GADGETS by Gregg Ellman :: March 10, 2021

The iLive Bluetooth (5.0) Tailgate party speaker is an all-everything speaker.

It has wheels and a retractable ergonomic handle to easily transport from tailgate gatherings to a backyard dance party. Whatever the atmosphere, it can adapt with endless features to be the life of the party.

When you look at the list of the features packed into the 9.84-by-9.25-by-16.93-inch speaker, it’s easy to see why it adapts easily to any environment. There’s a microphone input to sing along (there’s no one on the planet who wanted me to test this part), color-changing LED light effects, a 3.5 mm auxiliary input, and an FM scan with presets, to name just a few.

The sound comes from the bass-rich 8-inch full-range speaker, which produced good sound in all the environments I rolled the speaker to. There’s also a built-in microSD slot and USB port to supports audio file playback.

The built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery life will go for six hours at 50 percent volume with it charging in four hours. A USB charging cable is included. $69.99

On the other end of the wireless speaker spectrum is the compact and solid Enacfire Soundtank portable wireless Bluetooth speaker,

Inside the portable (6.3-by-2.91-by-2.91-inches) hexagonal shaped speaker are two high-performance 20-watt vibrating drivers, which produce true 360-degree surround sound. With the six sides, top and bottom, the Soundtank can lay in any position.

Boosting the bass is easy with the Bass+ feature; press a button on the speaker for 50 percent more bass. It without a doubt gives the bass a little oomph. Bass heads will love it; my playlists sounded great.

Bluetooth 5.0 is inside, allowing dual stereo mode to pair with a second Soundtank for stereo sound, and doubling the amount of bass. The Enacfire website has a special to save an extra 20 percent when you buy two Soundtank speakers

Controls for power, pairing, selections, and pairing are on the side. The Soundtank is built with an IPX7 water resistance rating, so it can take a pool-side splash. But make sure the port and plug covers are closed.

The battery life is rated to last 24 hours, and recharges with a USB-C connection. $89.99 or $49.99 on Amazon

Soundbars are one of my favorite sound solutions, mainly because we all watch TV but never really realize how much better sound you can get out of a TV with a soundbar. TVs keep getting better and better but the sound quality from the internal speakers haven’t increased on the same rate.

The Creative Stage V2 soundbar and it’s subwoofer is touted as an entry-level solution at an affordable price. But with an easy installation, it did the trick on producing the sound you want from almost any TV. I thought a representative from Creative described it well by stating, “Surround (sound) is exactly what you’d expect, an immersive audio experience that widens the sound stage to make it sound more like a theater/full surround sound system.”

What takes the most time in choosing where to keep it. The best option is always right above or below the TV but whatever works for the room you’re in. Just keep the front-facing metal grill toward you for direct sound. The subwoofer can be hidden behind furniture, etc. Just as long as it’s in the same room.

Connecting takes no time at all; for the most part, it’s plug and play. Connection choices include HDMI, optical, USB, Bluetooth, or a 3.5 mm auxiliary cable. Once the sound is heard through the new system, the only regret you’ll have is you didn’t get it sooner.

The sound from the Stage V2 changes your TV experience. No longer are you wondering what someone said and having to backtrack to hear. Creative has built it with Sound Blaster’s audio technologies, which results in clear and crisp sound.

And with the cost-friendly price of $109.99, I can honestly say I’ve tried soundbars, which cost more without the same quality sound. The Stage V2 is filled with features but even non-tech heads will have an easy time with the installation.

A wireless IR remote control is included. $109.99

by Gregg Ellman

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