The 10 Best Water Speakers
Dancing To The Beat
Listening to music is something that can be enjoyed both in solitude and with a large group of people, depending on your circumstances and preferences. Loudspeaker technology has evolved considerably over the last 150 years with options to suit almost any situation or environment. For example, a large house party can now benefit from the use of audio equipment featuring built-in LED lights, adding a definitive charm to your indoor decor while the festivities are taking place. That said, if you want to take this fun to the next level, while drawing even more attention to that hardware than you first thought possible, a set of dancing water speakers is just what you'll need to transform that ordinary party room into an attractive sight for all of your guests to behold.
A water speaker typically consists of both an upper and lower section. Usually made from a hard plastic, the lower section is equipped with a pulse-reactive, electric motor. Constructed from either transparent plastic or glass, the upper section of the speaker contains the water, a built-in pump fan, and several holes, each with a dedicated colored LED and through which water is ultimately shot upwards in a stream when music is played. To visualize what this "dancing water" might look like, imagine the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas, but on a simpler and much smaller scale. Keep in mind that the LEDs in a water speaker are separately sealed and do not get wet, but they will create the illusion that each water jet is spawned from a distinctive color.
So what makes the water in these speakers actually "dance" to the beat of the music? A pulse-reactive motor within the speaker's lower section is equipped with several magnets on its top end. When connected to the speaker, this motor spins in one direction to the "pulse" of the music. Additionally, the motor's speed is directly proportional to the speaker's volume. This means that as the volume increases, so will the motor's speed of rotation. The magnets on the top end of the motor are further attracted to similar magnets located on the bottom end of the pump fan in the speaker's upper section. As the motor spins, so does the pump fan's rotor. The rotor's spinning motion causes a buildup of pressure inside the speaker's upper section (where the water tank resides), which ultimately forces the liquid into the base of that section where it is shot up through the holes as separately-colored water streams. The water is typically free to move around the inside perimeter of the speaker's upper section, so it can be easily and repetitively "recycled" through the tank and back into the unit's hole system when the music is playing. While water is typically the most common fluid, some versions of these speakers may come with other nontoxic liquids, such as vegetable oil.
It's important to realize that water speakers aren't just for dance parties. These accessories also make great additions to home offices, kitchens, and children's bedrooms.
Being Realistic About Your Options
When investing in a set of water speakers, keep your expectations realistic in terms of the hardware's sound capabilities. Much of the space inside these speakers will be dedicated to the moving components and LEDs. While you can find plenty of colorful options with great sound, don't assume your water speakers will match the power of a larger sound system, particularly when your top priority is visual appeal. In no way is this an attempt to undermine the benefits or qualities of a water speaker whatsoever, but it's merely something to keep in mind. That said, some water speakers include additional subwoofers and amplifiers, which can be extremely beneficial during parties when good bass resonance and omni-directional sound coverage are important.
If you anticipate moving your speakers to different locations around the house on a regular basis, definitely consider their networking and connectivity options. These include built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi functionality along with physical inputs for plugging the equipment into laptops and other mobile devices.
Finally, your water speakers should be durably constructed from any combination of resilient acrylic or heavy-duty plastics that can withstand spills and heavy impacts.
A Brief History Of Water Speakers
The birth of the electric loudspeaker is credited to German inventor Johann Philipp Reis who installed one in his telephone back in 1861. This device was capable of reproducing both clear tones and somewhat muffled speech. Alexander Graham Bell later patented his own electric loudspeaker in 1876, followed by the first experimental dynamic (moving-coil) loudspeaker in 1898, courtesy of Oliver Lodge. However, it wasn't until 1915 that dynamic loudspeakers were adopted for practical use, thanks to Danish engineers Peter L. Jensen and Edwin Pridham. Both of their designs used horns to amplify the sound produced by a small diaphragm. Unable to obtain patents, Jensen and Pridham both changed their target delivery markets to radios and public address systems, naming their product Magnavox.
The dynamic loudspeaker technology currently in use today was first patented in 1924 by Chester W. Rice and Edward W. Kellogg. Later in 1937, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer introduced the first film industry-standard loudspeaker system. Altec Lansing developed the 604 loudspeaker in 1943, a system that delivered improved audio clarity at high output levels for use in movie theaters.
In 1954, writer and teacher Edgar Villchur engineered the acoustic suspension loudspeaker principle that delivered an improved bass response, making it an important step in the transition to stereo recording and reproduction.
Large computer-controlled "musical fountains" that combine sound, color, and water streams became common in the 1980s. Today's miniaturized versions of musical fountains still preserve the visual appeal of water displays and bright colors, while also incorporating the connectivity of mainstream network protocols. Their on-board inputs allow for portability and leveraging physical connections with laptops and mobile device hardware for seamless setup in different locations.