Backyard Party Time Page 2

Russound AirGo Powered Outdoor Speaker

Russound’s new AirGo Outdoor is a ridiculously simple yet brilliant concept. The company took an existing outdoor stereo speaker from its line and combined it with a digital amplifier in a weatherproof housing that also accepts an Apple AirPort Express (sold separately) to create a fully portable, weather-resistant, self-contained AirPlay audio system.

The most difficult bit of the AirGo installation process is configuring the AirPort Express, which really isn’t too difficult at all. The APE can be configured as a standalone (where it lacks Internet access but creates a point-to-point network that functions anywhere), as a Wi-Fi client, or as a repeater on an existing Wi-Fi network.

The AirGo’s integrated handle makes it easy to carry around to the garage, firepit, bathroom, or wherever. It can’t run on batteries, however, so your mobile listening is limited to locations where you can plug in to power.

If you’ve ever used AirPlay, you’ll be right at home with the AirGo. I streamed music to it from both my iPad and PC using iTunes, and also enjoyed my Pandora “Pink” artist channel while sitting out by the pool. I liked that I could leave my iPad safely indoors while using it with the AirGo outside. AirGo’s only local control is a mute button, however, meaning that you may end up running inside to make volume adjustments.

The AirGo’s single 6.5-inch dual-voice-coil driver and two 0.75-inch tweeters produce a surprising amount of sound. It not only plays loud but does so without distorting, and it puts out bass that you actually feel. The AirGo’s design also lets it deliver a wide “wall” of sound that spreads beyond the confines of its cabinet.

I found that the AirGo could pump out party-level tunes even in large backyard areas — loud enough that you’d have to invite the neighbors over or risk alienating them. Need more output? No problem. By selecting the “multiple speakers” option in iTunes, you can broadcast to multiple AirGo speakers. That way, you can ensure that no inch of your backyard is left uncovered.