Set your iPod free with the iCast Wireless Transmitter The iCast Transmitter is tailored to the needs of the Apple iPod owner. The iCast Transmitter is specially configured with a universal docking well to accommodate currently available iPods, using Apple-provided inserts in the docking bay.
RATING: 4 out of 5 stars
PROS:Clear sound with no interference; impressive range; supports multiple receivers.
The transmitter and receiver units of Soundcast’s [$179.99] iCast System are the largest of the units reviewed here, each roughly 6.75 inches wide, 3.5 inches deep, and 2.1 inches high at the center.The top of the transmitter unit has a power indicator light and an iPod dock cradle; six different dock adapters are included to accommodate 3G, mini, 4G, color/photo, nano, and fifth-generation iPod models. The back of the transmitter features a power input jack, a three-position channel switch, a 1/8-inch headphone jack, and a power input. The headphone jack doubles as an audio input when no iPod is docked, so the unit can actually be used, with the right cable, to transmit from any audio device with stereo output.
When an iPod is docked in the transmitter, the iPod’s controls function normally, except for the volume level; the iCast system grabs the line-level audio from the iPod’s dock-connector port. The transmitter also charges your iPod while the player is docked, but lacks any data connection, so it does not have the ability to sync your iPod with your computer.
The iCast receiver has a power indicator light along with three buttons for play/pause, forward, and back. Unfortunately, as with many other iPod-dock accessories, you can’t navigate your iPod’s menus, so navigating within large playlists can be a hassle; you’ll want to use the iPod’s own controls for that. The back of the receiver provides stereo RCA outputs, a three-channel selector to match the one on the receiver, and a power input.
Like the MP3 AirLink, the iCast System uses a 2.4 GHz signal to transmit, but the iCast transmitter and receiver employ a technique called direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS), designed to avoid interference. And in fact the iCast exhibited none of the interference problems of the other systems reviewed here, while offering up top-notch sound. Despite plenty of equipment that might create interference, the system transmitted clear audio—from the far corners of the house, supporting Soundcast’s claims of a 350-foot signal range.
With iPod-specific features, the iHiFi and the iCast have the most to offer those looking to transmit iPod-hosted audio. The small, untethered design of the iHiFi transmitters are well suited for roaming around the house while using the iPod itself to control your listening experience. On the other hand, the iHiFi’s limited range, especially through walls, may keep you from roaming very far. If you need to transmit your music between two fixed points and each point can remain tethered to an A/C outlet, the iCast is more for you—its clear sound and resistance to interference provide a quality listening experience over a significantly longer range. (It’s noteworthy that these two products were also the most expensive.) If you need to use FM-radio technology, the Whole House Transmitter will do the job, although its performance in my testing wasn’t encouraging. Similarly, StarTech’s MP3 AirLink is much less expensive than the better-performing systems, but in this case, you apparently get what you pay for.
RATING: 4 (out of 5)
Clear sound with no interference; impressive range; supports multiple receivers.
Expensive; no volume control on transmitter; limited controls on receiver.
Read Original Review: The iCast Wireless Transmitter and Receiver in Macworld
The iCast is a fabulous audio-streaming system.
iCast’s technology allows you to stream encrypted AAC tracks purchased from iTunes. 8 out of 10 stars.
Few party buzz-kills are more terminal than a cordless phone that shuts down your wireless music system every time it rings. Soundcast boasts you’ll never have that problem while using its iCast audio-streaming device for the iPod, and our tests back up the claim.
The iCast consists of a combo transmitter/iPod docking bay and a wireless receiver that you plug into powered speakers or a home-theater system. The transmitter charges the iPod’s battery while it’s docked, and a 1/8-inch stereo output enables you to plug in powered speakers. If there’s no iPod in the dock, the output connection automatically switches to an input, so you can stream audio from any other source.
You can build a two-room system by adding a second receiver ($130), and you can connect two transmitters to the same source to create a four-room system. To stream different audio to each room, assign each iPod/transmitter/receiver group to one of three channels to operate up to three iPods independently.
Because Apple refuses to open its DRM kimono to other manufacturers, some of our favorite audio-streaming products, such as the Sonos ZP-80 and the Squeezebox, can’t stream encrypted AAC tracks purchased from iTunes. The iCast overcomes this hurdle by taking the analog output from the iPod’s docking port, converting it to digital, and streaming that to its receiver. The receiver converts the signal back to analog and outputs it to either powered speakers or a home-theater system.
Despite these repeated conversions, the iCast sounded nearly as good as streaming boxes that can’t stream from iTunes. What’s more, the iCast’s use of frequency-hopping spread-spectrum technology prevented our cordless phone and microwave oven from interrupting the party, er, music.
