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We tested two new models with OSD audio and dual electronics and included the dual LU53PV as a budget choice.
Best Portable Speakers For Outdoor Projector
We love the convenience of portable Bluetooth speakers. But for those who want a more durable – and higher quality – outdoor audio solution for the patio or deck, 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 install, and are built to withstand harsh weather conditions and repel bugs and dust.
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The AP650 speakers have a clear, full sound that works well for any type of music. And they have no ports that let in water or bugs.
The OSD Audio AP650 speakers are the best value we’ve found in an outdoor pair. Their specification surpasses anything we’ve heard from other models priced under $200 per pair. And they have full, powerful sound that can easily fill outdoor spaces up to about 1,500 square feet. The AP650 speakers have enough bass for R&B, hip-hop and rock music. And they don’t need a lot of power to produce loud sounds, so you can pair them with a small amp. Because they have a completely sealed design, there is no worry about water, dust or bugs getting in. The pair is also better built than most sub-$200 outdoor speakers, with a thicker case and a sturdy, powder-coated mounting bracket.
The NS-AV294 speakers deliver full sound, but aren’t the best choice for locations with harsh weather conditions.
If you want to spend a little less to get good outdoor sound, the Yamaha NS-AV294 speakers are a good choice—unless you live in a place where rainstorms are common, since their ported design is water-resistant. may allow entry. , potentially causing damage. The NS-AV294 speakers don’t sound as clear as our top pick, but they have a solid amount of bass and can play pretty loud.
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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 mids and highs. Whether you listen to hip-hop, rock, folk or classical, you’ll appreciate the improvements.
The LU53PV 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.
Those who just want to listen to light music in the backyard and want to keep their investment to a minimum will love the Dual Electronics LU53PV speakers. Although they don’t have a lot of bass and can be quite bright when turned up loud, they sound suitable for background music, podcasts and internet radio. They are 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 won’t fill as large an area as our other varieties.
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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 other types of outdoor speakers are the traditional, unobtrusive variety — they can fill a yard with full, strong sound, but they require complicated installation and wiring. With the BTP525, the amplifiers are built-in and the power supply is waterproof. So all you have to do is plug in the speakers, run a wire between them and connect power to the speakers and an external AC outlet. A built-in Bluetooth receiver lets you wirelessly stream audio from smartphones and tablets, and the sound quality is similar—though the OSD audio isn’t as loud or full as the AP650 pair.
I can safely say that I’ve reviewed more passive (that is, non-amplified and non-Bluetooth) outdoor speakers than all the other audio journalists in the world combined – a fact that reflects my lack of attention to detail. Says very little in comparison. Speakers receive audio from the publication. My outdoor speaker testing experience includes numerous individual product reviews and seven multi-product issues: one for Home Theater Magazine, one for Home Entertainment Magazine, one for Sound & Vision, and four for Wire Cutters. I made an audio switch specifically for testing hidden brands. And, perhaps most importantly, I have a yard – and I’m not afraid to use it.
In addition to conducting my own hidden brand listening tests, I also enlisted the help of several other listeners during the years of development of this article. They include Lauren Dragon, Wirecutter’s senior writer and headphone expert (who also writes audio reviews for Sound & Vision magazine and holds a degree in music performance and audio production from Ithaca College), and author Daniel Varghese.
These speakers are for people who are lucky enough to have an outdoor space to make their call – whether it’s a small yard or an entire yard – and who like to listen to music or podcasts. The speakers are weatherproof, so in most cases you can leave them outside for years without worrying about deterioration due to water damage. (They may not survive severe weather such as hurricanes, and some models will leak water under certain conditions.) These speakers have a metal grill and a fairly rugged plastic housing. So they will usually escape any effects of stray hairs, and it will be difficult or impossible for insects to nest in them. Most of these are powered by a separate amplifier, so they don’t need to be plugged in or charged – but you will need to run speaker wire.
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Outdoor speakers rarely sound as good as a decent set of bookshelf speakers designed for indoor use. The plastic enclosures of outdoor speakers vibrate and produce noisy sound, and the perforated metal grills block or reflect some of the sound waves coming from the speaker drivers. I also suspect that because manufacturers know that their outdoor speakers are unlikely to stand up to serious scrutiny, they don’t put as much effort into their designs as they do their indoor models.
Because you have to run speaker cables from the amplifier to the speakers, setting up a traditional pair of passive (unamplified) outdoor speakers requires more skill and effort than simply placing a portable Bluetooth speaker on your patio table. Is. If you have a few unused amplifier channels, you can disconnect the speakers from your existing home theater receiver. Most stereo receivers have a “Speakers A/B” button that allows you to route the sound to another set of speakers, or you can use an inexpensive speaker switcher. You can also use an inexpensive stereo mini amplifier from a brand like Fossey Audio or Lokji. Add a Bluetooth adapter (or buy an amplifier with built-in Bluetooth) and you can easily receive digital music files, online streaming audio services, and podcasts from a Bluetooth-equipped smartphone, tablet, or computer (as long as you connect the Bluetooth adapter Close to where you sit outside – usually 15 to 30 feet at most).
You will need to place the amplifier indoors and run wires through the walls or attic to the outside of the home. Obviously, this operation requires some skill and experience. Most areas allow running low-voltage (ie, audio, video and network) cables through walls without a permit, but you should check your local building code to confirm. Be sure to use CL2 or CL3 fire rated cables for safety.
The alternative to all this complexity is to get a set of external speakers with amplifiers and built-in Bluetooth. With this option, all you have to do is run the wires that are the cable between the two speakers and the power connector. You’ll need an external AC outlet nearby, and you’ll probably prefer to power off the speakers when they’re not in use.
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Another alternative is a waterproof portable Bluetooth speaker big enough to fill your backyard (or at least your patio) with sound. You can find them in our guide to the best portable Bluetooth speakers.
The outdoor speaker industry moves much more slowly than most audio industries – it’s common for models to remain on sale for several years. In fact, many of the speakers we tested years ago for this guide are still available today. However, the development of highly competitively priced vendors such as Dayton Audio, OSD, and Monoprice greatly increased the number of models.
I began the testing process by loading each speaker with music played at a moderate volume for 10 hours. Then I listened to them all in my backyard for a few days. If any speaker exhibited serious anomalies—such as deep bass distortion or sharp treble that mixed the vocals—I eliminated it, knowing it was unlikely to be the best choice. .
Then we held.
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