A pair of outdoor speakers is just the ticket as the Australian summer reluctantly approaches us.
Boston Acoustics has been supplementing the great outdoors with sound for years with its range of durable, weather-proof speakers built to withstand anything Mother Nature can throw at them – they can even be fully immersed in water.
Life for speakers in a garden setting isn’t necessarily a bed of roses, however. Come rain or shine the components come under constant attack from the elements. To defend against the elements, Voyager speaker cabinets are constructed from UV resistant polypropylene material, while the drives are protected by a corrosion-resilient powder coated aluminium grille.
Better than before
Boston Acoustics has made some improvements to earlier incarnations of the Voyager series. There’s a new 165mm mid/ bass drive with a copolymer cone and butyl rubber surround, and a new 25mm Kortec tweeter specially developed to the acoustical challenges in the open air. Plus all internal parts have been sealed and gasketed. The design is available in two finishes: this season’s black, now called iPod white, and last season’s black, still called black. The wedge-shaped cabinet lets you lodge the speakers into tight corners or under eaves for an extra line of protection. And the speakers are supplied with a heavy duty, weather resistant C-shaped bracket that swivel on the spot and the keyhole sockets make installation easy.
Location is as important to the speaker’s performance as it is to house prices. We placed them inside to begin with, offering them some respite from the weather but it was like asking Crocodile Dundee to feel comfortable in the claustrophobia of broom cupboard: stereo imaging was all over the place.
Better out than in
Once unleashed into the outside world the speakers welcome the escape like an over excited puppy being granted a walk. Mounting them close to a back wall beefs up the bass response adding some oomph to the Chemical Brother’s ‘Galvanise’. With impressive power handling of up to 125W there’s enough authority to rock a medium-sized vegetable patch without descending into distortion. And, when next-door’s dog finally finished venting its frustration at our choice of music, I could pick out a surprising amount of detail from the clear, unfettered midrange. But it’s the speaker’s even tonal balance and wide dispersion characteristics that equip them for outdoor use, producing an expansive, impartial sound that uniformly envelopes open spaces.
Serious hi-fi heads will find flaws in the sound that grate with their audiophile philosophies. But, while they’re growing pallid sat indoors discussing operatic subtleties, you could be lazily swinging in a hammock listening to summer tunes from these rugged but reliable outdoor speakers.
Boston Acoustics Voyager 6 | $899/pair |
For: Durable, weatherproof design; controlled, expansive outdoors sound.
Against: Limited detail and dynamics; cumbersome construction.
Verdict: Like the Bush Tucker Man of speakers, the Voyager 6 has all the right skills to survive outdoors.