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Outdoor Speakers Patio OSD Audio AP670
Outdoor Speakers Patio OSD Audio AP670
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Outdoor Speakers Patio OSD Audio AP670

patio speakers
Product code: OSD-AP670
Comparable Price: $249.95
Comparable Price: $899.70
Our Price: $129.95$779.70
You Save: $120.00 (48%)
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Features and Specifications:
The AP670 outdoor patio speakers have a sleek, modern appearance that many customers appreciate. These outdoor speakers perform quite well at high listening levels and have a larger cabinet. Sold in pairs, the AP670s offer up rich bass and handling power up to 120 Watts. OSD patio speakers are designed for full weather versatility and can take the hot and cold weather for years to come. With exceptional sound quality, flexible mounting possibilities, and a sleek unobtrusive look, the AP670s will fill your patio, deck, or pool area with the tunes you crave. The included swivel-brackets also let you mount them vertically or horizontally.

Can I Connect my iPod up to these speakers?
Sure, but you would need a receiver or amplifier power the speakers You can plug your iPod, computer, or other portable player into the back of the amplifier. We also carry outdoor speaker wire you will need to connect the speakers and RCA adapter cables to connect your iPod.

Features
· Swivel mounting bracket for placement flexibility
· Gold-plated spring compression binding posts for optimum connectivity
· Sturdy ABS polymer frame
· Power-coated rust-resistant grille

Do these speakers have to be installed under eaves?
We recommend utilizing some sort of cover to help increase the performance and prolong the life of the product but although some customers choose to install patio speakers in uncovered areas. All of the components are weather resistant, including aluminum or stainless steel hardware and ABS plastic housings. OSD has a reputation for building rugged outdoor speakers that will last for years but it's never a bad idea to take care of your investment with added protection.

What type and gauge speaker wire should I use?
The AP670 outdoor speakers allow you to use a bare wire connection but also accepts a banana plug. For runs up to 100ft, standard 16-2 wire will be fine for this speaker. For runs, 100-150 ft 14 gauge. Beyond 150ft, we recommend a 12 gauge speaker cable. We also offer a four conductor 16 and 14 gauge wire to add an in-line volume control to your outdoor location.
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Outdoor Speakers Patio OSD Audio AP670
Questions and Answers:
By Ricardo from Torreon, Mexico on June 29, 2012
What amplifier would you recommend me to buy for powering up 3 pairs of the AP670 speakers? Also what type of connection should I use to connect the speakers to the amp?
By Customer Service - Q&A on June 29, 2012

Answer:
Hi Ricardo

The AMP200 would be what we would recommend. You can either wire the three pair directly to the AMP200 or use Impedance matching Volume Controls or even a combination of Volume Controls and a Speaker Selector to do the job. You can use a single volume control (located outside) to connect to all three speakers or you could have volume control for each pair (3 total) or even a volume control for one pair and another to connect to the remaining two pair. It all depends on how much control do you want? In all cases you will need CL3 rated speaker wire. If you let us know what your layout is we can be more helpful. Please send me your information directly to tim@osdaudio.com so I can develop a system design with options for you.

TL

By Rob from Ontario on June 30, 2012
does this price include a pair of speakers or just 1?

By Customer Service - Q&A on July 2, 2012

Answer:
Hi Rob,
The AP670 Patio Speakers are packaged and priced as a stereo pair. We will correct the site so there should be no further confusion. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

TL

By Steve from Sydney on January 4, 2012
I notice most of the reviews for these speakers are of people who are using them on a patio which I'm assuming, whilst theyre outdoors, may have some kind of covering. Can these speakers be placed directly exposed to rain, weather etc?
By Customer Service - Q&A on January 4, 2012

Answer:
Steve,
Rest assured that OSD outdoor speakers are constructed with high-grade material that can withstand rain, snow, wind, pool chemicals, and even salt. For customers in freezing cold temperatures, we do recommend they bring in the speakers in or cover them with plastic bags just to be safe but OSD’s reputation for building rugged outdoor speakers that will last for years will never change.
CL
By Customer Service - Q&A on January 4, 2012

Answer:
Hi Steve,

We definitely recommend utilizing some sort of cover to help increase the performance and prolong the life of the product. All of the components are weather resistant, including aluminum or stainless steel hardware and ABS plastic housings. In some cases, we utilize a port to optimize the size of the enclosure in conjunction with the drivers selected. In these cases, it is important to shield the speaker from the direct elements.

