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Marine digital media receiver
Our take on the Clarion M502 by Crutchfield's Ken Nail
A marine design for digital music lovers
You won't find a CD player in Clarion's M502 marine digital media receiver, because it's built to handle most of the latest media options when you're out on the water. Built-in iPod® and iPhone® controls let you take charge of your music from the receiver's 7-way rotary knob, with song and artist information displayed on the sharp black-on-white display. If you're a Pandora® Internet radio fan, you can even pick from your favorite stations when your iPhone's connected.
Bluetooth adds an extra measure of convenience to the receiver. Not only can you answer calls hands-free, but audio streaming lets you send music wirelessly to the receiver from compatible devices. The M502 uses a built-in microphone to pick up your end of the conversation, and you can add an optional external mic, too.
Solid sound controls
The M502 gives you plenty of options for shaping the sound in your pleasure craft. The 3-band parametric equalizer adjusts the highs, mids, and lows to your liking, while the bass boost circuit kicks the lows up when you want some extra punch. You can use the built-in frequency filters and sub controls to get the best possible performance from your system.
Great radio, wherever you are
Clarion's excellent AM/FM tuner hauls in plenty of stations when you're within range. And this receiver works with the latest SiriusXM tuner (not included), so you can enjoy satellite radio channels when you're up to 200 miles offshore.
Remote control ready
You can use the included remote, or add Clarion's MW1 wired remote control — place one at the helm and you'll still be able to control the receiver that you've installed below. Or pick up Clarion's MF1 and enjoy radio frequency remote control of the receiver wherever you are on the boat.
Note: Bluetooth compatibility with this receiver may vary, depending on your phone and service provider.
iPod/smartphone note: If you're going to use your iPod or smartphone with this receiver, be sure to check "Details" for compatibility information.
easy installation on my boat high quality sound and other reviews claim difficult to be intuitive but I have had no problem figuring it out following the instruction book!
What's in the Box:
- Marine digital media receiver (with fixed face)
- Sleeve (installed)
- Trim ring
- Wiring harness (with in-line 15A fuse on constant power wire)
- RCX003 IR wireless remote
- CR2025 3V Lithium battery
- 4 Machine screws
- Rear-support stud
- 2 Washers
- Rubber boot
- Back-support strap
- 2 Radio removal tools
- Owner's/Installation Manual (En/Fr/Sp)
- Warranty Sheet (USA/Canada)
- marine digital media receiver (no CD player)
- built-in amplifier (19 watts RMS/45 peak x 4 channels)
- built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming
- 13-segment 2-line display
- USB, MP3, and WMA playback
- Pandora control with iPhone
- remote control
- conformal-coated PCB circuit board
- marine remote ready
- 3-band parametric equalizer
- high- and low-pass filters and sub level control
- iPod/iPhone direct control via USB input — no adapter necessary, but adding an optional connecting cable lets you leave your iPod cable at home
- compatible with SiriusXM satellite radio tuner
- inputs: rear USB input, auxiliary input
- outputs: 4-channel preamp outputs (2-volt front, rear/sub)
Other features and specs:
Clarion M502 Reviews
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Features and Specs
|Memory Card Slot||USB memory|
|Satellite Radio Ready||SiriusXM|
|RMS Power Output||19 watts|
|Peak Output||45 watts|
|RMS Power Bandwidth||20-20kHz|
|Sub Preamp Outputs||No|
|Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs||Yes|
|Preamp Voltage||2 volts|
|Key Button Color||Blue|
|Steering Wheel Control Compatible||No|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
|FM Sensitivity||8 dBf|
|Radio Data System||No|
Marine Tested: The Clarion M502 marine digital media receiver has been engineered and tested for use in the harsh marine environment. The M502 meets ASTM B117 and ASTM D4329 guidelines ensuring the receiver's resistant to salt, fog and UV exposure. The receiver features a drip shield chassis to keep water from dripping onto the unit's internal circuits. In addition, the head unit's PCB and microprocessor are conformal coated to protect them from corrosion.
Water Resistant Covers (optional): Even though the conformal coating makes the receiver water-resistant, it is still recommended that it be used with a universal marine cover such as the Metra (120999005B, sold separately) or Scosche (142ACM1, sold separately).
