The Future of Marine Audio from the Guy that Creates It


The Future of Marine Audio from the Guy that Creates It


Life’s adventures are always best with a soundtrack. Whether you’re strutting down the street like Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, taking a road trip with friends, or enjoying a romantic dinner with someone special, music enhances our memories. Time on the water is no different. In fact, the marine audio market is one of the largest growing segments in marine electronics today, constantly evolving to offer better sound, deeper integration, and an unparalleled user experience. To learn more about what goes into developing products for boats, we sat down with Fabian Vuine – Marine Audio Senior Loudspeaker Development Engineer at FUSION Entertainment, the definitive leader in marine audio.


How did you get your start in designing marine audio systems?

I was working for automotive OEM customers designing speakers for major European car brands. I picked up dinghy sailing as a hobby, and although I spent way too little time out, it did get me excited about the marine environment.


What are the greatest challenges in producing high-quality marine-specific audio systems, whether in regard to installation, typical use or environmental factors?

The environmental conditions on the sea are savage. All materials must withstand salt fog, constant high humidity, and UV exposure, and at the same time, the customer still expects high-quality audio – as good as what they are used to in their living room. Boats follow an integrated design approach, with components sourced from multiple manufacturers and typically, many other components are considered a higher priority to the boat builder than audio playback. However, once out on the water, the customers still desire great sound.


What is the current trend in audio design across the industry?

High-quality audio is back! Hi-fi was high on the agenda in the 80s with large speakers and beautiful wooden cabinets, but then lower cost consumer products pushed into the market. The oversized boom box, each model boasting more watts and bass than the previous, the Walkman and eventually the iPod each made portable music more and more popular. With the rise of mp3 and low-cost Bluetooth speakers, high-quality audio reproduction became very niche. Now we see that audio products are getting much better again. Major companies like Sonos, Apple, and Google constantly release new, high-quality products with voice control and digital signal processing that sound fantastic. They are continuously setting the standard for everyone else in the game.


What do you think will be the hot new technology trend in marine audio over the next five years?

The marine industry follows trends established in the automotive market. Around 20 years ago it was very common to have four speakers in a car, 6 for a high-quality brand. Four woofers in the doors and maybe two tweeters in the mirror triangle or dashboard. If you wanted better sound, you had to get out the jigsaw and cut holes in the hat shelf. Today automotive systems are fully integrated with often dozens of speakers, controlled via large touchscreen displays with excellent sound not only for the driver, but for every passenger. I am convinced that this trend will catch on in the marine market, too. We will see multiple connected head units in different zones; better and more passive speakers; as well as fully-integrated active speakers.


What segment of the industry is fastest growing?

I cannot answer that for the industry as a whole, but for marine loudspeakers integrated LED lighting is definitely a trend we have seen in recent years. If done well it can be tasteful and really add to the on water experience.


What successes do you find most rewarding and what product are you most proud of?

Obviously, it is nice to know that people are having a good time out on the water and that I was part of creating that experience. Listening to your favorite music, sounding good, while in a relaxed environment, it is a just pure joy. To that end, I think our 8.8-inch Signature Series speaker turned out great and will definitely put a smile on a lot of faces.


How does FUSION differentiate itself from other marine audio manufacturers? What is the one thing that FUSION does really well that no one else does?

As a leader in the marine industry we design and engineer products specifically for the marine industry. Many car audio brands are pushing into the marine market as the car-hifi market continues to decline – preinstalled automotive systems just became very good. Often car-hifi brands paint their existing products white, add some bells and whistles and call it a marine stereo or speaker. For us reliability, durability and actual usability in the face of harsh conditions are paramount.

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Original Source: Sportsmans




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