TL/MA

By Jacqueline from Wpg MB Canada on July 3, 2012
do you deliver in Canada
By Customer Service - Q&A on July 5, 2012

Answer:
Hi Jacqueline,

We do deliver in Canada. You can either try ordering on line and use Priority International Shipping (USPS) or you can contact our authorized Dealer in Canada, AV Gear at 416.518.5717 (ask for Jason). They ship from Brampton, ONT.

TL?MA

By Janet Thompson from Fairfield, Texas on January 5, 2012
What kind of volumn control does it have.
By Customer Service - Q&A on January 6, 2012

Answer:
Janet,
This speaker's volume would be controlled by the amp or receiver that was powering it or an in-wall volume control.
CL
By Customer Service - Q&A on January 6, 2012

Answer:
Janet,
This speaker's volume would be controlled by the amp or receiver that was powering it or an in wall volume control.
CL

By Robert from San Antonio, TX on January 28, 2013
I've had a pair of what I think are 640s in our back yard for nearly 10 years now. They're a little discolored from this Texas heat but they still sound amazing. I'm looking to add another pair on the deck we built. I'm a little confused though. The specs show that the AP670s go down to 44hz. However, the photo of the back of the actual speaker shows 30hz. Which is it?

Thanks much,
Robert
By Customer Service - Q&A on January 30, 2013

Answer:
Hi Robert,

The AP670 patio speakers are 30Hz to 22 kHz. We corrected the specs on the site. These patio speakers are a step up from your trusty AP640s which are rated from 39Hz.. Thank you for pointing that out.

TL/MA - 1591

By Ed from Ephrata, WA on July 16, 2012
I have a patio system and would like to add one more speaker. Is it possible to connect to one of the existing speakers.
By Customer Service - Q&A on July 16, 2012

Answer:
Hi Ed:

Need to know more information. What amplifier or receiver are you using (make and model). How is your system configured (wired). How many Speakers (make and model would help). Are you using Volume Controls or Speaker Selectors? I would love to help you but just need a little more info...

TL

By Dave from Ohio on March 31, 2012
How long is the bracket and what is the distance between the mounting holes?
By Customer Service - Q&A on April 2, 2012

Answer:
Dave,
That would be 4 1/2 inches. The length of the bracket would be 9 inches.
CL

By victoria from New York on May 28, 2012
can you hook your ipod up to these speakers?
By Customer Service - Q&A on May 29, 2012

Answer:
HI Victoria:

You would need an Amplifier like our AMP120 to provide power to the speaker. You can plug your iPod into the back of the Amplifier. You could even connect your computer which has your iTunes library to the amplifier as well. We also have the speaker wire you will need to connect from the Amplifier to the speakers and the audio cables to connect from either your iPod or computer .

TL

By Dave from Ohio on April 2, 2012
Will these speakers disconnect from their bracket for easy installation and off-season removal?
By Customer Service - Q&A on April 2, 2012

Answer:
Hi Dave,

The speaker features two-hand mounting screws to disconnect the speaker from the bracket; then just disconnect the speaker wire and you’re done. You have the option of removing the speaker brackets if you choose and, depending on the screws you select, you might not have to take the screws all the way out; just loosen them enough to slide the bracket and remove it.

