The historic Japanese brand is introducing a completely new range of products. It is the result of a process that began in 2018 when the brand licence was bought by JL Audio
by Luca Sordelli
ANYBODY WHO IS READING THIS ARTICLE HAS PROBABLY HANDLED ONE, OR AT LEAST LISTENED TO ONE. I am talking about radios from Clarion, the Japanese brand that in its eighty-year history has been deployed on millions of cars and a huge number of boats. Whether as a sailor or just driving a car, it is practically certain that everyone has turned its knobs, pressed its buttons and listened to its sound. Clarion still supplies many automobile companies and even though we no longer see its name on the old car stereo systems, it lies at the heart of infotainment systems, including those fitted on board a lot of boats.
Everything started in the 1940s in Saitama, in Japan. The company was called Teikoku Dempa. Clarion was the brand used for its devices, and the first were battery-operated table radios for the domestic market.
And it is in the yachting world that Clarion is currently expanding considerably. The brand was bought by JL Audio in 2018, and that was followed by an important brand relaunch, with the redesigning of numerous products and significant work on market positioning. The marketing of new speakers and sub-woofers began over recent months with two ranges that are based on Clarion’s immense know-how, reinterpreting it in the best way possible and adapting the products to the new needs of sailors, utilising the most modern technology in the sector.
In the 1990s Clarion became a leading supplier to the yachting sector.
New products will continue to be launched during 2021 with the new series of amplifiers and source units. It is also worth stating that Clarion Marine’s new lease of life is not taking place in the shadow of JL Audio, actually quite the contrary. Thanks to the strength of its history and brand, which has for years been a point of reference in the yachting world, the firm will be able to take on the tough competition and position itself both as both an OEM and a retail operator, so it will supply both construction yards for original installations and also the aftermarket sales network.
But let’s take a look at what’s new in the products, starting from the technical aspects. Both the speakers and sub-woofers in the new series have been completely re-engineered to improve sound quality, response in the base ranges and power management.
Clarion is offering two ranges, Entry Level and Premium. The former, which as the name clearly suggests is the most basic made by the Japanese firm, features a 6.5-inch speaker in three finish options: Classic, Sport and Sport with LED (all of them in white or black colour schemes). The Premium series, by contrast, has two speakers, both of them with greater power output than the entry level: one is 6.5 inches both in Sport and Sport with LED finishes and there is another of 7.7 inches in Sport with LED finish (all of which are available in white or gun metal colour schemes). This series also has a ten-inch sub-woofer in two models (a two-Ohm one, and a four-Ohm one) both of them come in Sport with LED finishes (in white and gun-metal). The Premium series has arisen from the equivalent 6.5 and 7.7-inch speakers from JL Audio, and the same thing is true of the ten-inch sub-woofer. This range is characterised by having the tweeter installed as a bridge, which means the front part of the woofer can be sealed off, thus avoiding critical points and increasing the surface of the cone, which increases efficiency and output.
Over recent years, Clarion has consolidated its position as a supplier to the big automobile manufacturers, many of whom incorporate its products directly into their infotainment systems.
Finally, it should be stressed that Clarion products are created to resist the harshness of the marine environment and thus have Salt&Sun certification, which means that they have passed ASTM B117 testing (which involves exposure to salt spray), ASTM D4329 (exposure to ultra-violet rays) and and 3.0G (resistance to vibrations). So essentially it is ready to take on anything so that it can bring music on board.
(Clarion Marine, the new Era – Barchemagazine.com – October 2020)