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Old 04-20-2019, 03:50 PM   #1
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Multizone audio, any alternatives to Fusion??

I'm looking to upgrade my boat stereo system from a simple 2 zone system (front and back speaker fader) to a 4 zone system. I know Fusion seems to be the industry leader but have read bad reviews on their reliability. I've been searching for alternative options but haven't come up with anything. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-20-2019, 05:00 PM   #2
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I don't know, but I did a search on "multi zone boat stereo" and got a lot of hits. See if that yields anything that works for you.
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Old 04-20-2019, 06:43 PM   #3
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I am not sure what you mean by zones. I use SONOS. Flybridge is one zone. Salon is zone 2, kitchen is zone 3 and bedrooms are zone 4 & 5. I can have all the zones play the same or they can play something different.

It’s not cheap.
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:44 PM   #4
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I have a multi-zone audio system from Channel Vision that works nicely, although it is now several years old and I would think there would be better systems now.

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Old 04-21-2019, 04:43 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by tiltrider1 View Post
I am not sure what you mean by zones. I use SONOS. Flybridge is one zone. Salon is zone 2, kitchen is zone 3 and bedrooms are zone 4 & 5. I can have all the zones play the same or they can play something different.

It’s not cheap.
If you have a reliable WiFi network and don’t mind being limited to 120v ac to hear your music, SONOS is wonderful. But it ain’t cheap.
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:54 AM   #6
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Sonia coming to Ikea:

https://www.sonos.com/en-us/symfonisk-by-sonos-and-ikea
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Old 04-21-2019, 11:25 AM   #7
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I've had at least 5 Fusion stereos and never had any issues with them failing. While I like the Fusion integration options with MFDs, I have found that to be a nice-to-have feature, as it doesn't work anywhere near as well as a wired remote, or using Fusion-Link apps on smartphones/devices.

However, I 100% agree that Sonos sounds far better, and is generally easier to upgrade to as long as you have 120VAC available. I have Sonos at home, at a vacation house, and on the boat as well. Not only does it sound amazing, but you can tune it for each room with an iPhone so it sounds appropriate. In addition, guests, provided that they are on your WiFi network, can add songs to the queue, contribute their horrible music, and generally have fun.

We have two Play 1's in the salon along with a subwoofer, and it is the loudest, most clear and dynamic sound I've ever had on the boat. There's also a Play 1 in each stateroom, which is pretty overkill but still nice when retired for the day/night.

I plan on adding a Beam, which is a sound bar, for the TV in the Salon, and removing one or both of the Play 1's there. The Beam has Alexa, so I can yell at it to play things while around the cabin, which should be nice. That combined with the Subwoofer should be more than enough for both TV and audio in that room.

I've been toying with the idea of a Play 1 at the flybrige, but I also have a Fusion radio installed aboard as well with speakers in the Salon and Flybridge. They just can't keep up with the quality of Sonos....
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Old 04-21-2019, 11:34 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by stevemitchell View Post
I've had at least 5 Fusion stereos and never had any issues with them failing. While I like the Fusion integration options with MFDs, I have found that to be a nice-to-have feature, as it doesn't work anywhere near as well as a wired remote, or using Fusion-Link apps on smartphones/devices.

However, I 100% agree that Sonos sounds far better, and is generally easier to upgrade to as long as you have 120VAC available. I have Sonos at home, at a vacation house, and on the boat as well. Not only does it sound amazing, but you can tune it for each room with an iPhone so it sounds appropriate. In addition, guests, provided that they are on your WiFi network, can add songs to the queue, contribute their horrible music, and generally have fun.

We have two Play 1's in the salon along with a subwoofer, and it is the loudest, most clear and dynamic sound I've ever had on the boat. There's also a Play 1 in each stateroom, which is pretty overkill but still nice when retired for the day/night.

I plan on adding a Beam, which is a sound bar, for the TV in the Salon, and removing one or both of the Play 1's there. The Beam has Alexa, so I can yell at it to play things while around the cabin, which should be nice. That combined with the Subwoofer should be more than enough for both TV and audio in that room.

