By Peter Tranter
Last August we were invited by Fusion to their PR event to announce the StereoActive. Backed by parent company Garmin, the StereoActive is an impressive floating music machine with built-in Bluetooth streaming, USB audio playback and AM/FM radio. The SteroeActive’s excellent directional speakers ensure the sound is pin-pointed towards the paddler.
It isn’t a device that’s just for use on the water but camping, boating, sailing, barbecuing, in fact anywhere where you need a rugged device, which, can also be used everyday in the home. It is so versatile and in our case is now the office sound system!
It’s solid, rugged and built to take what the outdoors can throw at it. The outside of the unit is protected by a UV resistant rubber surround giving strength and protection. The high visibility controls have been purposefully designed to be operated by the blade of a paddle, so you do not need to be within touching distance. All you have to do is give them a touch with the paddle edge – you can’t miss! A flat mounting surface has been designed on the top to allow for the mounting of a camera just behind the controls.
Before switching on, the unit requires its batteries to be powered up. This takes three hours but in the meantime do download the FUSION-Link app to your phone or your Garmin smart watch if you have one.
Push the on/off button for a second or so and the built-in voice prompt will let you know the unit is active. The button next door toggles between AM/FM and Bluetooth, which by the way is a doddle to setup. The rest of the buttons are relatively straightforward and standard including playlist shuffle and two radio presets.
Once paired with your phone, the StereoActive can stream anything whether it is your playlist, Spotify, or one of your favourite online radio stations. You can also listen to MP3 music tracks via a USB port next to the charging connector made waterproof by a screw cap.
The StereoActive is attached to your kayak/canoe/board by way of a flexible slide operated locking puck mounting system. Once attached then believe me, it is locked tight and going nowhere! The puck itself is attached to the surface via an extremely strong adhesive – this is definitely not one of your cheap suction cup jobs but a system into which a lot of thought has gone into. Add to this that the optional Fusion RAM and Railblaza pucks, which are also designed to integrate the StereoActive with their family of mounting solutions and you have the full house of attachments.
The IPX7 rated waterproof design combined with the ability to float in water is the obvious benefit to taking the StereoActive out into its natural habitat. I’ve used many similar, cheaper water-resistant Bluetooth speakers but the sound is no comparison to the StereoActive. The Class-D amplifier, speaker drivers, internal volume and passive radiator system delivers, crisp, quality music reproduction. The genuine 20-hour battery life allows an all day performance..
The ActiveSafe can be used as a standalone waterproof safe for your valuables or can attach to your StereoActive via Fusion’s puck system.
The ActiveSafe has the same IPX7 rated waterproof design combined with the ability to float in water. It’s large enough to hold the largest of smartphones, keys, credit cards, etc.
The obvious benefit is the ability to lock your phone away, keeping it safe, whilst streaming your favourite music via the Bluetooth connection – makes perfect sense.
All in all the StereoActive has already provided many hours of entertainment and been in use every day since arriving. It can be a little heavy but then again it is so well made and rugged, you will soon forgive that. The unit is so easy to use and with summer arriving, we will take the StereoActive out more into its natural environment of the outdoors and on the water. The huge bonus is afterwards it will be sat in the office knocking out great tracks. Perfect!
- Sources:Bluetooth/USB/AM/FM/iPhone/ Android/Weatherband (Weatherband available in US only).
- Tuner: AM/FM (Japan, Australasia, Europe, US) + Weatherband (Weatherband available in US only).
- USB format: FAT 32.
- USB audio format: MP3 (maximum 250 files per folder and 250 in the root directory).
- Made for iPod and iPhone: Apple IAP2 Lightning. Connector products: iPhone 7/Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s/Plus, iPhone 6/Plus, iPhone 5/5c/5s, iPod touch 5th/6th gen.
- AOA Android open accessory: Android open source protocol.
Speaker size: 2 x 2.5” custom design plus passive radiator.
- Amplifier output: Class-D / 40 watts (2 X 20W stereo).
- Battery: Up to 20 hours. Dual internal rechargeable high powered lithium ion cells.
- Charging requirements: 110~220 volt AC wall charger charges within three hours.
- Water resistance rating: IPx7/floats
- Chassis: Polycarbonate with TPE overmould
- FUSION-Link remote app – Bluetooth control via: Apple (Lightning connector products) and Android.
- Garmin smartwatch app via ANT: Garmin smartwatches (VivoActive/HR , Fenix 3/HR, Tactix Bravo, Quatix 3, D2 bravo) – requires FUSION-LInk app via Garmin Connect IQ store.
- Voice prompts: 12 unique multi-language voice prompts available in English, French, German, Dutch, Italian and Spanish.
- Mounting: Standard FUSION puck mount supplied with screw, adhesive pad and puck protective cover for use when the StereoActive is not attached.
- Dimensions: 236mmx82mmx139mm.
- Weight: 1.3 KG.