Bose FreeSpace 51 Outdoor Speakers Reviews

Bose FreeSpace 51 Outdoor Speakers

12 ratings (2 Epinions reviews)
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Lets play hide and seek with our speakers! 1...2....3...GO!

Jul 12, 2003 (Updated Jan 22, 2004)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:
  • Flatness:
  • Imaging:
  • Overall Sound:

Pros:amazing environmental tolerances, great sound

Cons:Unable to do my tax returns.

The Bottom Line: A unique concept, executed with the perfection I expect from the Bose corporation.


Overview
This is one of few speaker concepts I've ever seen/heard to which I can honestly say, "I've never seen anything like it before." Now, I'm a Best Buy guy, not a speaker salesman, so it's possible I've missed this concept in the past, but these are so kick butt. These are speakers that are ultimately durable, awesome sounding, and very reasonably priced for their quality. I've heard better outdoor sound, but never from speakers that could be permanently installed, and, I kid you not, partially buried!

If you're looking for a set of outdoor speakers that you're going to get some serious use out of, then I've never heard anything better.

As a caveat to that previous statement, by the way, I need to say that my experience with outdoor speakers is very limited, I don't spend a lot of time on/with them. These are awesome, but I don't know if greater awesomeness exists elsewhere and in another set of speakers.

Now, there is, as with all speakers, the flip side of the coin. If you only go in your backyard for the 4th of July, and there are cobwebs on the BBQ, then just bring a boom-box outside on those days and save yourself the $500 for the speakers, (and the couple of hundred dollars for the stereo if you don't already have one.)

Sound Quality
First off, it's Bose. If you don't know, that's a big name in high quality, affordable sound. If it has the name, "Bose," you know your getting a quality piece of equipment, from a company that stands behind its products, and makes great sound.

Overall the sound is very good. I want to criticize the bass, but that's only because I'm used to indoor bass. It's way easier to make floorboards shake then to make the entire surface of the earth reverberate, so it's something of a fake complaint.

There is no separate subwoofer, but the speakers utilize a downward-firing 4 1/2" full-range driver, and are specially designed to enhance low frequency tones. It does bass as well as can be expected, considering it's outdoor sound. Luckily Bose doesn't fall into the obvious trap of simply trying to throw massive wattage into the bass and hope to get some whiney stringy pitch out of it so it can say, 1000 watts of power!" (Not that I'm pointing at any system like the Creative Labs 4400 or anything.) They recognize the limitations that the environment places on the bass, and accept it and move on.

The mid range is pretty good, nothing special but just good sounding. It's hard to come up with words to describe something that's, "good" so I'll just leave it at that.

The most common sound in nature (at least in my dads backyard) is high notes. Birds in trees, plants being rustled, etc, so the highs in some ways are fighting with nature for who gets to control the airwaves. The speakers won (although, in their defense, they have electricity to help them, the birds are running on seeds.) The highs, like the mids, sound good. And I don't mean that in a, "damning with faint praise" way, I mean they really sound pretty good. They're not unbelievable, I've heard better highs in my life, but they're very solid and pleasant to listen to.

The surround works fantastically well. The claim of, "360 degree sound" is not hubris, no matter where you stand, they sound equally strong and good.

Aesthetic
They look pretty good in light green surroundings (I lost track of the one we partially buried in the lawn sometimes) but less good on pavement under the BBQ (the green doesn't really blend in there.)

They are the most durable speakers I've ever seen in my life. I quote from the manual, "they can support a load of up to 350 pounds." (I tried with my 155 pounds, and they didn't even sag.) They work in temperatures from -40; degrees to plus 150, which is simply an unbelievable amount of temperature tolerance. They're designed to withstand rain, sleet, snow, ice, fog, salty air, and damn near everything else nature can throw at them. They are designed to work with amplifiers from 10 to 100 watts, again, a very good range, but less amazing then the temperature tolerance. They can be buried in the ground up to a half-inch, a nice touch as well.

Installation
These are not designed to be the first set of speakers you ever install. The install can be tricky, especially dealing with running outdoor wires in a way that keeps them out of peoples way. For me, this was a fairly easy install, but I'm used to playing with this stuff. If you don't feel comfortable, or want a really professional looking install, hiring somebody could be a good idea

Bottom Line
Sound Quality:A-
Ease of Install:B
Physical Look in grass:A
Physical Look on cement:C
Reviewer Tilt:A
Overall: A-


These feature a 5 year limited warranty. That shows some serious belief by Bose that these are going to last if they're willing to do a 5 year warrenty on speakers designed for this kind of environmental abuse.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 500

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