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I met with Soundcast Systems and took a look a two new iPod speakers they plan to release in the summer of this year. The SpeakerCast is a shelf-sized speaker set, while the OutCast is an outdoor speaker. Both use the iCast dock to transmitter an audio signal to the speaker (included with each product). Soundcast says both products have a indoor range of 150 feet and an outdoor range of 350 feet.
SpeakerCast is also available in white with a grey grill.
SpeakerCast. This shelf-sized device has a pair of three-inch drives and a 50-watt digital amplifier.
The SpeakerCast's sound was warm and clear. The bass didn't drop heavy, but the bass sounded pretty decent. I didn't notice any distortion at loud volumes. I didn't get a chance to try out songs with a lot of high notes in it. That's something I'll definitely need to do in the full review. It did a good job of filling the 100 square-foot conference room we were in.
The SpeakerCast has a very small remote control that's about the size of a Compact Flash card. The remote has basic iPod track controls and volume adjustment. This may sound odd, but to use the remote, you point it to the SpeakerCast, and if it has to do any iPod controls, the SpeakerCast has to then transmit a signal to the iPod docked in the iCast. This probably caused the slight delay I experienced when I paused a track.
The unit I saw was an engineering unit. We'll do a full review of a shipping unit when they're available this summer.
Points to consider:
> Shelf-sized iPod speaker in compact form.
> Uses separate (but included) iCast transmitter as iPod dock.
The OutCast is weather resistent.
OutCast. I was surprised at the size of the OutCast. It's roughly three feet tall, and it look like a giant air purifier. It has an 8-inch downward firing woofer, four 3-inch high frequentcy drivers, and a 100-watt digital amplifier. The battery lasts about 10 hours between charges.
Like the SpeakerCast, the OutCast works with Soundcast's iCast iPod dock (included). You dock your iPod, and the iCast transmits to the OutCast (you can you a pair of OutCasts at a time). There are audio controls on top of the OutCast. There's no remote control.
The OutCast sounded quite powerful, but we were indoors for the demonstration. The bass is heavy, the midrange is clear and warm, but I didn't try music that would test the OutCast's abililty to handle high notes.
This was also an engineering unit. Soundcast says the OutCast won't be available until the fall. It's an interesting product, since there aren't a lot of true outdoor iPod speaker systems. Once we get a final unit for testing, we'll see how well it does outside.
Points to consider:
> Designed for outdoor use.
> Powerful enough for very large rooms, but how will it handle outside?