10 Best Outdoor Speakers | March 2017
- articulated array design
- extremely wide sound field
- depth of bass is a bit lacking
- can also be wall or corner mounted
- customizable paint-ready exterior
- not especially loud
- sturdy abs polymer frames
- can mount vertically or horizontally
- warranty does not cover water damage
- easy to mount and lock in position
- metalized mylar dome tweeters
- limited bass output
- great value for the money
- blends in nicely with gardens
- strong bass when properly buried
- discreet stealthy design
- durable and uv-resistant
- can be wired for mono output
- speed-lock mounting system
- exceed military weatherproof specs
- protected against salt and corrosion
Hidden And Protected In Plain Sight
Outdoor speakers, at their core, work much the same as any other speaker set you might buy for the home. The only primary difference is in their durability.
Most speakers resonate through silks and other fabrics in their tweeters and woofers, and those materials can erode very quickly when exposed to the elements.
You ever worn suede in the rain? I think there's a whole Seinfeld episode about it, but if you don't know the reference, just rest assured that it's a bad idea.
We're talking mold, staining, corrosion–the works. You don't want that to happen to your clothes, and you certainly don't want that happening to your speakers. They'd begin to sound terrible, and they'd eventually stop working altogether.
So, what the manufacturers of outdoor speakers do differently to protect their products is twofold. First, they work with soft, petroleum based products to create more durable fabrics for sonic reproduction. They also create more durable, water resistant housings so that any part of the speaker susceptible to inclement weather is protected from the elements.
After that, a designer might take some unique steps toward camouflaging the speaker so you can set it up in your yard without calling attention to it. These designs come in everything from rocks, to plants, to lanterns–whatever you need to get your space just the way you want it.
How's It Hanging?
It's safe to say that you don't want the first thing your guests to notice about your yard to be the speakers.
Even if you spend a lot of money on them and the system to which they're tethered, the ideal scenario is one in which you've been outside for some time, and your friend turns to you:
"By the way," he says, halfway into his second glass of wine, starting to wonder how you've done so much better in life than he has, "where's that music been coming from? It sounds great."
"I'm glad you asked," you finally get to say.
Then you show him. Whether the speakers are hidden in a rock somewhere or artfully hung like the Bose units in the image there, you can saunter over, maybe with a nice Cuban cigar (are they legal after this?), and rub it in a little.
"Number three on the Ezvid list, I see," he says.
You're stunned. He's seen right through your research!
"Well, they were listed as the most expensive set," you defend. "What do you have?"
"Number one. But I suppose it's a matter of taste."
And you know he's right. It is a matter of taste when you're talking about speaker sets with this kind of quality. Not one unit in our top five really lags behind the pack in any category, so, for you, the question of taste is vital.
How will the speakers whose features you like the most fit in with your current style? Are you willing to redesign the space around the sound system (I totally would be)?
Answer those simple questions and you'll be well on your way to a choice.
Speaker Of The Home Plate
When was the last time you went to a good old-fashioned baseball game? Probably not for a good thirty years or so, because there isn't much about the game anymore that could be considered old-fashioned.
Back before baseball was a commercial firstly and a commercial secondly and a sport only in the kindest terms, the primary revenue stream for the teams was attendance.
It was up to an announcer to make sense of everything for those in attendance, and though it wasn't exactly play-by-play announcing, it was full of useful information for the fans.
Those announcers were broadcast throughout the stadiums of their days by these stadium speaker horns, which were essentially the first outdoor speakers.
The thing about them is that they're fine for projecting a thin, tinny reproduction of a human voice, but they're miserable for music.
Until companies started to reinforce their speakers for more rugged use over the past 20 years or so, most folks just pointed their speakers out the window, or, if they were in college, just put them on the roof.
Now, thankfully for the sake of the neighborhood property values, that's no longer necessary.