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OSD AP650 Review (outdoor speaker)

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the OS AP650 "Patio" weather-resistant speaker. It is on kind loan from a local member and costs US $160 from Amazon including free shipping.

Fit and finish doesn't look bad and I especially like the beefy bracket:

OSD AP650 Review Patio Outdoor water proof Speaker.jpg


OSD AP650 Review Patio Outdoor water proof black Speaker.jpg


There is a cover that hides the speaker connections in the back.

An article in Wirecutter which was syndicated by NY Times voted the AP650 as their "best outdoor speaker." It goes on to say: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-outdoor-speakers/

"Its clarity beats anything we’ve heard from other models priced under $200 per pair, and it has a full, powerful sound that can easily fill a typical suburban backyard. It has enough bass for R&B, hip-hop, and rock music, and its relatively high sensitivity lets it deliver loud volumes when paired with a small amplifier. "

It was a bit difficult to measure this speaker because it doesn't want to sit upright by itself. I propped it up as best as I could be it may have measured a couple of degrees leaning back. Also, I left the grill on and had to locate the tweeter with a flashlight. So that center may be off a bit as well.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

I performed over 1000 measurement which resulted in error rate of around 1%.

Temperature was 59 degrees F at sea level.

Measurements are compliant with latest speaker research into what can predict the speaker preference and is standardized in CEA/CTA-2034 ANSI specifications. Likewise listening tests are performed per research that shows mono listening is much more revealing of differences between speakers than stereo or multichannel.

OSD AP650 Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

OSD AP650 Measurements Patio Outdoor Speaker Spinorama frequency response.png


Well, this is not a pretty sight. Just about everything is messed up from on-axis to directivity and overall tonality. Granted, you may not listen to this on-axis but still, hard to find anything to hang your hat on.

Crossover seems to be the problem here as indicated in the near-field measurements:

OSD AP650 Measurements Patio Outdoor Speaker driver response.png


Woofer response remains very high way past crossover region. This leads to high distortion there as well:

OSD AP650 Measurements Patio Outdoor Speaker relative distortion.png

OSD AP650 Measurements Patio Outdoor Speaker THD distortion.png


Early window and predicted in-room response don't quite apply to a speaker that is wall mounted but still useful data:
OSD AP650 Measurements Patio Outdoor Speaker Spinorama  Early window frequency response.png


OSD AP650 Measurements Patio Outdoor Speaker Spinorama  Predicted in-room frequency response.png


Impedance is reasonably high which is good:
OSD AP650 Measurements Patio Outdoor Speaker impedance and phase.png


Directivity as noted is horrid:

OSD AP650 Measurements Patio Outdoor Speaker horizontal beam width.png


We have both beaming of the tweeter above 8 kHz and mismatch with woofer starting at 2 kHz.

OSD AP650 Measurements Patio Outdoor Speaker horizontal directivity.png


OSD AP650 Measurements Patio Outdoor Speaker Vertical directivity.png


OSD AP650 Listening Tests
The sound can only be described with two words: hollow and bright! All you hear is this brightness with zero body to the sound. I lowered the highs with EQ and boosted the 1 to 3 kHz and that made some improvement. But really, there is no proper sound coming out of this speaker to be worth messing with. So I stopped.

Conclusions
The outdoor speaker business is all about marketing and margins. Technical correctness is not even in the vocabulary of most manufacturers. This could have been an exception seeing how the praise had come from a technical reviewer (Brent Butterworth). I can't fathom how he thought this speaker was worth listening to. OK, I can. Maybe all the others he tested were much worse which would not surprise me.

Needless to say, I can't recommend the OSD AP650. Buy this speaker if you want some noise outside not high-fidelity experience. Even then, you may be told to "turn it down" after it gets to your guests with its high pitched sound. Or else point it up or something.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

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Attachments

  • OSD Audio AP650 Spinorama.zip
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MatthewS

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I had these in my backyard on the house but have since replaced them with the Revel M55XC. Everyone was pretty whipped up about that speaker sounding bright, but when you're outdoors at 20-40 feet away it (Revel) sounds fine. They do need a bit more bass--though mounted against the wall helps.

I measured both speakers outside with REW in the same position, this is an average of 3 measurement locations. I was about 25 feet away. I've attached the raw REW data if anyone wants to dig around. I accidentally had the a +1.5 or +2 bass boost from the Chromecast on for the OSD AP650 measurements. It looks like it is a 1.5-2db low shelf starting at 200hz. I had taken them off the wall before I realized it and didn't feel like reinstalling them.

The big dips at 300 and 400 is boundary interference.