TL

Product Reviews:
Outdoor Speakers Patio OSD Audio AP670
$129.95
5 Stars based on 48 Review(s)
Perfect for a patio
August 4, 2014
Mounted 2 under the eaves about 15 feet apart in the outdoor patio. Both stereo and TV sound incredible. Hard to believe you're outside at times. The bass response is great as many have noted. I'll be adding 2 more here and equipping the river house as well!
Pros:
Great bass, clear highs
Cons:
Thin mounting bracket

Mike
Anaheim, CA
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


Great speakers
January 30, 2014
Fast shipping and hassle-free transaction. Used to build a wireless Bluetooth patio sound system a couple of weeks ago. Unit The patio is L-shaped with approximately 30'x12' wide and 40'x6' on the narrow side. The sound is clear all around when installed on the L-pivot. Very pleased with the sound, ok bass response. Not for heavy bass-pounding music. Item recommended from another website and definitely worth the research.
Pros:
Price, sound.
Cons:
Bass response. Get a subwoofer if you like bass-pounding.
Best Uses:
Patio, deck, garage, outdoors.

JC
Florida
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


Great sounding outdoor speaker
September 27, 2013
I found these via a review on http://thewirecutter.com. They were number 2 and were noted to have a deeper bass sound to them. This is what I was looking for on my back porch living space. I hooked them up to a Lepai (LP-202A) Mini Amp (25$) and a Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter for Bluetooth Audio (980-000540) (30$). I can now play music from my phones and tablets on the back porch

Jason E
Charlotte, NC
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


Great product and fast shipping!
September 23, 2013
Very pleased with product and even more pleased with price

Jennifer
Cleveland, Ohio
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


Awesome
September 7, 2013
More than I expected and found I needed for my Summer Room area, They are great sounding from high to low. Great product, I would recommend and customer service was the best also.

Gary
binghamton, NY
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


AP670 speakers
August 29, 2013
I purchased these speakers for the locker room of my football team, I wanted something that could stand up to the constant humidity, something rugged enough that if they were hit or worse, (used as a towel hanger) would hold up great. Well I got what I was looking for and more, The sound that comes from these speakers is out standing especially in the environment that I have them in. I plan on ordering another set for my hot tub room at home.
Pros:
Easy hook up,
Cons:
these are not small speakers, so plan for the proper space.

Johnny
Calgary, Alberta ,Canada
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


Great sound. Small price.
August 23, 2013
I installed two pair of these speakers in an outdoor courtyard of a friends restaurant. Many of his patrons have commented on how good they sound and it shows in the number of people choosing to sit outside.
Pros:
Great value.
Cons:
None.

J.Anthony
Austin, Tx
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


outstanding
August 18, 2013
sound great, well worth the the pain to crawl in the attic to run the wire to hook them up to the outside wall of the the new deck.

dano
United States
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


sounds awesome!!
August 15, 2013
They look great & sound awesome!!

sjw
maine
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


Good buy for the money
August 12, 2013
Mountede speakers on my front and back decks and they sound great.

Glenn
Conifer, CO
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


amszing base
August 11, 2013
I got these speakers for my work shop. I have Bose ceiling speakers in the rest of the house, and these speakers blow them away Hard to believe that such rich base can come out of these little speakers.

Bob
Cramerton NC
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


good job
June 30, 2013
speakers sound good in my backyard. shipping dept. had my speakers here quickly.

TAZZ
BKFD. CA.
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


Outdoor speaker review
June 13, 2013
Arrived very fast, speakers looked and worked great for my needs. I used them in backyard for ambient music for parties and gatherings. Already used them for party and had no problem. Great deal for $99 bucks

Anthony
Los Angeles, California
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


great outdoor speaker
June 12, 2013
Accurately displays the whole dynamic range with very clear sound.
Pros:
Can't beat the price and the sound

connor
tacoma, washington
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


Patio OSD Audio AP670 Speakers
June 9, 2013
Great sound, for reasonable price.

jeffrey pillman
Fenton,MO
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


Wonderful
May 30, 2013
Good, crisp, wonderful sound. Excellent !