I've been toying with the idea of a Play 1 at the flybrige, but I also have a Fusion radio installed aboard as well with speakers in the Salon and Flybridge. They just can't keep up with the quality of Sonos....
We have a 7 year old Fusion setup that works well...but the more i read about Sonos, the more we like the capability....
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Old 04-21-2019, 11:39 AM   #9
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We have a 7 year old Fusion setup that works well...but the more i read about Sonos, the more we like the capability....
Coming from the sailboat world, I worried about the amp draw and power usage of Sonos while out and about. Of course, while motoring, I don't care now (such a quick transition to not caring!) but while at anchor, I still am a crazy amp counter.

I did quite a few tests of the dual Play 1's and subwoofer compared to a modern Fusion head unit with 100W of power and one and two zones of speakers. The difference (minus the subwoofer) is negligible in overall DC amps used (Sonos is inverted/110VAC vs Fusion using DC direct) yet the quality in sound is sooooo much better. Even adding the subwoofer wasn't that much more in power usage.

The overall experience with Sonos is just a lot better. I've been a customer of theirs at home since their beta days, and the software is easy to use, allows you to group rooms in creative ways, integrates with just about every music system in the world, and is just really well done.

We use the TV sound bar functionality a ton, and you can take the input from your TV going into the soundbar and share it to all the other speakers in the house/boat, which means you can still hear your TV program (or sports game if you like that sort of thing) wherever you are on the boat!

For the boat, I also download music to my iPhone which you can play directly to the Sonos, and I have a Plex server aboard for TV and other things when we're away from any useful internet connection. Sonos can play from both of those, which makes it nice in those situations.
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Old 04-21-2019, 11:46 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by stevemitchell View Post
Coming from the sailboat world, I worried about the amp draw and power usage of Sonos while out and about. Of course, while motoring, I don't care now (such a quick transition to not caring!) but while at anchor, I still am a crazy amp counter.

I did quite a few tests of the dual Play 1's and subwoofer compared to a modern Fusion head unit with 100W of power and one and two zones of speakers. The difference (minus the subwoofer) is negligible in overall DC amps used (Sonos is inverted/110VAC vs Fusion using DC direct) yet the quality in sound is sooooo much better. Even adding the subwoofer wasn't that much more in power usage.

The overall experience with Sonos is just a lot better. I've been a customer of theirs at home since their beta days, and the software is easy to use, allows you to group rooms in creative ways, integrates with just about every music system in the world, and is just really well done.

We use the TV sound bar functionality a ton, and you can take the input from your TV going into the soundbar and share it to all the other speakers in the house/boat, which means you can still hear your TV program (or sports game if you like that sort of thing) wherever you are on the boat!

For the boat, I also download music to my iPhone which you can play directly to the Sonos, and I have a Plex server aboard for TV and other things when we're away from any useful internet connection. Sonos can play from both of those, which makes it nice in those situations.
Methinks I need to pick thy brain over rum drinks before pulling the trigger on more gear .
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Old 04-21-2019, 11:47 AM   #11
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Methinks I need to pick thy brain over rum drinks before pulling the trigger on more gear .
Rum always makes for a far better decision making process
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Old 04-21-2019, 12:39 PM   #12
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Rum always makes for a far better decision making process
Indeed!
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Old 04-21-2019, 01:39 PM   #13
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Old 04-21-2019, 03:59 PM   #14
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I don’t use the sono’s speakers. I use their “connect” and their “amp”. In most rooms I use speakers by Definitive Audio that are powered by a “sonos amp” in the saloon I have a complete Surround sound audio/video system and I use a “sonos connect” to feed in the music. All my music is on the NAS. On the fly bridge I have a car stereo system and I use a “sonos connect to feed the music to it as well.
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Old 04-21-2019, 06:16 PM   #15
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I like Fusion but sadly the Apollo is not true multi zone multi source like a Sonos. I know because I bought an Apollo setup and it just isn’t stable and Partybus isn’t the same as Sonos. If you are really keen you can rewire the power supplies to take 12VDC on Sonos but don’t expect a warranty.
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:03 PM   #16
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I just bought a Clarion CMS4, a fairly new unit out, that competes with Fusion. If you search you should be able to save a bit of money over Fusion. With it I also purchased the Fusion Flat Panel speakers, three of them for the three zones I will be establishing.

I choose this route over Sonos, which I love and have purchased three for home use, because on my 29 foot Express Cruiser space is an issue and I didn't want the clutter of Sonos. The Fusion Flat Panel Speakers can be flush mounted so virtually no space lost due to speaker foot print.

