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Marine Transom Remotes: Buyer's Guide

Adding a transom remote is recommended if you have a larger boat and makes for a much more enjoyable experience. If you don't have a remote, everything is typically controlled at the helm. But what happens if you want to jump in the water and swim? What if you have a larger boat and you want to hang out up front either in or on the bow? You still want full control over your music and taking your phone with you, where it may or may not end up in the water is not the best idea. Enter marine transom remotes.

What is a Transom Remote?

A transom remote is a wired, remote that usually looks and functions like your main head unit, but it usually doesn't have any of the sources, inputs, or outputs. It has a plug for a remote cable. When connected, the remote acts just like your regular head unit and it allows you to adjust the volume, change songs, change sources, etc. Typically, there are two versions of transom remotes, ones with a display and ones without. They usually function the same way, it just depends on whther or not you want or need the visual confirmation of what is happening.

Transom Remote with a Display
  • See the volume level to know you aren't clipping the signal
  • See the track that is currently play and get visual confirmation of the next song
  • Quickly and Easily change sources with visual confirmation of the source you have selected
  • If your transom remote has subwoofer control, you see the subwoofer level.
  • Typically more expensive
  • Larger Form Factor
Transom Remote with a Display
  • Less Expensive
  • Typically the functions are the same as the version with a screen
  • Smaller Form Factor
  • No Visual Confirmation of Volume, Subwoofer, Source, Track, etc.
  • Usually larger than the version without a display
What's Required?
  • A Marine Head Unit with Remote Control Connection
  • The Transom Remote
  • A Remote Cable/Extension Cord
  • A "Y" Cable if You Need More Than 1 Remote.
Where do most people put them?

You can install a transom remote virtually anywhere you have the space. If you can mount the remote and get the cable from the main source unit to the remote, you re good to go. Where and how many remotes you install will depend on the size of your boat and where people hang out while using your boat. The most common places are as follows:

  • Bow
  • Right Above the Swim Step
  • Flybridge
  • Cabin (If Applicable)
  • Helm (if the main head unit is located elsewhere)

    Brand and Product Breakdown
    Apollo Series Head Units

    The Fusion Apollo series head units come with Fusion's PartyBus technology which is unique to Fusion. With the PartyBus technology, the remote can be it's own stereo by itself, or it can be grouped and controlled by the main source unit which must be the MS-RA770. So, with this, you can have all head units grouped together playing some Rush. But, let's say that someone is inside the cabin and they hate Rush. They can ungroup the zone radio or remote inside the cabin and play whatever music they want in there. If the captain at the helm then decides that he is tired of Rush and he wants to play some Toto, and everyone loves Toto, the remote or zone stereo inside the cabin can be "re-grouped" together with the main head unit and everyone can enjoy Toto together. You get the best of both worlds. The Fusion PartyBus technology is very Sonos-esque if you have a Sonos system at home. But intead of it being a powered speaker, it is a head unit or "Zone Stereo."

    Non-Apollo Series Head Units

    The Fusion head units that aren't part of the Apollo series do not have the PartyBus technology. These head units act and use the typical remote setup that virtually all other marine head units use.

    JL Audio
    MM50 & MM100s-BE

    The JL Audio MM50 and MM100s-BE offer 3 different remote options, depending on the type of control and visualization you prefer.