8 Things to Remember When Choosing Your Outdoor Audio Setup
Do you know how to choose the right waterproof sound system for your outdoor audio setup? Do you sift through endless reviews, or just purchase from the big brand you recognize?
Choosing the perfect audio setup can be a challenge, especially if you’re looking for a sound system that can stand up to the elements. Doing your research before purchasing can save you a lot of heartache in the long run, and can help make sure you get the audio quality you’re looking for.
We recommend keeping the following elements in mind when purchasing an outdoor sound system:
1. The Right Price
Outdoor audio products are available for a wide range of prices; too cheap could indicate a scam or sale from an unauthorized dealer (which could void any warranties and make returns/repairs difficult if not impossible); too expensive could indicate a rip-off, or may simply be unattainable based on your current budget. Price can depend on size, quality, additional features, and even brand. It’s a good idea to research comparable products across brands when determining how and what amount to set your budget. Once you’ve decided what you want to spend, it’s a good idea to consider multiple products in your price range, compare features, reviews, and make the choice that gives you the most bang for your buck based on what you want, whether you’re upgrading an existing sound system or starting from nothing with multiple devices.
Outdoor sound systems come in a wide range of styles, from classic or sporty to those with RGB and customizable illumination. It’s a good idea to consider the existing aesthetic of the area in which you plan to install your sound system. For example, if you’re looking to upgrade the audio equipment on your boat, what does the rest of the boat look like? Is it fast and sporty, or sleek and classic? Some sound systems may be available to purchase in multiple styles, while others may only come in one color or aesthetic.
The durability of a sound system is particularly important for outdoor applications, such as in marine, motorcycle, or powersport environments. Good durability ensures that the investment you make now will allow for lasting enjoyment, with minimal repairs and/or replacements. A great place to start regarding durability is to look for companies that specialize in audio products for your specific application; when a company focuses on specific applications for their products, they are more likely to be familiar with the challenges presented by those environments, and design their audio devices to stand the test.
4. IP Rating
Like the above, you will want your audio equipment to have some level of protection against intruding liquids and solids, especially outdoors. “Ingress Protection” or the IP Rating of a device is a technical term used to refer to the level of protection offered by an electrical enclosure designed to keep water and dust out. These ratings are determined through independent testing and certification, and can typically be found in a product’s specifications list or “spec sheet”. Common IP ratings for outdoor audio equipment range from 65-68.
If you plan to install your audio equipment in an environment with a lot of background noise, it is particularly important to consider the level of power you need. In some cases, you may want to consider budgeting for an additional component, such as an amplifier or subwoofer to give your sound the added boost it needs. Some speakers are more powerful than others too, so you want to consider the power rating of a particular product before purchasing. For example, Aquatic AV’s Elite 6.5” Speakers offer 240 watts of total power, and are currently the most powerful speakers we offer for marine and powersport environments.
It’s also important to consider compatibility between devices when purchasing or upgrading your sound system. Purchasing multiple devices from the same brand is an effective way to ensure compatibility between certain products, but it’s also a good idea to reach out and check which devices are compatible with each other before purchasing, and/or compatible with the audio devices you already own. Some audio devices may only be compatible with other devices in their series, while others could have a wider range of compatibility.
7. Listening Options
It’s particularly important to consider your listening options, particularly when purchasing a new stereo/radio/head unit, etc. Most stereos include Bluetooth streaming these days, but this feature may not be available on older products, especially if purchased second-hand. Bluetooth streaming gives you a wide range of listening options—basically anything on your phone. However, additional listening options that may be important to you could include AM/FM radio, aux input, USB, and even Sirius XM listening capabilities on more deluxe models.
It’s important to choose a brand you can trust. While a brand doesn’t have to necessarily be big-name for their audio products to be of good quality, a largely unknown brand could be a red flag. It’s important to not only look at reviews for the products you’re interested in, but also reviews for the brand or company as a whole. Another way to judge a brand’s trustworthiness is to consider how long they’ve been doing what they’re known for. For example, Aquatic AV has been making waterproof audio products since the company started, and is considered a respected name in the industry with high-performing waterproof audio products. Whatever brand you choose, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re the real deal before purchasing.
These are just a few of the most essential elements to consider when purchasing a new outdoor sound system or upgrading your existing audio. If you can’t find the answer to one of these or an additional question you have about one or more devices, we recommend reaching out to customer support for answers. Lasting outdoor audio can cost a hefty sum, so it’s important to understand what you’re paying for and make sure you select a product that will give you the features you want the most.