I started with connecting the transmitter to the Zone 2 pre-outs on my Yamaha RX-V563 receiver. *Although the specifications online indicate the transmitter uses a standard Stereo RCA input, the transmitter actually has a 3.5mm mini-jack stereo input instead. I used the included RCA to 3.5mm cable from Zone 2 to the transmitter. One important item to remember if you’ve never setup Zone 2 on your receiver is that, in most cases, you will need to run additional analog connections for all of the components already connected to the receiver digitally (via HDMI, coax, or optical). For me, that meant attaching the composite video/analog audio cable to my PS3, finding an unused analog input on my receiver. and changing the audio settings to multiple audio outputs on the PS3. It also meant running RCA cables from my cable box’s audio output. Since the receiver needs to be in a power-on state even for Zone 2, I plugged the transmitter’s AC adapter into one of the switched AC outlets on the back of the receiver in an effort to save electricity.
On the rear of the main speaker are the DC power input, binding posts, and a weather shielded power switch. I connected the main speaker/receiver to the pairing speaker using the included speaker cable. The binding posts offer you two choices for connection: using bare wire with the screw-on posts or banana plugs. I went cheap and used the bare wire approach. After connecting the AC adapter, I turned the speakers on, set my receiver to Zone 2, and selected a music playlist on my PS3. At first, there was some interference, so, per the user’s manual, I pressed the channel switch on the transmitter, then pressed the ON/OFF switch on the speaker’s remote until the interference disappeared. Sound quality was very good, with decent lows and highs. Nowhere near as good as the speakers in my home theater setup, and that was to be expected. The main goal for outdoor speakers are to provide background music or atmosphere to the patio or backyard area of your home.
At this point, I should note, the speakers were in the same room as the transmitter. Now it was time to test the transmitting range of these wireless speakers, so I took the main speaker and moved it to my wife’s office, the furthest point in the house from where the transmitter was located. Results were not good, with the signal going in and out, which I had expected, considering the walls and ceiling (in addition to the overall distance) the signal had to travel through. Results were much better in the master bedroom, which is located just above the living room where the transmitter was installed. Results were also very good when I placed the speaker on the patio in the backyard (which is almost directly adjacent to the living room), although I did need to cycle through the channel selection again. I then attached the pairing speaker outside, placed it a good distance from the main, and walked around my rather small backyard adjusting the volume with the remote control. Again, the sound quality was very good, with virtually no interference, decent highs and lows, and providing a nice background soundtrack for entertaining outdoors. When placing the speakers, although it is not documented anywhere, it should be noted that the main speaker reproduces the right channel, while the pairing speaker reproduces the left channel.
I did have some concerns with possibly placing the speakers permanently, and that had more to do with the AC adapter than anything else. As with most patio speakers of this design, they are meant to be placed under an eave or a covered patio. Regardless, you will still need to find a way to plug these into an AC outlet, and the AC adapter is similar in design to those typically used with laptop computers. The adapter even states “Do not expose to liquid, vapor, or rain.” I asked OSD Audio about this and if the adapter was rated for outdoor use. Casey of OSD responded, “The Power Supply is sealed. It can be used outside but it should not be located anywhere it might become submersed in water. Steps should be taken to shield it from the elements.” My recommendation would be to mount the adapter under the eave or roof of the patio in such a way that it can be easily removed during both extremely inclement weather and the off-season, and remove the speakers from the brackets during these periods, as well. Also, the remote only places the speakers in stand-by mode when hitting the ON/OFF switch, so if you don’t plan on using them for an extended period of time, you may want to use the power switch on the main speaker.
Currently available directly from Outdoor Speaker Depot for $249.95, the OSD-WPA650 wireless patio speakers provide an easy method of transmitting your music or other audio source from the home to the patio or backyard without having to run speaker wire through the external walls of your home and adding an additional amplifier to power them. They may not be powerful enough for larger backyards, but the included 30 watts per channel built-in amplifier should be adequate for most.