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I bought the ION Tailgater as I needed value for money at the time and it really did deliver, It's perfect to just throw in the back of the car or easy to carry about for the summer partys.
The Tailgater looks alot like the earlier Ion Block Rocker but the design is alot smaller and sleeker with almost all the same features, but dont worry this isn't an over sized Ipod speaker its more like a guitar amp in a sense.
Talking value for money this system is really good not to be fooled by the monophonic music playback, It's powerful sound surpasses other systems of the same price and higher.
There are loads of audio inputs on the tailgater including an iPod Dock, RCA stereo jacks, XLR mic input, and quarter-inch instrument jacks for plugging in instruments and it comes with a mircophone which is prefect for any amatuer MC to to able to start doing his own gigs I would highly recommend this system for any Budding MC on a budget dont waste time man share your talent!
The Ipod dock isn't the best way to travel with your Ipod I speak from experience here and the dock design is fairly typical for the older systems.
All other audio inputs are located on the front of the Tailgater, along with large plastic knobs for adjusting input gain and volume output.
The Standard power lead is at the back of the Tailgater which you can use to plug in direct or use to recharge the battery, roughly takes about 12hrs to full charge with a 10 hour battery life, the Tailgater also has a battery level indicator located on the back (which is unbelievable useful as you never want to the party to end early) and an output link for pairing to other speakers if the Tailgater just isn't enough.
The inputs themselves can be used simultaneously allowing you you play along to songs or even just rock out with your band, but because of the lightwieght microphone included with the tailgater I see this as the amatuer MC's best friend, easy to was the microphone for a better quality one down the line.
I bought my tailgater around 18 months ago and i am still using it now with no problems in the slightest which is more than i can say for other amplifiers i have purchased in the past which over time didn't withstand what i was using them for. I bought it initially to use with my ipod touch for beach parties etc during the summer and must say was not disappointed as it can be extremely loud but still manages to keep its clear quality. I did initially think that it was a bit dodgy taking it to the beach with all the sand and what have you, but it has withstood everything my friends and i could throw at it. Another positive about the tailgater is its battery life which lasted for hours of partying. The only slight con i have on it really is that i recently updated to a iphone 4s and it constantly brings up a not compatible with this device warning on my phone but to its credit it still plays the music. All around top product that i would highly recommend!!!
I've owned an ION Tailgater for over 9 months now and I think it's a fantastic bit of kit! When I bought it I was looking for a guitar amplifier but when I saw this I instantly decided I was going to buy it!
I paid £115 for it which I was happy to pay because it's not just a plain old amp. You can plug your Iphone/Ipod in to it too and it becomes a stereo system! The sound quality isn't as good as a stereo system, obviously, but it can pump out 20W of volume, and being that it's portable and can run on a battery which I've seen last for over 6 hours makes it ideal for outdoor use. Having said that the sound quality at mid to low volume is actually pretty good!
Weighing in at 20lbs and measuring 12.5" X 9.5" X 14" it's not the sort of thing that you would carry around with you where ever you go but with a hard plastic body, 4 rubber feet and metal plates on the corners it's very sturdy making it and having decent sized handles on either side makes it ideal for taking to the beach, out on the patio if you're having a BBQ, camping (if you want to have a mini outdoor party at the same time) or just sitting in the spare room next to the guitar where mine lives a lot of the time.
A couple of cons about the Tailgater are:
* Apart from volume there's no other sound controls E.g. Bass, treble, gain etc
* The dock for the iPod is quite clumsy. I've knocked mine out of it quite a few times. A universal dock adapter is recommended, although I persevere without one.
* It takes a long time to charge the battery. About 12 hours. (I leave mine charging overnight).
One thing that I find particularly irritating about the Tailgater though is that there's no remote control! It's a bit of a nuisance when you're having a BBQ or beach party or playing the guitar in the spare bed room having to walk over to it every time you need to turn the volume up or down for whatever reason. I'm maybe nit picking now but I'm pretty lazy when it comes to matters like this!
Now for the pros about the Tailgater:
* Mains or battery powered.
