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Old 5th April 2006, 01:36 PM   #1
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Default Protecting good drivers outdoors

I had a BBQ without music on the weekend, and thought it’d be great to have good speakers outside. I could watch movies outdoors in summer with them. And I wouldn’t need to blast the inside system to hear it outside.

I have some good quality drivers surplus. (I got them at very good prices, otherwise might not consider this) Aurum Cantus ribbons, PHL mids and Peerless XLS bass.

With just a modest powered amp, it’d be much more fun than selling them. And close range, the ribbons would be handy for wide horizontal distribution.

I know there are marine speakers and garden speakers, but hey I want quality sounds . .

The PHL specs say “Environmental conditions: Outdoor” (whatever that means); and their cones are “cellulose fiber cone impregnated and front-coated with damped resins, with fabric dome and damped surround”.
The Peerless are SBR rubber surrounds “wide operating temperature, low creep and long term reliability” & fibre composite cone – “blend of Nomex, Kevlar and glass fibres bonded with polymers”.

I’d put them under a 3 m (10 foot) awning, well away from rain. Outside temperatures over the year here can be 3 – 40 degrees C (winter nights - summer heatwave) ie 37 – 104 degrees F. Humidity is moderate in summer and medium in winter.

Someone living nearby has cheaper speakers outside, a similar spot, and after 7+ years, only the cabinets have deteriorated.

Crazy? Cool?
Any tips to protect them?
eg I will use sealed enclosures to keep moisture out of the crossover and back of the drivers.
I was thinking of some sort of covers, tightly sealing over the drivers.
Would polythene over the grilles kill the treble?
Would joints be better made with certain timber cuts or type of glue?

Or as (weight to be seen, but) the total volume will only be about 30 litres (due to low Qts drivers) build outer boxes for them; or ~ less preferred~ only bring them out when being used?

Thanks
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Old 5th April 2006, 01:45 PM   #2
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As you're sheltered from rain, I'd have thought you just need a bug cover when not in use. How about using a fabric grill, with a clip on hard front cover for when not in use. Outdoors, I'd build from ply, they'll also take the knocks better. You should also try to keep them from direct sunlight, as that kills almost as quickly as rain.
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Old 5th April 2006, 02:58 PM   #3
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Al

A clip on hard front cover for when not in use – agreed.

> build from ply, they'll also take the knocks better.

Fair enough.

> try to keep them from direct sunlight, as that kills almost as quickly as rain.

Luckily this is on the shady side of the building.

> I'd have thought you just need a bug cover when not in use.

So seasonal humidity or temp range should not be a problem?

Cheers
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Old 5th April 2006, 03:40 PM   #4
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You could still make them ported. Have a cover that seals them up completely when not in use - not a grille but a hardcover with an airtight seal - it could attach with wing nuts. You could have under that a standard grille that will give it some basic level of protection - UV protection for drivers, protection from cricket balls, etc. This could be fixed or removeable.

Done like this they only need to withstand outdoor conditions when they actually in use.
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Old 5th April 2006, 04:03 PM   #5
dnsey is offline dnsey  United Kingdom
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My outdoor speakers are only rough and ready, but they've survived several UK winters.
The drivers are tied inside heavy polythene bags, and are mounted in metal cabinets (actually large biscuit tins with perforated metal grilles). The bags don't affect the sound as much as you might think.
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Old 5th April 2006, 04:05 PM   #6
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There are drivers meant for high humidity such as these. I had mine outside for a year with no ill effects. Our temperature ranges from -5 to 30.

http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshow...=264-425&DID=7

If you already have the drivers then just go ahead and make them. you're not losing anything are you? If you have extras, you can renew as necessary.

Ported or sealed is not likely to make any difference as you won't be able to keep the moisture out by plugging a port. A bug cover is probably a good idea. Painting the inside of the cabinet even better.

Not so sure how the ribbons will work outdoors. They seem a little sensitive to inclement conditions.
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Old 5th April 2006, 09:16 PM   #7
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I've used cheap Wal-mart speakers in temps from -40 to +40. Still going strong...oh, and I made drill holes in each of the dustcaps without covering them. Stillll going strong.
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Old 5th April 2006, 10:43 PM   #8
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In a bit of a rush just now, but thanks all for the further suggestions!



> Painting the inside of the cabinet even better.

Is that to, in a vented box, stop moisture entering the timber?

Ribbons outdoors is I think the biggest question to be resolved.

Cheers
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Old 5th April 2006, 11:15 PM   #9
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Yes painting of the cabinet inside regardless of sealed or vented. The moisture will find it's way there either way and if you are in a high humidity area it just gets compunded.

I agree that ribbons outside might be a big hurdle but I cannot speak from experience.
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Old 6th April 2006, 12:20 AM   #10
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Your main enemy is sand, grit, dirt, dust, pollen, and whatever else the wind carries in your area. Then mix that with dew. Why don't you leave a clean teacup (or car) on your patio's intended location and see what builds up after a month? I think you'll find it very dirty. Too dirty to leave a loudspeaker outside. And what about bugs and animals nesting and nibbling on them? Why not just take them outside and hang them up for those special occasions? Or make an air-tight cover for them? Sorry to rain on your BBQ.
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