The evolution of Bluetooth speaker solutions has been an interesting and often canorous site to watch unfold. Mad tinkers have toiled to bring music and remote media connoisseurs BT speakers in all manner of sizes, shapes, colors and themes. Some double up on their duties providing a remote audio playback solution as well as speakerphone or conference capabilities. Others are built more rugged to take a beating and compliment an outdoor excursion providing audible entertainment while camping, biking or even canoeing.
The audio magicians at Soundcast has borrowed ideas from all those functions in an attempt to take Bluetooth audio to the next level. The Soundcast Melody Bluetooth speaker is a 8-speaker omni-direction speaker solution with onboard controls. It makes use of both Apt-X and AAC for Bluetooth. It’s also water resistant and sports a fast-charge battery that goes the distance once the cords are cut. Here we take the Melody for a spin to see if the functions, features and performance outweigh the heavyweighted price tag.
First off, the Melody package includes the main Melody omni-directional speakers, microUSB charging cable, AC adapter and instruction manual. The housing is weather resistant with a rubber weather resistant port protector that fits over the 3.5mm auxiliary audio port and the Micro USB port found on the back upper portion of the speaker itself. Aquatic activities near and around water are wholly possibly without fear of water shorting out your big expensive premium audio device. The onboard controls are large and very visible. These are sectioned off into three pieces and positioned at the top of the unit. There are two buttons for power and switching to Bluetooth pairing state. The middle features four buttons for fast forwarding, skipping tracks, play and pause functions. The far right has two more buttons solely for +/- volume. The controls give you power over music applications like Rhapsody, Pandora, iTunes and the like.
The included lithium-ion battery is fairly high capacity. A full charge will give you a full 20 hours of uninterrupted audio. This is on average, as it’s tied to environment and location/distance between media player and the Melody. It does support the standard range of broadcasting for Bluetooth (33ft). The battery can also be charged via AC, car adapter, Boat, RV, computer USB, etc).
The Melody may resemble an odd mix between a food processor and fancy Dyson vacuum cleaner. But the audio performance is surprising. Bass is not the deepest. Yet the overall soundstage is voluminous with great clarity and distinction. The array of 8-speakers does a fine job enveloping an average-large size room with your favorite audio. The result is a 360 degree effect where the sound appears to come from everywhere. This effect is nullified, however, if the Melody is positioned too close to other objects. But when placed in the middle of a room or in an open outdoor setting, the sound all-consuming.
The Soundcast Melody is a pricey but fantastic audio companion both indoors and out. It serves up 20hrs of sound on its lithium ion battery and offers a great control panel to control your music and mobile media applications. Swapping the audio cable in and out between wired and Bluetooth use is a bit annoying and you must remember to keep it free and away from surrounding objects. Yet the performance is more than worth the trouble.
Great omni-directional sound. Good indoors and out. Audio appears to come from all directions thanks to 8-speaker array. Onboard controls for audio and apps.
Pricey. Open space for positioning required. Bluetooth unavailable when wired via audio cable.