In the Groove

This wa­ter­proof, puck-mounted speaker from Fu­sion Entertainment is the per­fect por­ta­ble ma­rine stereo.

Power & Motor Yacht - - GEAR - By Si­mon Mur­ray

What is the best cruis­ing song known to man? Easy. The cor­rect an­swer is “Mus­tang Sally” by Wilson Pickett. Yes, I’m aware it refers to a Ford Mus­tang and has ab­so­lutely noth­ing to do with be­ing on the wa­ter, but who cares? When I hear those horns start up and the backup singers’ sweet voices in re­frain, all I can picture is a day spent cruis­ing along the skinny stretch of land that is Long Beach Is­land, New Jersey, where I did most of my boat­ing grow­ing up.

Mu­sic has that kind of power—but only if you can hear it. En­ter the com­pact Stere­oAc­tive ($170) ma­rine speaker from Fu­sion Entertainment. Weigh­ing a measly three pounds, the Stere­oAc­tive none­the­less can belt some clas­sic soul—or what­ever your melodic in­cli­na­tion—with its dual, two-and-a-half­foot 40-watt speak­ers and Class-D am­pli­fier that cuts through loud wind and waves to de­liver crys­tal clear mu­sic.

Don’t speak au­dio­phile? That one-let­ter class dis­tinc­tion is im­por­tant, es­pe­cially for boaters who, if they’re like me, have watched as their por­ta­ble speaker cooked to the point of mute­ness in the sun. Class-D am­pli­fiers re­duce power waste by dis­si­pat­ing heat, thus less­en­ing the chances of an in­ter­nal melt- down and a mu­sic-less day spent on the wa­ter.

Ini­tial tests of the Stere­oAc­tive seemed promis­ing. It’s a Blue­tooth-en­abled de­vice that can stream au­dio from both iPhone and An­droid phones, and comes com­plete with an AM/FM ra­dio. In our dig­i­tal world, con­nec­tiv­ity is ev­ery­thing. My big­gest gripe with Fu­sion’s com­peti­tors has al­ways been con­nec­tiv­ity is­sues: ran­domly dis­con­nect­ing or “hic­cup­ping” if you stroll too far away, hand­cuff­ing you and your phone to an in­vis­i­ble prison. (The Ea­gles’ ac­ci­den­tally pre­scient lyric “we are all just pris­on­ers here of our own de­vice” can­not be over­stated.) The Stere­oAc­tive’s ad­ver­tised 33-foot range is ro­bust, and pos­si­bly even a low­ball fig­ure, which I ap­pre­ci­ate. Not only did the mu­sic come in loud and clear, but it also didn’t skip a beat.

But a ma­rine speaker is only as good as its wa­ter­proof rat­ing, and the Stere­oAc­tive can be im­mersed in wa­ter—in­clud­ing salt wa­ter—for 30 min­utes at a depth of 3 feet be­fore the risk of mal­func­tion. It floats, though, so un­less you take a spill off your pad­dle­board and cling to it, it’ll sur­vive your wa­tery ad­ven­tures. A puck al­lows it to be mounted to the sur­face of just about any­thing, so you won’t have to worry about it float­ing away. Rugged isn’t a word I use lightly, but this speaker is built tough.

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