An almost perfect outdoor speaker system. Especially for iPod owners.
I remember the days when trying to get music to a place not equipped for music used to involve tons of planning. For example, a party in the backyard would involve recording a tape of songs, finding a boom-box loud enough and finally making sure a power connector was present withing a foot. Today, all I need is an iPod and the Outcast Junior from Soundcast.
The Outcast Junior is an outdoor, rechargeable speaker system that can also wirelessly communicate with the iCast transmitter- an iPod docking station with AUX input for connecting anything other than an iPod. Its cylindrical shape stands at about 50 cms with a diameter of 27 cms and weighs 13kgs. Inside this weather proof housing, the Outcast Junior is equipped with four 3” speakers in a 360 degree layout to provide sound from all angles. The four speakers are accompanied by a 6.5” downward firing woofer.
The Outcast Junior is quite small and light to be carried and placed anywhere you want it to. On the top you have buttons for powering up the unit, changing volume levels as well as pausing or skipping between songs. These buttons will only work if you have an iPod connected wirelessly through the iCast transmitter. A 3.5mm input jack above the speakers lets you connect any audio source directly to the Outcast Junior. Finally, the bottom has the power connector that can recharge the ten AA sized batteries, also accessible from the bottom of the unit.
Along with the Outcast Junior, we received the iCast transmitter which, as we mentioned is an iPod dock and a wireless transmitter. Soundcast uses three channels of 2.4GHz technology for interference free audio transmitting for upto 350 feet. The iCast transmitter needs to be plugged in to a power source and can thus be used inside your home while the Outcast Junior sits outside pumping your tunes.
A 3.5mm aux input on the iCast transmitter also allows you to use any other audio source, however, you lose the functionality of pausing or skipping tracks from the Outcast Junior. We tested the Outcast in our office and while I can’t say that we were 350 feet away from the transmitter, it did work very well when placed a little over a 100 feet away from the iCast. I connected my iPhone to the iCast and was able to skip and pause songs from Outcast Junior.
Considering that there isn’t much change in weather during the summer months here in the UAE, we weren’t really able to test this unit against anything but extreme heat. However, the following video by Souncast will certainly lay rest to any doubts about the weather proof chassis of Outcast.
The sound produced by the Outcast Junior has to be heard to be believed. In one word, it is incredible. The volume levels should easily be able to provide entertainment upto a 1000 feet in either direction while the bass levels produced had an awesome kick and are sure to impress audiophiles. Even at the loudest volume levels, we did not notice much distortion.
Soundcast claims the battery of the Outcast Junior to last between five to nine hours. We couldn’t really keep the Outcast Junior pumping audio through our office building for a longer time but five hours should be plenty for a casual party. If you are looking for something more we suggest the senior version of the product that gives you more battery life and even louder volumes.
About the only thing we found lacking on the Outcast Junior is an SD card slot to play your tunes from. By including an SD card reader, the Outcast Junior could’ve become a fully self-contained music system. Other than that, its a perfect outdoor speaker system that we highly recommend.