Case Makes Tunes Cooler
By Jim Bray
In this age of iPods and MP3 players, the old fashioned boom box may have
its life flashing before its eyes.
After all, why have a great big portable stereo when you can carry all your
tunes in your pocket or purse?
One argument in support of the boom box is that it's self contained and therefore
is ideal for taking your tunes to the beach or to a picnic. But if you use
an MP3 player, that could mean burning your digital music files to a CD or
(YIKES!) a cassette to make your portable music compatible with your boom
Wouldn't it be nice if you could just use your MP3 player?
Well you can, of course, through a variety of MP3 player peripherals including
external speakers you can pack around with you. But what if you could forget
about hauling speakers around with you altogether?
That's the idea behind Sakar International's Cooler Sound Case, which blends
refreshment and music in an outrageously creative way.
Gotta love the entrepreneurial spirit!
The Cooler Sound Case is a real, live picnic or beach cooler that'll keep
your food and drink cool for hours, but that isn't where it ends. It also
adds a decidedly technological twist designed to bail out all those millions
of people who like to picnic or tailgate, but who don't have a boom box
to inflict their favorite tunes onto unsuspecting - and possibly unappreciative
What Sakar has done is include a pair of two inch, powered speakers (though
there isn't a lot of power to them) on the outside surface of the cooler,
along with a little pocket into which you can put an MP3 player and a little
connector that hooks it into the speakers. So in one swell foop you've
converted the bright blue or white box from a garden variety and low tech
party cooler to, well, a garden variety low tech party cooler and music
New Jersey's Sakar claims to have revolutionized the way you listen to
music with this device. I don't know about that, but it's certainly convenient.
But as one might expect it also does not approach technological or musical
perfection. For one thing, the powered speakers are small and relatively
tinny and the power only comes from a little 9 volt battery that mounts
on the unit's side. This means the Cooler Sound Case is definitely not
going to raise the Grateful Dead by any means.
On the other hand, that may not be a bad thing, as anyone whose ears have
been assaulted by other peoples' crummy music in the great outdoors may
But it works, and it works as advertised as long as you aren't looking
for audiophile quality. I took one of them on a picnic and it did, indeed,
keep our food and drink as cool as we wanted, provided of course that you
bring one of those freezie pack things along with you to put inside the
cooler with your munchies.
Since I'm one of the three people on earth who still doesn't have an MP3
player, I borrowed a friend's portable minidisk player to check out the
tunes. Alas, his minidisk player was too big to fit in the Cooler Sound
Case's pocket, though to be fair my son's MP3 player fit it just fine -
and didn't I wish I'd taken it along with me instead of the minidisk player!
But call me a snob if you will; I'd rather do without music than listen
to those cheap little speakers, and I think if music were that important
to me in the great outdoors, I'd invest in a real boom box or a good set
of external speakers.
The Cooler Sound Case measures 14 by 10 by 10 inches, so it's smaller
than many coolers but large enough to work well for a variety of outdoor
activities where you aren't going to feed the whole neighborhood. Sakar
says the Sound Case is waterproof; the MP3 player and the 9 volt battery
are protected, too, though I wouldn't want to risk injuring the player
by getting it too wet - so it's advisable to be careful with aquatic hijinks
Okay, the $49 US Cooler Sound Case is hardly the be-all and end-all when
it comes to portable food and entertainment, but it's a pretty cool idea
that does work as advertised, as long as you don't expect premium high
Which only helps show that, if nothing else, the entrepreneurial spirit
is alive and well and making beautiful music.
Well, music, anyway.
Jim Bray's columns are available from the TechnoFile