USB Port: The Clarion M502 digital media receiver's rear-panel USB (type-A) port is connected by a 41" cable. The unit's USB port allows you to connect and play a USB (1.1/2.0) mass storage device loaded with MP3 and WMA files. MP3 and WMA files with a bit rate from 8-320 kbps and formatted with FAT are supported. The head unit can recognize up to 999 files per folder and 3,000 total files. Titles up to 64 characters can be displayed while in USB mode. This unit will also charge (max. 0.5A) your connected USB device when the receiver is turned on.
Note: The Clarion USB extension cable (020CCA755, sold separately) can be used to connected your USB flash-memory device. Copy-protected WMA files cannot be played on this unit.
Folder Select: This function allows you to select a folder containing MP3/WMA files and start playing from the first track in the folder.
Top Function: The Top Function resets the digital media receiver to the first track of the connected USB device.
Playback Functions: The M502 provides Repeat, Random, & Scan playback functions.
- Scan Play: This function allows you to locate and play the first 10 seconds of all the tracks recorded on a connected USB device.
- Repeat Play: This function lets you play the current track repeatedly or play a track currently being played in a MP3/WMA folder repeatedly.
- Random Play: This function allows you to play all tracks recorded on a USB device in a random order.
Last Position Memory: If you turn off the unit or switch sources while a track is playing, it will resume playback at the stopping point when it is turned on again (as long as you do not disconnect the USB device).
Auxiliary Input: The M502 features a rear-panel stereo Auxiliary input, so you connect your external portable audio player or portable satellite radio receiver to this head unit. You can set the Auxiliary input sensitivity level to Low, Mid, or High to match the volume output of your connected external audio device.
iPod Direct Connection: The Clarion' M502's rear-panel USB port also acts as an iPod/iPhone high-speed direct connection when used with the USB/iPod cable that came with your iPod/iPhone. An additional iPod cable is available (469USBPOD, sold separately) so you can leave one at home and one in the car. f you have an iPod nano (7th gen), iPod touch (5th gen), or iPhone 5; use the Lighting-to-USB cable that came with your Apple device to connect to the head unit. Using either cable allows audio playback, music navigation, information display, and charging of select iPod/iPhone models from the Clarion marine head unit. iPod Video can be viewed by connecting the M502 to an external universal monitor with RCA video input and connecting a compatible iPod/iPhone via the optional Clarion CCA748 cable (020CCA748, sold separately).
iPod DAC Bypass: The USB connection allows your iPod/iPhone's stored music to be loaded instantly to the head unit and sound quality to be maximized through the head unit's 1-bit D/A converter, allowing for a Signal to Noise ratio up to 83dB.
iPod Control: You can choose to control the iPod/iPhone from the head unit or from your iPod/iPhone's clickwheel or touchscreen.
- Head Unit: The Clarion head unit allows you to navigate your iPod's music by Playlist, Artists, Album, Genre, Composer, Song, or Podcast. You can search these categories alphabetically (A-Z). The head unit also supports Repeat (file/all) playback functions of your connected iPod/iPhone.
- Simple Control: In Simple Control mode, you can
navigate the stored music on your iPod/iPhone from its clickwheel or
touchscreen. You can also listen to your favorite music apps (such as
Slacker) from your iPhone (iOS 3.0+) through the Clarion head unit
and your vehicle's speakers. You will continue to use your iPhone's
touchscreen to navigate your apps. Not all apps will be compatible with App
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.
Information Display: The head unit will display your iPod/iPhone's stored music file information; including Track number, Elapsed playing time, Song title, and Artist/Artist name. The head unit will also display song/artist information from the Pandora App. It will not display metadata from other streamed apps or when in Simple Control mode.
iPod Charging: The head unit's USB connection provides 0.5A of current to power and charge your connected iPod/iPhone when your vehicle's ignition switch is set to the 'ACC' or 'On' position. This unit does not charge the iPad. If your iPod/iPhone has no initial battery charge, then the unit will not recognize it.
