Waterproof loudspeakers: What a wonderful thing for outdoor enthusiasts and those who like to jog in the rain. Water proofing was never an issue for traditional stereo and home cinema systems, as most of us do not live in damp caves. But as portable loudspeakers and headphones become an increasingly popular way to listen to music, it’s hard to argue that some degree of water resistance isn’t a big advantage.
Categories of water proofing and water resistance
But not every speaker that claims the ability to withstand a light shower, like Teufel’s Omniton outdoor speakers, can be thrown into a swimming pool and expected to work. How does one know exactly how much the audio device one is purchasing can be exposed to the elements?
The difference between waterproof and water resistance can seem like vague word game. That’s why many manufacturers certify their products according to the International Product Marketing standards for protection against water and intrusion. By checking the IP code in the description of their product of choice, consumers can know exactly how protected their electronic device is against dust and other intrusive elements as well as water.
The first two letters in an IP Code indicate the standard and the last two digits rate into which classification the device falls. A device with a rating of IP20 cannot be easily damaged by a wayward finger (for all you parents out there) but is not waterproof. The first digit “2” indicates protection against intrusion and the second digit “0” indicates protection against water. If a device’s rating is given as IPX1, that means it has not been rated at all against intrusion, but is minimally water protected up to a few drops. Up to IPX6, one speaks of greater or lesser degrees of water resistance. Electronic devices rated IPX7 and IPX8 are waterproof. So while one generally talks about waterproof speakers, only those certified as IPX7 and IPX8 can actually survive being submerged. Many camera and watches have this certification, but few hi-fi speakers.
Water resistant and wireless
As a rule, loudspeakers that were designed to meet a higher International Product Marketing rating for water protection are also portable. Most also offer a wireless transmission method, usually Bluetooth. This makes sense as each wired connection is a source of potential water damage. Without any external cables leading to mains power or source devices, a water resistant speaker can be enjoyed in the sort of rough-and-tumble conditions it was designed to withstand.
Teufel’s water resistant MOVE BT headphones with IP54 splash proofing are, for instance, perfect for long runs or vigorous workouts. You won’t have to worry about sweat or a bit of rain affecting the MOVE BT as the IP54 rating assures they are splash proof. Bluetooth means you won’t have to directly connect a source device for even greater freedom at the gym or working out at home. You can leave your smartphone to one side and still enjoy your music.
Key points regarding waterproof speakers
- Loudspeakers that are going to be used outdoors or stored in a damp environment should have some degree of water resistance.
- Loudspeakers are generally water resistant, although many other devices like digital cameras are fully waterproof.
- International Product Marketing offers ratings that tell you what degree of protection against intrusion and water a device offers.
- Whereas IPX0 offers zero protection against water, IPX4 rated devices can handle a good splash and IPX7 devices are essentially waterproof.
- Teufel offers water resistant headphones with splash protection (IP54).
All pictures: Property of Teufel Audio