When a Legacy is over – Soundcast Outdoor Audio
In 2006 something very new was introduced into the Audio market.
Something that broke the rules and did what was thought to be impossible.
A small company based in San Diego launched a new portable audio product to the market. Something that was like nothing ever seen.
This was in the days before Bluetooth, Multi-Room Wireless streaming. When outdoor audio was an afterthought or at best a small portable radio with small and relatively weak sound. Maybe good enough to hear the weekend game to keep up with the scores but not really decent enough for anything else.
This small inventive company was called Soundcast and they released the Outcast Portable Audio Speaker
A Revolution in the making
So you ask yourself, why was this so important to our industry? What made this brand and this product so important?
Soundcast managed to do what others could not, which was to produce a portable audio unit that produced high-quality sound, a decent volume of sound, long life battery and to top it all off, it was weather resistant. They literally broke the status quo at that time in portable audio. Pretty much being portable came with so many restrictions on use and performance.
There was nothing like it on the market and it quickly developed a strong cult following. People who owned a Soundcast unit would knowingly wink at each other acknowledging that they knew what others didn’t, that truly high quality outdoor portable audio was possible.
Over time Soundcast added the Outcast Jnr and Melody (sometimes the latter charmingly called the “rice cooker” due to how it looked) to their line-ups. In addition, they also created some genius products such as an iPod dock with RF transmission so your iPod could be inside playing through your Soundcast unit outside.
Whilst the Soundcast range didn’t hit the mass mainstream as much due to it being a premium quality that comes at a premium price, those that owned one of these units still swear by them today.
A modern era beginning
Fast forward to 2014, these original products are known as the Legacy Line and have been in circulation for nearly 10 years, a testament to the performance quality of this range.
However, times had changed. New Technologies had emerged and tastes had changed. People no longer want just a portable speaker, they want more…and it had to look good as well.
So Soundcast was purchased by one of the largest private equity firms in the USA who invested heavily in R&D. This company saw the potential for Soundcast to re-invent itself and become a serious player well beyond what it had been.
This R&D was invested to create a new line for Soundcast, move away from the Legacy Line and bring the brand into the modern world. However, not just bring it to the modern world but to do what they did back in 2006. This was to bring something to market that changes the status quo again.
It was to create a new legacy, born from the previous one. This was to take what was best from past products, improve on these factors and make everything else better.
Enter the new VGX series.
Diversification is the key
A more diversified market meant new demands, so new models were created.
Such a new line up meets many requirements of different customers.
One common theme through all models is a need for a minimum rating of IP64 for all units. This means that no matter what portable unit you purchased, it has a high dust and water-resistant rating. One even has an IP67 rating for full waterproof requirements.
This is in the face of most of the competition which will only have an IPX4, IPX5, IPX6 or IPX7 rating. For any “outdoor” portable audio product to not have a dust rating sort of goes again the grain of what makes an outdoor portable audio product…well outdoor.
More than this, however, the design of the new series had to be good enough to suit not just only the outdoor areas but also look just as home indoors in any room. Perfect for the kitchen, bathroom, study, TV room etc.
In addition, all units had to have similar technologies:
– Bluetooth APtX
– High Res audio streaming
– Aux In
– 360-degree audio
– TWS (stereo pairing capabilities)
– High-performance drivers
– High-performance amps
– Siri Control
– Average 10 – 15 hour playback time across the range
– All active drivers where possible
The new compact range for the modern consumer
The VG1 is a very small compact unit retailing at $249. Currently, this is the only IP67 rated unit in the lineup. This unit also has a shockproof rating and is the only one with passive bass radiators.
However, when you see how small the unit is, you can understand why they cannot have active bass radiators. Perfect for small rooms, traveling or a business executive (much nicer to have a conference call through a VG1 than through your phone speakers). You can even hang it off your belt as you are out and about. It is also a great gift for anyone as well, especially the kids.
The VG3 is one of the first portable audio products to have touch capacitive controls and also an active downward firing bass driver. At $499 it currently is the only product of its type to have such a feature. This puts it sound output so far ahead it is ridiculous.
It is still small enough to easily go out of the home and with you traveling. It also bridges the gap between the VG1 and VG5. For its size and performance, whilst Soundcast does not classify it as part of the Power Portable range, from our point of view, it should be.
Now with the Power Portables…a new Standard in Portable Audio
The VG5 (at and RRP of $849) is a larger version of the VG3. Here we enter the Power Portable product line. They are larger portable audio weather resistant products with long battery life. This is where Soundcast really shows their genius. I would never have thought it possible to achieve such great sound from portable, battery-powered products.
The VG10 is the same unit as a VG5 that adds WiFi, DTS-Play-Fi, Airplay and Amazon Alexa control.
The VG7 (at an RRP of $1399) is the big daddy, the loudest, boldest and most impactful of the lot. With a 7” downward firing active bass driver, 4 x 3” enclosed mid-range drivers and a decent internal chamber for an increased volume of sound, the VG7 is a hell of a unit.
Even more so when paired in Stereo mode with another VG7…you would be forgiven when closing your eyes thinking that you are listening to a very decent 2 channel component system when two of these babies are up and running.
Finally, a very neat product called the VGtx (at an RRP of $179), which is basically a high powered Bluetooth APtX transmitter that allows any Soundcast unit to be brought into any audio ecosystem, be it acting as Zone 2 or Zone 3 of a receiver, direct off a TV or brought into a Sonos, Heos, Bluesound etc. system.
For every and any aspect of your Lifestyle
Each model from Soundcast suits a very different customer and gives an ability to conform to their lifestyle.
The really good thing here is that there is no redundancy across the range. Application for different desires and requirements required a carefully thought our approach for each model. requirements.
You could very easily see yourself with a VG1 on hand for when you travel, or to go to the beach with or a VG3 on hand to walk around within your home from room to room (or even just left in the bathroom or kitchen).
Simply leave a VG5 next to the TV but ready to go out at the drop of a hat. Have a couple of VG7s sitting outdoors waiting for your next party. If you are lucky enough, on your boat waiting for your next fishing trip.
However, just as easily you could see yourself with any of these models to cover all needs and requirements.
The biggest danger you can make with the new VGX line is to try to compare it to the Legacy Line. Whilst the heritage is the same, the VGX line is really something new, better and bolder. You cannot compare the VG7 to an Outcast, VG5 to an Outcast Jnr or VG3 to the Melody. They are different products for a different time.
So much so that a Legacy is definitely over…and a new one just beginning.
Contacts and Details
All photos courtesy of Soundcast
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