ION Audio Tailgater

ION Audio Tailgater (iPA77) Portable Bluetooth PA Speaker Review

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Are you an audiophile who knows how to party? Do you just love to bring the party with you, anywhere you go? Then this monster of a speaker is just the thing you need.  Whether it’s a party in your backyard, while camping or a block party in the streets, the ION Tailgater is just the thing you need. Whatever event you are a part of, this speaker will make it unforgettable for everyone involved. This in-depth article will cover all of its characteristics, leaving you to decide whether it’s worth the money or not.


The ION Audio Tailgate Speaker is a portable monster of a speaker that has a microphone, a USB charge port, and an AM/FM radio. With a battery lasting for 8 hours, you become a walking party. The lush sound that it gives you, along with the general sturdiness of the speaker, guarantees a lot of fun for a long time.

ION Audio know their stuff, know what makes a product good, high quality, while still making it affordable. And best of all, in this model, no wires are needed!

ION Tailgater Main Features

Ion Tailgate Front Face

Built-in rechargeable battery

There’s a three-prong type of cable responsible for power supply of the ION Tailgater, which is also used when you recharge your battery. Process that will take around 12 hour for you to get the speaker to full capacity, which will give you between 8 and 10 hours of playback time. If you put the speaker on standby, you’ll be able to continue playing after up to 8 hours. You’ll find the power cable (which comes together with the package) on the back of the speaker and this cable is used to both provide power to the speaker when the battery is empty and recharge the built-in battery at the same time. Right next to the cord output you’ll notice how ION Audio smartly placed a power switch you can use to turn the device on and off, a high quality output link that will allow you to pair the device with another speaker and an indicator that shows how much battery life you have remaining.

Powerful speaker system

The design may not win any awards anytime soon, but on the bright side you’ll receive a powerful speaker supported by a dynamic surround sound line. With a 2-way crossover channel and a 16 Watt output power the Tailgater won’t leave you disappointed with the volume level you’ll be able to produce. There’s even an integrated audio amplifier that will give you the opportunity to play around with the frequency range and find the perfect sound signature between 77 Hz and 20 kHz.

USB power bank

When you’re looking for a remote powerhouse party speaker you’re also looking for enough added functionality for you and your crew while you’re on the road. The USB power adapters located on the top of the speaker give you the convenience of charging your phone, tablet, or even Kindle while you’re on the go. Imagine how useful a battery of this size would be while you’re on your seven day camping trip with your family or you’re organizing a party for your friends in your backyard. No more unnecessary trips to the inside of the house just because you forgot to plug in your phone in the charger before you came to the party.

Connect all devices at once

The best part about the ION Tailgater is the fact you’ll be able to connect multiple devices at the same time thanks to the Bluetooth connectivity option that will make your Android or IOS device an integral part of this surround system, through the usage of handy control features that work well with all other elements, including the microphone.

Use it to catch radio stations

Digital technology is great, but the human being has kept the habit of playing the radio throughout the evolution of the modern world. In every once in a while you just get that desire to find your favorite station located on a particular AM or FM frequency and enjoy the selection of your favorite DJ. The radio found on the inside of the tailgater features a quality display you’ll find it extremely easy to operate, and as a reward you’ll get incredibly clear and crisp sound. This option is also useful when you’re exploring hiking trails and you need to connect with the ranger’s cottage.

Bulky built

We must admit we haven’t found the beauty in the Ion Tailgater, but we certainly appreciate how the bulky design keeps every other element in the safe zone. Weighing in at exactly 17 pounds with dimensions of 12.5 x 9.20 x 13 inches, the speaker can be used as a portable table or a bench while you aren’t using it. You don’t want to sit on it while it’s on as the vibrations will make you feel really weird, or will they?

– Cables are included: There are some manufacturers that provide zero additional materials when shipping their selection of speakers, but this isn’t the case with Ion. You’ll get an 1/8 inch auxiliary input cord as well as two microphone and aux cables, when you make the order.


This speaker has a beautiful, classic look, which can prove to be inadequate for the more sophisticated user. It’s a glossy black color, made out of a quality combination of plastic, metal, and leather. It looks and subtle when you just use it to play music, but you may find it difficult to stand it on daily basis, if you plan to use it regularly in your coffee shop or in the backyard.

We can’t say the same about the endurance level and the overall sturdiness the Tailgater provides with its reinforced corners. In case it gets bumped or, God forbid, dropped on something jagged and nasty, you won’t feel a difference in sound quality the next time you plug it in.

