Field Report: Summer Audio

No matter what you’re doing this summer, chances are some tunes will make it that much better. The thing is, the places where we want to listen to music in the summer aren’t in our living rooms, home theaters, or our listening rooms. Its on the beach, at a BBQ, on a boat, out at a campsite, or on our deck. I kicked off my summer this year at a rented house over Memorial Day weekend with a group of people. I decided to make use of some speakers I had from an early review and spend a little bit of money to make sure we were never at a loss for some quality audio.


I brought my pair of Dayton B652-Air’s to use as speakers. We put them on a table in the garage. They are about 7″ across each, and will fit on just about any table. They were perfect for playing music while we were at the house and everyone was glad to have a good sounding pair of speakers. I had them hooked up to a Dayton DTA-1 amplifier.

What makes the Dayton DTA-1 a great piece of gear is two-fold. First, it is compact and inexpensive. It uses a class T amplifier and provides around 15 watts. At about half volume, it played the Dayton B652-Air’s as loud as we wanted in the garage. Loud enough to hear clearly in the street, in fact. The other great thing about this amp, is it can be battery powered by 8 AA batteries. This means anywhere you can bring speakers and the amp, you can get a good sound setup going without having to worry about plugging it in. You could fit both speakers and the amp into a paper grocery bag easily. We played the stereo for about 10 hours over the weekend on a single set of batteries without ever plugging them in.

Later, at a backyard BBQ, I used the same setup to play music in my backyard. We got enough volume out of the amp, this time plugged into my outdoor outlet, but if we had wanted more than background music, a more serious system would have been required. However, it served perfectly for a little cookout ambiance. The best part is these two parts come with everything you need to hook them up: speaker wire, a DC adapter and an AUX cable to hook up to your phone.

The other piece of equipment I brought with me was something I bought on a whim and couldn’t have been more pleased with. The bad points first: its amp puts out a measly two watts into two tiny one inch drivers. However, the Parts Express Inductive Coupling Wireless Powered Speaker costs only $12, connects to any phone without syncing and sounds as good as all the Bluetooth speakers I’ve ever heard of a similar size. By playing music on your phone and laying it on top of the box (some alignment required), it senses the vibration and plays it back much louder. No syncing, no button pressing, no cables. Everyone who tried it was pretty amazed.

While away for the weekend, we brought this to the beach. It was loud enough that even 10 feet away you could clearly hear the music. It has a great social aspect to it because it takes all of five seconds to switch whose music is playing. No one has to get apps or sync to the device in order to use it. That’s its real strength. Since I’ve been back, this has been my staple “roaming around the house” speaker and has easily justified the price.

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