Any tangible reason to avoid the Clarion CMS5 Marine Source Audio System?

Discussion in 'Electronics Q&A' started by Carpediem44DB, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. Carpediem44DB

    Carpediem44DB Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    567
    Aug 18, 2015
    Sanfransico Bay area
    2006 44 DB Sedan Bridge Raymarine gs165 w Quantum HD Radar
    Achilles 350 Dink
    Nick Jackson Davit
    Cummins QSC 8.3 500 HD
    The Rainy season has finally arrived in northern Ca and it looks like it here to stay. I'm going to update the audio system on the boat so that I can have Blue Tooth connectivity among other conveniences the current systems have to offer. The boat currently has Clarion installed so I'm thinking its not a bad idea to stick with the same brand. I'm not super concerned with the highest fidelity or blasting loud tunes but I do want to avoid buyers remorse if possible. I've also seen threads singing the praises of JL and Fusion as they are NMEA 2000 compatible. I'd love to hear thoughts as to issues with the CMS5. They are on sale at West Marine @ 50% off so I may just take advantage of that unless otherwise dissuaded.
    Thanks for the input
     
  2. Groucho

    Groucho Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Albany/Lake George NY
    2004 320 DA
    6.2 V-Drives
    Hi...I am a former Clarion and Rockford Fostgate fan. I am also replacing my system and have done quite a bit of research. I would suggest using Fusion, as they are owned by Garmin. They have a Bluetooth head unit for a very enticing price. They have a lot of choices for marine and would be compatable with the existing Clarion unit and wiring.... I WOULD shop around though. Even at 50% off West Marine will probly be higher cost. I called Crutchfield and the guy spent 45 min on the phone with me. Seems to be lowest cost as well.
     
  3. stephens013

    stephens013 Active Member

    347
    Oct 8, 2009
    Ft Walton Beach, Fl
    2001 510 Sundancer
    1997 400DA Sundancer
    1994 Chalarral 310 Signature
    3196 Cat; 660 PHP
    3116 Cat; 340 PHP
    I've had several Clarion's. Worked great until they didn't, as is true with most things, but you can't get them fixed. Also difficult to expand the system. The Fusion seems to me the best alternative. That's the way I'm headed should my current clarion go silent.
     
  4. Robf

    Robf Member

    283
    Apr 17, 2013
    Winfield, WV
    2004 390 Motor Yacht (sold) Now searching!
    Twin 8.1 Mercruiser Inboards
    Carpe
    I upgraded the Clarion on my 390 to a Fusion head and amp with JL Audio Speakers. At the time, I just liked the reviews on the Fusion and it appeared they had more features. In hindsight, the problem with abandoning the Clarion is that the multi-disc deck is then inoperable as the cable is specific to Clarion and I was unable to find any type of adapter to convert it. The Clarion sound, in my mind, is just as good as the Fusion. I don't believe you will go wrong with replacing with the Clarion and it will certainly be easier to re-integrate with everything.
    Rob
     
  5. Carpediem44DB

    Carpediem44DB Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    567
    Aug 18, 2015
    Sanfransico Bay area
    2006 44 DB Sedan Bridge Raymarine gs165 w Quantum HD Radar
    Achilles 350 Dink
    Nick Jackson Davit
    Cummins QSC 8.3 500 HD
    Thanks, I was thinking along the lines of keeping the clarion system and just upgrading the control panel but then I'll have a new control unit on a 13 year old system. I rarely use the disc changer as we have so much more variety on the phones anyway. I think Ill go with Fusion and reconfigure my entertainment panel which I was just looking for a reason to do anyway. Now I just have to decide which Fusion to go with. I'm thinking of going with the MS-SRX400 and then over time adding additional units and employ the party bus feature thru their audio link system. I've read the latest reviews on the Clarion equivalent and people say the blue tooth is slow and intermittent and also warranty claims are a huge PITA. I dealt with that with my Rinker 350 that had Clarion with several remotes that never worked.
    Cheers
     
  6. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 741, 742, 8212, 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    Fusion's feature set is second to none. Their multiple zones, NM2K, WiFi, BT, their own app and accessories set them apart from all competitors. I know this because their customer support is horrible, and when my head unit partially failed I looked far and wide for alternatives.

    I hate that I have to trash a 4 year old $600 head unit because they refuse to offer repair services, but I'll likely replace it with another $600 Fusion head unit because I don't want to give up the features.

    I looked at the CMS5. It's interesting that they support J1939 instead of NM2K, but I suppose that still gets the job done?
     
  7. Carpediem44DB

    Carpediem44DB Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    567
    Aug 18, 2015
    Sanfransico Bay area
    2006 44 DB Sedan Bridge Raymarine gs165 w Quantum HD Radar
    Achilles 350 Dink
    Nick Jackson Davit
    Cummins QSC 8.3 500 HD
    Well I pulled the trigger on a Fusion MS-AV755 to replace the Clarion CMD4. I Took advantage of a crazy good black Friday deal. Everything still works but I really want the Blue Tooth capability and multi zone control and programming. The 755 has the DVD too so I can eliminate the DVD in the salon and make a cool little technology storage area in its place. I'm posting the Clarion system in the classifieds if anyone wants some spares to keep their system working until they want to upgrade. I'll post a pic when the install is done. Should really clean up the stereo cabinet.
    Carpe Diem
     

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