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OutCast Jr Wireless Speaker Review

Posted by Dave On December - 19 - 2012

The essentials of a good tailgate party are food, friends, family and a festive atmosphere. A large part of that festive atmosphere includes having good music. One thing you can’t control is your friend’s taste in music thinking playing a loop of Michael Bolton’s Greatest Hits at your tailgate is a good idea. The thing you can control is how your music will sound and the quality and clarity in the way it is delivered. We recently discovered the OutCast Jr Wireless Speaker by Soundcast and put it to the test to see how well it adapts to a tailgating atmosphere.

Outcast Jr Tailgate Party

If you are familiar with the Soundcast OutCast Wireless Speaker, The Outcast Jr is the smaller, more transportable yet tremendously sturdy little brother. The Outcast Jr is an outdoor wireless stereo speaker designed to work with Soundcast audio transmitters and can receive signals up to 300 feet outdoors. That’s the length of a football field between the transmitter and the speaker. Also, the speaker has a long-life internal battery. That means if your tailgating neighbors half way down the row invite you down to try their atomic chicken wings, you can bring your tunes with you. Just pick up the Outcast Jr, leave your iPod docked in the iCast Transmitter, and you won’t miss a beat.

(As mentioned previously, we were sent an Outcast Jr free of charge in order to properly test and review it for quality, craftsmanship and durability. In the interest of full disclosure, receiving this product sample free of charge in no way influenced our opinion and review of this product.)

Upon receipt of the Outcast Jr, the first thing we noticed was how sturdy it was. The Outcast Jr is solidly built and before we turned it on and started playing music we could tell it could pack a punch. We plugged it in and started charging the internal battery on the speaker while we unpacked the iCast docking station and transmitter. This little guy was going to wireless transmit our music from our iPod to the Outcast Jr Wireless Speaker. The iCast transmitter was easy to use in that all we had to do was plug it in, place the iPod in the docking slot and hit play. Now was the real test to see how loud this speaker could get.

Cut to the chase, this sound system can get loud. And by loud we mean this could cut through the sounds of a noisy tailgating parking lot with generators and other music playing around you and still be considered to be loud. The Outcast Jr features four omni-directional speakers at the top and one 6.5″ subwoofer on the bottom. On a fully charged battery, this bad boy can play for six to 15 hours depending on how loud you like your music. Turning it up all the way proved to be ear splitting without any distortion which was quite impressive to me.

Now that you know it can belt out some pretty good sound, how would it hold up to the rigors of a tailgate season? In all honesty, we didn’t place it in the back of the car and let it roll around while we took sharp corners and we also didn’t take a baseball bat to it. But the solid construction and feel of it let us know it would take a beating and still pump out the jams. After a bit of snooping on the web, we came across these two videos of people putting the Outcast original through some tough environments including a high pressure car wash and even setting it on fire. Keep in mind, the manufacturer and Soundcast advise you do not attempt doing these experiments on your own and remind you that these videos are examples of testing under extreme conditions by third parties not associated with Soundcast. The Outcast Original and Outcast Jr are in no way designed to undertake being lit on fire or subjected to a car wash.

The Car Wash Test

The Fire Test

As you can see by the videos, you could even leave your Outcast in the rain or set it on fire and it will still play music. If it can withstand those types of brutal conditions, we’re sure it will handle whatever you can dish out while tailgating. If you accidentally tip it over while lunging to catch that errant pass thrown by your buddy who is less accurate than Uncle Rico, it will probably shrug it off and keep playing.

Outcast Jr Skinit skins

Another feature we liked about the Outcast Jr is the ability to customize it to any team logo you can imagine. By now we are sure you are familiar with Skinit.com where you can customize almost any device to include a logo of your favorite team, school or even your own custom skin. Skinit has skins that can cover the Outcast Jr so not only will you be able to play and listen to your team’s fight song in the parking lot, your speaker will be sporting your school’s colors and logo to boot. Skinit has skins for any professional team and college team you can imagine. We have our own Skinit wrap for the Outcast Jr coming in the mail and will be doing a follow up post once it arrives.

