Outdoor SpeakersThe great outdoors is no barrier to great sound, especially with the newer models of outdoor speakers now available. 5/24/2012 11:48 AM Eastern
May 24, 2012 3:48 PM, By Bennett Liles
The great outdoors is no barrier to great sound, especially with the newer models of outdoor speakers now available. Weather-resistant enclosures and component coating have introduced a new toughness and durability previously unreachable, and all of this has come without sacrificing frequency response and sensitivity. The products in our survey are typical of the modern features and new adaptability of all weather and indoor/outdoor speakers.
The SM42T-B from Atlas Sound is a two-way 4in. weather-resistant, surface-mount speaker that is ideal for use in both 70.7V/100V and 8Ω installations. The SM42T-B has a built in 70V/100V line matching transformer that features adjustable power taps ranging from 2W to 16W as well as an 8Ω bypass. The SM42T-B's small footprint and exceptional high-frequency reproduction makes it ideal for indoor/outdoor installations, foreground or background music systems, and for use in retail/restaurant, corporate AV, or worship applications.
Designed by Bose for coherent zone arrays in medium to large permanent installations, the LT 4402 WR is a mid/high loudspeaker that includes a 3in. diaphragm compression driver and V2 midrange manifold, summing two 4.5in cone drivers in a heat-sink/acoustic summation assembly. The unit is capable of either passive or bi-amp operation with a frequency response from 180Hz to 16kHz ±3dB and a peak output of 135dB SPL on axis at 1 meter. The enclosure is made of void-free exterior-grade Baltic birch plywood with extensive internal bracing, and it has a 16-gauge perforated stainless steel grille with powder-coated finish and backed with an open-cell foam. In bi-amp mode, the mid-frequency section handles 140W, while the high frequency section handles 75W.
At the top of the Voyager line from Boston Acoustics, the Voyager 70 has a 7in. copolymer graphite injected cone with a butyl rubber surround and a 1in. Kortec soft-dome tweeter that together produce a frequency response of 57Hz to 20kHz ±3dB in open air environments. Along with the other products in the Voyager line, the Voyager 70 has rustproof hardware and connectors, a powder-coated aluminum grille, and a UV-resistant polypropylene cabinet. The 8Ω unit can be run from amplifiers with power outputs from 10W to 175W, and it is anchored in place with a heavy-duty aluminum C-bracket. The enclosure is available in either black or white finish.
The R6-51 three-way horn loaded triaxial loudspeaker from Community Professional is designed for long-throw applications that are typically encountered in outdoor environments where it uses a high-power passive mid-high crossover. The LF component can handle 1200W continuous power while the MF/HF section delivers 450W continuous power. The unit provides up to 145dB peak SPL in an integral double-wall weather-sealed gray fiberglass enclosure. The assembly uses grade 304, stainless-steel hardware for durability and features a 16-gauge perforated steel grille backed by open-cell foam and a 100x100-wire square-inch stainless-steel mesh.
The QX series loudspeakers from EAW are intended for power and precise directivity in a minimal form factor; the passive QX models are wired for biamplification and are contained in dual trapezoid enclosures. Each one contains a center-mounted co-axial MF/HF horn and two pairs (four) of phase-aligned neodymium 12in. low-frequency transducers. The QX596-WP is the largest member of the family and is designed for houses of worship, arenas, outdoor stadiums, theaters, and clubs. It provides a dispersion pattern of 90 degrees by 60 degrees; it weighs 130lbs. and fits with a variety of installation accessories for flexible installation.
May 24, 2012 3:48 PM, By Bennett Liles
For big sound from small places, the Electro-Voice S-40 incorporates a 5 1/4in. polypropylene woofer and a 1in. direct radiating soft-dome tweeter along with a 3500Hz crossover in a vented enclosure to provide a power-handling capability of 120W and frequency response from 85Hz to 20kHz ±3dB. For a variety of mounting options, the high impact polystyrene cabinet has a pair of threaded inserts to use with the optional mounting hardware. Separate and independent tweeter and woofer protection circuits automatically reduce the power output if their threshold is reached. The units are available in black or white, and each weighs 5.7lbs.
The two-way 6in. bookshelf or wall-mountable N26AWII was designed by JBL with a FreeFlow flared port acoustically matched to the woofer for extended bass response in a very small enclosure. Crisp highs are generated in the 3/4in. titanium laminate dome tweeter. The WeatherPlas cone woofer and high impact molded enclosure allow the speaker to operate in an outdoor, all-weather environment with high reliability. The unit has an internal 3kHz crossover, 88dB sensitivity, a maximum 125W power handling capability, and 55Hz to 20kHz frequency response. To meet a variety of mounting scenarios, each unit weighs only 8.3lb.
The AWR-650-SM from Klipsch features a 6.5in. dual voice coil polymer woofer and twin 3/4in. poly dome tweeters with Neodymium magnets and a 2.5kHz crossover. These components can be connected to reproduce stereo signals or the unit can be wired for mono sound when used in conjunction with other models. The bass reflex enclosure with side firing port is composed of fiberglass composite for all-weather UV-resistant durability and is available in red, granite, and sandstone finish. The assembly provides a frequency response from 66Hz to 20kHz ±3dB and 50W continuous power handling capability with an 8Ω impedance.
