For those that want sound outside on a deck or a patio, there’s a few options. One is that you could just bring your source of sound (laptop, boombox, cd player, etc) outside with you – but you would usually need to bring those sources back inside when you were done (especially if the weather was supposed to be inclement). You could turn whatever you were listening to up and hope to be able to hear it outside (and kill the eardrums of anyone inside). You could spend a ridiculous amount on outdoor speakers, or you could go with Audio Unlimited – provided their speakers live up to the promises.
Audio Unlimited is a brand of Cables Unlimited, one of the biggest manufacturers of performance cables for audio and video – when I found out they also made sound systems and speakers, I was practically giddy with excitement to try one (since I’ve used their cables for years). The SPK-24GX comes with one speaker, one transmitter, a plug for each, and cables to plug it into pretty much any audio source. You could also get the DUO model, which comes with two speakers – actually, one of the neat features of the SPK-24GX, is the fact that you can actually pair up to six speakers with one transmitter. That way, you can have stereo sound radiate from all around you.
The SPK-24GX says it has a 150′ range in open areas, and while I had slightly less open space than that, I can confirm that it went around 120′ without any static or issues with the signal. Of course, that’s with NO obstructions – when I moved it to my deck there was a completely different tale to tell. From where my desktop sits to where I had the speaker was only about 30′, with one wall in-between. If the screen door closed, the sound would get static. If someone stood in the doorway, the sound went out completely, and forget about it if the outside door itself was closed.
I made sure I wasn’t doing something wrong by reading over the instructions one more time – in it they tell you to make sure the volume of the source is turned all the way to maximum, so you get maximum range, and I checked my computer to see that that was the case. It’s not so much of an issue, than an annoyance – I’m 99% sure that my walls aren’t lined with lead either, so apparently obstructions like that just kill the transmission.
The speaker otherwise works as intended – the design shape is what makes it all-weather. The speaker is situated in the top half of the container, facing downward. The Hershey kiss-shaped piece of plastic in the center radiates the sound outward, and protects the speaker itself from rain or snow. All of the connector ports on the container are covered with rubber grommets, and they each seal up when not in use.
One other important thing to note, is that the SPK-24GX doesn’t play stereo sound unless you have at least two of them. That’s not that big of a deal if you’re just using it to listen to music, but if you plan on doing more with them, I’d recommend getting a second. Even with one though, the sound is very crisp (when the signal is strong) – I mainly use mine to listen to Pandora while working outside, and can’t complain about the fidelity or the loudness (although I bet my neighbors could).
All things considered, I give the SPK-24GX by Audio Unlimited (Cables Unlimited) a 4 out of 5 rating.
- Works in all weather
- Sound is very crisp and clear
- Not as expensive as other similar products
- Obstructions KILL the signal
- Drains batteries quick if not plugged in
- Only way for stereo sound is to buy a second
You can pick up the SPK-24GX from Amazon for only $142.47