speaker cover photoWell, you have your grill picked out, but it just isn’t a summer cookout without tunes playing in the background. No not you, guy who brought his acoustic guitar; we need a good sound system to play our Willenium CD. I don’t care if you can play every song on the album. When picking out speakers for the outdoors it’s important to keep in mind that sound travels differently in open spaces than it does indoors. You’ll want to up the bass and coordinate your speaker location carefully. Depending on how you want to set up your speakers, you may want something wireless and easily moveable or fixed speakers that you’ll need to lay wire for the best possible sound quality. There’s a great article by our friends at CANADA HiFi that we definitely recommend taking a look at before making a purchase. Especially, if you aren’t sure how to go about installing them.  Below however, you will find Guydster’s recommendations on a few different outdoor speakers that we think should be on your short list, if you’re looking for good quality sound.

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Monitor Audio Climate CL80

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Topping our list is the CL80 2-way satellite speaker with an eight inch woofer (big circle) and one inch tweeter (little circle), making it the biggest of our guide (still weighs under fifteen pounds). Size alone doesn’t make the speakers, the sealed Auxiliary Bass Radiator is the key to those earth-shaking low tones. While most of the outdoor speakers bottom out at 60 Hz in frequency response, the CL80s have a wide range of 50Hz-30KHz. These speakers were designed with wall mounting in mind – a bracket on the back of the speakers allows you to smoothly adjust the angle through 175 degrees. Water and weather proofing is kind of standard with outdoor speakers; it is one of the things that separates them from indoor speakers. Just don’t expect your waterproof speakers to survive a tsunami. Available in black and white finishes, a paint mask is supplied if you need to match with your decor. Before you jump to buy these beasts, keep in mind the Climate 80s are the most expensive outdoor speaker set on our list at $799/pair.  Monitor Audio

Focal Chorus OD 706 V

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For those of you that like the idea of wall mountable bookend speakers, just not the price point listed above; our next pick is the Chorus OD 706 V by Focal. Focal’s outdoor speakers are a little smaller and the frequency response range is a little narrower than the set from Monitor Audio, but these speakers still have a solid response of 60Hz-28KHz (the human ear can typically only hear upward of 20KHz anyway). The 706 Vs are light-weight at seven pounds and can pivot in their wall mounted position. The sound is crisp and clear; there is no cause to worry they won’t be loud enough. The speakers are only available in grey, though the outer shell can be painted. At nearly half the price, you are getting comparable sound quality that the average person would not be able to differentiate from the more expensive speakers without a bass demo. $475. (pair) Focal

JBL Control One AW

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Closing out our favorite bookend/wall mount speakers is the JBL Control One AW series; a small, affordable speaker with crystal clear sound. The Control Ones have the smallest frequency response between 80Hz and 20KHz. As we said, bass is important when you’re trying to play music in a big open space; so we would recommend these speakers to those of you that like the idea of the last two models, but your backyard is more of a balcony or small deck. Alternatively, since these speakers have such an affordable price, you could theoretically get eight Control One speakers for the same price as a pair of the Monitor Audio satellites. Whatever shortcomings the JBLs have will be thrown out the window when you have surround sound in your backyard. $199. (pair) JBL

Bose Free Space 51 Environmental

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Of course Bose is on this list and the Free Environment 51 speakers might be our overall favourite. They aren’t the most powerful speakers on the list, but their radial design pushes sound out 360-degrees. The speakers also blend well with your backyard, especially if you bury them. Yes these green, flower pot looking, speakers can be buried into the earth or placed on top if you don’t feel like digging. Though it is important to keep in mind that since we aren’t wall mounting the Free Environment speakers, we will have to run our cable through the ground (digging is unavoidable). Being extremely weather durable, you can leave them in the ground all year without worrying about the elements, even snow. $449. (pair) Bose

Paradigm Rock Monitor 80-SM

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Can you tell where the speaker is in this picture? We guess that’s the point. There are a lot of rock speakers out there and so we’ve narrowed it down to our favourite, though you may make your choice based on the speaker’s color and shape. We chose the Paradigm Rock Speaker because you only need one to provide sharp sound to your backyard. Each speaker has two tweeters, offset by thirty degrees, and a seven and a half inch dual voice coil woofer. On about par with the Focal Chorus OD, this Paradigm speaker has a low frequency extension down to 42Hz. If you have an awkwardly shaped yard or a very large one, you may want to get a second speaker to fill out the quiet spots. Available in Fieldstone and Northeastern Dark Granite finishes for you rock aficionados. $499 (each) Paradigm

Boombotix Boombot Rex

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Now this isn’t just a backyard speaker guide, it’s an outdoor speaker guide; so now we are going to switch it up for those of you who call nature your backyard. The Boombot Rex is a surprisingly powerful little portable speaker that can play music off any smart-phone, tablet or Bluetooth Mp3 player. Standing only about four inches tall, Rex can securely clip onto your backpack or belt making it ideal for camping, hiking or a trip to the beach. The battery takes an hour to fully charge and provides six hours of continuous play on a single charge. Obviously not nearly as powerful as anything listed above, but sometimes you just can’t take two fifteen pound speakers, an amp and a generator to the beach. Available in a few different colors and designs, the Boombot Rex will only run you $99. (each) Boombotix

Lightahead Bluetooth Floating Speaker

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Our second wireless speaker is made for those with a pool and beachgoers. All the speakers on our list are water and weather proof, but Lightahead’s floating speaker is the only one you should throw in the pool (and even still don’t try to take it deep sea diving). Admittedly the sound isn’t great, but we suspect there won’t be any audiophiles ordering this speaker anyway. The transmission range is about 100 feet; so you can take the speaker down to the water, leaving your phone safe with the towels. Multicolor LEDs add ambience to any night swimming excursions, just make sure you have a sexy playlist ready. $49. (each) Amazon

Honorable Mention: OSD Audio Frog Speakers

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Only two types of people should purchase these speakers, old ladies that like to listen to Frank Sinatra whilst gardening and hipsters…damn hipsters. $99. (Don’t do it) Buy

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