speakers are commonplace here in California, where year around great weather allows
many of us to spend a lot of time on our patios. Finding a suitable speaker that
performs well outdoors can be a challenge especially for those on a budget. Phoenix
Gold offers an affordable set of speakers designed for both indoor and outdoor
applications called the ATo5. The ATo5 is a ported two-way speaker design that
is capable of producing reasonably good bass from a small enclosure. These speakers
are available for well under $100 a pair (street price) and offer consumers the
ability to play their music in places where other speakers may suffer from exposure
to the elements. The lightweight cabinet makes installation easy when mounting
them in difficult to reach areas. We connected the review speakers to a Sonos
Digital Music system which allowed us to control our audio content using the Sonos
wireless CR100 remote controller.
speakers include a set of plastic mounting brackets that allow them to be attached
to virtually any flat surface. Once mounted, the speakers could swivel on the
bracket to direct the sound towards the listener. We placed the speakers under
the eaves, which also protected them from the rain. The ATo5 speakers come with
gold-plated binding posts for attaching the speaker wires. We used 14-gauge Tributaries
wire for our installation and found it easiest to use the bare wire with the spring
loaded terminals. As an option, banana jacks can also be used to connect to the
speaker terminals. Each speaker terminal is labeled with its polarity and color
coded to help insure a proper connection.
The frequency response of the ATo5 was reasonably good. The low
frequency response rolled off near 50 Hz and the high frequency response began
to drop off just above 16 kHz. The bass level increase in the frequency response
chart near 100Hz is common for many smaller speakers. This will help enhance the
perceived bass capability of the speaker. The plastic cabinet enclosure had its
own sonic character that added some coloration to the sound.
impedance of the ATo5 speakers varied considerably as a function of frequency.
We measured a low of 3.9 ohms at 315 Hertz and a maximum of 8.3 ohms at 50 hertz.
Average impedance was around 5.2 ohms over the entire frequency range, so it might
have been more appropriate for the company to have rated the speakers at 6 ohms
rather than 8 ohms. Amplifiers that have difficulty driving low impedances could
have difficulty driving the ATo5 speakers.
ATo5 speakers provided good sound from an inexpensive outdoor speaker system.
They are certainly not high-performance and do not claim to be. The frequency
response and ease of installation make them a prime candidate for any outdoor
patio. We would have liked to have seen an 8" version of the speaker as well.
If you are on a budget and need to get your sound outdoors, the ATo5 are certainly
worth looking into. If accurate sound is your main priority, then you may find
a better solution, but with a significant hit to your pocket book.