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We tested two new models from OSD Audio and Dual Electronics and included the Dual LU53PW as a budget choice.
Wireless Outdoor Speaker Reviews
We love the convenience of portable Bluetooth speakers. However, for those who want a more consistent, quality outdoor sound solution for their backyard or patio, we offer a good pair of weatherproof outdoor speakers. OSD Audio AP650 speakers are the best choice because they are loud, portable and built to withstand harsh weather and keep out bugs and dust.
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The AP650 speakers have a clear, full sound that is perfect for any type of music. And they don’t have ports that allow water or bugs to get in.
The OSD Audio AP650 speakers are the best value we’ve seen in outdoor shoes. Their clarity surpasses anything we’ve heard from other models under $200 a pair. And they have a full, solid volume that can easily fill an outdoor space up to about 1,500 square feet. The AP650 speakers have enough bass for R&B, hip-hop and rock music. Also, they don’t need a lot of power to deliver loud sound, so you can pair them with a small amp. Since they have a full design, you don’t have to worry about water, dust or bugs getting in. this pair is also better than outdoor speakers under $200, with thick armor and a sturdy, powder-coated shaft.
The NS-AW294 speakers provide full sound, but are not the best choice for areas with harsh weather.
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If you’re willing to spend a bit more to get proper outdoor sound, the Yamaha NS-AW294 speakers are a good choice – unless you live in an area that gets frequent rains, their portable design can let in water that can cause injury. The NS-AW294’s speakers don’t sound as good as our top pick, but they have solid bass and can handle quite a bit of noise.
The Dayton Audio IO8XTB speaker is about twice the price and size of our OSD and Yamaha picks, but we can safely say that this speaker delivers at least twice the performance. Not only does it provide much more bass, but the sound is crisp and clear in the mids and highs. Whether you’re listening to hip-hop, rock, folk or classical, you’ll appreciate the improvements.
The LU53PW is a compact, budget option that is fully sealed, 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 background and those who want to keep their investment small will love the Two Electronics LU53PW speakers. While they don’t have much bass and can get a little loud, they sound great for background music, podcasts, and internet radio. They’re also more compact than other non-powered models we recommend and are completely sealed to keep water out.
The BTP525 speakers have Bluetooth and a built-in stereo amplifier, making installation a breeze. They sound good, but won’t fill as much space as other options.
OSD Audio’s BTP525 speakers are a good choice for those who only need sound in, say, a small backyard, and those who want speakers that are easy to install. All of our outdoor speaker options are traditional, unrefined – they can fill your backyard with full, powerful sound, but require a complex and tight fit. With the BTP525, the amplifiers are built-in and the power supply is waterproof. So all you have to do is mount the speakers, run a cable between them, and connect the power supply to the speakers and the outdoor AC outlet. The built-in Bluetooth receiver allows for wireless audio streaming from smartphones and tablets, and the sound quality is comparable to the OSD Audio AP650 pair, though not as loud or full.
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I can safely say that I’ve reviewed more passive (ie non-amplified and non-Bluetooth) outdoor speakers than all the other audio journalists in the world combined, and that’s saying a lot. more about me than about the whole. lack of attention to these speakers from audio publications. My outdoor speaker testing experience includes several single-product reviews and seven multi-product shoots: one for Home Theater Magazine, one for Home Entertainment Magazine, one for Sound & Vision, and four for Wirecutter. I specially built the audio converter to test the brand. And, perhaps most importantly, I have a back and I’m not afraid to use it.
In addition to conducting my own brand of listening tests, I received help from many other listeners during the year-long development of this article. They include Lauren Dragan, Wirecutter’s senior staff writer and headphone expert (who also writes audio reviews for Sound & Vision magazine and holds a BA in Music Performance and Sound Production from Ithaca University), and author Daniel Varghese.
These speakers are designed for people who may have an outdoor space to call their own—whether it’s a small patio or a full backyard—and those who want to listen to music or podcasts. The speakers are weatherproof, so in most cases you can leave them outside for years without worrying about water damage. (They may not withstand extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, and some models absorb water under certain conditions.) These speakers have metal grills and sturdy plastic housings. So they will survive any impact from the volleyball and it will be difficult or impossible for insects to nest inside them. Also, many of them are powered off of a separate amp, so they don’t need to be plugged in or charged, but you’ll need to run a speaker wire.
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Outdoor speakers are not as good as a good set of storage speakers for indoor use. Plastic outdoor speaker enclosures tend to vibrate and produce loud sound, while perforated metal grills block or reflect some of the sound waves coming from the speaker drivers. I also suspect that because manufacturers know their outdoor speakers are unlikely to stand up to rigorous scrutiny, they don’t put as much work into these designs as they do their indoor models.
Because you have to run speaker cable from the amplifier to the speaker, creating a traditional pair of passive (unamplified) outdoor speakers requires more skill and effort than setting up a portable Bluetooth speaker on a patio table. You can power your speakers from your existing home theater receiver if you have two unused amplifier channels. Most stereo receivers have a “speaker A/B” button that allows you to route the sound to a second speaker system, or you can use an inexpensive speaker switcher. You can also use an inexpensive stereo mini amp from a brand like Fosi Audio or Loxjie. Add a Bluetooth adapter (or purchase an amplifier with built-in Bluetooth) and you can easily stream digital music files, online audio services, and podcasts from your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, tablet, or computer (if Bluetooth enabled ). . the adapter is close to where you sit outside—as close as 15-30 feet).
You will have to keep the amplifier indoors, and run the wires through the walls or attic to the outside of the house. Obviously, this job requires certain knowledge and experience. Most communities allow low-voltage (namely audio, video, and network) cables to be run through walls without a permit, but you should check local building codes to confirm. Be sure to use CL2- or CL3 cables, which are lightweight for safety reasons.
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An alternative to all that complexity would be to buy a set of outdoor speakers with amplifiers and built-in Bluetooth. With this option, the only wires that need to go are the wires between the two speakers and the connections to the power supply. You’ll need an outdoor AC outlet, and you’ll want to unplug the power source when the speakers aren’t in use.
Another option is to have a portable waterproof Bluetooth speaker that’s big enough to fill your backyard (or at least your patio) with sound. You can find them in our best portable Bluetooth speakers guide.
The outdoor speaker industry moves much more slowly than most of the audio industry – it’s common for a model to be sold for several years. In fact, many of the speakers we tested years ago in this guide are still available today. However, the growth of price-competitive vendors such as Dayton Audio, OSD and Monoprice has greatly increased the number of models.
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I started the testing process with each speaker playing music at an average volume of 10 hours, listening to them all on the back for a couple of days. If any speaker shows massive irregularities, like distorted deep bass notes or harsh highs that make vocals shudder, I delete it, knowing it won’t have a chance to be the best.
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