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Clarion CMS4

Hideaway marine digital media receiver with Bluetooth® (does not play CDs)

Item # 020CMS4

If you stow your music in your phone or other portable device, Clarion's CMS4 marine digital media receiver is like...

Read more from Crutchfield writer, Jon P.

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About the Clarion CMS4

A hidden hub for your tunes

If you stow your music in your phone or other portable device, Clarion's CMS4 marine digital media receiver is like a source unit and a multimedia hub all in one. This compact package consists of a 3.5" color LCD controller that goes in your dash, along with a hideaway "black box" that can be installed out of sight, so it's ideal for smaller boats.

A hidden hub for your tunes

Clarion logo

If you stow your music in your phone or other portable device, Clarion's CMS4 marine digital media receiver is like a source unit and a multimedia hub all in one. This compact package consists of a 3.5" color LCD controller that goes in your dash, along with a hideaway "black box" that can be installed out of sight, so it's ideal for smaller boats.

Black box receiver

The CMS4's hideaway box contains a built-in global AM/FM/Weather Band tuner, plus a USB port for your iPhone, an auxiliary input, and a camera input. Built-in Bluetooth gives you hands-free calling and music streaming with just about any phone.

Pandora®

If you love Pandora® Internet radio, just connect your iPhone® or pair your Android phone and enjoy all your favorite stations while you're enjoying a day on the water. You can even give your "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" with the Clarion's controls. You can also plug in a USB thumb drive or portable player and enjoy MP3, WMA, and MP4 files you've ripped from your CD collection.

Satellite radio

The Clarion CMS4 works with the SiriusXM tuner (sold separately), so you can enjoy the wide variety of music, sports, news, and entertainment programming provided by satellite radio when you're up to 100 miles offshore.

A rugged, watertight controller

With the CMS4's "black box" installed down below, you can control everything from the watertight wired controller. The simple, robust design (choose black or chrome surround) and IP66-rated water resistance combine to give you outstanding functionality and reliability. The 3.5" LCD lets you see what's playing or who's calling, plus when you plug a rear-view camera into the dedicated RCA input on the box, you can even see what's behind you when you back out of a slip.

Start your system here

The CMS4 is a terrific start toward building a great marine audio system. The receiver houses a built-in amp (18 watts x 4 at 2 ohms) along with a 7-band equalizer, and you can access bass and treble controls through your wired remotes. In a larger vessel, you'll really appreciate the twelve preamp outputs which allow you to set up four completely separate entertainment zones.  

Marine-rated durability

Clarion invests thousands of hours into making their marine electronics tough enough to withstand salt water, heavy fog, blistering sunlight, and lashing rain. All that hard work leads to quality gear that's engineered to stand up to the extremes of a marine environment.

Bluetooth note: Use of this receiver's Bluetooth features will depend upon your phone's Bluetooth capabilities. Learn more in our article explaining Bluetooth profiles.

iPod/smartphone note: If you're going to use your iPod or smartphone with this receiver, be sure to check "Details" for compatibility information.

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Product highlights:

    General Features:
    • marine digital media receiver
    • package includes compact hide-away black box and 3.5" color LCD controller
    • built-in MOSFET amp (18 watts RMS CEA-2006/70 watts peak by 4 channels)
    • built-in Bluetooth with aptX
    • global AM/FM/Weather Band tuner
    • iPod/iPhone Direct Control via USB
    • Pandora Internet radio
    • Android Smartphone-compatible
    • plays USB, MP3, WMA
    • variable color button illumination
    Audio Features:
    • high- and low-pass filters
    • 4-zone source and volume control
    • 7-band equalizer
    Expandability:
    • compatible with SiriusXM satellite radio tuner
    • inputs: RCA audio input; USB port; RCA composite camera input
    • outputs: 12-channel preamp outputs (3.5 volts front and mono sub for four separate zones)
    • accepts up to 4 Clarion wired marine remotes
    Marine Features:
    • long memory retention for presets
    • low power consumption mode when powered off
    Other Info:
    KEEP READINGREAD LESS

    What's in the box:

    • Marine display controller
    • Hide-away connection module
    • Wiring harness
    • 10' System cable
    • 2 Trim-rings (Chrome/Black)
    • Protective rubber cover
    • Metal bracket
    • 2 Rear-support studs
    • 4 Hex-nuts
    • 10 Screws
    • Quick Start Guide
    • Warranty Sheet
    • Mounting Template

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    More details on the Clarion CMS4

