Looking to have a good time in Pittsburgh before heading to Heinz Field for a Steelers game? Well, look no further than Steel City Underground's new series of articles to help you "survive" game day!
Each week we'll highlight some new tips on various topics that will help Steelers Nation get the most out of their game day experience.
Today's topic is tailgate music. That seems rather vague, but it's an opportunity to talk about a few things that have come up in various conversations over the last couple of weeks.
The first thing that came up was a chance conversation with my (new) friends over at NIMA USA. I was on the prowl for a new way to listen to tunes while tailgating. I previously had tried several solutions to make the most of my music and some of those were good, while others were horrendous experiences.
If you are parking anywhere within earshot of the stadium, your standard smartphone speakers aren't going to cut it. There are some longtime diehard Steelers fans who really know how to party. Some even have full-fledged DJ equipment that will make your little phone speakers seem weak by comparison.
Now most of us can't lug around DJ speakers and a soundboard, so what do we do? An iPad isn't going to cut it either. One device I used to carry around was called the ROCKTube. I'm not sure who made it, but I bought it on severe discount from K-Mart (yeah...) and it did me well.
It was roughly the size of a Quaker Oats container and had a speaker on one end and a subwoofer on the other. The ROCKTube had a built-in FM radio, SD card reader, 3.5mm headphone input, and Bluetooth capabilities. It packed more punch, but it wasn't at all perfect by any means. Besides, I'm the kind of guy who requires Steelers branded stuff. (I even have a pop-up Steelers trash can for game days!)
Enter Nima Saati, the founder, and CEO of NIMA USA, a company which produces officially licensed Bluetooth NFL speakers. Now, this is full disclosure, I was sent one of these bad boys to review, and I'm usually very skeptical of not only product reviews, but I felt like "how would I even talk about this to Steelers fans?"
Heck, I was skeptical this thing would work as advertised! But, I have to admit, I'm eating my words after getting my hands on the small version of NIMA USA's three different sized helmets. The product comes in medium and large sizes as well, but the small helmet was enough to shake the walls in my home for a weekend of putting it through the paces. Just have a look for yourself:
— SteelCityUnderground (@steelcityundrgr) August 11, 2017
The great thing about this product is, I don't have to use it with only Bluetooth, which is a saving grace on game day, as I want to save my phone battery. The helmet has a USB input and the same ol' headphone jack input as well. Of course, you can still use it with Bluetooth as well, but having the other options is as critical when you're outputting audio from a TV set too!
I also love that like my old ROCKTube, the NIMA USA Bluetooth Speaker Helmets hold about twice as long of a charge. That means I won't have to worry about it dying during the four or five hours I'm at the tailgate lot.
As far as being drowned out by someone's DJ speakers, well, that could still happen, but not as much as before. This little guy packs a bigger punch than my old Bluetooth speaker and is in line or better than other products at a similar price point.
You can also link a pair of them together to increase your audio footprint or use as a whole-home system up to 65 feet away.
Now someone out there will say they could just run their car radio. That's true too, but you'd have to be sitting next to your car's speakers and hope to have a sizeable upgraded audio system in your vehicle or you'll face the same hurdles as mentioned with your smartphone or tablet. That's not to mention running the risk of killing your car battery and needing a jump! (Been there, done that! Not good.)
Once you've decided on your method of playing audio, now you actually need some tunes to play too. First, you'll want to make sure your phone or device is loaded with the music files. That may mean adding songs to your iPhone or an Android device or saving files to a USB drive or SD card. I loathe the latter, as it often gives me less control over the order the device will allow me to playback any given song. Some will go by file name while others order by the date the file was modified.
So while I'm going back on my "Bluetooth kills batteries" comment above, bring a spare charger and go with your phone's built-in music manager. If you have a device with a headphone jack, you can tether with a cable to save some battery life. (NIMA USA's helmet came with this cable in the package.)
Once you're prepared, these are some of the suggested songs played at Heinz Field during a Steelers game which I would make mandatory listening for your pregame party:
- Renegade - Styx
- Thunderstruck - AC/DC
- Sirius - The Alan Parsons Project
- Black and Yellow - Wiz Khalifa
(Note: links to iTunes provided above can be downloaded and played on any device.)
If you enjoyed this article let me know in the comments. I'm preparing to do more this season and could always use suggestions on what you'd like to learn more about for game day!