Jason
Okc
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


Outdoor Speakers Patio OSD Audio AP670
May 28, 2013
Worth every penny...
Pros:
Excellent sound
Best Uses:
Outdoors or indoors

James S.
Texas
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


EXCELLENT SPEAKERS!!!
May 22, 2013
Just mounted and hooked up these on my outdoor patio yesterday. They sound amazing! Great lows and crisp highs. I have close to an acre and these can be heard from almost anywhere on my property. I know it may be premature in giving such a great review when only having them for less than 24 hours, but if they continue to perform this way for a long time, they will have been an excellent buy! I will most def be purchasing another pair!
Pros:
Everything
Cons:
Zero cons......yet
Best Uses:
Outdoor patio, large area

George dibble
Catlett, va
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


So Far Im Thrilled!
March 28, 2013
I've been looking for some time for a high end quality and sound.. Bose taste, Audiovox budget!.... after finding these and reading reviews I felt like they were worth a try, and the price is spot on for me. Installation was standard and uneventful. They are large, but on my high wall , size isnt an issue. The proof is in the sound, and I could not be happier! I see these hanging on my patio wall for years to come!
Pros:
Amazing construction, no worries about durability. banana plug connectors great sound, good bass . Fantastic Value without sacrifice of quality.
Cons:
Brackets are a little flimsey for the weight of the speaker, would like to see a better bracket. They will work but too flexible. Have to use allen wrench to tighten swivel points, could improve that with a better bracket as well.
Best Uses:
Outdoor

Mark
North Texas
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


AP670 6.5
March 27, 2013
These speakers sound very good for outdoor speakers I have them outside on my deck next to the hot tub. I haven't had them very long so I don't how long they will last. For the money very well built product
Pros:
Very good sound

Richard
Ocala, Florida
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


Unbelievable sound great price.
December 18, 2012
I bought this pair speakers to but in my barn. The sound is amazing. Just the right amount of bass and treble. This is my second pair of speakers from OSD (also bought the AP650 ) for my backyard deck.I can't say enough good things about this brand. The quality is great easy to mount the perfect speaker.
Pros:
Good Power Output, Easy To Set Up, Great Sound Quality, Easy to Mount, Stylish, Attractive Design

Ryan
New Jersey
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


A great Bang for your Buck!
September 12, 2012
They sound great and balanced and easy to install.
Pros:
Great Sound Quality
Cons:
Mounts Could Be Better
Best Uses:
Multiple Rooms / Whole House

Chris Cook "Cookie"
st.Petersburg FL
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


Great product I would recommend
August 4, 2012
The product has a great sound,nice look easy to set up. The only problem is they are a little heavy if you are hanging over your head and standing on a ladder you need help no big deal if you have help. other than that they are great and the price is right.
Pros:
Great Sound Quality, Easy To Set Up, Easy to Mount, Good Power Output
Cons:
Heavy / Bulky
Best Uses:
Home Theater, Outdoors

Mail lady
Fruitland Pk, FL
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


Perfect!
July 19, 2012
These speakers were great for our backyard. Quality was good enough that we didn't need to buy an amplifier. Very, Very satified!
Pros:
Easy To Set Up, Good Power Output, Attractive Design, Great Sound Quality, Perfect for what we need
Best Uses:
Outdoors

Patty
Sparks, NV
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.


Great Outdoor Speakers
July 3, 2012
Attractive and great sound too.
Pros:
Easy to Mount, Good Power Output, Easy To Set Up, Attractive Design, Great Sound Quality
Best Uses:
Outdoors

Dennis
Edmpnd. OK
5 Stars
I would recommend this item to a friend.



The Best Outdoor Speakers

By Brent Butterworth August 22, 2013>

If I were buying outdoor speakers, I’d get Yamaha’s NS-AW390. I came to this conclusion after a test of five outdoor speakers I recently conducted for Sound + Vision magazine; interviews with the only two pros I could find with significant experience reviewing outdoor speakers; and finally, a test of eight outdoor speakers executed just for this article.
What do I know about outdoor speakers?

So who am I to say what’s the best outdoor speaker? First, I’ve been reviewing audio gear for over 20 years, starting when I joined Video magazine in 1989. I’m still at it as Stereos Guide for About.com and contributing tech editor of Sound + Vision. Second, I’ve probably reviewed more outdoor speakers than anyone in the world. That includes numerous single-product reviews and four outdoor speaker shootouts: one when I was editor-in-chief of Home Theater magazine; another when I was editor-in-chief of now-defunct Home Entertainment magazine; and the two mentioned above. Third, I have a cool audio switcher I built specifically to do blind testing. And fourth and perhaps most importantly, I have a backyard—and I’m not scared to use it. What makes a good outdoor speaker?

