JL Audio MM50 vs. MM100s-BE
The JL Audio MM50 is the "Little Brother" marine grade head unit from JL Audio. The MM100s-BE was released first and they then followed it up with a smaller, more affordable unit with the MM50. The MM50 is everything you would expect and want in a head unit from JL Audio. It has a small form factor and a compact chassis to control your entire marine audio system. The MM50 has an AM/Fm tuner, Bluetooth, a USB port that is Made for iPhone, and an AUX input. The unit is IP66 rated which means you can spray it down with a hose, but it is not meant to be submerged. (If this unit is mounted in the helm and gets submerged, you have bigger problems to worry about than your radio.) For the screen, the MM50 has a 2.8 inch full color display that can offers delivers a clean, easy to use interface with both day and night modes for optimal visibility.
On the output side of things, the JL Audio MM50 has a built in amplifier for deck power if you don't want to run an external amplifier. The MM50 will power your speakers with 25 watts RMS at 4 ohms. We recommend adding an amplifier for outdoor, marine stereo systems and when adding an amplifier, the MM50 has 2 zones of output with front, rear, and subwoofer for each zone. This gives you a total of 6 sets of pre-amp outputs which is far more than any other marine head unit at this price point and compact form-factor. You hae flexible audio options to control each zone and a master volume knob for quick, on-the-fly adjustment for all zones.
Last but not least, the MM50 accepts the JL Audio MMR-20-BE or MMR-10W remotes and it has an NMEA 2000 connector for you salt water folks.
It is tough to beat the MM50 from a value standpoint. It is super compact, it has virtually all of the source inputs you would want, it has dual zone control with 6 sets of pre-outs, and it is NMEA 2000 compliant. If you don't want to add an amp, you can run 4 speakers off ot the internal amp. There's not much the MM50 can't do.
The JL Audio MM100s-BE is JL's top of the line marine grade head unit. This piece has Bluetooth built in, an AM/FM tuner, a USB port that is Made for iPod, an auxiliary input, and it is SiriusXM ready. However, if you want to add SiriusXM, you must purchase the SVX3000 tuner separately. The MM100s-BE has virtually every feature you would want from a high end marine grade head unit, but it does not have a built-in amplifier. You must use the pre-outs and external amplifiers to power your speakers.
Speaker of outputs, the MediaMaster MM100s-BE comes with 4 zone outputs for a total of 8, pre-amp outputs. You can customize the name of each zone which makes it easy to know which zone you are controlling, and each zone can be controlled independently. You can easily adjust the volume of each zone on its own while also setting a zone-limit to ensure that nobody gets blasted accidently when you turn up the master volume control. In addition to the control options, each zone also has a zero-clipping circuit design to ensure that the signal stays clean, you don't get distortion, and you don't blow your speakers.
For the display and interface, the MM100s-BE has a 3.5" full color, LCD dispaly with both day and night modes. The day and night modes make it so that it is bright enough when the sun's out, but it doesn't blind you when it gets dark. The MM100s-BE is IP66 rated which means that it can get wet, you can hose it down, but you can't submerge it.
For additional controls, the MM100s-BE is compatible with the MMR20-BE and MMR-10W remotes like the MM50 and it is NMEA 2000 certified if you are running a NMEA 2000 networks on your boat.
The MM50 has 2 zones, but 6 sets of pre-amp outputs. You get front, rear, and subwoofer for each zone and you can control each zone independently. With the MM100s-BE, it has 4 zones and 8 sets of pre-amp outputs. With the MM100s-BE, you have more control over each zone and you can customize the name of them so that you don't have to remember which zone controls what. You can control each zone independently wtih either of these units, but the MM100s-BE lets you set volume limits on each zone to ensure that nobody gets blasted when using the master volume control, and the MM100 has the Clean Audio circuit design to eliminate clipping.
The JL Audio MM50 comes with a built-in amplifier that delivers 25W x 4 RMS @ 4 ohms. This lets you power speakers like the JL AUdio M3 speakers without needing to add an external amplifier. We always recommend an external amplifier because it will blow away the internal amplifier in the MM50, but the MM50 at least comes with deck power. With the MM100s-BE, you need an external amplifier. You can't connect the speakers directly to the head unit itself.
The JL Audio MM100s-BE is larger than the MM50 as you might expect. The MM100s-BE measures 5.94"(W) x 3.90"(H) x 1.78" (D). The depth meausurement is the mounting depth. The total depth of the unit from the tip of the volume control knob to the back of the radio is 3.17". The mounting hole measures 4.7" (W) x 3.25" (H). For the MM50, It is 4.65" (W) x 3.74" (H) x 2.36" (D). Once again, that depth measurement is the mounting depth and the overall depth of the unit including the volume knob on the front is 3.67". The mounting hole for the MM50 measures 3.74" (W) x 3.12" (H). The MM50 is deeper than the full size MediaMaster because it has the built-in amplifier.
The display on the MM50 is 2.8" diagonal with a resolution of 320x240. The display on the MM100s-BE is 3.5" and it has the same resolution, 320x240.
The MM100s-BE has a zero clipping audio circuit which ensures that you don't get a clipped signal when you turn the volume up. This will automatically adjust things such as the bass and treble level to ensure that you don't get a clipped output signal. When you've been out on the water, and maybe someone's having some beverages and a great time. You don't want that person to hear their favorite song, go to your head unit, turn it up too loud, and blow your speakers. Marine speakers (hopefully JL Audio) are not inexepsnive and the MM100s-BE helps protect your investment.
Personally I like the MM50 better than the MM100s-BE, especially for the money. The MM50 offers so much value for the price point. It is JL Audio Marine, it has virtually every source you would need, it's NMEA 2000 ready, and it has 3 zone output with front, rear, and subwoofer for each zone. The MM100s-BE has more zones and it has the anti-clipping circuit, but it is significantly more expensive for 1 extra zone. The anti-clipping circuit is a really nice feature, but do you really need it? If you need 4 zones and the MM100s-BE head unit is in your price range, we like the Fusion Apollo MS-RA770 much better because it has Wi-Fi streaming which delivers better sound quality vs. Bluetooth. The Fusion unit also has a built-in DSP and it has their PartyBus technology if you choose to add remotes. If you are thinking of getting a JL Audio head unit, the MM50 is our choice. If the MM50 isn't enough for you, go with the Fusion MS-RA770.