Take the air!

 

 

 
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Parfaitement adaptées à l'extérieur, les enceintes KEF Ventura 6 allient haute résistance et design.

Good vibes

  • Sounds for a tuned-in garden

03.2017

Speaker manufacturers aren't phased by the weather, they're turning the outdoors into a music room.

 

We know the garden has become a living space in its own right and as such deserves the same attention as your lounge, but although decoration, lighting and fittings are generally already dealt with, we're not quite as clued up on sounds. From hanging up a couple of speakers to installing a complete sound system, it isn't always easy to decide on the best course of action. But even if you aren't out to turn your garden into a disco, buying good equipment is a must if you want to really enjoy your music. First let's clarify the difference between “outdoor” and “all-weather” speakers. The former need to be installed beneath a veranda or in a similar sheltered place since although they have been waterproofed – varnish applied to delicate components such as membranes, for example – they won't withstand heavy rain. Take the Yamaha NS-AW294: discreet but powerful (50 watts) with a 16cm cone woofer and a 2.5cm supple dome tweeter, it copes easily with temperature changes and is IPx3 certified to withstand a certain amount of rain (provided it doesn't drive at an angle of more than 60° from vertical). The same is true of the Bowers & Wilkins AM1 with its 13cm woofer and aluminium-dome tweeter.

 

Water- and frost-resistant
You don't have somewhere sheltered? Then you need “all-weather” speakers constructed in especially tough materials. One specimen is the KEF Ventura 6: cabinet in UV-resistant, shockproof sealed ABS plastic with aluminium grille and bracket, delivering 10 to 125 watts. Or the Earthquake AWS-602 that copes easily with splashing and frost along with heat, cold, rain, snow and even marine conditions; its little plus is to be sold ready-to-paint so you can match it to your surroundings. Another possibility is the Bose FreeSpace 51, intended for permanent installation as well suited to challenging weather: rain, damp, direct sunlight, snow and temperatures from -40°C to 70°C. It is designed for in- or on-ground installation and being green blends nicely into a garden. A downward-firing driver delivers 360° sound dispersion.

 

Flower pots!
If you prefer to go for a full-on camouflage job you'll have to consider that old faithful, the fake rock. A bit kitsch, I grant you (although manufacturers have made real efforts in design), but devilishly effective. The two-way Klipsch Rock Awr-650 SM available in a granite or sandstone finish blends into the landscape while delivering top-quality sound. From Niles you get a very different “fully integrated” solution: bye-bye plaster pebbles, hello real terracotta pots and planters – yes, a round or square flower pot holding a waterproof speaker! The system is invisible, the sound excellent and you can even grow your flowers in it!

 

By Alexandre Benoist