Panbo

Aquatic AV, doing what Fusion hasn't?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Oct 24, 2011
Aquatic_AV_AD-DM-4B_media_locker_open.jpg

The Aquatic AV AQ-DM-4B Media Locker is purportedly so waterproof and rugged that you could install it on a Jet Ski, and though the company is relatively new to the marine world, it does have years of experience making stereos for the highly humid and harshly chemical environment around hot tubs. Plus there's a nice simplicity to a black box iPod/MP3 amp run only by a wireless remote, especially when that's a two-way RF remote capable of 50 foot range and even of showing iPod tune titles on its little screen... 

Actually I haven't seen how fast and/or readable the remote is -- which may be critical to how useful this stereo is for some boaters -- but I was told at IBEX that a single unit can handle up to 10 remotes, including some Aquatic AV alternatives. The AQ-DM-4B Media Locker -- which will retail under $300, I gather -- contains 4 x 72 watts of amplification as well as a "USA/Euro" FM tuner. And note the "Lightning" button at lower right on the remote pictured above; it activates a "trigger" wire in the Media Locker harness that can directly power any device using under 350 milliamps, or a relay. Clever!  Doesn't it seem that Aquatic AV is nearly as innovative with marine stereo as Fusion Electronics, only in quite different ways?...

Aquatic AV Media Locker cPanbo.jpg

In fact, Aquatic AV also offers a stereo control head with a built-in iPod dock which is somewhat like the designs that Fusion pioneered. However, the AQ-IP-3B is dual source, meaning that a user is one zone can be listening to iPod tunes while someone in the other zone can be listening to AM, FM or Sirius radio. And I was told that the Sirius radio module is entirely built-in, so only an antenna and subscription is needed. Plus, as indicated by the upper right buttons below, this head unit supports two trigger circuits. Has anyone out there tried Aquatic AV technology?
   Incidentally, the AQ Digital Media Locker and Fusion's new MS-IP700 were both selected as finalists for the DAME Award, marine electronics category. Check out the full list of new products being shown at METS, and you'll find some nice surprises!

Aquatic_AV_AW-IP-3B.jpg

Comments

I tried an Aquatic AQ-3B for a customer last year, but we opted to use the dual-zone Kenwood 700 (very good, under-rated 'iDevice' stereo) instead because the Aquatic was not iPhone compatible.

Aquatic also sold the wiring harness plug for the rear of the stereo separate, which is quite odd, so heads up when ordering!!

Hopefully they've worked out the kinks, because this looks cool.

Posted by: AaronH at October 24, 2011 8:22 AM | Reply

It's interesting, however the form factor of the featured dock is not that great for a boat, and IMHO its not that appealing.

The only major thing the Fusion seems to lack - the lack of a dedicated wireless remote (yes, you can now use your iPhone/iPod/etc.) - is something Fusion could easily solve, or now that the IP700 is coming out, even a third party could easily and inexpensively create a NMEA2000 remote receiver and remote to control the Fusion gear.

A more interesting product Aquatic makes is their waterproof 19" LCD tv, however it's going to need to be white before it makes its way into most express cockpits. :)

Posted by: Patrick at October 24, 2011 10:24 AM | Reply

Geez, Patrick, I tend to think the Media Locker form factor might be great for some smaller boats with crowded helms. Given the RF remote, the "locker" doesn't even have to be in sight or easily reachable.

Also I'm not sure it will be easy for a third party to remote the new Fusion gear. Stereo control is not among the standard PGNs, and I think the Fusion-Link SDK is for Ethernet, not N2K. Besides, it's licensed, not open source.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Patrick at October 25, 2011 5:32 AM | Reply

I just looked at the Kenwood that AaronH mentioned. That looks like the best unit I've seen for iThing control. The only issue I was able to find was that you loose dual zone control if you don't use the internal amplifier!

If it wasn't for that, I'd likely give it a try. As it stands, I've finally figured out my Alpine unit and am reasonably happy with it.

I really liked the Kenwood's screen and search control. The Alpine has decent search capabilities but the screen is pathetic (large, but displays very little).

Posted by: Cameron at October 25, 2011 1:20 PM | Reply

I laughed when I read Cameron has finally figured out his Alpine.
I have one and it drives me nuts.seems to always go into
shuffle mode when I least expect it...not user friendly!
Next stereo will need a different user interface.

Posted by: Peter at October 25, 2011 7:41 PM | Reply

I found the operating instructions on a utube video! The manual sucks.

You should look it up, as it did make things make a lot more sense. Unfortunately, I still agree with you that the interface sucks.

Why put such a big screen and then only enable it to display letters like a digital clock from the 70's?

I'm still looking at the Kenwood. If it would keep the dual zone with pre amp outs, I'd probably change now. As it stands, my boat is going away any day now for the winter so I can afford to wait to see what everyone brings out by spring.

Posted by: Cameron at October 26, 2011 9:42 AM | Reply

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