Bose Freespace 51 Outdoor-Environmental In Ground Speaker Review

Bose is one of the biggest, most recognizable audio companies in the world, and is mostly focused on higher end/aesthetic products which are sold at a premium. Included among their vast selection is a few lines of outdoor/all weather speaker products, one of which are the omnidirectional Freespace 51s.

Specs

Speaker type: passive, wired, on/in-ground
Nominal power handling: 50 watts
Peak power handling: 100 watts
Impedance: 4 ohms
Sensitivity: not specified by manufacturer
Frequency response range: not specified by manufacturer
Unit weight: 12 lbs
Unit dimensions: 14.5 x 15.0 inches (diameter x height)
Warranty: 5 years (DOES apply to purchase from Amazon.com)
User manual: click here

Review and Discussion

The truth (for now at least) is that there isn’t much selection amongst so called omni-directional outdoor speakers such as these. If anything, Bose has done a good job at creating a product to fill a void: a mid/high tier product in this niche. If you want to go bigger and more powerful, you’re probably going to be looking at commercial-grade set ups that will likely crack the 4 figure barrier.

50 watts of nominal/continuous power handling is good – plenty enough to fill most mid-sized back yards – but, it’s hard to ascertain how they’ll actually sound without more information, and unfortunately Bose does not provide other key metrics such as the frequency response range or the sensitivity rating. A speaker’s sound and loudness can vary significantly even when wattage is controlled for.

They look… well, kind of like upside down compost bins, but at least the green color will somewhat blend with grass, if that’s where they’re going to go. We haven’t really seen any omni-directional outdoor speakers that look much better than these for what it’s worth.

The big advantage these speakers offer is that they project sound equally in a 360 degree radius, but the trade off is that they need to be centered in the enclosure. Most people might not like having two giant lumps in the center of their yard. Not to mention the tripping hazard, etc.

They’re durable though – Bose has some of the harshest weatherproofing standards, and all their outdoor speakers come with a 5 year warranty. You can leave them out year-round and not worry about them, while other brands insist that – despite their outdoor speakers being weatherproof – you ought to bring them inside during the harsher winter months, heavy rain, etc.

One thing to consider with in/on-ground outdoor speakers is that you’ll likely need to run the wire underground. This is more involved obviously, and you also need to make sure you get the correct speaker wire which is specifically rated for direct burial.

Also of note is the 4 ohm impedance. This isn’t all that common, and it means you might need a rather powerful amp to power these as opposed to much more common 8 or 6 ohm speakers.

Our Take

Bose makes good products… that are also arguably overpriced by many. Are these good speakers? Yes, and the high Amazon ratings certainly reflect that. They also fit a specific niche/need for which there just aren’t that many products.

However, speaking of competitors, you might consider the TIC G3s – they’re basically the same thing: also popular, with similarly high specs, but are significantly cheaper (at least for now). Check out our review of them here.

There are also somewhat similar alternative rock speakers that boast significantly superior power metrics without being all that more expensive – namely the Klipsch AWR-650-SMs (reviewed here).

Also, if they’re viable for your situation, definitely consider traditional wall-mount speakers. There are options with far better specs for the same price – see the links below.

We’ll wrap up by saying that Bose does have a generous 30 day return policy though, so you could take advantage of that. But even if you did return them, you’d still need to get the more expensive direct burial wire and perhaps run it, so just be sure this is the set up that you truly need and want.

Get the Freespace 51 on Amazon

See our current picks for the best overall outdoor speakers