Chula Vista, Calif. - Soundcast Systems, which earlier this year
to control distribution and build margins, has upgraded the capabilities of its OutCast wireless speaker system by improving sound quality, adding connectivity to more sources, and offering more audio zones.
The $1,199-suggested OutCast 3.4 system consists of a powered AC/DC multipurpose speaker, which takes the shape of an upright cylinder with 360-degree dispersion, and a choice of two wireless transmitters, all incorporating wireless 2.4GHz frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) technology with 300-foot range. One transmitter, called iCast, features an iPod/iPhone dock.
The other transmitter, called the UAT (universal audio transmitter), features a USB port and analog RCA input to connect a PC or traditional audio source, though not both at the same time. Three transmitters can be daisychained to deliver up to three sources simultaneously to up to four different zones, a spokesman said. Up to six transmitters can be daisychained to support eight speakers without drastically reducing range, though only three sources will play simultaneously, the spokesman noted. Additional transmitters cost $249, and additional speakers cost $1,099.
From the buttons on top of an OutCast speaker in each zone, users can select sources, volume, pause, and track up/down, or in the case of Internet music services such as Pandora and Rhapsody, track up/down and station up/down. The OutCast buttons, however, won't remotely turn on the sources.
In addition, consumers can use Apple's free Apple Remote app to control the selection of PC-stored songs from an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.
An aux-in back on the OutCast 3.4 speaker also allows for direct connection of a portable audio device.
The speaker is a cylindrical weather-resistant multipurpose powered speaker with 8-inch downward firing woofer, four 3-inch drivers in an omni-directional array, and 100-watt amplification (50 watts to the woofer and 2x25 watts to the other four drivers, rated at 0.1 percent THD from 20Hz-20kHz.
It's 26-inches-tall with top diameter of 10 inches and bottom diameter of 11 inches. Depending on volume levels, it operates for up to 20 hours on the built-in, rechargeable NiMH battery pack, which can be recharged while the speaker plays.
Compared to 1.2-system speakers, the new system features improved drivers, cleaner high frequencies because of an improved codec, indoor and outdoor DSP EQ settings, DSP tuning to match amplifiers with drivers for greater efficiency and audio performance, backlit buttons, and the capability of selecting each Outcast speaker as either a stereo omnidirectional speaker or a dedicated left or right speaker via a single transmitter.
The company's current OutCast 1.2 system also features more limited capabilities. The 1.2 systems use different versions of the iCast and UAT transmitters to stream only source at a time. One transmitter can stream one source to two speakers, and three transmitters can stream one source to up to six speakers.
To prevent one apartment dweller's transmitters from streaming to another apartment dweller's speakers, the 3.4 system transmits more than 68,000 possible channels compared with the 1.2 system, which is limited to three channels.