Pandora App: The Pandora App (free) lets you play music from the Pandora music service through the Clarion M502 using your connected Apple iPhone, via the USB/Dock cable supplied with your iPhone. The Clarion M502 provides control over the Pandora music service and displays Artist, Album, and Song information. You can select Pandora stations from your station list and sort them by date or alphabetically (A-Z). Or, you can create a new station from the current playing artist or song. You can also skip song tracks within a station. You can even give songs a thumbs up or thumbs down. To access Pandora you must have an Apple iPhone (iOS3 or later) with the latest version of the Pandora application from Apple's iTunes App Store. Your iPhone will need an active Data Plan account with connection to the Internet via 3G, EDGE, or WiFi. You will also need a Pandora music service 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 to connect to the Internet. Pandora is not supported in Canada and only available in the United States.
iPod/iPhone Compatibility Chart: The Clarion M502 is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features (as of 9/25/2012):
|iPod Model||Generation||Tested Version||Media Type||Control Type||Display Type||Pandora app||Charge|
|Audio||Video||Head Unit||iPod||App mode||Artist/Song Text||Track Info|
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.
Bluetooth Technology (powered by Parrot): The Clarion M502 is equipped with built-in Bluetooth ver. 2.0+EDR (powered by Parrot), allowing you to make and receive phone calls wirelessly through the receiver; as well as stream music wirelessly from your smartphone to the head unit.
Bluetooth Profiles: In order to use Bluetooth wireless technology, your phone must also be Bluetooth compatible and be able to interpret certain profiles. This unit is compatible with the following Bluetooth Profiles:
- Hands-Free Communication: HFP (Hands Free Profile), PBAB (Phone Book Access Profile).
- Audio Streaming: A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile), AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile).
Pairing: Before using your Bluetooth enabled device, it must be paired to the M502. You can register up to five Bluetooth enabled cell-phones with the Clarion marine head unit (only one paired phone can be used at a time). The Clarion M502 is compatible with most Bluetooth enabled mobile phones, including the Apple iPhone.
Note: The Clarion M502 is not compatible with all Bluetooth enabled phones or audio players. Visit Clarion Bluetooth Support for complete list of compatible phones and players.
Hands-Free Communication: The M502 supports Bluetooth hands-free communication from your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone. The M502 can be set to automatically answer your incoming calls and mute any music audio to your vehicle's speakers so you can instantly carry on a phone conversation hands-free. An integrated front-panel microphone carries on your side of the conversation while your car's speakers are used to hear the other person. You can make a call by entering the phone number, selecting a contact from your Phonebook list, or using the Call History Log of received/dialed/missed calls.
- Answering A Call: During an incoming call, the caller's phone number will be seen on the unit's LCD and a ring-tone will be heard through your car stereo speakers. You can then manually answer the incoming call from the head unit's front-panel controls. You can also set the unit to automatically answer an incoming call within 5 seconds.
- Making A Call: You can make a call using the Clarion
marine head unit's front-panel controls.
- Direct Dial: Outgoing calls can be made be entering telephone numbers (0-9, *, #, +) directly via the car stereo's rotary control knob.
- Phonebook: You can search for contact names in your mobile phone's phonebook from the Clarion M502 and then make your call. The head unit can store up to 500 contact numbers.
- Call Log: You can also make a call by searching your mobile phone's call history (Received/Dialed/Missed) from the Clarion M502.
- Redial: You can simply redial the last number dialed with a press of a single button on the marine head unit.
Integrated Microphone: The Clarion M502 features an integrated front-panel microphone to carry on your side of a conversation during a Bluetooth phone call. You can adjust the microphone gain (+/-5) for each paired mobile phone device.
External Microphone (optional): The Clarion RCB-199 (020RCB199, sold separately) is an external microphone which can be connected to Clarion M502. The RCB-199 external microphone provides better performance in noisy environments than the integrated microphone found on the front-panel of the head unit. The microphone features an attached 13.25' cord terminated by a right-angle male 3.5mm connector which plugs into the microphone input on the rear-chassis of your compatible Clarion head unit. The microphone also features an integrated sun-visor clip for mounting the external microphone in your vehicle. The integrated bracket allows the microphone to swivel left-to-right and rotate up-or-down.
