The dizzying selection of outdoor speakers can be confusing. Some claim to be the lowest priced and others boast durability and resistance to weather. Although these are important considerations, sound quality is the key to outdoor music enjoyment and just because they're outdoor speakers doesn't mean that great sound quality isn't achievable. Consider the KEF Ventura 6, a two-way speaker with a 6.5" woofer and a 1" tweeter with sound well suited for the outdoors.
KEF Ventura 6 Features
KEF is a British speaker manufacturer, respected by audiophiles for their higher-end loudspeaker designs. The Ventura 6 is the top speaker in the three-model KEF lineup of outdoor speakers.
The Ventura series speakers have white UV resistant ABS sealed enclosures (ABS – a plastic material used for its resistance to damage from impact, heat and chemicals). The aluminum grilles and mounting brackets are corrosion resistant and the enclosures feature threaded brass inserts on the rear of the speaker for a wall-mounting option. KEF designates the Ventura 6 speakers as weather-resistant or all-weather, not weatherproof, so it would be wise to place them away from severe weather extremes, such as under the eaves or a covered patio.
The two-way Ventura 6 uses a 6.5" long-throw woofer with a rubber surround and a 1" ferro-fluid cooled tweeter. The sensitivity specification of 90 dB indicates that an amp or receiver with 30-100 watts per channel is adequate. KEF recommends an amp with 10-125 watts.
Testing & Sound Quality
Outdoor speakers have different requirements than speakers used indoors, mostly because of different acoustic conditions. The walls, windows and furnishings in the confined space of a room influence the sounds produced by a speaker. When speakers are installed outdoors there are fewer sound reflections and as a result you're likely to hear more direct than reflected sound, which makes the overall sound of the speaker more critical.
The sound of the KEF Ventura 6 speakers reflects an understanding of the differences between indoor and outdoor speakers. Their noticeably open midrange offers very good clarity outdoors, especially vocals and instrumentals. Subtle details in the upper midrange and higher frequencies were easy to hear, even at low volume or background music levels. The mids are well balanced with bass and treble, with an extra dose of midrange clarity thrown-in. The 6.5" long-throw woofer supplied plenty of full and robust bass – long throw means the woofer cone can move a greater distance and produce more bass output. An outdoor subwoofer is never a bad idea, but the Ventura 6 speakers produced good bass even without a sub.
Outdoor speakers are not generally used for critical listening, but a speaker with good sound qualities is appreciated everywhere. And just because they're outdoor speakers doesn't mean sound quality is not important. The KEF Ventura 6 outdoor speakers deliver the same smooth, balanced and ultimately listenable sound as KEF's in-room speakers and they're affordable. Read more KEF speaker reviews (Link). The key to enjoying music outdoors is a good speaker, and the Ventura 6 offers balanced sound quality at an affordable price.
KEF also offers the Ventura 4 & Ventura 5 outdoor speakers.
Two-way sealed enclosure
One 6.5" woofer and one 1" ferro-fluid cooled tweeter
Frequency response: 54 Hz – 20 kHz
Crossover frequency: 3 kHz
Sensitivity: 90 dB
Recommended amp power: 10 – 125 watts
Impedance: 6 ohms
Dimensions (W x H x D): 8.9" x 11.73 x 7.19"
Weight: 8.4 lbs.
Price: $450 per pair
Two-way Sealed box
(Fluid Cooled Aluminium)
Effective Frequency Range +/– 3dB
54Hz - 20kHz
Characteristic Sensitivity Level (at 1m on axis for an input of 2.83v)