For smaller indoor/outdoor applications, Lowell Audio has the two-way OS-series speakers in 100W as the OS100 and in 50W as the OS50. The OS-series speakers feature a fine mesh aluminum grille and U-style mounting bracket with four-conductor Phoenix connectors and an all-weather protective boot. On the rear of the speaker housing is a screwdriver-operated selection switch for 8Ω, 70V, 25V, or 100V connections. Inside the OS100 there is a mica-coated woofer and silk domed tweeter to deliver 97Hz to 20kHz frequency response ±6dB. The OS50 offers a polypropylene covered woofer and 1/2in. PEI driver for 104Hz to 17.3kHz response. Both models are available in black or white.
The AM906 large-format mid/high horn from Martin Audio is intended for installation in large arena, long-throw environments where it can be bi-amplified or set up in a two-way passive configuration. For voice announcements, it can project intelligible speech through high ambient noise and for music applications, it can be connected with the AS118 LF speaker to provide full range sound. The mid-horn section reduces beaming at the upper end of the frequency range by using a 10in. cone drive loaded by a “phase-ball” device while a 1.4in. compression driver loaded by a 90-degree by 60-degree horn handles the highs. The AM906 is made of a weather-resistant lightweight composite material and includes mounting points for a variety of installation options.
Handcrafted and designed from real rocks, the Niles GeoRealistic Pro Series rock speakers feature a NoFade protective finish and four-layer fiberglass weave for maximum UV shielding. Introduced in March, the GeoRealistic Pro models include advanced conformal coatings on the crossover boards to protect the speakers against moisture, dust, and chemicals, assuring proper electrical connections even in the most harsh environments and providing an operational temperature range from 50 degrees to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. The 8in. RS8SiPro is a dual tweeter design available in granite, speckled granite, sandstone, coral, and shale brown.
May 24, 2012 3:48 PM, By Bennett Liles
The 312CIM from One Systems is made up of three 12in. direct radiator transducers in a shaded vertical array for high SPL vocal applications. The unit maintains a 60-degree vertical radiation angle to below 300Hz, and it uses a single coaxially mounted high-frequency horn and large-format compression driver in the top 12in. element to enhance higher frequency vocals. The enclosure is fitted with multiple M10 flying points, and the grille is a three-layer rain-shield design that will minimize direct rain contact with the systems transducers. Rated to IEC 529 IP45, the system can withstand water jets from any direction, and it connects on a 4-pin Neutrik Speakon for indoor installations. For outdoor use, the enclosure connects through a four-position barrier strip.
Peavey has recently introduced its new Architectural Acoustics Elements series weatherproof speakers for commercial and residential installation. These combine the dual voice coil Black Widow loudspeaker and the Peavey RX22 titanium compression driver. The internal components are constructed with stainless steel hardware and fasteners, a durable polymer coating, and stainless steel grilles lined with a semi-permeable fabric for moisture protection. The units are available with either of two HF horn versions for wide or narrow angle dispersion applications.
Installed in challenging locations and designed by Penton Audio to cut through high background ambient noise, the MSH60T full-range, weather-resistant music and PA projector has an ABS housing weather sealed for outdoor applications. Used in 70.7V sound systems, the unit combines a 6.5in. paper cone backward firing woofer with a rubber surround and a moving coil tweeter for a dispersion of 112 degrees vertical by 90 degrees horizontal and power-handling capability of 75W. The IP-65 rated unit’s frequency response is 190Hz to 20kHz ±5dB, and it features transformer taps at 60W, 30W, 15W, and 7.5W. The MSH60T comes in a gray finish, and it includes a stainless steel bird/insect screen.
Made for light commercial or residential installations, the AD-S32T from QSC Audio is a compact 3in. two-way loudspeaker housed in an injection molded enclosure. The system also comes with a weather cover to seal off the terminals for outdoor applications. Other key AD-S32T components that aid in outdoor deployment include a painted aluminum grille, molded baffle, polypropylene woofer cone, butyl rubber woofer surround, and titanium dome tweeter. From a general deployment perspective, the AD-S32T ships with both a ball-mount bracket and a yoke-mount, and are painted to match the enclosure.
Two LF transducers with 2.5in. voice coils and one HF horn using a neodymium 1.5in. compression driver with 2.5in. diaphragm assembly comprise the P4228, a full-range speaker system from Italian manufacturer RCF. These components are mounted in a fully UV-protected medium-density polyethylene enclosure fitted with four M8 brass inserts and a stainless steel U-bracket. The grille is in custom perforated aluminum with open-cell fibers and water-repellent woven fabric backing to meet IP55 code requirements. Featuring a four-pole Amphenol IP67 input connector, the unit has a 100Hz to 20kHz frequency response ±3dB, a horizontal coverage angle of 110 degrees, a vertical coverage angle of 60 degrees, and an RMS power rating of 400W. The P4228 has a 1.1kHz crossover and a maximum SPL rating of 129dB.
