TIC is an interesting company because it entirely specializes in outdoor/all-weather speaker equipment, and were definitely excited to see that they released a powered outdoor patio speaker series into their lineup for the 2018 season, mainly because there just aren’t all that many active/powered outdoor speakers on the market despite them actually being a very desirable option for many consumers.
Most outdoor speakers are passive, meaning they need to be connected with speaker wire to a receiver or amplifier for power. Powered speakers, on the other hand, have the amplifiers and other ancillary components built in to make them “all in one” so to speak, meaning you merely need to plug them into a standard wall socket and they’re ready to go. This yields a very obvious advantage, and particularly so with outdoor setups: You don’t need to worry about buying and setting up speaker wire or a receiver/amplifier.
Their are four products in this lineup, a smaller or larger version with a 5 or 6.5 inch woofer that comes either with Bluetooth or their proprietary WifiStream multi-room streaming app.
TIC Powered Outdoor Patio Speakers Comparison Table
|Speaker Type||powered, wired||(<-- same)||(<-- same)||(<-- same)|
|Peak Power*||(not specified)||(<-- same)||(<-- same)||(<-- same)|
|Impedance||(not specified)||(not specified)||(not specified)||(not specified)|
|Sensitivity||86 dB/W/m||86 dB/W/m||86 dB/W/m||86 dB/W/m|
|Frequency response range||72Hz - 20kHz||72Hz - 20kHz||72Hz - 20kHz||72Hz - 20kHz|
(depth x width x height)
|9.0 x 11.5 x 16 inches||9.0 x 11.5 x 16 inches||10.3 x 15.6 x 18 .0 inches||10.3 x 15.6 x 18.0 inches|
(does include Amazon.com purchase)
|1 year||(<-- same)||(<-- same)||(<-- same)|
|Product Manual||click here||click here||click here||click here|
* Not specified by manufacturer, but usually not a relevant spec for powered/active speakers
** Not specified by manufacturer, approximated from shipping weight
Review and Discussion
The obvious major advantage of powered speakers is that you don’t need to worry about the hassle and expense of speaker wire or a receiver, and this is particularly appealing with outdoor speakers, as the set up would otherwise be all the more complicated. All you have to do is connect one speaker to the other, plug it into an available wall socket, then pair your phone or whatever source directly to the speakers. Doesn’t get much easier than that. Each of these comes with a standard swiveling c-bracket for mounting. They look pretty darn good too – definitely better than a lot of similarly priced budget tier outdoor speakers, the larger version in particular with the thin, curved bezel.
The question then becomes: is the sound quality going to be on par with comparable passive speakers? With 25 W and 40 W of continuous power from the 5 and 6.5 inch version respectively, this is about on par with a lower tier “value” outdoor speaker such as the , which is one of our favorites. The frequency response range is… not the greatest, the high floor of 72 H in particular – you’re not going to get the thumping bass like you would from a higher end speaker like the DT 6500, or a dedicated subwoofer.
But, concessions must come from somewhere, and the real value with any of these is the price. Not so much of the unit itself – although the larger 6.5 inch bluetooth version is well priced – but the fact that you don’t have to pay for wire or a receiver, which is going to run we’d say at least $200.
TIC offers a 1 year warranty, which is about middle of the road in this market, and the speakers are sealed with weather “resistant” grading – they’ll be fine with some mild exposure if they’re mounted under an eave, but, don’t throw them into the pool.
Our Overall Take, As Compared to the Competition
How “good” these speakers are really depends on what you’re priorities are. If you’re not an audiophile stickler for sound quality, and the idea of not worrying about wires, receivers, et al and just plugging a speaker into the wall is appealing, or a traditional permanent set up just isn’t feasible, powered outdoor speakers are definitely a great option.
On the other hand, if you’re thinking about a more permanent set up, the truth is that, for the same amount of money, there are passive outdoor speakers available that are significantly higher end. Also, passive speakers generally confer more freedom with set up since they don’t have to necessarily be close to an outlet.
The BP/WP 6 has a significantly larger power rating than the 5 and is not much more money, so we see no reason why to not just spend a little more to get that extra power. The only difference between the BP and WP version is that the latter is ~20$ more to get their proprietary app, which has some extra features in addition to Bluetooth. If all you’re getting is a single pair and you just want to stream directly from your phone, we don’t see much point in paying extra for their app. If we’re going to recommend one, it’d be the BP6:
Before this, the only other seemingly decent powered outdoor speaker pair that was available was the sound appeal BT blast, the price of which is about the same, but, we will say that the frequency response floor of that speaker is superior. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to sound better (that’s always somewhat subjective), but, spec wise, a lower frequency response floor generally means better sounding bass. You can check out our review of that here if you’d like to compare.