    Features & specs

    Expandability
    AUX Input RCA (rear)
    Audio/video Input ---
    USB Input Rear
    Backup Camera Input No
    Second Camera Input No
    CarPlay No
    Android Auto No
    Siri Control No
    Android Control Yes
    Memory Card Slot USB memory
    Bluetooth Compatible Built-in
    Satellite Radio Ready SiriusXM
    HD Radio No
    Navigation ---
    iPod Compatibility
    Full size No
    Nano No
    Touch 6/5
    iPhone 7+/7/6S+/6S/6+/6/5S/5C/5/SE
    General
    RMS Power (CTA-2006) 18 watts
    RMS Power (Manufacturer) ---
    Peak Output 70 watts
    RMS Power Bandwidth 20-20kHz
    Preamp Outputs 12-channel
    Sub Preamp Outputs Yes
    Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs No
    Video Screen No
    Preamp Voltage 3.5 volts
    Screen Size ---
    Display Color Full Color
    Key Button Color Variable
    EQ Bands 7
    Wireless Remote No
    Steering Wheel Control Compatible Adapter required
    Parts Warranty 1 Year
    Labor Warranty 1 Year
    Tuner
    FM Sensitivity ---
    European Tuning Yes
    Seek/Scan Seek
    Radio Data System Yes
    High-res Playback No

    Product Research

    Marine Certified
    Bluetooth & iPhone Integration
    AM/FM/Weather+Pandora+SiriusXM
    USB/Aux/Camera Connectivity
    Audio Section
    Installation & Dimensions

    Marine Certified

    Marine Tested: The Clarion CMS4 Marine Mechanism-Less Source Unit has been engineered and tested for use in the harsh marine environment. The unit meets or exceeds ASTM B117 Salt/Fog Exposure and ASTM D4329 UV Exposure standards. The included watertight commander offers full IP66 tested and certified Waterproof protection, while the hide-away module is IPX5-rated. The CMS4 features a water resistance chassis and HumiSeal coated PCB to protect against corrosion.

    Hide-Away Module: The Clarion CMS4 includes a hid-away module which contains all of the system's hardwired connections. The hide-away module also contains the system 4-channel amplifier and AM/FM/Weather tuner. The hide-away module connects to the display controller via a 10' Cat-5 cable. The hide-away commander unit is water resistant (IPX5-rated).

    Watertight Commander: With the hide-away connection module installed in a water-protected area, you can control everything from the CMS4's wired watertight commander unit. Its simple design is void of any mechanisms to maximize reliability. The CMS4's watertight commander is waterproof (IP66-rated).

    • 3.5" Color LCD: Its 3.5" color LCD screen is optically-bonded to Corning Gorilla Glass for exceptional durability and prevents any water intrusion. The LCD screen provides song/artist information and album art. You can also adjust the brightness of the unit's LCD (se to High or Low).
    • Variable Color Button Illumination: Two 3-way rotary dials and four push-button controls offer simple operation of the CMS4 system. Selectable multi-color illumination of the buttons and knobs allows you to select your favorite color, match your boats anesthetic, or even reflect your mood.

    Optional Remote Controls: The CMS4's hide-away module is equipped with four 8-pin DIN connectors to accommodate optional Clarion wired & wireless remote controllers (sold separately). There is also a 3.5mm SWC input for connection to a steering wheel control interface module (sold separately)

    • Four 8-pin DIN Connectors: The unit's four 8-pin DIN connectors allow you to connect up to 4 Clarion wired and/or wireless remote controllers. Choose from MW1, MW4, MF1, or MF2 (all sold separately).
    • 3.5mm SWC Input: The 3.5mm steering wheel control input lets you keep your vehicle's factory radio steering wheel controls when used with an optional steering wheel control interface adapter (sold separately).

    Optional NMEA 2000 Interface Module: Clarion's MW6 NMEA 2000 Compliant interface module (020MW6, sold separately) allows Clarion marine source unit to be seamlessly added to your boat's onboard NMEA 2000 network, enabling control of the Clarion source unit directly from the boat's Multi-Function Display (MFD) device.

    Bluetooth & iPhone Integration

    Bluetooth Audio Streaming: The Clarion CMS4 supports wireless audio playback (AD2P) and control (AVRCP) of a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or audio player, plus song/artist information display and support for aptX music streaming. You are able to stream your stored music library on your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, as well as music apps downloaded on your smartphone to the Clarion CMS4 for playback.

