Traditionally, outdoor speakers have a rather thin sound and they are fairly unattractive. They sometimes attempt to reproduce a full-range program such as music, but they usually sound like an AM radio, representing a 1 to 3 kHz spectrum, at best. Community Sound has come up with an interesting solution to this problem in its new product - the R.5 speaker series.
Product Points
Applications: Outdoor PA, contracting and fixed installation

Key Features: Weatherproof; full-range coaxial speaker system; 12-inch woofer; linen HF driver

Price: $599

Contact: Community Sound at 610-876-3400; www.loudspeakers.net

Features

The R.5-66 ($599) is a full-range, two-way speaker system capable of handling 200 W RMS at 8 ohms. The R.5 has full-range capability presented in a rounded polyethylene enclosure - ensuring survival of the components in even the most extreme weather conditions.

The R.5 comes with a swivel-mount bracket for installation in any location or angle, in addition to a four-foot, two-conductor speaker lead. The R.5 contains a 12-inch woofer for the lower frequencies. The woofer has a voice coil immersed in a ferrofluid to assist in weatherproofing, heat dissipation and corrosion resistance.

Community recommends a 70-Hz high-pass filter - at least 12 dB per octave - to reduce lower frequencies that cause overexcursion of the woofer. To handle the high frequency duties, there is a one-inch weatherproof driver, mounted coaxially to the woofer and both mounted to the perforated metal grille. The grille is actually a three-layer affair, minimizing sun and water penetration through the use of a double powder-coated steel layer and fine stainless steel mesh, coupled with an acoustically transparent open cell insert.

In use

I wired the R.5-66 to a C-Audio 400 x 4 power amplifier, plugged a portable Sony CD player into a Spirit Notepad mixer, and wired the whole thing together at my warehouse. I did as Community suggested, and employed a high-pass filter (the Spirit mixer has a 100 Hz, 12dB/octave HPF).

I was impressed with the full-range response of the R.5. Considering the filter rolling out the lows, it had a very nice low end, and remarkably crisp highs. I ran the volume to a pretty good level and the R.5 responded quite well, with no audible clipping or flattening.

I tried the mounting mechanism - C-clamping the speaker to an overhead beam. The R.5 mounted and locked down nicely with no difficulty.

Summary

I found the Community R.5 a solid speaker system that will hold up well to extreme weather situations. In addition, the R.5 did have a sound far superior to the sound of traditional outdoor horns, which are generally nasal and grating to listen to.

The R.5 is the perfect speaker for theme parks, marine applications and wide spectrum weather situations. The enclosure appears to handle rain and direct sun extremely well, and the components are of good quality. Community earns my recommendation for its new R.5-66.