Summer is soon upon us and outdoor celebrations can begin. And what is more fun than a portable device asking us to dance on the beach, in the park or for the whole neighborhood?
Summertime we want to be outdoors. That does not mean you have to leave the music at home. On the contrary! Think how much fun an evening in the park or at the camp becomes with a portable music system that keeps going. And although you may not be popular on the beach if you carry such a device, it is entertaining for the most important person there: yourself.
It feels like it was an eternity ago, I heard people talking about the boomboxes, ghettoblasters, boomblasters or whatever you call ground-breaking, portable music systems that can accommodate a power plant of batteries in order to blast out the sound. They all died with the music cassette, right? Nope, they still live in the best of health. Some of them have received substantial face lifts, and many can now both dock your iPod and stream music wirelessly via bluetooth.
No Compromise For Size
The fact is that when it comes to portable audio to really be able to kick off, there is no substitute for size. Thus, you can gain a lot by sacrificing some luggage space in the car or on the luggage rack on the bike when you bring the music to the gang, family or workout buddies.
Music outdoors represents many similar demands on sound quality as indoors. A balanced and clear sound image is clearly preferable. The requirements for bass also increases. Outside there´s no extra bass boost from walls and ceilings. And rich sound requires that familiar bass, and it is doubly important with a bass that is able to move that open air. Power is also important because the sound disappears more in all directions in the open air than when it bounces back from the walls, ceiling and floor. Therefore, we reward the boomboxes more if they can play loud with rich bass, without hurting the ears when the volume goes up.
Different Price Ranges
In this test I have picked out a selection of powerful but portable sound systems that are intended for outdoor use. No small and sassy mini devices this time. The prices are somewhat different because the different brands aimed at different thick wallets in this segment. It also means that there is something for every taste and budget.
Harman/Kardon Go+Play Wireless streams music wirelessly via Bluetooth or connected with cable. It is one of the smallest, along with TDK Wireless Boombox, which almost looks like an overgrown music cassette, which is fitting since TDK of course was world famous for its fine cassettes at one time.
JVC, which really put the Boomblaster on the map in the early 90s, participates with its top model. It has both wireless bluetooth, jack connector, iPod dock, CD player and radio - and even input for guitar and microphone! Sharp Boombox is almost built from the same recipe, with exactly the same features, minus bluetooth.
Most expensive and heaviest is the OutCast from Soundcast. It looks more like a white garbage can than anything else, but playing music on a downward-facing 8-inch bass and four omnidirectional drivers at the top. 100 watts of amplification means that it also has the most muscles of all the test participants.