    • SBC + aptX Codecs: In addition to support for the standard SBC Bluetooth audio codec, the CMS4 incorporate the lossless Bluetooth aptX codec which helps retain sound elements lost during digital compression of audio files, ensuring the highest quality level sound with wireless convenience. Many Android smartphones support aptX (iPhone does not support aptX).
    • Advanced Music Browsing: In addition to basic playback functions (Play/Pause,, Previous/Next Track, Random/Repeat), the CMS4 lets you browse your stored music by Playlist, Artist, Album, Song, etc. (AVRCP 1.4+ phones only, which includes Android OS 4.0+ and iPhone iOS 5.0+).
    • Song/Artist Info + Album Art: The head unit will also display your stored music and music app's song information - such as Artist name, song title, album title, and even Album Art (not compatible with all apps).
    Note: When an incoming call or outgoing call is in progress from your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone, audio streaming will be paused so you can take your call. Once the call is finished, your streaming music will resume.

    Secure Simple Pairing (SSP): With Secure Simple Pairing (SSP), you can easily pair your Bluetooth enabled smartphone or device to the Clarion CMS4 without having to enter pin codes or go through complicated settings. You can pair up to three Bluetooth-enabled devices to the Clarion head unit, but only one can be used at a time. When an already paired Bluetooth device is in close proximity to the receiver, the auto connection function automatically pairs the two units.

    Note: Due to the differences in Bluetooth technology, some Bluetooth enabled devices may be incompatible, function improperly, or may not support all features when used with the Clarion CMS4. Visit Clarion's Support Site for a complete list of compatible Bluetooth enabled phones.

    USB 1-Wire iPhone Direct Connect: The Clarion CMS4 supports audio playback, metadata display, control, and charging for Apple iOS 8.0+ devices with Lightning connector (including iPhone & iPod touch). Simply connect your compatible Apple iOS device to the CMS4's USB port using the Lightning-to-USB cable that came with your device or other "Made for iPod/iPhone" cable (sold separately). The unit supports audio playback from Apple iOS devices stored music library, music apps, and other apps with audio.

    • Playback Control: You are able to browse your Apple iOS device's music library by Playlist, Artist, Album, Genre, Song, Composer, Audiobook, or Podcast. You can also control playback functions such as Play/Pause & Previous/Next Track for stored music tracks and music apps. Playback functions such as Forward/Rewind, Repeat, and Shuffle are also available for your stored music library.
    • Song/Artist Display + Album Art: The CMS4's LCD screen will display artist name, song title, album title, and album art for music stored on your Apple iOS device and select music apps.
    • Battery Charging: The receiver's USB connection provides 2.1A of current to power and charge your connected iPod/iPhone when your vehicle's ignition switch is set to the 'ACC' or 'On' position.  If your iPod/iPhone has no initial battery charge, then the unit will not recognize it.

    Note: Access to your iPhone's downloaded applications will depend on the availability of a cellular and/or WiFi network for purposes of allowing your iPhone to connect to the Internet.

    iPod/iPhone Compatibility Chart: The Clarion CMS4 is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features (as of 2/7/2017):

    Apple Device Generation Tested Version Media Type Control Type Display Type Bluetooth Charge
    Audio Video Head Unit iPod/iPhone Pandora Album Art Artist/Song Text Track Info Phone Audio
    iPhone
    SE 10.2.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    5/5C/5S 10.2.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    6/6+/6S/6S+ 10.2.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    7/7+ 10.2.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    touch
    5th 9.1.2 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y
    6th 10.2.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y
    Note: Apple iPod/iPhone software updates may change functionality results. If you download a newer software version, you may need to reset the head unit and your iPod/iPhone to regain functionality. If this doesn't work, you may need to wait until a newer software update is available.

    AM/FM/Weather+Pandora+SiriusXM Radio

    AM/FM Tuner + Weather Band: The built-in AM/FM tuner offers North America and European tuning with RDS. The Radio Data System (RDS) feature displays radio broadcast information such as artist & track information when listening to compatible AM/FM stations. With the built-in Weather Band, you'll always have the latest weather updates including automatic reception of emergency information to keep your voyage as smooth as possible.

    • North America: 87.9 to 107.9MHz (FM), 530 to 1710kHz (AM)
    • Europe/Asia/Australia: 87.5 to 108.0MHz (FM), 531 to 1602kHz (AM)
    • Weather Band: 16.400 to 162.550MHz (Channels 1-7)

    Pandora App (for iPhone & Android): The free Pandora App (either from Apple's App Store or Google Play) lets you play music from the Pandora music service through the Clarion CMS4 using your USB-connected or Bluetooth-paired Apple iPhone (iOS 9.0+); as well as your Bluetooth-paired Android smartphone. Your compatible mobile device will need an active Data Plan account with connection to the Internet via 3G, EDGE, LTE (4G), or WiFi. You will also need a Pandora music service account. The CMS4 provides control over the Pandora music service and displays Artist, Album, and Song information, as well as Album Art.

