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We tested two new models from OSD Audio and Dual Electronics, and included the dual LU53PW as a budget pick.
Best Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker System
We love the convenience of portable Bluetooth speakers. But for those who want a more permanent — and higher quality — outdoor audio solution for the backyard or patio, we recommend a good pair of weatherproof outdoor speakers. The OSD Audio AP650 speakers are your best choice because they look good, are easy to assemble, and are built to withstand harsh weather and repel insects and dust.
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The AP650 speakers have clear, full sound that works well for all types of music. And they have no ports that allow water or bugs to get in.
The OSD Audio AP650 speakers are the best value we’ve found in an outdoor pair. Their specification beats anything we’ve heard from other models under $200 per pair. And they have a full, powerful sound that easily fills outdoor rooms up to about 1,500 square meters. The AP650 speakers have enough bass for R&B, hip-hop and rock music. And they don’t need a lot of power to deliver loud sounds, so you can pair them with a small amplifier. Because they have a fully sealed design, there’s no need to worry about water, dust or bugs getting in. The pair is also better built than most sub-$200 outdoor speakers, with a thicker wall and a sturdy, powder-coated mounting bracket.
The NS-AW294 speakers deliver full sound, but they’re not the best choice for venues that experience extreme weather.
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If you’re looking to spend a little less to get great outdoor sound, the Yamaha NS-AW294 speakers are a good choice – as long as you don’t live in a place where rainstorms are common, as their water-ported design Allows to get I and, possibly cause damage. The NS-AW294 speakers don’t sound as clear as our top pick, but they have a solid amount of bass and can get pretty loud.
The Dayton Audio IO8XTB speaker is almost twice the price and size of our OSD and Yamaha picks, but we can safely say that this speaker offers at least twice the performance. Not only does it deliver a lot of bass, but its sound is clean and smooth in the midrange and treble. Whether you listen to hip-hop, rock, folk or classical, you’ll appreciate the improvements.
The LU53PW is a compact, affordable choice that’s fully enclosed, but this pair doesn’t have much bass and doesn’t sound as good at very loud volumes.
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Those who just want to listen to light music in the backyard, and who want to keep their investment to a minimum, will love the Dual Electronics LU53PW speakers. Although they don’t have a lot of bass and can sound leafy when turned up high, they sound good for background music, podcasts, and Internet radio. They’re also more compact than other non-powered models we recommend, and are fully sealed to prevent water ingress.
The BTP525 speaker has built-in Bluetooth and a stereo amplifier, which makes installation very easy. They look nice, but they won’t fill as large an area as our other picks.
The OSD Audio BTP525 speaker is a good choice for someone who only needs sound for a small patio, and for someone who wants a speaker that is very easy to install. All of our outdoor speaker picks are traditional, non-amplified types – they can fill a backyard with full, robust sound, but require complex installation and wiring. With the BTP525, the amplifiers are built in, and the power supply is waterproof. So all you need to do is mount the speakers, run a wire between them and connect the power supply with the speakers to an external AC outlet. A built-in Bluetooth receiver lets you wirelessly stream audio from smartphones and tablets, and the sound quality is similar to the OSD Audio AP650 pair – but not as loud or full.
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I can confidently say that I’ve reviewed more passive (ie non-amplified and non-Bluetooth) outdoor speakers than any other audio journalist in the world combined – a fact that says far less about me than it should. That makes about a total reduction. Among these speakers get attention from audio publications. My outdoor speaker testing experience includes numerous single-product reviews and seven multi-product shootouts: one for Home Theater Magazine, one for Home Entertainment Magazine, one for Sound & Vision, and four for Wire Cutters. I custom built an audio switcher specifically from the brand to do the hidden testing. And, perhaps most importantly, I have a yard – and I’m not afraid to use it.
In addition to conducting my own brand of hidden listening tests, I enlisted the help of several other listeners during the course of this article’s evolution over the years. They include Lauren Dragon, Wirecutter senior staff writer and headphone expert (who also writes audio reviews for Sound & Vision magazine and holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance and audio production from Ithaca College) and author Daniel Varghese. Included.
These speakers are for people who are lucky enough to have an outdoor space to make their calls – whether it’s a small patio or an entire backyard – and who like to listen to music or podcasts. The speakers are waterproof, so in most cases you can leave them outside for years without worrying about them being damaged by water damage. (They cannot survive severe weather such as hurricanes, and some models emit water under certain conditions.) These speakers have a metal grill and a fairly sturdy plastic housing. So they will usually escape any effect of stray hairs, and insects will find it difficult or impossible to nest in them. And most of them are powered by a separate amplifier, so they don’t need to be plugged in or charged – but you do need to run speaker cables.
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Outdoor speakers rarely sound as good as a decent set of bookshelf speakers designed for indoor use. The plastic housings of outdoor speakers tend to vibrate and vibrate, and the perforated metal grills block or reflect some of the sound waves from the speaker drivers. I also suspect that because manufacturers know their outdoor speakers aren’t likely to receive much scrutiny, they don’t put as much effort into these designs as they do their indoor models.
Because you have to run speaker cables from an amplifier to the speakers, setting up a traditional pair of passive (non-amplified) outdoor speakers requires more skill and effort than simply placing a portable Bluetooth speaker on your patio table. Is. If you have some unused amplifier channels, you can turn off the existing home theater receiver’s speakers. Most stereo receivers have a “Speaker A/B” button that lets you send the sound to another set of speakers, or you can use an inexpensive speaker switch. You can also use an inexpensive stereo mini amplifier from a brand like Fossey Audio or LuxGee. Add a Bluetooth adapter (or buy an amplifier with built-in Bluetooth), and you can easily access digital music files, online streaming audio services, and podcasts from a smartphone, tablet, or Bluetooth-equipped computer with a Bluetooth adapter. (closer to where you sit outside – usually 15 to 30 feet at most).
You need to keep the amplifier indoors and run the wires through your walls or attic to the outside of the house. Of course, this operation requires a special skill and experience. Most areas allow low-voltage (ie, audio, video and networking) cables to run through walls without a permit, but you should check your local building codes to confirm. Be sure to use CL2- or CL3-rated cables that are fire-rated for safety.
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The alternative to all this complexity would be to get a set of outdoor speakers with amplifiers and Bluetooth built-in. With this option, the only wires you run are the cable between the two speakers and the connection to the power supply. You’ll need a nearby external AC outlet, and you’ll probably prefer to turn off the power supply when the speakers aren’t in use.
Another alternative is a waterproof portable Bluetooth speaker that can fill your backyard (or at least your patio) with sound. You can find it in our best portable Bluetooth speakers guide.
The outdoor speaker industry moves much more slowly than most audio industries – it’s common for a model to sell out over several years. In fact, many of the speakers we tested years ago for this guide are still available. However, the development of highly competitively priced vendors – such as Dayton Audio, OSD, and Monoprice – greatly increased the number of models.
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I began the process by blast-testing each speaker for 10 hours with moderately loud music. Then I listened to them all in my backyard for days. If any speaker exhibited severe anomalies — such as distortion in deep bass notes or harsh treble sounds — I eliminated it, knowing it had no chance of becoming a top pick.
Next we led.
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