Revel vs OSD.jpg

REW data: https://www.dropbox.com/s/49ur81rax3qji7m/Revel vs OSD.mdat.zip
 
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Francis Vaughan

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but when you're outdoors at 20-40 feet away it sounds fine

This is the fundamental problem with outdoor speakers. Managing attenuation of high frequencies over distance is a "you can't get there from here" type of problem. To do right you need much more sophistication and complexity in the speaker design, or lots of speakers over the space (and handling of the delay issues - which is also complexity and sophistication, so no real win.) Either way outdoor sound isn't a simple problem. One has a bit of sympathy for accentuated highs if the speaker is going to be heard from some distance away. But it isn't more than a band-aid solution.
Directivity control is always crucial, and not getting that right has no mitigating argument. Maybe there is a sweet spot at just the right distance that this speaker sounds balanced. Still not a justification.
 

MatthewS

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3125b

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What a mess.
Looks like they attempted a waveguide, but ... yeah.
 

sarakyel

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In general, I think most (if not all) small outdoor speakers are meant to be paired with a subwoofer. The 4000 series from Genelec, when setup properly, are pretty much the only ones that sound quite balanced.

Also I was quite impressed by the JBL Control X, which were sold as outdoor speakers but sounded very close to being passive versions of the LSR305 to me (the use the same HDI waveguide), but I heard them in a home studio context, not outside. Still, I wonder how they would compare to these AP650...
 

MZKM

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Note: Optimal axis not used.
Vertical Directivity 12.png

Vertical Directivity Normalized 11.png

As we can see, if we offset it to -20° vertically (green), the response is much more linear.

So, if you are using these up high, probably best to leave them facing parallel to the ground.
 
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JohnBooty

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This could have been an exception seeing how the praise had come from a technical reviewer (Brent Butterworth). I can't fathom how he thought this speaker was worth listening to. OK, I can. Maybe all the others he tested were much worse which would not surprise me.
Makes sense. Outside of ASR, I think he's probably the best professional reviewer in the business, by a long shot. Though I don't read magazines like Stereophile since they're poisoned with snake oil advertising money. (Wirecutter has its own compromises, but I've found them reliable)

Judging this speaker against other outdoor speakers makes sense although maybe he should have been more explicit about that.

OSD AP650 Listening Tests
The sound can only be described with two words: hollow and bright! All you hear is this brightness with zero body to the sound.
What was your listening setup? I would assume that these are meant to be listened to off-axis, with *lots* of bass reinforcement from the wall since they are after all wall-mounted. I could see these perhaps performing somewhat reasonably in that kind of situation... they are reasonably okay through the vocal range I guess... although obviously they would still be lacking bass in a big way, the crossover region would be a mess, etc etc etc.
 
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restorer-john

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If any of my neighbours played music outside in good weather I would buy a sniper rifle.
I detest background music with a deep and burning intensity. Somebody else's would tip me over the edge.

You OK Frank? I think you might need a cup of tea and a lie down for a bit. ;)
 

F1308

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In the beginning there were backyard speakers.
Then it was realized some further volume increase would have deterrent capability against vessel hijackers...
Now is a no go equipment when travelling along certain latitudes...
 

JohnBooty

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You OK Frank? I think you might need a cup of tea and a lie down for a bit. ;)
I think his neighbors need to lie down, behind some solid cover. :)

(I kid, I kid.... I assume the sniper rifle was for the speakers and not the neighbors themselves... unless they are playing Smashmouth... in that case I suggest close quarters combat so they know it's personal)
 

F1308

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You OK Frank? I think you might need a cup of tea and a lie down for a bit. ;)
Here is one of the reasons after visiting the USA for as many as four times I decided not doing it any more.
Not the only one needing a cup of tea...
Peace to the people of good will.
 

Frank Dernie

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I think his neighbors need to lie down, behind some solid cover. :)

(I kid, I kid.... I assume the sniper rifle was for the speakers and not the neighbors themselves... unless they are playing Smashmouth... in that case I suggest close quarters combat so they know it's personal)
No, it would be for the owners of the outdoor speakers. :)

Luckily round here such a firearm would be unavailable and none of my neighbours are that inconsiderate :)
 

restorer-john

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I don't mind parties, but I would not think it in any way reasonable to noise pollute a whole neighbourhood with an outdoor one. That is taking "freedom" too far and I would consider it to be spectacularly rude and obnoxious.

One word Frank. Acreage.

Our neighbours are 100M away on the top side, 300M+ away on the downside and over a kilometre away over the back fence.
 
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