Electronics Report: FUSION StereoActive
Published: Friday, October 20, 2017
By: By: Jordan Balbresky
I first saw the new FUSION StereoActive at the Miami International Boat Show in February and it was a display that instantly caught my eye. As I walked through the Electronics tent, there were radars, flashing lights, nifty gadgets, and stereos all over the place, so it was hard to really stand out in that space. But the FUSION booth had StereoActive front and center and although, on the surface, it looked like just another waterproof speaker, I quickly realized it was much more, starting with the most important fact… StereoActive is NOT just another waterproof speaker. In fact, StereoActive is a fully functional, stereo system with Bluetooth and USB streaming capabilities, AM/FM and Weatherband, and the whole thing is not only compact and waterproof, but it floats!
If you haven’t heard of FUSION Entertainment, the company really set the bar for stereos designed from the ground-up specifically for the marine market. Much more than just car stereos that can be mounted on a boat, FUSION stereos offer incredible sound quality and are specifically engineered to stand up against all that Mother Nature can throw at you. After talking to the team at the FUSION booth, I learned that the sound designers for FUSION are avid watersports enthusiasts in addition to being very passionate about good music. They realized that they were lacking a good stereo system when they hit the water, so, they sat down at the drawing board and StereoActive was born.
It all starts with the sound and, for such a compact unit, there is a lot of it! The two 20 Watt 2.5-inch custom-designed directional speakers matched with the off-axis correction of the polycarbonate grille are protected in a ruggedized case that is perfectly tuned for powerful audio delivery in the outdoor environment. What that means is that the sound is clear and powerful, but that it is directed towards you, rather than in every direction. This is important for those on stand-up paddleboards or kayaks that don’t want to blast their favorite playlist out to the guys fishing on shore, or those that need their music to compete with the sound of an outboard. A highly efficient Class-D amplifier incorporated into the unit delivers more power and a longer battery life — so you can enjoy quality music reproduction on the water for longer. The unique equalization via digital signal processing at each volume step, ensures warm sound and rich bass at low levels and no distortion at high levels, for consistent audio quality at all volume levels.
As we said, FUSION made StereoActive waterproof and it floats. But how do you take that sound with you? The Puck mounting system is a FUSION-designed solution that allows you to securely attach a StereoActive to the surface of a paddle board, kayak, canoe, dinghy, and even a hot tub — letting you enjoy your music rather than worrying about your stereo floating away. FUSION has partnered with Ram-Mount and RailBlaza to create specialized Puck solutions that are compatible with these industry-leading mount providers’ products. You can truly Puck your StereoActive anywhere!
So, once you attach StereoActive to your transport of choice, what sources can you play? Pretty much anything you want. The built-in AM/FM radio tuner has a powerful internal antenna. You can also enjoy playback of MP3 media from a low-profile USB flash drive, kept safe in a really cool, water-resistant cavity. It can also stream directly off your mobile device. Which begs the question, what do you do with your mobile device when you are on the water? Well, the team at FUSION have thought of everything! In addition to the stereo, FUSION designed the ActiveSafe, which fits just below the StereoActive, to hold your phone, keys, credit cards, and cash. Engineered to fit perfectly onto any FUSION Puck mounting solution, the ActiveSafe is a completely watertight and IPx7 rated water resistant storage case that also floats. With internal volume optimized to ensure buoyancy, the StereoActive will float even when attached to an ActiveSafe containing your valuables. Also, for those that love to capture their outdoor activities on video, a flat mounting surface has been positioned perfectly to allow for the mounting of a Garmin Virb or other third-party action camera. This lets you have all your valuables locked together in one convenient unit that you can easily take with you at the end of your adventure.
The dual high-powered lithium ion cells built into StereoActive are reliable and have a long life expectancy, which allows you to keep your music playing for up to 20 hours. The 12 VDC input (rather than the standard 5V USB) charging means that StereoActive can fully recharge back to 100% battery capacity within 3 hours. This means less time waiting for a charge and more time out on the water. Going on a road trip? Don’t worry; the unit has an optional car-charging accessory so you can take your entertainment with you. If your smartphone is running low on power, the USB port provides an emergency charge system. You can also connect your Apple IAP2 Lightning Connector products and AOA Android phones to the USB port to enjoy audio playback directly from your smartphone while you get a charge.
So how does it all function? StereoActive is controlled with easy to press, scalloped buttons which are adjustable with the touch of a finger. The high-grade rubber over-molded keypad, as they say, is engineered to take a paddling. Garmin smartwatch owners can also control StereoActive directly from their wrist. Current supported watches include: Garmin VivoActive, VivoActive HR, Quatix 3, Fenix 3, and Fenix 3 HR. You can also download the free FUSION-Link app from the Apple app store or Google Play store to enable Bluetooth control of StereoActive directly from your smartphone. App functionality includes the ability to set tuner regions, scan stations, set pre-sets, adjust volume, and select your favorite music track.
No matter how you use it, I definitely recommend the FUSION StereoActive. It locks into place, plays great quality music from any source imaginable, and it will take whatever you can think to throw at it.
For more information on StereoActive, ActiveSafe, the Puck mounting system, FUSION or its entire line of audio products, visit www.StereoActive.com.