Okay, so now for the cons as it pertains to the Outcast Jr. After all, nothing is perfect and any unbiased review would not be complete without pointing out a few flaws. In relation to using the Outcast Jr while out tailgating, you will need to have continuous power going into the iCast Audio Transmitter. We tried unplugging it while it was playing to see if there was an internal battery and there was not. The iCast model we were sent came with an AC power cord but no power cord that was DC powered that you could plug into your cigarette lighter in your car. I would imagine they have DC power cords for the transmitter but we were not able to test that aspect. If they do, you then have the issue of running power from your car battery and potentially draining your battery depending on how long you play your music. I can’t imagine the amount of power the iCast transmitter using would kill your car battery alone but you always have to be aware of this potential issue while out in the tailgating parking lot.

The alternative to using the iCast is to plug your audio source, iPhone, Android, MP3, etc., directly into the OutCast via the headphone jack and eliminate the need for the iCast while at the stadium. The connection cable is included with the unit. I was so focused on the ability to operate the speaker wirelessly that I overlooked the concept of connecting the audio source in through the AUX port. Just make sure your iPod or MP3 player has a full charge because you will be running off of that device’s battery to produce the music. By employing this technique, if you have a TV running at your tailgate, you could watch the games with louder audio by using the included component wires to broadcast the game audio via the OutCast Jr.

Our suggestion to the folks at Soundcast would be that when they are making the iCast version 2.0, to include either an internal battery that you can charge or one that you could insert a pair of AA batteries into it. This would eliminate the need for continuous power and would truly make it tailgate friendly. Electrical power is scarce out at the tailgating parking lot so the more devices that run on batteries or better yet, solar power, the better.

Despite this minor flaw associated with the transmitter system needing power, we are going to deem the OutCast Jr Wireless Speaker by Soundcast “Tailgate Approved”. Based on the sound quality and durability of the product, this one will last a long time and withstand the rigors of numerous tailgating seasons.

The Outcast Jr is sold either by itself or as a package with the iCast Transmitter. Prices vary depending on the retailer but we found a package deal on Amazon for $536.49 when the same package is normally priced at close to $700.

To learn more about the Outcast Jr, please visit the Soundcast website at: www.soundcastsystems.com

Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Posted by Dave On December - 17 - 2012

Holiday Gift Guide 2012
For the past few years, we here at TailgatingIdeas.com have offered up some holiday gift giving ideas for the tailgaters on your list. (Here is the Holiday Gift Guide 2011 and the Holiday Gift Guide 2010 in case you missed them.) We also do a Stocking Stuffer Guide for those tailgaters in your life as well. This year’s edition is scheduled for later this week so come back for that. Now if you are still searching for that perfect gift for a tailgater in your life, read on because this is the Tailgating Ideas Holiday Gift Guide 2012 edition.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tailgate To Heaven Book Review

Posted by Dave On December - 14 - 2012

Tailgate To HeavenImagine if you weren’t a fan of the most popular sport in your country… here in the United States that is the NFL, hands down. Imagine growing up not liking football and gravitating towards another sport that is rarely played in your home country but is wildly popular somewhere else thousands of miles away…. something like how cricket is popular in Australia or Bangladesh. Now you are starting to get the understanding of what it is like to be Adam Goldstein.

Goldstein is the “crazy Brit” that sold his flat in London, took the proceeds to fund his cross country trip across America to see every NFL team play at least once during the 2008 season. Did we also mention he did all of this while leaving his beautiful girlfriend back in England to pursue this ultimate dream? And all the while during his travels did his passion for the NFL and the game of football grow even more he found a new passion and love. No, he didn’t meet a new girl and forget about all about Stephanie back home. His new mistress became tailgating and the culture and customs that comes with the pre-game party in the parking lot.

Goldstein earlier this NFL football season published a book entitled Tailgate to Heaven: A British NFL Fan Tackles America. The book chronicles his adventure from becoming an NFL football fan at a very young age while growing up in London to hatching the idea to travel the United States to watch as many NFL games as he could in one season. We got our copy of the book well in advance of it becoming published because not only had we become friends with Adam over the years while he was doing this trip but after he had returned to England. In the interest of full disclosure, we even endorsed the book prior to it going to press and our testimonial is the the third one quoted on the book’s back jacket. Also in the interest of full disclosure, we were not compensated in any way for this endorsement that appeared on the back of the book. Despite having an advanced copy of the book months ago, we have chosen to publish our book review of Tailgate to Heaven: A British NFL Fan Tackles America now because in advance of the holiday season, this is typically a heavy season for book purchases to be given as gifts. As you might imagine we think this book would make a great holiday gift for any tailgaters on your Christmas gift list.

