Review: Soundcast Melody

Mush. It’s a four-letter word that helps describe the sound of a low-end speaker. The audio sounds like it is being pushed into a pillow and filtered through a cardboard tube. While the Soundcast Melody is not quite that bad, and actually has a few major pluses, the overall sound quality is not what I’d expect from a speaker in its price range.

The Melody’s large, white bucket-like design makes it look like something you might keep in the bathroom — an air freshener or ultramodern wastebasket, perhaps? The unit weighs 9 pounds and houses four 3-inch drivers and four bass radiators that pump out sound in all directions. The case is made from hard plastic that, in my tests, withstood light splashes as advertised. However, this is not a waterproof speaker like the EcoXGear line, so it’s not bathtub, pool, or waterpark friendly.

The Melody’s biggest high point is its superior 20-hour battery life. The benefit here is when you use it for a few hours in, you can put it away and when you pull it out again, instead of having to recharge — as you have to do with most wireless speakers from Denon, Sony, and others — you can expect there will still be some juice left.

Another bonus: The Melody charges up relatively fast. When you charge it via an AC outlet, you can expect to have enough juice for another party or two after about an hour. (You won’t get a full charge quite that fast connecting the speaker’s micro USB port to a PC.)

Setup is a breeze. You press the large Bluetooth button with the big Bluetooth icon and then sync with your music source — smartphone, tablet, or PC. Controlling the speaker is also super-slick. Buttons for play, pause, forward and back are big and obvious. The volume buttons are hard to miss as well. The speaker sports a handle for easy toting. And there’s an auxiliary port for connecting any 3.5mm source.

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