I took these out of the box and installed them over my deck last night. From the previous owner, I already had speaker wires located where I needed them outside, but this will be the most time consuming part of most installations.
Recommend this product?
I listened to these speakers in the store (Best Buy) vs. the Bose 151's and a couple of other manufacturers (including HomeTech...I think was the name). Compared to the others they actually sounded pretty lousy. They were low and muddy sounding without any crisp highs. The other speakers had crisp highs, but I could tell that they would lack any significant bass outdoors. Also, having read several outdoor speaker owners' comments, I knew I couldn't go on the in-room performance as a gauge of outdoor performance.
From box to installation (after the speaker wire is set) is about 20-30 minutes. If you need to route speaker wire, I assume you could count on another 2-10 more hours depending on your experience and the complexity of your situation.
I installed the speakers to the side of the house about 5' high and about 20' apart. It was simply a matter of 4 screws for each bracket. If you're not screwing into a stud, they provide plastic anchors (which are not meant for installation into brick ;^).
I was blown away by their sound. The bass is very full, not popping. The midrange and treble ranges are as they would be with good indoor speakers. If you want these to play over a distance, they can. I walked down to my street, which is about 100'-125' and the sound was still great (luckily there are no neighbors on that side of my house).
I only wish that Bose gave more leverage to their retailers for discounting. I sure would have liked to pay a few dollars less, but who wouldn't.
There are a couple of accessories to consider when wiring outdoor speakers. First, these speakers are running off of my Marantz surround-sound receiver (which is also set up as my home theatre receiver). Many of these receivers won't have the old A/B speaker selector switch, so in this case you'll have to buy and install an external speaker selector box ($40-$200 depending on quality).
Second, if you're like me and don't want to go inside to adjust the volume, you may want to install an external volume control knob. Niles (nilesaudio.com) makes one that is weatherproof and retails for $99.00 with a 60-watt max threshold. I've found them at online retail sites for $60-$85.
Lastly, I hooked up an FM transmitter to my home computer (a quick internet search will turn up many). The transmitter plays all of my computer-stored MP3's, or internet radio, over an FM signal that is picked up all around my house and yard. I can now listen to that music over my Bose 251's and can enjoy that music outside.
7/18/03 Update: I have had these speakers for a year now. They survived the winter and a very wet spring just fine. In fact, they look and sound just as good today as they did when I first installed them. My strong recommendation still stands.
4/18/05 Update: I am coming up on three years with these speakers. They still sound great and have held up particularly well. I took them down for the first time a few months ago to clean them. They had started to get a little green in areas. A little bleach and water made them look new again. The brackets also look new. No problems at all. Still a highly recommended pair of outdoor speakers.
5/16/06 Update: Time for the yearly update. The Bose 251 speakers have not changed at all in their performance. They still sound great. The brackets are still rock solid. My strong recommendation still stands.
8/17/07 Update: Still performing excellently. No issues at all and they still sound great. I didn't expect outdoor speakers to hold up and perform so well after 5 years of service,especially after never having been taken down and stored in the off-season. Kudos to Bose.
2/13/09 Update: 6.5 years and still performing excellently. No issues at all and they still sound great. Getting a little discolored again so I will clean them up this spring. In this disposable society I'm very happy to have found these great sounding, dependable, speakers.
Amount Paid (US$): 359