Tailgate to Heaven opens with a brief introduction on how Goldstein’s plan to travel to the United States was hatched on a flight back to England. From there the first chapter describes how in the world a young Brit could shun the sport of soccer, risk ridicule and ostracism by not playing the sport beloved and cherished by his fellow classmates and how he gravitated towards a sport that was hard to find on TV, difficult to understand it’s rules and was misunderstood outside of the United States. All of this and he became a Chicago Bears fan and not a fan of any of the English soccer teams. Quite a challenge as a young man growing up but as a young adult, Goldstein hatches a plan to make his life even more difficult.

The plan was to travel the United States in a car and see every NFL team in the 2008 season. He planned to see every NFL team at least once either by attending a home game of the team or to see the team as a visitor. He was not only successful in the original plan to do it all in a 17 week NFL season, he managed to mix in a couple of college football games, a high school football game and even an NFL Wild Card playoff game. All the while eating and drinking and tailgating his way across America.

Dave Lamm and Adam Goldstein

Tailgating with Adam Goldstein prior to the Chargers vs. Packers preseason game in 2012

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the first chapter of the book, reading about the genesis of Adam becoming a fan of American football, tailgaters will enjoy the descriptions and details of Adam’s perception of the uniquely American culture that is tailgating. I found myself becoming more and more excited for Adam as his trip was building. He originally came to America in search of a way to satisfy his thirst for seeing the NFL up close and personal, but something funny happened on the way to to the stadium. Adam Goldstein became a changed man. He transformed. Dare I say, he evolved. He became a tailgater.

The bulk of the book chronicles Adam’s 40 game trip crisscrossing the United States via rental car and via airplane and the experiences he took in. As the trip wore on, Goldstein’s focus was less on the games and he found himself stressed out and feeling anxiety about losing “tailgating time” if a flight was delayed or if he experienced car trouble. The most common delay was a problematic GPS system he nicknamed “Gippy” that would send him down rural roads and sometimes on the wrong side of the road.  Although the original intent of the trip was to see football games, Adam found himself going into the games after kick-off or missing the entire first quarter in order to tailgate longer or meet legendary tailgating icons like Joe Cahn. This evolution from football fan to tailgater is what I think is the best aspect of the book. It proves our point that football and tailgating are inherently intertwined and you can not have one without the other. The game day experience is not the same if tailgating were to be abolished and the same goes for tailgating. You never see anyone with their trunk open, drinking beers and grilling in an empty parking lot without a game or concert happening in the immediate future.

The book is smartly written and includes a look into Adam’s dry and sarcastic humor all while detailing the ups and downs of taking on a road trip of this magnitude. I found myself becoming jealous of Adam as I read the book. Not because he was able to see 40 football games but because he was able to experience so much tailgating in the course of less than 20 weeks. His liver must have been throbbing when he finally went home to England after weeks of kegs stands and the endless liquor shots that always seemed to Adam as if he was ingesting molten lava. But it wasn’t all drinking all the time. Adam consumed all sorts of American cuisine from all sorts of exotic animal flesh like alligator to wild boar and venison to the tailgating staple of Cheese Whiz squirted directly into one’s mouth from the can. All of this tailgating is done in a short amount of time and if you have only tailgated at your home stadium, this book gives you a sense of what the tailgating culture and atmosphere is like all across the NFL.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is not only interested in NFL football but more if you are interested in the unique American culture that is tailgating. As of today, you can get your own copy of Tailgate to Heaven: A British NFL Fan Tackles America or pick up the book for those tailgaters on your gift list, for $20.65. This price may change but as of today and this publishing, that was the price we saw on Amazon.

Hats off to you Adam for a great trip and a wonderful read. We salute you and your book and for allowing us to come along on your trip across America and into the tailgating lots vicariously.

