By: Iulia Pascanu
I think today wherever there's a human being, there's a pair of speakers. Perhaps you can't imagine your living without your home theater system. In the bedroom, you still want to listen to your favorite Cd's. The shortest car ride is unbearable without a decent stereo and a pair of speakers. Newly, this goes for boat rides, too. The more recent wireless technology allows you to have speakers in the garden, in the garage or wherever you have things to do.
But loudspeaker manufacturers don't settle for this, when it comes to outdoor use. They want speakers that black out and melt into the environment. They want 100% weatherproof. They want naturalistic design. And the answer to all their wishes has materialized itself into the planter and rock speakers.
The biggest rocks in this field are Stereostone, Rockustics and SpeakerCraft. When it comes to rocking and rolling stones they can make all your wishes come true. Just try them by sending over a piece of rock from your garden. They'll send back the design of a prototype speaker that looks exactly like your rock.
How to recognize a rock speaker
If you are in a friend's garden, music is all around but you don't know where it comes from, be sure that the speakers are hiding in the form of some rocks or flower pots. These speakers are especially designed for outdoor use, which means that they are 100% weatherproof. They are completely sealed, using insulating materials that are made to hold up in extreme weather conditions.
In aspect, both Rockustics and Stereostone speakers got inspired from mother nature. They have that grainy look, irregular shape of natural rocks, heavy appearance heavy, but are entirely made of light, synthetic, materials. Most buying guides recommend looking for speakers that are made of good weatherproof materials like: coated aluminum, stainless steel, polypropylene.
Do rock speakers really rock?
They sure do! What we like most about these speakers is how you can use them to impress your kids. Flower pots that sing and rocks that tell stories, this is as close as technology can get to a fairy tale.
If you have doubts about their performance level, don't. Of course, they can't compete by far with the audio quality of a high performing audio system or to the home theater experience. But they sound pretty well. Rock speakers and planters are meant to please the ear while they don't bug the eye. The major advantage is they come close to you, and you don't have to play them that loud. This way you won't keep the neighbors up at night just because you are giving a back yard party.
The major drawback? Though they are designed mostly for outdoor use, they're all wired. But this inconvenient can be solved through a few placement tricks.
Unless you plan to use your rock speakers as wasp nests or rain gauges, you should use a few tricks when mounting them:
* Choose a drier place to place them.
* Don't point the port upward.
* Place the speaker near the place you are to sit more often; In open air, there's less reflection and speakers may sound weaker.
* Measure the area you want the speakers to cover, preferable before you buy them. A pair usually covers 200 to 400 sq. ft.
* Usually, 16- or 18-gauge wire is good; for runs over 80 feet, choose 14-gauge wire.
* No matter the brand, use direct-burial cable to connect the speakers, because it resists the underground moisture and oxidation.
Planter and rock speaker manufacturers
Planter and rock speakers definitely can bring a dose of exoticism in your backyard. Here are some brands worth your consideration:
These are the guys that make your garden rock. Their garden series includes both rock and planter speakers. The Rocky III speaker looks like a stone on the back but like a Flintstones tool on the front. The sound quality and the bass response are good, even when compared with normal speakers. If you are willing to give away a larger sum, in order to enjoy a real bass experience, also buy one of the subwoofer models. Their base can be buried in the ground and a smaller part remains visible.
All Rockustics products have a lifetime warranty (their lifetime, not yours). All the speakers are designed for outdoor use. As previously mentioned, Rockustics can create custom colored-speakers, available by special request.
A Stereostone unit is a complete speaker on its own. Stereostone also offers models of aboveground subwoofers. The Gibraltar Rock is probably the most impressive rock speaker from Stereostone, both in size and performance. With an 8-inch woofer, its bass is quite pleasing. It can be of use in your personal garden, but also in theme parks or other public spaces.
It's probably even more difficult to tell which ones are rocks and which ones are speakers if you go for the Rox speakers from SpeakerCraft. The grille texture that hides the speaker is so fine that you almost don't notice the difference. To build the speaker enclosure, the company developed a special blend of weatherproof resins. No matter how astonishing this stone similarity is, you may want to look for a little diversity in the garden patio. Webster the Frog is waiting for you. It is not a real frog, but a speaker in disguise from Bahama Sounds, a SpeakerCraft division located in Riverside, California.
About the author:
For information on wireless speakers and headphones visit http://www.wireless-speakers.orgwhere you can find shopping tricks and product reviews.
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