OSD Audio AP650 Patio Speakers Review
I recently had the opportunity to evaluate the AP650 High Definition 6.5” Patio Speakers available exclusively from OSD (Outdoor Speaker Depot). The eves above my deck are two stories up, not exactly the best place for speakers or me on a ladder, so my neighbor Nathanial volunteered to install them on his home.
I initially thought that I was sent the wrong speakers because the box indicated 70v, but a quick call to OSD cleared the air. They told me once I unboxed the speakers I would see a selector switch on the back allowing them to be used for 70v (commercial amps) or residential amps. The speakers were well packaged and double boxed, allowing them to survive the rigors of UPS shipping without even a dent to the box.
The speakers have some heft to them weighing approximately 10 pounds each; fit and finish was excellent. They are available in both black and white. Nathanial’s wife chose black as it blends in more with the shadows under the eaves and is less noticeable.
The hardest part of installation was running the speaker wire from the receiver zone2 terminals to the speakers. Since the speakers were mounted outside, several rooms away from the receiver, we opted to install an OSD OVC100 Outdoor Volume Control with Self-Impedance Matching, an excellent value at $29.95. To simplify the wire installation a single 14/4 cable (4 individual 14 gauge conductors) was run under the house and up the exterior wall to the volume control. Long term Nathanial would like to add other audio zones and migrate to a keypad based system, so he ran a cat5 cable along with the 14/4 to allow him to eventually replace the volume control with a source and volume control keypad. http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/From the volume control box he ran a 14/2 speaker cable to each speaker. Initially he mounted them vertically on the side of the house even with the kitchen window, but after input from his wife he moved them up under the eaves installing them horizontally, a process that took just a few minutes as according to Nathanial the actual speaker installation was “super easy”. This keeps them better shielded from the elements (they are weather resistant) and makes them less visible. The installation process involves installing the bracket horizontally or vertically where you want the speaker by securing with the two included screws (are the screws included?). The speaker then slides into the bracket and is secured by two threaded knobs that are hand tightened. This allows you to aim the speakers and lets you rotate them to install the wire to the speaker binding posts so you don’t have to support their weight while you are making the connection. Once rotated into place they fit closely to the back of the bracket, taking up a fairly small footprint.
Once the install was complete it was time to see how they performed. Since it’s essentially impossible to control the acoustical environment in a typical yard I regard outdoor speakers as good for supplying background music and not for critical listening. Having said that we were both surprised at how well they sounded. We listened to some Jack Johnson’s Sleep Through the Static and the highs were crisp and detailed and the bass was deep and firm thanks in part to the ported design. I believe the 3db boost that OSD claims. We had the same results with Under the Table and Dreaming from the Dave Matthews Band. The snare, strings and woodwinds were all very crisp and detailed while the bass was tight and deep. While your results will vary based on placement, we found the stereo imaging was excellent.
OSD’s AP650 Patio Speakers are a great value for the money. They are easy to install, weather resistant, sound great and come with a five year warranty. I have paid over double in the past for similar looking name brand speakers that couldn’t match the bass output. With the crazy weather we have had in the Seattle area over the past few weeks they have been put through freezing temperatures, high winds, hail storms, snow, frozen and regular rain and they still look new and sound great. With spring around the corner I look forward to continuing to listen to these during neighborhood BBQs. Nathanial summed it up best when he said “I can’t ask for better sound outside”.
Pros: Great sound for the money, easy to install
Cons: Only 5 year warranty
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