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Outdoor Speakers Technology Showcase

Outdoor speaker systems are built to withstand the harshest of elements.

Outdoor Speakers Technology Showcase

Jun 6, 2011 11:54 AM,
by Mark Johnson

Bogen Communications NEAR

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” While often cited as the United States Postal Service creed, the same can be said of outdoor speaker systems as well. Built to withstand the harshest of elements, outdoor speaker systems are key players in helping to create atmosphere in many types of environments—including background music at a shopping mall, music and sound effects to reinforce an area theme at an entertainment park, and in large-scale high-power systems keeping sports fans entertained and informed in a stadium or arena. Outdoor speakers come in a variety of form factors including the familiar rectangular box shape, the popular slightly trapezoidal profile, the rock-like camouflage, and the utilitarian, low-profile look that blends in with the landscaping.

Making a loudspeaker impervious to the elements is no small task given the variety and severity of conditions to which it may be exposed. Because of the physics of how a loudspeaker system works, the act of protecting a speaker against the weather can alter the performance of the system. For example, some manufacturers offer port cover or plug options that help restrict the entry of moisture through the ports, but they also restrict the airflow.

Manufacturers offer products that are by degrees weather-resistant, weather-protected, and weather-proof. Some of the more stylized systems are classified as “indoor/outdoor” speakers for interior or exterior application. The most commonly used material in the construction of outdoor speakers is some type of molded plastic or composite material that provides a pretty high degree of protection of the components from moisture and has an added benefit of being inherently nonresonant. There are also weatherproof paints on wooden cabinets or fiberglass (either laminated on wood or as the enclosure itself), though the most ubiquitous application is a molded plastic.

While there is no shortage of manufacturers who make rocks that can rock and high-end outdoor hi-fi systems for residential applications, we’ll be looking primarily at systems targeted toward commercial outdoor application for a sports, themed, or retail environment. Some systems are also available with subwoofer options. You can check the websites listed for additional models and options.

Atlas Sound manufactures the in-ground ATS183GL garden speaker with two different bases: a surface-mount base and a deep base for in-landscaping burial. The speaker features an 8in. coaxial polypropylene/Kevlar cone driver mounted in a polyethylene enclosure oriented for 360-degree coverage.

Bogen CommunicationsNEAR brand features the A12 all-weather loudspeaker with dual 6.5in. metal alloy woofers and a 1in. exit compression driver housed in an injection-molded mineral-filled polypropylene enclosure. Connections for 16Ω and 70V operation are included.


The BoseFree Space 51 environmental speakers are designed for on- or in-ground placement in the landscape. The speaker features a downward firing 4.5in. fullrange polymer fiber composite driver that affords 360-degree coverage.

The WET series II from Community Professional Loudspeakers features a range of products from a two-way 8in. system to a three-way with a 15in. LF driver. There are also three subwoofer options. The enclosures are constructed of multilayer glass composite, and the low-frequency drivers use carbon fiber cones.

The DynacordSP 20 and SP 20D sound projectors are white plastic cylindrical enclosures loaded with one or two drivers. They come with 100V transformers tapped to full, half, and quarter power. Continuous power handling is 20W.

The EAWSMS5 is a compact two-way system featuring a 5in. carbon fiber woofer mounted in a semi-expanded high-density polystyrene foam enclosure. Coverage is 110 degrees horizontal and vertical. The speaker is available in a matte black or white scratch-resistant finish. The maximum SPL is 109.5dB at 1 meter.

Electro-Voice SX300PI

Electro-Voice features the Sx300PI and Sx300PIX weather-resistant speaker systems with enclosures made from polypropylene structural foam. An integral 65-degree-by-65-degree high-frequency constant directivity waveguide and 12in. woofer provide a frequency response of 85Hz to 25kHz. Optional port covers, which provide additional protection where increased weather resistance is needed, are included.

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Outdoor Speakers Technology Showcase

Jun 6, 2011 11:54 AM,
by Mark Johnson

JBL Control 30

JBL’s Control 30 is composed of a 10in. fiberglass/Kevlar cone and coaxial mid-high drives with an anodized aluminum cone and titanium diaphragm. The enclosure is constructed of High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) with 10 percent glass fill plus an internal 5mm. foamed polyurethane secondary mold. A multilayer grille helps protect the drivers.

Klipsch CA-800T

The CA-800T from Klipsch features a paintable UV-resistant ABS enclosure and an aluminum grille. Color options are black or white. The speaker includes an internal multitap transformer with 70V settings of 60W, 30W, 15W, 7.5W, and 3.7W. The settings for 100V are 60W, 30W, 15W, and 7.5W. The 8in. woofer and 1in. HF compression driver provide a frequency response of 64Hz to 17.5kHz.

