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When it comes to speakers, most people will automatically assume that they will be used for stereo systems that are based indoors. However, there are some occasions where the speakers need to be outdoors.
There are several situations in which outdoor speakers can be used. In a more domestic capacity, perhaps you spend a lot of time on your patio in the evenings and would like to be able to listen to music or the radio while you are relaxing, or you might regularly hold barbecues and wish to add music to the existing ambience at those gatherings. Perhaps you want to be able to listen to your favorite tracks while you are doing your daily work out in the garden.
In a more commercial or wider capacity, outdoor speakers can be used at outdoor events, such as weddings, music gigs, and mini-festivals. Many of these events will be best served by having a complete PA system featuring numerous individual components, including at least two powerful speakers.
Many people assume they can simply take their indoor speakers outside, but in most cases, it is not that straight-forward.
Unlike most speakers for indoor sound systems, outdoor speakers are specifically designed to withstand the elements while still being able to deliver excellent-quality sound. They are usually equipped with larger and more powerful audio drivers, which allows them to deliver an excellent sonic experience in open, outdoor spaces.
Essentially, indoor speakers are designed to be used in smaller enclosed spaces, while outdoor ones are specifically made to project sound over a larger area.
On-wall/wall-mounted speakers are perhaps the most common type of speaker, particularly in a domestic setting. These speakers will usually come with bespoke mounting brackets, enabling them to be fitted to exterior walls (vertically or horizontally) and angled in the required direction.
Ideally, on-wall speakers should be installed in available eaves at a maximum height of three meters; placing them any higher will impact the sound. Placing these speakers in eaves also helps to protect them against most weather conditions.
Two main differences between on-wall outdoor speakers and conventional indoor bookshelf speakers are that on outdoor speakers, the speaker driver and the speaker cabinet/enclosure are specially designed to withstand the moisture and humidity found outdoors. This boosts durability.
Outdoor on-wall speakers are usually between 4" and 8". They are most often sold in pairs with a left and a right, but single speakers are also available that have two drivers.
Some of the most highly rated on-wall speakers include the Bose 251, the Kicker KB6000, the Bowers & Wilkins AM-1, the Klipsch AW-650 outdoor speaker, and the Polk Audio Atrium 4 and 6.
In-ceiling speakers are designed to be totally weatherproof and can be installed into soffit boards or similar sheltered horizontal surfaces. They use adapted drivers that can withstand the elements.
Some of the most highly rated on-wall in-ceiling speakers include the Polk Audio RC80i, Monitor audio AWC280 IP55 outdoor speaker, and the Q Install Qi 65CW ST IPX4 weatherproof stereo in-ceiling speaker.
These are another good option. Some of these speakers are referred to as rock speakers because their enclosure is disguised as a rock or boulder. This means that they can be situated among flowerbeds. These speakers come in various shapes, colors, and sizes, and most need to be connected via dedicated outdoor speaker cables. There are, however, some models available that require only a direct power supply and can be connected to via Bluetooth from a variety of devices.
Some of the best in-garden/in-ground speakers include the Bose Free Space 51 outdoor in-ground speaker, the Klipsch AWR-650-SM outdoor speaker, and the Speakercraft RUCKUS6 outdoor rock speaker.
A final and very popular option for outdoor audio solutions is the portable outdoor speaker. These speakers have a battery life of 10 to 20 hours and offer a simple, stylish, and versatile solution to external sound needs. Portable speakers can be connected via Bluetooth from a range of devices. Despite their size, many portable speakers boast impressive audio clarity and volume.
Some portable speakers are waterproof, so they are specifically designed to be used outdoors. Examples of some of the best portable outdoor speakers on the market include the Sonos Move Outdoor Speaker, the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2, and the Sony SRS-XB43.
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