Hands On: Outcast Jr. Outdoor Speaker
Wireless transmission up to 350 feet, 60-watt digital amp, downward-firing 6.5-inch woofer.
With summer in full swing, what could be more fun that hanging out with a group of friends, eating burgers and enjoying some cold beers?
One thing that can make a scene like this even better is music. Products like SoundCast Systems’ Outcast Jr. ($500) make this happen without putting a hurt on the summer cookout budget.
The Junior is a downsized version of the company’s popular Outcast weather-resistant outdoor wireless audio system. This smaller unit is said to have a wireless transmission range up to 350 feet, and because of its smaller size, it can also be used as a portable audio solution for tailgating, beach outings and other applications.
The 18-pound Outcast Jr. includes:
- 60-watt digital amplifier
- Downward-firing 6.5-inch woofer
- 4 omni-directional drivers that are aligned to create a 360-degree soundfield
- Rechargeable 12-volt NiMh battery
- External charger and 120-volt power cable
The one major component the system is missing is a transmitter, but Soundcast provides two solutions custom electronics pros can offer consumers: the iCast ($100), which supports iPhone/iPod and level-level device connections, and its $100 Universal AudioCast Transmitter (UAT), which has USB, 3.5mm and line-level inputs.
I set up the system in a matter of minutes in our office. It included assembling the power cable and battery pack so I could charge the battery. After that I plugged the system in and wirelessly connected it to the iPod dock, which I did through selecting an interference-free channel. After a few minutes, the devices synced and I was able to access my iPod’s playlists to select some music.
My experience with the unit was enjoyable. I was able to fill our office space with lots of music without having to crank up the volume levels. I would describe its sound as full and rich with a variety of file formats on my iPod. Discerning audiophiles may find the top end to be slightly rolled off, but with some lower resolution files that may actually be a good thing because they tend to sound thin and crispy in those octaves.
Looking at the Outcast Jr. from an installer perspective, it’s a fun product that basically sells itself. The only issue I really ran into was the connection of the UAT, which gave me a little trouble. I believe my issue was related to the age of the computer I was using and not the SoundCast gear, but it’s something that pros and consumers may want to think about if the goal is to use an old computer as an audio server.
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