Martin Audio manufactures the AM12, which is a two-way system with a 12in. waterproof cone and a 1in. exit HF compression driver mounted to a rotatable 80 degree-by-50-degree constant-velocity horn. The enclosure is finished internally and externally in a textured high-density polyurethane coating. The grille is galvanized, powder-coated, and fitted with an integral water barrier.

Niles Audio OS7.5

The OS7.5 from Niles Audio features an integrated woofer/baffle assembly with an interlaced carbon fiber cone. A 1in. trilaminate Teteron dome tweeter provides high-frequency response out to 23kHz. The OS7.5 exceeds military anti-corrosion specifications.

One Systems POPS 15

One Systems offers the POPS 15 powered outdoor presentation system, which features an injection-molded enclosure using a resin designed to withstand harsh weather and high UV exposure. The system incorporates a 15in. low-frequency driver and a 60-degree-by-40-degree high-Q horn. The POPS 15 is biamplified with 3000W total peak power.

The PSB SpeakersCS1000 universal speaker features a 6.5in. clay/ceramic-filled injection molded polypropylene low-frequency cone and a 1in. titanium dome high-frequency cone. The thick-walled UV-resistant polypropylene enclosure comes in black or white and is paintable.

QSC Audio takes products from its WideLine series and manufacturers weatherized versions including the WL2102-wx, which features a birch plywood enclosure encapsulated in fiberglass. The stainless steel grilles are covered with an outdoor-rated vinyl coating and lined with acoustic foam and a woven stainless steel mesh.

The Episode ES-AW-6 all-weather speaker from SnapAV comprises a 6in. polypropylene cone low-frequency driver and a 1in. aluminum dome tweeter. The cabinet is made of UV-treated polypropylene and is available in black or white. Its frequency response is 65Hz to 20kHz.

Sonance Mariner 82

Sonance’s Mariner series outdoor speakers features the Mariner 82 with a one-piece 8in. polypropylene cone low-frequency driver and a 1in. polyurethane dome high-frequency driver. The sealed, paintable enclosure is constructed of polypropylene and comes in black and white.

The XT850 outdoor/in-ground speaker from SoundTube Entertainment features a UV-, scratch-, and weather-resistant rotomolded polyethylene plastic enclosure. Available colors are granite green or sandstone. An 8in. polypropylene woofer and 1in. aluminum dome tweeter provide a frequency response of 59Hz to 22kHz (-10dB). Transformer taps are included for 25V, 70.7V, or 100V operation.

Speco Technologies SP6AWX

Speco TechnologiesSP6AWX all-weather extreme indoor/outdoor speakers come in black or white and feature a 6.5in. polypropylene low-frequency driver and a 1in. silk dome high-frequency driver. The frequency response is 60Hz to 20kHz, and the speaker is available with or without a 70V transformer.

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Outdoor Speakers Technology Showcase

Jun 6, 2011 11:54 AM,
by Mark Johnson

Tannoy Di 8DC

StereoStone specializes in speakers that look like rocks and planters. The Gibraltar Stealth model features Soundstealth, in which the grille area is virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the enclosure. The speaker incorporates an 8in. coaxial poly mica driver, and 25V, 70V, and 100V transformers are available.

The TannoyDI RangeDi 8DC features an 8in. dual-concentric constant directivity driver with a resin-treated multi-fiber paper pulp cone. The enclosure is a weather-resistant HIPS. Standard finishes available are textured black or white with matching rubber trims. Custom trim colors are available by special order.

Technomad MP Paris

Technomad’s MP Series features the two-way, full-range Paris, which comprises two 6.5in. custom polypropylene low-frequency drivers and a 1in. horn-loaded compression high-frequency driver. The roto-molded polyethylene enclosure is available in 14 colors, and the speaker comes with a multitap 70V transformer.

The TOA ElectronicsF-2000 features an 8in. lowfrequency driver and a 1in. hard-dome tweeter mounted in a HIPS enclosure. High-frequency coverage is adjustable from 110 degrees horizontal by 100 degrees vertical to 80 degrees horizontal by 80 degrees vertical.

Yamaha NS-AW992

The NS-AW992 natural sound all-weather speaker system from Yamaha is a two-way acoustic suspension design comprising an 8in. waterproof low-frequency cone driver and a 1in. coated soft-dome tweeter. The speaker is available in a black or white finish, and its frequency response is 50Hz to 20kHz.

Yorkville Sound C120

From Yorkville Sound comes the Coliseum C120, which is available in black or white. The C120 has a 5in. woofer and a Mylar tweeter. It is available in a 70V option with transformer tap of 6W, 12.5W, 25W, or bypass (8Ω), selectable via a rear-panel rotary switch.

While some manufacturers, such as Meyer Sound and Renkus-Heinz, do not market a specific product as an outdoor speaker, many of the products in their lines are available in a weather-protected option that includes special construction, finishes, and additional hardware to help protect the speaker from the elements.

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