Sabtu, 02 Juli 2011

Rocketfish 2.4GHz Indoor/Outdoor Speaker

Take your music outside on the cheap ..........

Wireless audio systems are great for streaming music from room to room, but they’re practically essential when it comes to playing your tunes outdoors. Best Buy’s private-label Rocketfi sh system delivers an innovative solution with a budget price tag of just $185.

The system consists of a 2.4GHz wireless transceiver that you connect to an analog sound source (a PC, A/V receiver, MP3 player, Squeezebox, etc.), and a weatherized speaker with a wireless receiver. The transceiver requires A/C power, but the speaker can run on either A/C power or eight C-cell batteries (not included). We ran the Rocketfi sh wirelessly for 11 hours and 45 minutes before exhausting a fresh set of alkalines, but the speaker will also run on—and recharge—eight 5,000mAh NiMH C-cells (those batteries cost about $5 a piece).

A single speaker operates in mono, but you can pair two speakers to one transceiver to achieve stereo. You can also send music to additional locations around the house—the system maxes out at nine clients—by installing additional transceivers and speakers. Each transceiver can act as both a wireless receiver (receiving music from a master hub connected to a music source) and a wireless transmitter (sending music to a wireless speaker). Best Buy sells additional passive transceivers for $60 each (supply your own self-powered speakers) and transceivers with integrated amplifi ers for $100 each (supply your own passive speakers). This would make for an inexpensive multiroom audio system, although every room would play the same source music.

Best Buy claims unobstructed wireless range of 164 feet for the transceiver and outdoor speaker, and we found the system capable of reaching the speaker at 142 feet with one exterior wall between the source and client. Additional obstacles—including people walking into the signal path—rapidly reduced that range.

The amp inside the speaker is only borderline adequate for wide-open spaces, delivering just fi ve watts to an eight-ohm tweeter and 22 watts to a four-ohm woofer. It’s good enough for background music, but a raucous party would likely drown it out. The speaker itself produces relatively fl at, unexciting audio, and it distorts early as you ramp up the volume. Pushing the “bass” button on the back of the speaker substantially boosts the bottom register, which we very much appreciated—low-end frequencies just don’t travel far.

The speaker cabinet is fabricated from lightweight plastic, and while Best Buy claims its “weather resistant speaker design withstands the elements,”we have to wonder what would happen if hard-driving rain—or an errant water hose—forced water into the large vents on either side of the cylindrical cabinet. We also found ourselves setting the cabinet on concrete surfaces with care, fearing that the thin rim on which it rests would fracture if we dropped it.

If you have an abundance of cash, no outdoor speaker we’ve ever heard has been able to touch the exceptional Soundcast OutCast we reviewed in our April 2008 issue (you’ll fi nd our review online at, but that system’s $800 street price puts it in an entirely different class. Best Buy delivers a very solid value for the price here, and you can expand it by purchasing relatively inexpensive add-on components.

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