to have international sales for quite some time after backing out of the failed domestic market. So continued sales was part of the ongoing plan.

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jk13

Yeah David as much sense as the launch and expansion phases made, I didn't really get what he was saying about shutting it down in the end. He must have had a crystal ball or something though........

That's all I was getting at, why would Fusion come in as a low brow brand and try work their way up? That's sales 101, it's easier to sell down than up.

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David

jk13,

One of the Clarion national sales team, who we were close to, became the Fusion national sales manager early in Fusion's evolution. That was some weird equipment. I got the in depth tour. I did not see exactly how the early Fusion transitioned into the current Fusion. I think they may have been paying close attention to Aqua Marine and Clarion. All three companies shared personnel, and many of them would have been part of the same strategy meetings. As the mobile electronics retail trade was going through changes due to OEM infringement everyone was searching for a bigger share of a niche business. Perhaps easier than taking share from the more entrenched Pioneer, Kenwood, Sony and Alpine. That's my guess.

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WakesetterE

I have a Fusion MSIP500w head unit I had installed in my boat. It was an excellent unit that allowed multiple zones to allow for the separate adjustment of the tower speaker, sub, cabin speaker outputs. It also allowed an IPOD to operate inside the unit providing an easy way to access thousands of songs while keeping the iPod from getting wet. This unit had remotes worked well and I had no real issues with the deck. I removed the deck and replaced it with an Alpine chasing a phantom popping that turned out to be a bad depth finder. The Fusion deck had a few disadvantages over my current Alpine CDA11M unit. The low level output was very low (<2 volts total zones) requiring a low level amp to get my amps what they needed. This Fusion did not have bluetooth. This unit would not allow an iPhone to fit inside the unit. So after I got tired of loading songs on an IPOD, I found I really preferred using Pandora off the phone blue toothed into the Alpine. Now I leave the phone in the glove box and can control Pandora thru the Alpine deck. It works really well if you have internet coverage on your lake.

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