Not to make you think like this is one of those old school models that forgot to follow time and stayed stuck in the 1970’s because there are modern elements present with the ION Tailgater as well. This is something you’ll immediately notice the first time you use the radio dashboard where the modernistic design really becomes dominant. This part has a slick look, with modern looking input, with the LCD display being in metallic, neon blue. At times, it looks more like a guitar amplifier then a simple speaker, which, to some, is a huge plus.

The Sound

Ion Tailgater Ports

You need to accept the Tailgate the way it is. It won’t become prettier the moment you decide to paint it red. That’s the design the company created and you just need to go with the flow.

If you accept the robust exterior, you’re in for a treat because this model is known to produce some really amazing sound in terms of quality and volume. Any party you bring this thing to will be infused by crisp, high-quality sound. The frequency response is between 77Hz-20000Hz, which only indicates how powerful the sound output is while there’s enough room for the woofer to cover deeper bass lines and reproduce higher notes without mixing mid level sounds.

You can adjust the sound whichever way you want with the help of a smartly placed tweeter on the inside of the speaker, you’re able to control using the dashboard on the top of the Tailgater .

What helps you produce some loud volume is the powerful woofer (six and a half inches) and a 50-watt amplifier. These two elements are crucial for people that want to pump up the volume to the max and bring the party in their backyard. Thanks to the high standard equipment used while creating the ION Tailgater you’ll notice how there are minimal to no distortions, even when playing music filled with overlaps between highs and mids.

However, the bass isn’t that impressive, which is something we could’ve figured out the moment we saw the frequency response levels. Speaker that has the low FR limit set at 77 Hz simply can’t produce a deep bass line. This is why great deal of professionals in the industry label the Ion’s Tailgater as a piece of audio equipment that’s just lacking a bit, when we talk about bass quality. The bass line sounds a tad muffed and it won’t impress even recreational audiophiles.

If you are into bass-heavy music, the ION Audio Tailgater will struggle a bit. If you hear any distortion or unpleasant scratchy sounds, trust us, all you need to do is play around with the equalizer, and you will fix your problem in no time. After all, isn’t experimentation part of the fun?

The sound travels well, sounding wonderful even if you’re in the woods, surrounded by trees and nature, or in your backyard, with a ton of people talking, while you’re barbecuing. It has a high-quality wide-dispersion tweeter allowing itself to be heard basically anywhere, anytime.


This model has a range of positive elements that make it very useful and effective. The battery lasts for 8 hours, enough for even the longest possible parties. While the charge time may last for some time, it’s definitely worth it.

The model is quite sturdy, as it weighs 17 pounds. This doesn’t have to be a problem if you don’t have to carry it for a long time. However, if you’re on the lithe side, long camping trips can become painful because of you carrying this thing. This is especially a problem since you don’t have any wheels on the speaker, just a handle to carry it. But the sturdiness and the design, as well as the quality sound, guarantee that it’s worth it. Might as well burn off the calories you gain from a barbecue, right?

Even if you’re not up to the challenge and you just want to move the Tailgater around you can always find a suitable tool that will help you take this massive speaker from one place to the other. Just ask Jose from the local bodega to borrow you his merchandise carrier and you’re good to go.

The Bluetooth connection is excellent, with a range of 100 feet. You can control it with your iPhone or Android device from basically anywhere. It’s compatible with any Android or IOS device, and you control it by using a free app. If you, for example, want to play with the equalizer of the speaker, you don’t even have to get up out of your chair – just start your phone and do it right then and there, where you’re sitting.

Another bonus is that you can charge your Kindle, phone or tablet with this speaker, as it has a USB port made just for this. It also has a 3.5 mm (or 1/8 inch) aux input, so you can connect other devices as well.

Finally, do you like karaoke? Of course, you do, everybody does. Well, because you get a high-quality microphone with the speaker, you can do that too. Just prepare some tracks on your Android of iPhone, connect them to the speaker (wirelessly) with the free app, and just have fun.

Remember how we emphasized that you’ll be able to connect multiple devices at the same time? Well, this is the moment you’ll actually reap all the benefits from this feature. Heck, you may even start your own travelling band.


  • Classic and modern design at the same time
  • Possible Bluetooth connection of up to one hundred feet
  • Integration with any Android or iOS device
  • Very long battery life – up to fifty hours
  • High-quality sound


  • A bit on the heavy side
  • Some may not like the look
  • Takes some time to recharge

The Verdict

The ION Tailgater provides you with an excellent sound, a sturdy frame and a crazy amount of battery life. It doesn’t matter if you want to party in the woods all night, organize a tailgate party, or just have some fun, doing karaoke the whole night with your friends, this efficient and user-friendly device has it all.

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