    • Station List: You can select Pandora stations from your Station List by date or alphabetically (A-Z). Or, you can choose to shuffle all stations.
    • Create New Station: New stations can be created based on the current songs, artists, or genres playing on Pandora.
    • Skip Songs: You can skip song tracks within a station. You cannot skip back to a previous song. Pandora limits the number of skips allowed.
    • Thumbs Up/Down: You can give songs a thumbs up or thumbs down to help Pandora personalize stations to suit your preferences.
    • Bookmarking: The song or artist currently being played can be bookmarked & stored in your Pandora account.
    Note: Access to the Pandora service will depend on the availability of a cellular and/or WiFi network for purposes of allowing your iPhone/Android to connect to the Internet. Pandora is not supported in Canada & only available in the United States.

    SiriusXM-Ready: The Clarion CMS4 is SiriusXM-Ready and compatible with the SiriusXM Connect Vehicle Tuner (220SXV300 sold separately). The SiriusXM Connect Vehicle Tuner supports SiriusXM programming with access to 175+ SiriusXM channels via subscription; check out the most popular SiriusXM subscription packages here. Additional features of the SiriusXM Connect tuner include:

    • Text information, such as the channel name, artist name, and song title are displayed on the LCD
    • Category Search feature lets you search for channels within a certain genre or category
    • Direct tuning can be done from the remote commander's 3-way rotary knob
    • Up to 18 SiriusXM Satellite Radio station presets
    • The Replay feature allows you to pause, rewind, and replay live SiriusXM Satellite Radio from the current station.
    • Channels containing unsuitable content for children can be blocked
    Note: A separate SiriusXM Satellite Radio subscription is required (operates on the XM Network). However, you can easily add this SiriusXM tuner to an existing Sirius or XM account for a Multi-Radio Discount Plan.
    Note: A separate SiriusXM Satellite Radio subscription is required (operates on the XM Network). However, you can easily add this SiriusXM tuner to an existing Sirius or XM account for a Multi-Radio Discount Plan.

    USB/Aux/Camera Connectivity

    USB-A (MSC) Port: The CMS4's hide-away module is equipped with a USB (type-A) port for connection of a USB mass storage class device, such as USB thumbdrive or portable digital music player. The CMS4 supports playback of MP3/WMA music files recorded on these USB MSC devices (up to 32GB). You can search for music files by folder and control basic playback functions such as Play/Pause, Fast Forward/Reverse, Skip (Previous/Next), and Repeat/Random. This unit will also charge (2.1A) your connected USB device when the receiver is turned on.

    Media Type USB  (Mass Storage Class)
    File System FAT 16/32
    Playable File Types MP3, WMA
    Maximum # of Folders/Files 255 folders/65,535 files
    Tags ID3 tag, WMA tag

    Note: This unit's USB port does not support Android devices, USB hubs, or card-readers.

    Aux Input: The Clarion CMS4 features a stereo RCA auxiliary input for connection of external portable audio device.

    Camera Input: The Camera Input consists of a Composite video RCA jack for connecting an optional marine-rated rear-view camera (sold separately). This allows you to see what's behind your boat while on the water. The unit's harness includes a camera trigger wire which can be connected to a +12-volt switch (sold separately).

    Camera Audio: The CMS4's Aux input can also be used in conjunction with the Camera input. When using a camera with a built-in mic and audio out, audio from the backup camera can be heard while viewing the backup camera image.

    Audio Section

    MOSFET Amplifier: The Clarion CMS4 employs a MOSFET (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor) power amplifier capable of delivering 50W (Peak) x 4ch of high quality sound with superior linearity & less distortion than conventional power amps, even with the volume cranked up.

    • CEA2006 Specs: 18 watts RMS x 4 channels (at 4 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 1% THD-N)
    • Maximum Power Output: 70 watts x 4 channels (280 watts total)

    Note: The power specifications for the CMS4 are compliant with the CEA2006 Mobile Amplifier Power Testing and Measurement standards from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). These standards were developed as a way to equitably compare power specs from model to model and between manufacturers.

    12ch/3.5V RCA Outputs: The Clarion CMS4 is equipped with a total of twelve 3.5V preouts divided into four zones. Each Zone (1-4) consists of a stereo RCA line-output (L&R), plus a mono-Subwoofer output. The four zone of line-level preouts include - Front/Zone 1, Rear/Zone 2, Variable/Zone 3, & Fixed/Zone 4.