Wireless Audio Streaming: The Clarion M502 also supports wireless audio playback (AD2P) and control (AVRCP) of a Bluetooth enabled audio player or smartphone. The M502 will be able to control your stored music's basic playback functions; such as Play/Pause, Previous/Next Track, and Fast-Forward/Reverse. The M502 also supports audio streaming of music apps from your smartphone, but without control or metadata. You will continue to use your Bluetooth enabled smartphone to view & control streaming music apps. 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.
Note: The iPhone 5 only offers Bluetooth audio streaming without control or metadata display.
AM/FM Tuner: The Clarion M502 is equipped with a built-in AM/FM tuner offering manual, seek, & preset tuning.
Instant Station Recall (ISR): You can store one radio station in Instant Station Recall (ISR) memory and recall it from any mode (except Power Off). Once the ISR station has been recalled, you cannot tune to another station without first disengaging the ISR function. You can, however, switch to another source.
Preset Stations: 18 FM station presets and 6 AM station presets can stored. Stations can be stored manually or automatically.
Preset Scan: Preset scan receives the stations stored in the unit's preset memory in order. This function is useful when searching for a desired preset station.
Local Seeking: When Local seeking is turned "On", only those radio stations with strong radio signal can be received.
SiriusXM Ready: The Clarion M502 comes ready for SiriusXM programming with access to XM & Sirius Satellite Radio stations. Thanks to its proprietary SiriusXM Connect port, you can add the optional SXV200V1 SiriusXM Connect tuner and receive more than 150 channels of exclusive programming directly from SiriusXM, via the "SiriusXM All Access" package (subscription required). Visit SiriusXM.com for a complete list of subscription options & channel guide. Additional features of the SXV200 SiriusXM Connect tuner include:
- Information such as Channel Name, Artist Name, & Song Title can be viewed on the head unit's display
- Category Search feature lets you search for channels within a certain genre or category
- Up to 18 SiriusXM Satellite Radio station presets
- Artist/Song Alert notifies you when your favorite artist or song is playing
- Replay feature lets you pause, fast-forward, or rewind up to 30 minutes of live content
- iTunes Tagging for your connected iPod or iPhone
- Channels containing content unsuitable for children can be blocked
Note: SiriusXM Satellite Radio 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.
MOSFET Amplifier: The Clarion M502 employs a MOSFET (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor) power amplifier capable of delivering 45W (Peak) x 4ch of high quality sound with superior linearity & less distortion than conventional power amps, even with the volume cranked up.
CEA2006 Compliant: The power specifications for the M502 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. The power output specs for the M502 are as follows:
- CEA2006 Specs: 19 watts RMS x 4 channels (at 4 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 1% THD-N)
- Maximum Power Output: 45 watts x 4 channels (180 watts total)
BeatEQ: BeatEQ lets you tune the sound to your liking, depending on the category of music, for a more fulfilling listening experience. The Clarion CD receiver provides 4 preset EQ curves (Bass Boost, Impact, Excite, Off) and 1 custom EQ curve. Bass Boost emphasizes the bass portion of your music; Impact emphasizes the bass & treble portions of your music; Excite emphasizes bass, midrange & treble portions of your music; while Flat sets the bass, midrange, & treble to 0. The Custom EQ lets you freely customize the frequency, Q-factor, and level of the bass, midrange, & treble.
|BeatEQ (Custom Mode)||Frequency||Q-Factor||Level|
|Bass||50Hz, 100Hz, 200Hz||0.7, 1, 1.4, 2.0||-7 to + 7 dB|
|Midrange||500Hz, 1kHz, 2kHz|
|Treble||5kHz, 10kHz, 15kHz|
Note: BeatEQ settings are applied to all sources.
Magna Bass EX (Extend): The Magna Bass Extend feature does not adjust the low frequencies like the normal sound adjustment function, but emphasizes the deep bass frequencies to provide you with a dynamic sound. This circuit boosts bass at an ultra-low frequency of about 50Hz, creating a rich, deep, defined bass rather than the muddy, booming bass of a standard loudness control. What is more, boost levels are dependent on the system volume, resulting in balanced system response and dynamic bass reproduction.
4ch/2V Preamp Output: The Clarion M502 features 4ch/2V RCA line level outputs (Front/Rear). The unit's rear preamp outputs can be configured as a dedicated non-fading RCA subwoofer output with a low-pass filter and level control (+/-6).