Burger Pocket Press

Poppin’Shot

Posted by Dave On December - 6 - 2012

Poppin Shot Assorted colors

How many times have you been tailgating and someone shouted “SHOTS!” only to not have a shot glass ready and available? If that has happened once, it has happened one too many times.

We were recently introduced to the Poppin’ Shot, which is a collapsible silicone shot glass that is connected to a key chain. This ensures that you will always have a shot glass ready to go, at a moment’s notice, right there in your pocket. Take a look at their video:

From the video you can see the Poppin’ Shot collapses flat and will fit into your pocket without taking up too much room. When it is time for some shots, just pull out your keys, press the Poppin’ Shot out and you are wide open for a single ounce shot of whatever they are pouring. The really fun part is the Poppin’ Shot comes in an assortment of colors so you can not only be doing shots but also sporting the colors of your favorite team.

A small sample of Poppin’ Shots were sent to us in order to thoroughly test and review. Because the concept is quite simple, it was quite a simple review. The Poppin’ Shots were easy to use, popped out nicely, laid flat when not in use and did not feel big and bulky when in the pocket next to keys. The main suggestion I would make is that you rinse out the Poppin’ Shot once done to prevent it from getting sticky. That is not a design flaw of the Poppin’ Shot. That is just the nature of liquor in that it tends to get sticky if the residue of the shot remaining is not washed out.

If you would like more information on the Poppin’ Shot, please visit: www.poppinshot.com. As of press time, the Poppin’ Shot will be available for sale starting in January 2013. Currently, the folks at Poppin’ Shot can take orders via email and accept PayPal if you want to buy some right away. Their online web store is expected to open next month. If interested in getting some for yourself or your tailgating crew, go on their website, contact them and let them know you want to be notified the moment they come available for sale.

As always, please drink responsibly and never drink and drive.

Burger Pocket Press

MVP Portable Wireless Speaker Review

Posted by Peter On December - 2 - 2012

I was more excited to review the MVP Portable Wireless Speaker from Acoustic Research than any other product I’ve reviewed for this site. Just a quick background on myself – I have a ridiculous amount of tailgate gear and have come across hundreds of products, so when I see something that is good – it’s good! There was very little I could find wrong with this portable speaker!

At first glance the speaker almost looks like a jumbo thermos or a portable heater. It is so light that you can even strap it onto your belt and walk around with it playing your music. It looks like a well built product and the sound is outstanding considering the size of it. This speaker was even tested against a similar product that was twice the price and size and there was very little difference in sound clarity and quality. The one thing this speaker might be lacking in is bass, but it isn’t something to be too concerned with (unless you are trying to blast music for 50-100 people)

There are a lot of great features about this product. For starters, the customized skinit’s that you can get allow you to show your team/school spirit and they seem to have almost every team available. There are no D batteries needed that suck money out of your wallet and seem to drain almost instantly (it takes six AA batteries). One nice thing about the battery option is the convenience. It will allow one to bring the system to a tailgate or to the beach, lake, etc. There is a compartment on the back of it that allows you to put your MP3 player in it – eliminating the hassle and worry of something happening to your MP3 while it is connected. The bluetooth feature is quite simple to setup and very convenient as well.

The way it is designed and the features it has makes this the most ideal portable sound system I can think of. This product was definitely very well thought out and it has an emphasis on convenience, sound clarity and a fair price. I think it would make the perfect holiday gift for anyone who enjoys listening to music on the go!

For more information and to see the SkinIt wrap options available for the MVP Portable Wireless Speaker from Acoustic Research, visit: MVPspeaker.com

 

 

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About Me

TailgatingIdeas.com is a tailgating blog dedicated to bringing you the latest and most intriguing tailgating ideas out there. Whether it is the latest tailgating gear reviews, a great new recipe or a funny list to make you smile, our goal is to inform and entertain the avid and the casual tailgater alike.

Started in August 2007 by tailgating enthusiast Dave Lamm, TailgatingIdeas.com has evolved into an advocate for tailgaters rights and is not afraid to touch on controversial issues confronting those who frequent the tailgating parking lots.

To learn more about TailgatingIdeas.com and our team of writers, reviewers, cartoonists and contributors, please visit the About Us page.

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