I also bought the Sirius plug and play unit (Clarion) so I can get a broader range of music than the basic, sound all the same FM radio stations, and no hassle of downloading and hearing the same stuff over and over again which I don't like.

Clarion CMS4: https://www.clarion.com/us/en/produc...l/marine/CMS4/

Fusion Flat Panel Speaker: https://www.fusionentertainment.com/...kers/rv-fs402b
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Old 04-22-2019, 12:35 AM   #17
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Methinks I need to pick thy brain over rum drinks before pulling the trigger on more gear .


Make sure you invite me too. We have Sonos at home and LOVE it. I personally can’t see the advantage of Fusion (beyond 12v) onboard. Plus I’d like to meet Steve in person.

Also, I have rum!
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Old 04-22-2019, 06:53 AM   #18
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I left the Sonos onshore and use a Ryobi Bluetooth speaker system. It runs all day using my power tool batteries, has an fm radio and streams from my phone or pad to up to 5 zones. The base unit and a second remote speaker are $60, extra speakers are $25 ea. I got it at Home Depot.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-18...P765/301045697
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Old 04-22-2019, 11:38 AM   #19
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I don’t use the sono’s speakers. I use their “connect” and their “amp”. In most rooms I use speakers by Definitive Audio that are powered by a “sonos amp” in the saloon I have a complete Surround sound audio/video system and I use a “sonos connect” to feed in the music. All my music is on the NAS. On the fly bridge I have a car stereo system and I use a “sonos connect to feed the music to it as well.
I have connect that feeds my Fusion stereo as well, and a couple of amps at home, but I like the compact package of the Play 1 series speakers. About the size of a beer with a cozy on it, I can just plug it in and forget it.

My previous boat I had all amps/connects and speakers from Definitive Audio as well - I went with the B&W outdoor speakers, which were pricey ($800+ a pair) but they sounded amazing. What did you find for speakers from them that works well?

I've considered this route for one room on the boat, but have yet to find good sounding speakers that don't require a huge amount of space.

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I like Fusion but sadly the Apollo is not true multi zone multi source like a Sonos. I know because I bought an Apollo setup and it just isn’t stable and Partybus isn’t the same as Sonos. If you are really keen you can rewire the power supplies to take 12VDC on Sonos but don’t expect a warranty.
I have heard mixed reviews on the Apollo as well. Folks seem to really love the touch screen, but that appeal goes away pretty quickly, as many folks are used to using their phone, and having it on the stereo isn't something that gets used that often. Partybus is an interesting idea, but you either have to have ethernet between them (most reliable) or use WiFi, which sounds like it has a bunch of bugs.

Quote:
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I just bought a Clarion CMS4, a fairly new unit out, that competes with Fusion. If you search you should be able to save a bit of money over Fusion. With it I also purchased the Fusion Flat Panel speakers, three of them for the three zones I will be establishing.

I choose this route over Sonos, which I love and have purchased three for home use, because on my 29 foot Express Cruiser space is an issue and I didn't want the clutter of Sonos. The Fusion Flat Panel Speakers can be flush mounted so virtually no space lost due to speaker foot print.

Fusion Flat Panel Speaker: https://www.fusionentertainment.com/...kers/rv-fs402b
I stumbled on the Fusion Flat Panel speakers as well, and have one that I have yet to find a place for. They're not terribly expensive, and they have decent sound with the included bass reflector, along with two tweeters and two mids. I bought the extender ring/collar as well, which means you could mount it anywhere with only a tiny hole for the speaker wire, which is pretty cool. I may stick mine in the flybridge so I can use the Fusion head with it in case I don't want the Sonos up there in bad weather, etc.

They also have the same speaker enclosure with a FM/AM/bluetooth radio and full controls on the front - would be pretty slick to add a decent stereo speaker in tight quarters where you just want to stream to it from your phone or tablet.

Fusion Panel Stereo
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Old 04-23-2019, 01:03 AM   #20
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I have a ProCinema 6 in the saloon and the rest of the boat uses Promonitor 800’s.

Not really relevant to this conversation but there are two base systems to the surround sound. The ProCinema base is tuned to the higher base frequencies and a 15” kicker with its own amp is tuned to the really low base frequencies.
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