Speakers - Home Technology Delivering Music to the Outdoors

The home technology market is flooded with speakers, both good and bad. When a tech goes to a client's house to consult on an indoor or outdoor audio system installation, most clients ask "what's the difference? A speaker is a speaker, right?" Well, yes and no.

All speakers perform the same basic job of turning electrical impulses from the music source into something you can hear and enjoy. Some do this better than others. The difference is in the details of the design of the speaker, which you can see by checking out the spec sheet.

Outdoor Speakers - What You Want Depends on Where You Want Them

Outdoor speakers must be able to operate in harsh environments. This means that the materials and methods used to build them will, by necessity, not normally allow them to have the same frequency response that indoor speakers are capable of. This is especially true of 'true' outdoor speakers - those designed to be out in the elements and not mounted to a building and sheltered. Those designed to be placed somewhere protected will sound better because more compliant materials can be used.

Out In the Yard with the Klipsch AWR 650-SM Rock Speakers

Klipsch is one of the speaker brands most techs recommend without reservation as they are some of the best available and they are reasonably priced. The AWR 650-SM Rock Speakers exhibit this feature quite well. The speakers look like rocks, so they fit well in your yard. You have two choices in styles of rock: sandstone or granite. Even better, they can be left out in the yard year-round.

The speakers inside these rocks produce audio in the frequency range of 66Hz- 20Khz and they operate in the 10 -100 Watt range, with a sensitivity rating of 94 dB, which means they can go plenty loud when needed. The human ear can hear sound in the frequencies between 20 Hertz (Hz) -Most people can only hear down to 30 Hertz, though - and 22 Kilohertz (KHz).

Closer to the Building with Polk Audio's Atrium 4

Polk Audio is another brand that techs recommend wholeheartedly to clients, no matter where the speakers will go. The Atrium 4 line is an excellent choice for mounting in areas that won't be continuously exposed to the elements, such as mounting up under the eaves of your house.

Top10Rreviews tested them and they were proven to have an excellent frequency response of 35 Hz - 19Khz. Their 88 dB sensitivity and 60 -125 Watt power handling also mean that when the party gets wild, the music can keep up with it.

Rock It with Wireless Rock Speakers

These 2.4 GHz wireless outdoor rock speakers are excellent if you don't have much experience hooking up audio equipment or you want speakers you can put out for parties and put away the rest of the time. The WR150 wireless speaker set comes with a wireless transmitter that you can plug into your audio source (like and iPod, computer, or stereo) and a power outlet. Then place the two speakers within 300 feet of the transmitter, insert six 'AA' batteries, and rock out. These speakers are an easy way to quickly add outdoor sound.

Since they operate wirelessly, their frequency response suffers somewhat (90Hz - 20Khz) and the built-in amplifier only delivers a maximum of 50 Watts, but for most occasions, this is plenty, plus it's less likely to annoy the nosy neighbors.

What is Sensitivity?

A quick word about sensitivity is in order. No, they don't cry during movies. This speaker parameter is quoted in decibels, a rating of sound pressure. Sensitivity is measured by running a one Watt signal through the speaker and measuring the resulting pressure produced by the speaker. When a speaker has a high sensitivity rating, the speaker will appear louder than one with a lower rating when the same amount of power (in Watts) is pumped through the speaker.

Most high quality indoor speakers are capable of reproducing a wider range of frequencies than outdoor speakers because they aren't built to withstand the elements and are made with more compliant materials, that move more easily than outdoor speaker materials. The three models listed above represent products from recognized leaders in audio reproduction that have products for outdoor use.