Fusion’s new RA670, completing the Apollo line

Today Fusion announced the MS-RA670, the third head unit in their Apollo line of marine stereos. I’ve been testing one for a few weeks and it looks like the 670 slots in between the top-of-the-line Apollo MS-RA770 and the much smaller MS-SRX400.  Here’s the lowdown on what the 670 offers and how it fits within the line.

As I mentioned, the $450, three-zone RA670 is the third stereo in Fusion’s Apollo line joining the $350, single-zone SRX400 and the $650, four-zone, touchscreen controlled RA770.  Like the SRX400, the RA670 has a button-driven interface with a 2.7″ full-color display.  It has NMEA-2000 and Ethernet connections but, unlike its two siblings, it doesn’t have WiFi built-in.   The 670, like the 770, is SiriusXM ready with a SiriusXM port for connecting the Connect Vehicle Tuner and supports SiriusXM’s advanced features.

I was a little surprised that Fusion did not equip the 670 with WiFi since both of its siblings have it.  They explained that their decisions on which features made the cut were determined in large part by retail customer and boat builder feedback.  Fusion equipment is now standard equipment on brands including Sea Ray, Grady White, Regal, Crest, and Sea Pro, so the builders’ needs were probably a major factor.

Marcus Hamilton, Fusion’s marketing manager, says they expect there will be two main use cases for the 670.  First, it will serve as the only stereo present on boats under 26 feet and second as additional stereos on larger boats also equipped with an RA770.  Any boat with a 770 can use it to provide WiFi connectivity to the RA670, and an Ethernet to WiFi adapter can be used with a standalone 670.  Even without WiFi you can use Bluetooth to both control it with the Fusion-Link app and stream.  Additionally, you can control the stereo on your MFD using NMEA-2000 and Fusion-Link.

(I’ll add that on my RF-dense boat I’ve found the 2.4 GHz WiFi used by both the SRX400 and RA770 problematic for maintaining reliable streaming. However, by using Ethernet to connect the head units to my boat router — which is supported by Fusion — I can stream well using the 5 GHz band.)



The head unit controls three zones of audio — like all Fusion multi-zone stereos, zone volumes can be controlled individually but all zones listen to the same source — and has onboard amplification for two of those zones.  It also supports all the goodness Ben E saw at the Apollo intro — like PartyBus, high fidelity uPnP and AirPlay streaming, and MFD control via FusionLink, plus the ARX remotes I recently raved about.

I’ve been using my pre-production unit for a few weeks now.  The 670 is a nice mix of most of the features of the 770 in an even more compact unit and with a nice price point.  For my use, the button interface gives up very little to the touchscreen interface of its big brother, though I do sometimes miss the big bright screen of the 770.  The entire Apollo line is pretty impressive and a pleasure to use.  The RA670 rounds out the line nicely and comes at an attractive price for all the features it offers.

 

 

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Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of Panbo.com, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, completed the Great Loop in 2017.

16 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Hi Ben, I’m really curious about how the various Apollo screens look from fairly extreme viewing angles. At about what point do brightness, contrast and color saturation fade significantly?

    In my case — because I mount the pilothouse stereo head above the helm — I’m most concerned about screen legibility from a low viewing angle, but maybe you can check all sides of each RA?

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      I would say that off-angle viewing is quite good on the displays. It definitely can get dimmer if you’re not looking right at the display but I’ve not had any troubles seeing the displays way off angle and in bright sunlight.

      Here is a picture taken from well below the RA770 in my cockpit:

  2. PaulGel says:

    Even on Ethernet the SRX400 doesn’t play reliably on Partybus. It can take a number of restarts to maintain a consistent signal from the 770 and the software/hardware integration is far from intuitive. It is not a multi source multi zone solution though to be fair it isn’t really sold as one once you read the detail of what Partybus is.

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      Paul,

      Have you been able to update Firmware on your Apollo units? I have had troubles at times with Airplay (though I think that’s mostly an issue of WiFi coverage on my phone) but Partybus has been solid for me.

  3. Dave King says:

    I’m interested in either the RA760 or the 770 with a SRX400 with a need for 4 zones with 2 separate sources or all playing the same. PaulGel, you make it sound like this doesn’t work well? If that’s the case, I might as well buy two cheaper Bluetooth units from another brand.

  4. PaulGel says:

    The RA770 will do 4 zones with the same source but you will need external amps on Zones 3 and 4. The SRX400 will give you the possibility of a second source but only on that unit not on Partybus. My issue is that even on Ethernet the connection between the 770 and the 400 is patchy and the software still needs some development.

    • Dave says:

      The fact that Ethernet, let alone WIFI connection is not robust makes me consider strongly the Clarion CMS4. Is it really that bad? I find that hard to believe as Fusion would lose slit of credibility. Could someone from Fusion please respond before I waste $1100 on garbage.

      • Anonymous says:

        The RA670 is garbage. Fusion has lost sight of being the best. They only want to seek direct to manufacturers. No airplay or WiFi. What a joke

        • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

          Anon,

          Garbage seems like an awfully harsh conclusion because there’s no WiFi. I was able to get Airplay to work when the stereo was connected via Ethernet, but I believe Apple withholds Airplay certification if there’s no WiFi.

          Ben

  5. Bob says:

    Have you done any comparison between this RA-670 and the non-apollo RA-210 ? They appear to be identical in almost every aspect except power level. All features and functionality look the same and was wondering if you had any input on the 210 as I”m not looking for the extra power, and it comes in at $100 less. Am i giving anything up by it not being an apollo?

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      Bob,

      I haven’t gotten my hands on an RA-210 except at a trade show booth. I believe the main thing you’re giving up with the 210 is network connectivity. I don’t believe there’s an Ethernet port or WiFi on the 210 which means you won’t get Apple Play or uPnP IP based streaming to the stereo. Additionally, without network connectivity the stereo can’t participate in Fusion’s Party Bus. Also, the 670 has a total of three zones with two amplified internally and 280w of total amplication, the 210 has a total of two zones with all internally amplified and 200w of total amplication. Otherwise the specs do indeed look very similar.

      -Ben S.

  6. Scott says:

    Hi Ben. Do you know where I can find out what adapter or router is compatible? Will an Ethernet to wifi adapter work? My installer got me the 670 not the 770. I really wanted the wifi because of the sound quality compared to BT

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      Any Ethernet to WiFi bridge or adapter should be compatible. As long as the device can connect to your WiFi network you should be fine. You will need to configure the bridge / adapter before you connect it to your 670.

  7. Jeff says:

    Ben- I am simply looking at the RA670 as a new head unit to replace the original Clarion on my Sea Ray. Using it to play music (itunes, spotify etc) from my phone via bluetooth, as well as play my TV audio through. I see people here talking about wifi, ethernets etc. When and why would I need to use these things and if not is the 670 a great unit for my needs?

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      Jeff,

      If your primary use of the stereo will be to stream music via Bluetooth and possibly via RCA inputs (for the TV) the 670 will suit your needs quite well. Ethernet or WiFi connectivity allow use of technologies like Apple Airplay, multi-zone audio, and MFD control of the stereo. None of that is required to simply play music from a phone or other source.

      -Ben S.

  1. June 3, 2019

    […] recently unveiled the Apollo MS-RA670 as the middle sibling in their Apollo head unit line.  They now have the […]

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