The iCast is a fabulous audio-streaming system, but the absence of a display on the receiver limits you to simple play, pause, and resume controls and blindly moving up and down your iPod’s playlist. Considering the $300 price tag, we also expected to find a USB port on the transmitter—so we could sync the iPod to iTunes using the cradle and our PC.
Read original review: The iCast Wireless Transmitter and Receiver in Maximum PC
Soundcast’s technology avoids any interference.
Sure enough, even with the oven nuking and the phone transmitting there were no hiccups in the music.
Soundcast Systems came in to the office yesterday to show off their upcoming iCast and AudioCast products. They also brought a microwave oven, a 2.4GHz wireless phone, and a frequency analyzer to show how their technology avoids any interference. The iCast serves as a wireless link that can wirelessly connect your iPod to your stereo from as far as 150 feet away.
Sure enough, even with the oven nuking and the phone transmitting there were no hiccups in the music. This is pretty remarkable for a wireless audio system that uses the crowded, unregulated 2.4GHz band. PC Mag recently tested the StarTech Airlink, but it had problems with the microwave and phone on. According to the company, its advantage comes from using Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology to dynamically change channels and it encounters interference.
The iCast and AudioCast are basically the same product, but the iCast is desigend to work with, and charge, iPods when docked. The AudioCast works with any audio source. The transmitter/receiver combination will cost $299 and you can purchase additional receivers for $129.
The bad news is that the products won't be on shelves until May or even June. The good news is that if you check out the company's Web site you can register to win a free Soundcast system when they start shipping. When review units are available we will get them in the lab and do some more rigorous interference testings.
Read original review: The iCast Wireless Transmitter and Receiver in GEARlog
Wireless Speaker System: Abusive Lab Test!
The average home is filled with wireless signals, all bouncing around in the same limited spectrum space. This can foil a wireless sound system trying to transmit tunes around the house, but some setups handle interference better than others. We tested three systems, including two designed for multiroom use, against a grueling wireless traffic jam. Here’s how they fared. The Tests: We placed the transmitters and receivers in separate rooms, with a phalanx of interference-causing devices between them . Bose The only system to fail this test completely—interference ruined the signal. Sonos At first, the signal was completely blocked. But we switched channels and got clear, rich sound. Soundcast What interference? Winner: Soundcast How far can the wireless signal travel through a fixture-filled home? We walked the receivers down a concrete-filled apartment building to see. Bose The speaker got almost three stories from the transmitter before breaking into static. Sonos Once again, the sound called it quits just shy of three floors down. Soundcast Yep, three stories was the limit. Winner: Three-way-tie Bottom Line The Bose is a practical (if pricey) one-speaker solution. But if your house is full of interference—or you want a multiroom rig—opt for the Sonos or SoundCast. The Sonos is more feature-filled, the SoundCast simpler.Read Review
This product is used on Hotspring Portable Spas and is a fantastic piece of technology. It allows the user to listen to their music while in their spa but the ipod never has to leave the house! It is a great buy!
Works better than I ever dreamed. When I first heard of the system, a reviewer summed it up by saying "it just works". I couldn't agree more. I purchased the transmitter Soundcast ICT-111 iCast Transmitter and receiver Soundcast ICR-112 iCast Receiver. From opening the box to listing to wireless music in less than 3 minutes. Drop dead simple.
In the past I have tired multiple FM transmitters for my Nano. All have static, drops and distance issues. I feared the same here. I was happily surprised. Not a single problem.
I live in a high rise building in a downtown location. When I switch on my laptop wireless I see lots and lots of connection points. So I was worried about interference with my Soundcast. My receiver is setup in a different room and there is a metal stud wall in-between. After a full month of use, I am happy to report not one crackle, bleep or dropped connection. It just works.
The receiver has a nice feature of being able to stop/play, go forward or backward in a playlist. This also works flawlessly.
This is a well engineered device and it just works.
This product did exactly what it said it would do. Provide a good sound wirelessly to another system. The control of the Ipod from the remote system worked exactly as advertised.
Flawless Sound Quality and Connection. The Soundcast transmitters come bundled with their Outcast outdoor speaker and they work flawlessly. As I stated in my other review the sound quality is amazing for wireless and I have not experienced any drop off in connection.
Being from Austin, the music capitol of the US, I love listening to music. The iCast system make listening so much easier. I can listen to music from my iPod Nano on a great set of speakers. Without the iCast, I would be limited to a small set of speakers I originally bought for the iPod.
The iCast is AWESOME! It charges my iPod while I play it, and works with both my old 60GB and Touch iPods. Now I can keep my iPod in another room (out of sight) and still hear the music on my stereo. Wish I would have bought it sooner.
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