The Best Commercial Speakers: Reviews, Buying and Installation Guide - Rolling Stone
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The Best Commercial Speakers

Commercial speakers help create an ambiance, whether it be mellow music at the office, or pumping the jams at the outdoor bar

best commercial speakersbest commercial speakers

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Commercial speakers take on a handful of applications, and whether you’re setting the soundtrack for your office space, playing music on the patio, or trying to get someone’s attention outside, a solid set of commercial speakers are always good to have on hand.

The best commercial speakers are often used inside, to broadcast ambient music in an office or hospitality setting (think calling an order or paging someone for a table). If mounted outside, these speakers are usually attempting to play over the environmental noise (think music being heard over crowd noise at an outdoor bar). Since surface-mounted (external) commercial speakers can be weather-resistant, some creative users have also installed them on boats.

When purchasing commercial speakers, consider where you’ll be using them, and what you’ll be using them for. Interior commercial speakers are designed to fit seamlessly into the ceiling, while distributing sound intelligibly and efficiently without taking up too much space. If easy listening or ambient music is the genre you want (say, for your office or reception area), then a 4″ speaker will work well. If more upbeat music is going to be played (say, at a restaurant or outdoor event), a 6″ or 8″ speaker would work better for volume and clarity of tones. Typically, the bigger the cone, the more bass a pair of speakers can produce – this is especially true for interior speakers which need to be able to reproduce sound from a smaller speaker housing, often with less components than a surface-mount speaker.

External surface mount speakers tend to be a bit easier to install, though they won’t be as natural of an aesthetic fit compared to interior speakers. However, what surface mount speakers may lack in visual appeal, they more than make up for in sound generation. Unlike interior speakers, where the type of music and setting will dramatically impact the size of speaker cone necessary, surface mount speakers are less dependent on speaker cone size. This is due to a more complex speaker assembly, more inline with home theater speakers. These speakers fit more components into their housing and can power more audio, overall, than their stealthy cohorts.

Interior and surface mount speakers do not carry mutually exclusive use. Often times a commercial system will work for both indoor and outdoor use, working in tandem to create a smooth transition throughout an indoor/outdoor setting. Here are some of the best units to get.

1. Polk Audio Atrium 5 Outdoor Speakers

Polk Audio’s Atrium5 speakers are built to last through any party conditions. Extreme heat? No problem. Rained out? No need to take down these speakers – these bad boys are weather-resistant.

The Atrium5’s powerful sound engineering uses a two-piece system, consisting of a 3/4″ tweeter and 5″ woofer. This layout delivers premium sound in a neat package. With “PowerPort” bass, these speakers can cut through the roar of the party and keep going. And with a peak capacity of 100 watts per speaker, the Atrium5s will keep the music bumping all day and night, rain or shine.

PROS: Polk’s “Speed Lock Mounting Bracket” offers relatively easy installation. The mounts allow for significant angle adjustment, meaning you can aim your music anywhere.

CONS: Though easy to install, the actual speaker wires still need to be run back to the main stack. This is an amateur plus level installation.

Polk Outdoor Atrium5

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy: Polk Audio Atrium 5 Outdoor Speakers at $289.13

2. Polk Audio Atrium 4 Outdoor Speakers

Rugged yet refined, the Polk Atrium4 outdoor speakers are built with “military grade” weather resistance. Polk made sure the exterior could withstand the elements, while ensuring that the inside kept the party popping.

The Atrium4’s drive sound through a two-piece combination tweeter/woofer. A 3/4″ tweeter keeps the highs clean, while the 4.5″ “mineral-filled dynamic balance polymer cone” pumps out the hearty mids and lows. With 90 watt peak capacity (per speaker) Polk made sure the Atrium4s would be heard over and through a rowdy crowd.

PROS: Superior weather resistance and premium sound.

CONS: Perfectly fine for backyard get togethers or outdoor bars; however, the Atrium5s have bigger components and a higher peak capacity.

Polk Atrium 4

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy: Polk Audio Atrium 4 Outdoor Speakers at $167.84

3. JBL Commercial Series Speakers

JBL is known through and through for high-performance audio equipment with premium sound engineering. Though the CSS8008 may look a bit tame compared to its JBL peers, make no mistake: it serves its purpose, and does it with consistency and smoothness.

The CS8008 uses an 8″ cone to produce clear vocals, while its internal positioning covers 120 degrees of sound area. With a 96db sensitivity, the CS8008 reaches maximum volume levels with minimum distortion.

PROS: Seamless installation with minimal aesthetic impact.

CONS: Since it has to be installed into the a wall or ceiling it is a more advanced setup; professional assistance is highly recommended.

JBL Commercial Indoor

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy: JBL Commercial Series Speakers at $29.00

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