    Zone Configuration: The Clarion CMS4 can be setup for a single source application or a multi-zone/multi-source application.

    • Standard Mode: Standard mode is ideal for basic installations that utilize a single audio source from all connected speakers. Utilizing this configuration, you can have Front and Rear speakers with the ability to control fade, a seconds set of speakers and external amp connected to a variable line-output, and a third set of speakers and amplifier connected to a fixed line-output.
    • Multi-Zone Mode: Multi-Zone mode is ideal for installations that require multiple source to play simultaneously from different speakers. Using this configuration you can control up to 4 independent zones with 4 sources such as AM/FM, Bluetooth, USB, and/or SiriusXM (optional). All 4 zones are variable with independent volumes, EQ, gain, and other configurable zone settings.

    Note: When using Multi-Zone mode with multi-sources, the radio band source is limited to a single band (AM/FM/WB) across all zones set to AM, FM, or WB. Example - if Zone 1 and Zone 2 are set to AM and Zone 3 is set to FM, both Zone 1 and Zone will now become FM and vice versa.

    High-Pass & Low-Pass Crossovers: The Clarion CMS4 is equipped with front & rear high-pass crossovers for the unit's speaker level and line level outputs, as well as a low-pass crossover for the subwoofer line-level outputs. The front & rear high-pass crossovers, as well as the subwoofer crossover are independent of one another. They each have a selectable crossover slope of 12 or 24dB and a variable crossover frequency of 60/80/120Hz or Full-Range.

    Equalizer: The Clarion CMS4 is equipped with 11 EQ presets and a 7-band EQ to tailor the sound to your music and your preference.

    • Preset EQ: You can simply select from 11 EQ presets - Flat, Jazz, Pop, Classic, Rock, News, Urban, Rave, Movie, Techno, and User. The User mode activates a 7-band EQ.
    • 7-Band EQ: Equipped with a full-featured 7-band equalizer, you will enjoy superior control over the audio spectrum with frequency adjustments in the 50Hz to 16kHz range over seven bands. This gives you the power to get the most of your sound system, and the ability to contour the sound output to your musical taste.

    Sub Level Control: You can adjust the CMS4's subwoofer level output independently from the system's overall volume. The sub level is adjustable from 0-20.

    Loudness: The Loudness feature boosts bass & treble frequencies at lower volume levels. The Loudness feature can be turned on or off.

    Source Gain: You can adjust the gain level of each source (AM/FM/WB Tuner, USB/iPod, Bluetooth, Pandora, SiriusXM, Aux) for a consistent volume level across all built-in sources and input sources. The adjustable range of the Source Gain is -6dB to +6dB.

    Key Beep: With every button operation, an audible beep can be heard for confirmation. This feature can be turned on or off.

    Installation & Dimensions

    Watertight Commander: The watertight commander requires a rectangular cutout in the bulkhead for inserting the chassis. 4 included screws can be used to fasten the faceplate against the mounting surface and hold the integrated waterproof gasket against the bulkhead. Or, you can mount the unit using the including bracket and hardware which installs behind the mounting surface. You can choose between a chrome or black trim-ring for a clean-looking installation. 

    • Cutout Dimensions: 5.5" (w) x 3.5" (h) x 2.125" (d)
    • Front-Panel Dimensions: 6.0625" (w) x 4.0625" (h) x 0.9375" (d)
    Note: The CMS4 does not include a mounting sleeve or ISO-mount screw holes to accommodate standard I-, J-, or E-sized automotive installation.

    Hide-Away Module: The hide-away module should be installed in a dry, water-protected area. Select an area with sufficient ventilation for the mounting of the hide-away module in order to prevent the module from overheating. You may mount the module in a horizontal or vertical position. The hide-away module features integrated mounting flanges and included six mounting screws.

    • Width = 9.8125"
    • Height = 2.4375"
    • Depth = 8.0625"

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    Customer Q&A

    Q
    Crutchfield asked: Why did you buy this?
    A
    It fit my needs and was recommended by your staff [ Bruce  Oct 02, 2017 ]
    A
    Great features for a marine unit [ SUMMER  Mar 15, 2017 ]

    1 question already asked

    Q
    Hello. I currently have a factory installed Clarion CMS1 in my boat. I would like to change it out to a Clarion CMS4 unit. Does this new unit mount and plug in the same way as the cms1?
    [ John  Jun 06, 2018 ]
    1 answer
    A
    They do not mount or connect in the same way, no. You'll need to use the mounting accessories and harness that comes packaged with the CMS4.
    [ Ryan  Jun 13, 2018 ]  Staff

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