The CDT520 series of horn-type loudspeakers from Renkus-Heinz are designed for outdoor paging, stadiums, and arenas where it is able to penetrate high ambient sound environments to deliver clear speech. The horn uses the Renkus-Heinz CDT-2 CoEntrant mid/high frequency driver and Complex Conic waveguide technology for big punch from a small package. The unit’s 2in. HF driver covers 1500Hz and above while the 10in. mid-range cone provides coverage below that range. There is a choice of coverage patterns including 40-degree by 40-degree, 60-degree by 60-degree, 90-degree by 40-degree, and 40-degree by 40-degree asymmetrical patterns.
Top of the Episode rock speaker series from Snap AV, the ES-ROCK-DVC-8 features a DVC 8in. poly cone woofer and dual 1in. titanium dome tweeters producing a frequency response of 63Hz to 20kHz with a 2.5kHz crossover. Constructed of all-weather durable materials, the rock speaker can blend with any outdoor environment with a realistic stone appearance. The unit has a power-handling capacity of 120W RMS and 300W peak while it covers a wide area with no audio hot spots from its dual tweeters. Tested to withstand ambient temperatures from -13 degrees to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, the assembly is available in either granite or sandstone finish.
May 24, 2012 3:48 PM, By Bennett Liles
With a hemispherical coverage pattern for voice announcements and full fidelity music, the Q-6 loudspeaker from Soundsphere can be hung or surface mounted for applications requiring weatherproof performance. The Q-6 features a maximum 103dB SPL, 35W continuous power handling, and a frequency response of 70Hz to 17kHz ±6dB; the driver, consisting of a coaxially mounted 6in. woofer and 1/2in. dome tweeter, is mounted in a structural foam polystyrene sphere. Also available are optional mounting bracket and a three-element hanging kit for a single point suspension. An additional option is the TX30 line-matching transformer with taps for 25V, 50V, 70V, and 100V constant voltage systems. The entire assembly weighs 8lbs. and provides a coverage angle of 180 degrees vertically and 360 degrees horizontally.
The all-weather Elite Series 4in. speakers from Speco Technologies are available with or without transformers for 70/25V operation and can be purchased in black or white finish. Each unit has a 4in. mica/polypropylene woofer and a .75in. silk dome tweeter to handle 25W RMS/40W maximum power. The enclosure can be wall-mounted, and each 8Ω unit exhibits a frequency response from 75Hz to 20kHz with a sensitivity figure of 84dB 1 w/1m. The SP4AWET/SP4AWETW transformer equipped models have power taps at 20W, 15W, 10W, and 5W. The SP4AWE and SP4AWEW are the non-transformer models.
Intended for a variety of indoor and outdoor sound reinforcement applications, the Tannoy Di 8DC features a 200mm dual concentric transducer to provide a 90-degree controlled conical dispersion while handling 180W program power. The concentrically placed HF unit has a ferrofluid cooled titanium dome, with a neodymium magnet system, equipped with dynamic high frequency protection. The high impact polystyrene Di enclosure is weather resistant, rated IP64 to EN60529 (IEC529), and includes a yoke-mounting bracket. The Di 8DCt version is equipped with a low insertion loss 60W transformer for use in 70V or 100V distributed audio applications. Each unit provides a frequency response of 65Hz to 30kHz ±3dB.
Technomad loudspeakers are well-known for offering very broad dispersion (typically 120x120), though the company also now offers two narrow-dispersion models of the Berlin, its largest and most powerful weatherproof MilSpec loudspeaker. Berlin narrow-dispersion loudspeakers offer constant directivity to maintain a consistent dispersion pattern of 60x40 or 90x40 dependent on venue requirements. Both options give system designers flexibility when working in tightly controlled acoustic environments or requiring long-distance projection. Smaller outdoor venues benefit from localized audio that doesn’t spill over to outside neighborhoods.
The HX-5 series series array speakers from TOA are designed to be used either indoors or outdoors in an ambient temperature environment between 5 degrees and 122 degrees Fahrenheit. The sealed enclosures are equipped with screw and Speakon input terminals, and in multiple unit arrays, the dispersion angle can be adjusted for 15, 30, 45, or 60 degrees. Optional mounting brackets allow ceiling, wall, or speaker stand mounting. When activated, the input overload circuitry reduces the speaker output level until the input gain is reduced and then it resets in about 10 seconds. The HX-5B-WP is the black finish version and the HX-5W-WP has the white exterior. Each provides 600W continuous program power handling, 95Hz to 20kHz ±10dB frequency response and weighs about 35lbs.
With a highly responsive 8in. cone woofer and a fluid-cooled soft dome tweeter, both specially processed for water resistance, the NS-AW992 outdoor speaker system from Yamaha incorporates into its two-way acoustic suspension design a waveguide and front baffle for wide sound dispersion. These components provide a frequency response of 50Hz to 20kHz and maximum input power handling of 80W at 8Ω. Available in either black or white, the NS-AW992 has a grille of aluminum coated metal and waterproof screw terminals. The unique curved shape accommodates a mounting bracket pivot point allowing a versatile selection of placement angles within a 90-degree adjustment range. The enclosure is also equipped with rubber feet for desktop or bookshelf placement.