Built-in Crossovers: The Clarion M502 is equipped with built-in low-pass and high-pass crossovers.
- Low-Pass Subwoofer Filter: The Low-Pass Filter (LPF) for the subwoofer preamp output will send only the low frequency range through the preamp outputs to ensure superb performance with a connected subwoofer. The low-pass filter can be set to 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, or Through (full-range).
- High-Pass Filter: The M502 features a High-Pass Filter (HPF) for the unit's front & rear channels, via speaker-output or preamp-output. You can adjust the high-pass filter from 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, or Through (full-range). The HPF prevents low bass notes from distorting your front & rear speakers. The high-pass filter setting effects both the front & rear channels of the head unit.
Beep: The marine head unit provides an audible beep to confirm button operation. This function can be turned On or Off.
High Visibility LCD: The two-line, high visibility LCD (with black background and white characters) on the M502 allows numbers and characters to be displayed clearly in almost any lighting condition.
7-Way Rotary Control Dial: The M502 employs a centered 7-way rotary control dial which provides full control of the digital media receiver and your connected devices.
Illumination Dimmer: The receiver's display automatically dims to a preset brightness when the vehicle's headlights are turned on. The wiring harness includes an orange/white lead that should be connected to the vehicle's parking light circuit in order for the dimmer feature to operate.
Screen Saver: This unit is provided with a Screen Saver function which allows you to show various kinds of patterns and characters in the operation status indication area of the display in a random order. You can turn this function on or off. If the button operation is performed with the screen saver function "On", the operation display corresponding to the button operation is shown for about 30 seconds and then the display returns to the screen saver display.
Mounting: You can install the unit within 30-degrees of horizontal.
Wireless Remote: The M502 comes supplied with a 20-key infrared wireless remote control (RCX003) for wireless operation of the digital media receiver and your connected devices. The remote operates off of a single CR2025 Lithium Cell 3-volt battery.
Optional Wired & RF Remote Controls: The unit is equipped with a rear mounted DIN connector to accommodate an optional Clarion wired marine remote control (020MW1; sold separately). You can also choose to add on the Clarion MF marine RF remote control (020MF1, sold separately). When the wired remote and RF remote are used in combination with one another, a Y-adapter is required (020MWRYC, sold separately).
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4 questions already asked
Sure. We've never installed one in a boat, but we purchase these because the marine application gives better water resistance in open cars where the radio might get rained on. I did find they were pretty deep, so make sure you have enough room behind the faceplate before you order. Good Luck. [ JIM Sep 08, 2014 ]
Of course - it is a standard size. FYI - the fader controls are krrtqting but probably not as much of a problem for car use ... [ BRYAN G Sep 04, 2014 ]
Yes, marine use only indicates the circuit board and controls have been sealed to prevent moisture from penetrating. Wiring is the same as non marine radios. I have this unit mounted in my Harley and it works great. Nice sound and the pandora works great. [ TREVOR Sep 04, 2014 ]
Yes I used mine in a jeep wrangler , I picked this 1 to help with moisture with the top off [ RONALD Sep 04, 2014 ]
If you purchased the product from Crutchfield, feel free to contact our Tech Support team. They can walk you through the settings on the product and see if there may be a fix. Our toll-free Tech Support number is printed on your invoice, and is also available under the "My Orders" tab in the "My Account" section of our website. If you did not purchase the unit from Crutchfield, then you may want to contact the manufacturer. You can also post your question in our forums: http://community.crutchfield.com. Or try our online support center: http://crutchfield.custhelp.com/app/answers/list/kw/. [ Krissy May 28, 2014 ] Staff
I forwarded your question to an Advisor and they responded with the following: The radio only has one input for a wired remote. We do not currently have any sort of splitters or adapters for adding additional remotes. If you would like to discuss further you can contact an Advisor directly by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. [ Krissy Apr 15, 2014 ] Staff
You will want to contact an Advisor by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat to discuss compatibility with your factory system. They will be able to pull up your vehicle and see if this will integrate. If it does not, then they will also be able to discuss other options with you. [ Krissy Mar 02, 2014 ] Staff