In this article: I'll unbox and examine Infinity's R3000 marine grade head unit. I'll review it's key features and hook it up to my test bench to show you some of the user interface too!
For a large group of people, simplicity is the most important aspect of a boat. Whether that means it's easy to get on and off the swimstep, put the bimini up, or just turn on and use the stereo. Infinity's INF-R3000 Wake series head unit was designed to be simplistic – simple to install and simple to use – and throughout this review you'll see why. From its wiring and mounting to its connectivity and settings, it was almost a bit of fresh air installing and testing this unit out on my test bench. The R3000 also checks all of the boxes without the gimmicks and over-the-top hardware or features.
If you want a head unit to get the job done, has a fantastic weather resistance rating, and'll add some style to your boat's helm without breaking the bank, keep reading. In this review, I'll unbox the INF-R3000 and give you a closeup of the unit. I'll detail out some of the key features that I personally would look for in a head unit and provide you with my opinion along the way. By the end of this review, you should have the information you need to decide whether this boat head unit is the right choice for your application.
Unbox & First Impressions
The INF-R3000 is a digital media receiver, which means it doesn't have a CD player. You have to rely on Bluetooth, USB and radio for your source of music. This is pretty clear just by looking at the images of the unit but becomes more evident when you remove it from the box for the first time.
It's also a compact design, meaning it won't just fit into a single din opening like many traditional head units. This type of compact chassis is pretty common in the marine application, but is important to note. Measure your existing unit's opening if you're looking to replace it with this unit. Cutout dimensions measure 5.1875″ (w) x 2.0″ (h) x 4.75″ (d).
The product packaging is pretty straight forward, nothing to necessarily call out other than the fact that I felt like it was well protected and wouldn't be concerned about it during shipping.
The first thing that drew my attention when I pulled the unit out of the packaging initially was how well-sealed it looked. I'll get into more details about the marine-grade features specifically, but I couldn't help but notice how well the control knob, buttons and single-pane screen were sealed on the face. And the chassis design was clearly built for the damp or wet environment.
Next to the marine-readiness, my eyes naturally drifted to the screen as well. Infinity chose a 4″ LCD display screen with a white backlit background. One of the first good examples of simplicity – the text is black, making it easy to read regardless of glare. It's not a touchscreen though and doesn't feature any color. But what I like about the screen is that it is covered by a single pane of glass that stretches from top to bottom and from the far corner all the way to the buttons. Very clean, but also protects against the elements.
When I looked at the back of the INF-R3000, the first thing I noticed was that the wiring harnesses were hard-wired. Normally you can pull the wires off the unit via a plug and wire them separately. But, what Infinity did was they included a universal, standardized marine-grade plug that's designed to plug into a variety of boats. When I think about it, I'm almost positive that my Nautique G23 stereo actually had this same plug from the factory, so for many boats it'll be plug-and-play. Another great example of how simplicity was a priority for Infinity.
But it's worth pointing out that unless your boat already has the matching plug, or you purchase it and wire it separately, you'll need to snip the factory one off and hard wire the unit yourself. And without a removable wire harness that you can wire up without having the head unit in your way, it might actually be more difficult to wire. However, Infinity did give provide a wiring diagram with wire colors and functions directly on the unit to simplify.
What's In the Box?
- Marine Receiver (15A fuse)
- Wiring harness
- 2 Endcaps (pre-installed)
- Foam gasket
- 4 Screws
- Operation Manual for Users
- Warranty Statement
- FCC Statement
Marine Grade Features
I mentioned this already but it's clear that marine-readiness was a priority to Infinity in addition to simplicity. This should be pretty standard on any marine receiver, but some manufacturers go above and beyond. In my opinion, the INF-R3000 goes above and beyond simply because of it's IPX rating. You can look at a head unit when you pull it out of the box and eyeball it, and most of the time you'll probably be pretty good at judging how well it'll survive in the marine environment. The IPX rating backs up or reassures the eyeball test though.
The R3000 has an IPX7 rating, which is among the highest I've seen for a marine grade heat unit. IPX7 means that it's passed a series of independent tests to withstand being submerged under water for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter. Most of the marine grade stereo products that I've tested are IPX4 or 5, maybe 6. So if there were one important thing to call out about this unit's marine-readiness, it's that this unit is virtually waterproof (watertight) and unless you've capsized the boat you shouldn't have to worry about water resistance (barring any wiring vulnerabilities).
Water isn't the only element when you're on a boat though. UV plays a huge role in degrading buttons, fading screens and surfaces and more. Infinity has incorporated UV protection into the front panel of the unit to resist the damage that sun can have on things like the screen or the buttons and knobs.
Connectivity & Sources
The R3000 features the core connectivity options that you'll want/need on the water:
- Bluetooth – It features BT5, which at this time is the most up-to-date version of Bluetooth. It's faster and has a wider range than BT4.2 and previous BT versions. It also allows you to connect two devices up to the unit at the same time and take turns playing your favorite tunes without having to disconnect, reconnect, and then play.