“My standards for good sound don’t suddenly change when I walk out the door.” Poke around on the web and you’ll see there are hardly any reviews of outdoor speakers. Why? Probably because many people consider them an afterthought, just something to turn on while you’re entertaining guests or playing with the kids in the yard. But there’s no reason they shouldn’t sound good. As Wirecutter contributor and test-helper-for-this-article Lauren Dragan put it: “My standards for good sound don’t suddenly change when I walk out the door.”

However, I was able to interview the two people I could find outside the Wirecutter organization who have significant experience in testing outdoor speakers. First was Gene DellaSala, editor-in-chief of Audioholics.com and one of the world’s most technically knowledgeable audio writers. Audioholics hasn’t reviewed a lot of outdoor speakers, but it’s reviewed a few, which puts it way ahead of most audio websites and magazines. Second was Mark Fleischmann, an electronics journalist since 1980 and audio editor of Home Theater since 2005. (Home Theater recently merged with Sound + Vision and is now published under that name.) He recently did an outdoor speaker comparison for Home Theater.

Outdoor speakers have two key features. Obviously, they have to have some degree of resistance to the dangers of the outdoors: moisture (e.g., snow, humidity, accidental blasts with the garden hose), dust, heat, cold, bugs and carelessly thrown footballs and Frisbees. They also need some way to attach to a wall, under an eave, or on a tree or fence post.

When I interviewed DellaSala, he stressed the importance of weather resistance in an outdoor speaker—and that not all of them are equal here. “My perspective might be different because I’m in Florida, where it rains a lot,” he said. “Unless the speaker’s mounted under a covered lanai, make sure it’s a sealed design. Moisture can get inside a ported speaker easily.” As our testing later proved, his advice was dead-on. Fleischmann agreed: “You want a speaker that was specifically designed for outdoor use, not one that was just adapted from an indoor design.” How we picked

The outdoor speaker shootout I did for Sound + Vision gave us a good head start for this article. The S+V article was supposed to compare outdoor speakers that cost about $400/pair. However, Niles Audio sent its OS5.5, which typically costs $249/pair on Amazon—and in my blind test, the OS5.5 sounded better than its larger, more expensive competitors.

Still, $249/pair is a lot for most people to spend on a pair of speakers, and I noticed there were lots of outdoor speakers on the market for about half that price. So we decided to ignore the pricier speakers, use the OS5.5 as a benchmark, and see if we could find something more affordable that could at least equal its performance. Turns out we could.

Most of the speakers we gathered for this test cost around $129/pair. In addition to the Niles OS5.5, we had the Boston Acoustics SoundWare ($69 each on Amazon), the OSD AP670 (around $100/pair at outdoorspeakerdepot.com), the Polk Atrium4 ($117/pair on Amazon), the Yamaha NS-AW390 ($132/pair on Amazon), and the Yamaha NS-AW190 ($80/pair on Amazon). We also saw the Bose 151 SE featured prominently on many retail sites, so even though it costs $278/pair on Amazon, we borrowed some from Bose just ’cause we thought you’d want to know how they compare.

By the way, all of the speakers we tested are available in black or white, and the SoundWare is also available in red, silver and dark gray.

Unfortunately, except for the Boston Acoustics SoundWare, all of the speakers DellaSala and Fleischmann had experience with were beyond the price range of anything in this test. However, because both had recommended the Boston Acoustics Voyager Metro II, a single speaker that reproduces both left and right channels, we decided to try one out. You run both left and right speaker wires to the same speaker; it has terminals for both. Why not have stereo? Well, you’re probably moving around a lot outdoors, and as DellaSala said, “You’re not going to get real stereo in a large outdoor area.” Unfortunately, just one Metro II costs $399.