* You can play iPod/iPhone, guitar, keyboard (I'd imagine any instrument that plugs in to a mic but I've only used it for guitar and keyboard) or just plug an ordinary mic in to it and use it for karaoke or if you're giving a speech.
* Portable and easily moved around.
* Extremely sturdy.
* Good audio sound.
I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a portable sound machine to use outdoors or someone who just wants an amplifier to plug their musical instrument of choice in to.
Some of you will be aware that I play saxophone. I am often asked to play at friends parties, I also play at small gigs, either with other musicians, or on my own, using backing tracks from CD's or iPod.
Before buying this, what is, essentially a mini amplifier I did a fair bit of internet research and whilst this seemed the way to go, I insisted on listening to it in Maplins before I buying, I suggest you do the same.
? What is it ?
As said it is essentially a mini amplifier, weighing in at around 10kg (according to my scales), it is 45.7 cm X 35.6 cm X 45.7 cm so fits well into a sturdy canvas shopping bag.
It can be used with a mains power cord (supplied) or, after charging (6-8 hours first time, much less after that) it can be used for between 8 and 12 hours dependent on how loud you have it (I have only used it for 4 at a time) to knock out a good 16w of sound.
There are 3 green illuminated lights on the back as well as a red light which indicates how much battery life is left, and according to the instruction booklet, the battery should be run down to 20% at least once a month before recharging, bit like a mobile phone, to prolong battery life.
***Versatility and ease of use***
Versatility really is the big selling point of this product, from its portability, to its ability to be used in a multitude of ways.
The Tailgater comes with a microphone, I am not a singer but have used it to speak at a conference, and an iPod docking station, which charges the iPod as it plays (don't forget the charging switch on the back). It also has and instrument input point, as well as points to attach this to other speakers or Tailgaters (Link Input). So in theory you could play a backing track, with an instrument whilst singing at the same time! Oh, you can also connect headphones and or another audio device such as CD player (cables not included.
There is a master volume control as well as a specific iPod volume control. This is quite handy as it takes a little experimentation to get the optimum sound. An added bonus is that the iPod EQ (graphic Equaliser) can be used to be more specific with sound.
I should add that the instruction booklet is simple and quick to read and the set up of the tailgater is as simple as plugging it in and away you go. There really is nothing at all complicated about using this piece of kit, which is a joy for anyone that has used temperamental amp's before.
***The Sound quality***
Initially I was not that impressed as it seemed a bit 'tinny' and 'big' if that makes sense. I never bought it to replace my sound system however so figured that the quality was plenty good enough for use with backing tracks.
However I got a pleasant surprise after using it a few times when the sound seemed to get better and better. Apparently this is quite normal as there is a 'break-in' period. It now sounds remarkably crisp and 'steady'. To be honest it is better with instrumental sounds than vocal which is great for the purposes I bought it. There is no background 'hum' which sometimes comes with cheap amps.
This will never reach the quality of an expensive sound system, especially at full volume, but at mid volume or lower it is perfectly adequate for taking to the beach, picnics, BBQ's etc. In truth, I am being picky, I have a Bose system indoors and it does not fall far short of that.
***Looks and cost***
I love this, it is chunky, black, nice chrome corner guards and the controls look and feel very sturdy and professional. It certainly looks more expensive than it is. I bought it for £145 from Maplins, though it can be bought on Amazon for £120 or thereabouts. There is a 12 month warranty as standard, though I get the feeling from its 'sturdiness' it will last a lot longer.
This really does bridge the gap between personal and/or home sound systems and professional amplifiers. It is relatively cheap, decent sound quality, portable and very versatile. I have a fair few friends who busk for a living and this is quickly becoming their choice of accessory.
I have used this at a BBQ, at a party and in a bar to play along to, as well as using the microphone and tailgater at a conference.
It is not something that you are likely to take on a plane to distant shores but is an absolute essential for car holidays in my opinion, here or in Europe as there is the ability to change (on the back) the mains power input from 220 -240 volts to 100 - 120 volts.
Gets my vote, absolute winner.