- USB – There is a single USB input on the rear of the unit for charging your smartphone, or hooking up a USB thumb-drive to play songs from a stored USB device. In all honesty, I thought this was an interesting choice by Infinity. This USB does not support iOS or Android devices. Its sole purpose is to hook a thumb-drive with preloaded music on it (yes it'll charge your phone though). In today's age, USB is a bit redundant with Bluetooth, and you probably won't ever really use USB to play music outside of a thumb-drive. But still an interesting choice on Inifinty's part. Unfortunately, I do not have a thumb-drive loaded with music to test this with.
- Aux input – In addition to USB you also have the ability to hook in an auxiliary input via RCA inputs on the rear of the unit. You can use this Aux input for virtually any input you want as long as you have the adapting RCA cable.
The one thing about the multiple devices that I found a bit clunky was the initial setup of devices. In order to get both of my devices on the “DEVICE LIST” that you see in the images above, I had to connect one phone, turn the Bluetooth off on that phone, then wait for the R3000 to become available again and connect to the other phone. You can't simply connect to the unit while another device is already connected. But once your devices have been connected for the first time, it's pretty easy to toggle between them directly on the unit.
It also has AM/FM radio of course (it's not HD). But one additional source that is less common on receivers is the Weather Band tuner. I thought this was a great idea, especially for those who are going to use this receiver on large lakes or out in the ocean. You can tune to your local weather to check in on the local conditions in the case that you've lost reception on your phone. I'm surprised it's not more common.
Toggling through the various sources is easy too, simply hit the center power button to switch through the available sources.
Signal & Power Outputs
On the audio front, the R3000 is an excellent choice for an entry level stereo. If you're looking to use the internal amplifier to power your boat speakers, it puts out 20W x 4 channels RMS. This is pretty comparable to most marine head units on the market.
Alternatively, if you wanted to amplify your system with an aftermarket marine amplifier, the unit has a 2-channel RCA output that you can use for your amp signal. The only downside to this pre-out is that it's a 2V. I normally like to see at least 4 channel outputs with a 4V+ signal (preferably 4 channels and a subwoofer output) for high performance stereos. Mainly because the separation of outputs for things like cabin speakers, tower speakers and subwoofer gives you more control of the system and the ability to create ‘zones' if you wanted to. You can, however, just use an equalizer like the Wet Sounds WS-420 to create these zones if you needed to. Most 5-channel amplifiers also come with a subwoofer control knob if that's important. But if you're looking for a simple setup, you shouldn't have an issue with a 2-channel output configuration.
And if you do want 6-channel preamp outputs (among other upgraded features), you can always check out the R3000's big brother unit – the Infinity PRV-315.
Audio & Settings
The interface on the R3000 is very easy to navigate. You can access audio settings like fade/balance, bass, treble, loudness (loud), and an EQ with 5 preconfigured settings to tailor the sound of your music (including one selection to turn the EQ off).
The preconfigured settings include:
So depending on the type of music you're into, you can select one of these preconfigured EQ settings to tune the frequencies a little better to the genre.
There's a few other useful settings on the R3000 worth calling out. Here's a few snapshots of the various configurations and settings:
What is 2-Ohm Stable?
If you've read the general features of this unit, you may have already seen a feature labeled “2-ohm stable”. This is important for those who plan to use this head unit to power more than 4 speakers on their boat without a separate amplifier.
2-ohm stable, at a high level, means that the R3000 can continually and reliably output loads of 2-ohms. More importantly though, you can hook up two 4-ohm speakers to each channel output on the head unit and it will still maintain a 2-ohm output. This feature would allow you to, in theory, hook up to 8 4-ohm speakers to the internal amplifier channels on the R3000 while maintaining a 2-ohm output.
I'm a big fan of the look and the overall simplicity of the R3000. I think it's an excellent choice for an entry level system. It checks all of the critical features in terms of connectivity – Bluetooth, USB, Aux – and has plenty of power via it's internal amp. It also has you covered for an external amp via its 2-channel preamp output, even though it's only a 2V signal.
It's a bit limited in terms of it's ability to tune the output (it doesn't have a customizeable EQ), but the 5 presets should get you close to what you're looking for. In general, the sound and system settings is very easy to navigate through though.
What stood out to me as unique though is the level at which Infinity sealed this unit from the elements. An IPX7 rating isn't all too common on a head unit even though you would think it should be. The buttons, face and even the wiring are proof of how dedicated they were at making this unit fit for the rough environment on the water and in the sun. I also thought that the Weather Band feature was a great add for those who are planning to be on open water and away from shore. In most scenarios when you're far enough away from shore, phone service is limited so being able to check in on the current weather directly from the stereo could be a life saver.