The test panelists were myself, Dragan and Wirecutter contributor Geoff Morrison. We have a combined four decades of experience reviewing audio equipment. All of the speakers were attached to a large wooden panel to simulate wall-mounting. The tests were done in groups of four because my switcher has four outputs. Because I marked all the cables by number (without tracing which cable went to which speaker) and because I covered all of the speakers (except the Boston Acoustics Metro II) with thin black fabric, the tests were blind. The levels were matched to within 0.1 dB. None of us knew which speaker we were hearing unless it was the Metro II. We listened to the speakers while seated in the “sweet spot” equidistant from the left and right speakers, and we also walked around the backyard to hear how the sound character changed. Our pick

While our tests didn’t produce a unanimous conclusion, we all agreed that the Yamaha NS-AW390 is the best overall. It has three big pros: it’s inexpensive, it has decent bass response and it’s a sealed design.

It’s inexpensive, it has decent bass response and it’s a sealed design. “Good bass, good treble… it seems like a little extra bass and treble, but for an outdoor speaker, that’s fine,” Morrison said. Dragan said sound was “clear, crisp, rich and well-balanced.” I thought the bass sounded admirably tight and controlled—a tough feat for a plastic speaker because the plastic sometimes vibrates on its own and makes the bass sound sloppy. I agreed with Geoff that the treble seemed somewhat hyped: the adjectives “sizzly” and “blarey” appeared in my notes. But all things considered, its sound is full and the tonal balance is reasonably even and natural. Can you ask more of an inexpensive outdoor speaker? Don’t get us wrong: we don’t think you’ll be blown away by how natural the NS-AW390 sounds. But of all the speakers we heard, this is the only one we all agree sounded pretty good.
The big-bass choice

Also Great $100 on Outdoor Speaker Depot Best for Bass Lovers OSD AP670 Packs a lot of bass, almost overwhelmingly so. That said, two panelists liked the OSD and said it had the a nice, full sound. Geoff and Lauren didn’t actually pick the Yamaha NS-AW390 as their favorite outdoor speaker. Their favorite was one of the least expensive models we tested: the $99/pair OSD AP670. The AP670 is huge for its price—14½ inches high. Yet there’s nothing obviously cheap about its construction; it’s made from fairly thick and dense molded plastic and has a really slick-looking integrated mount.

The difference you hear immediately with the AP670 is its bass. “Clearly the winner,” Geoff said. “The bass is full, not sloppy or boomy, and the treble is pretty smooth, not piercing.” Lauren agreed: “Clean and clear high frequencies, good bass, and the fullest sound of any of them. It also sounded especially good when we walked around the yard.” So what’s not to like? Two things.

First, if you’re not a bass lover, you might not like the AP670. I didn’t. Even though I thought the AP670 had the smoothest, most natural midrange and nice highs, I found the bass so bloated and one-notey that I couldn’t enjoy the sound.

Second, the AP670 has a front port—an opening into the interior of the speaker. The port gives it deeper bass response, but it also provides a way for moisture to get in. If you’re in a dry setting like Southern California, Nevada or Arizona, this might not matter. In a humid environment, we expect some moisture might get into the AP670’s inner works, as DellaSala warned. The AP670 simply might not survive an accidental hose blast. I hit it with a blast from a garden hose for 8 seconds, then disassembled the speaker to find that about a half-cup of water had gotten through the grille and the port. The cool-looking choice

Also Great $70 on Amazon Best for Looking Good Boston Acoustics SOUNDWAREB Soundware 4.5-Inch Indoor/Outdoor Coaxial Speaker (Black) This wasn't our favorite speaker, but it was definitely the best looking. Bass was subtle but fairly well-balanced, though it tended to be top-heavy and could lack clarity at times.

Most outdoor speakers share a generic, industrial look. We saw Boston Acoustics’ unique SoundWare speaker as a viable choice for those who want an outdoor speaker that has a little more design flair. The roughly cube-shaped speaker comes with a gimballed mount that makes it easy to point it in any direction. The SoundWare can also sit on its own, and as noted above, Boston Acoustics offers it in five colors/shades.

With its small 4.5″ woofer, the Boston Acoustics SoundWare doesn’t put out much bass, but it still sounds nice. As J. Walter Clarke’s review on Audioholics.com put it, “The Boston Acoustics SoundWare indoor/outdoor speaker is a winning combination of price, aesthetic and performance that I highly recommend.”

The Wirecutter gang wasn’t quite as effusive, but they generally liked the SoundWare. Geoff: “It’s not as good as speaker #1 [the Yamaha NS-AW390], but it’s still good, and the sound is fairly well-balanced.” Me: “Not much bass but what’s there is well-defined. Voices sound a little sibilant and the treble’s a tad edgy. The stereo imaging is great and the overall tonal balance is nice.” Lauren didn’t agree, though, saying, “The sound is top-heavy [i.e., too trebly], it lacks clarity and it doesn’t have enough bass.” Other competition

We liked the “two speakers in one” concept of the Boston Acoustics Voyager Metro II, although at $399 it’s undeniably pricey. No, it doesn’t deliver the spacious sound of a pair of speakers, but we found that when you’re milling around the yard that doesn’t matter much. As Fleischmann’s review in Home Theater put it, “No matter where folks are standing (or sitting or swimming), everyone gets an equal shot at hearing both channels, with neither one emphasized.”

Lauren and Geoff agreed. “The bass seems a little bloated, and the treble is too hot when you’re right in front of the speaker,” Lauren said. “But the sound carries well out into the backyard.” Geoff said pretty much the same thing. Personally, though, I didn’t care for the single-speaker sound—I’d definitely rather have a stereo pair, or multiple stereo pairs. Plus, this set is not cheap. The also-rans

None of the other speakers we tested struck us as recommendable.

Even though the Niles Audio OS5.5 whupped up on a lot of more-expensive competitors in the shootout I did for Sound & Vision, we didn’t think it sounded any better than the Yamaha NS-AW390. In fact, while the OS5.5 sounds good for an outdoor speaker, it lost out to the NS-AW390 in direct comparisons. Its hyped-up bass sounded relatively boomy and annoying, and its treble sounded a bit harsh. It is not a bad speaker overall, but we wouldn’t spend $249/pair for it when we can get the NS-AW390 for $132/pair.

While the Yamaha NS-AW190 is technically the NS-AW390’s little brother, they sound nothing alike. The NS-AW190 sounds cheap and crude, lacking bass and highs but featuring a coarse-sounding midrange. “It’s like you’re listening in a hallway,” Lauren said. At $80/pair it’s inexpensive, but trust us, you’ll be glad you spent the extra $52 on the NS-AW390.

We loved the Bose 151 SE’s design and its integral mount; kudos to them for thinking outside the box on this one. But the sound didn’t thrill us. Behind the grille are three “full-range” drivers measuring about 3 inches each. With no tweeter or woofer, the sound is very midrange-heavy. “Too much mids,” Geoff said. “It’s OK on material without much bass,” Lauren said, “but on any music with low-frequency content, the bass just disappears.” It’s also worth noting that the 151 SE has a port, although considering that Bose has sold this speaker for more than a decade, I imagine they’ve come up with a way to keep moisture from getting through to the 151 SE’s innards.

The nicest comment I heard about the Polk Atrium4 came from Geoff, who said, “I didn’t mind it.” Lauren was more critical, saying, “The highs and lows sound muffled—it’s all midrange.” My comments were basically the same as hers, complaining that it’s “all blare, just harsh mids and nothing else—the only thing it sounds good on is snare drum.” Wrapping it up

The Yamaha NS-AW390 isn’t the prettiest. It’s also arguably not the absolute best-sounding speaker of the bunch. But it is the best overall outdoor speaker because it puts out consistently good sound while still being fully weather-sealed and reasonably affordable.

Brent Butterworth has covered audio and video as a journalist since 1989. He is currently contributing technical editor for Sound+Vision magazine, where he reviews audio products and conducts lab testing of speakers and headphones, and he blogs regularly in the Tech^2 column on soundandvisionmag.com. He previously served as editor-in-chief of Home Theater and Home Entertainmentmagazines, senior editor of Video magazine, and marketing director for Dolby Laboratories.







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