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Tuesday, 19 May 2020 17:48

Upgrading Your RV Speakers—Wirelessly! Featured

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Even if your RV is relatively high end, chances are that the speakers in its standard sound system leave something to be desired.

There are hundreds of options out there for improving sound inside or outside your rig. If you’re not as enthusiastic for big wiring jobs as you are for big sound, plenty of aftermarket speakers are wireless, connecting to your sound source by Bluetooth signal instead of cables. Some have built-in microphones so you can wirelessly use your phone to make and receive calls.

Not all radios or music players have Bluetooth, but your smartphone, tablet or laptop should. If your RV’s built-in radio/music player lacks Bluetooth, it’s easy to upgrade the radio—easier than wiring in multiple speakers—since most RV sound systems are really just car radios. 

What You Need

You will need a 110-volt line or USB outlet to power the speakers and to recharge a speaker’s internal battery. You could also recharge most from a battery bank with a USB port. With the right speaker choice, you can take your wireless speakers outside.

Most of these compact speakers won’t move enough air to be heard over a great distance, but they’ll fill the inside of your RV with quality sound and satisfy a typical outdoor gathering.

Portable Wireless Indoor Speakers

Bose Soundlink Color II

Features: Bluetooth connectivity; 110v/USB rechargeable; pairable for stereo; built-in microphone; water resistant.

Size: 5.6 x 5 x 2.2 in.

Weight: 1.2 lb.

Price: About $130.

The rechargeable Bose Soundlink Color II has good mid- and high range-sound according to reviews. It connects wirelessly by Bluetooth, or by 3.5mm cable. Its built-in microphone allows it to be used as a speakerphone with a smartphone. Soundlink Color II can be paired for true stereo sound. It’s available in black, white, blue, red or yellow. Not all sellers have all colors.

The Bluetooth range is 30 feet, so you should be able to take it outside. The speaker is padded for some shock resistance, and with its iPX7-rated water resistance, it can resist splashes, mist or even accidental immersion in up to 30 inches of water. The “X” in the rating means it is not tested for dust resistance.

Its biggest drawback: Soundlink Color II has weak bass compared to some rivals. If you don’t like being overwhelmed with bass, however, that may be a plus.

Klipsch Groove

Features: Bluetooth connectivity; 110v/USB rechargeable; top-mounted controls or wireless control through connected device; splashproof.

Size: 4.56 x 5.51 x 2.65  in.

Weight: 1.7 lb.

Price: $99

The compact Klipsch Groove produces excellent sound for its size. This black speaker has a 3-inch driver for clear music in all ranges, although some reviews say it distorts a bit on the high end at full volume. Bass is better than from many of its competitors, thanks to twin passive bass radiators.

The range of the Groove’s Bluetooth wireless connection is 33 feet, so it’s easy to carry it outside. It’s splashproof but not immersible, with a rating if iPX4. The Groove recharges via a USB port or with the included 110-volt power brick.

The main negatives: It cannot be paired with a like speaker for true stereo, and it lacks a microphone, so it cannot be used as a speakerphone.

Ultimate Ears Hyperboom

Features: Bluetooth connectivity to two devices at once, or connect by 3.5mm cable; memory for 8 devices; big sound in all ranges from twin tweeters, twin woofers and twin bass radiators; adaptive EQ; fine tuning from app or speaker-top buttons; splashproof; recharges by 110v power brick; superior 24-hour battery life.

Size: 14.3 x 7.5 x 7.5 in.

Weight: 13 lb.

Price: $399

If your fifth wheel, travel trailer or motor home is big, so is the sound from the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom: It encases two 1-inch tweeters, two 4.5-inch woofers and two 3.5- x 7.5-inch passive bass radiators. The music quality is stellar. At about $400, so is the price.

The Hyperboom easily fills an RV’s main living area, regardless of size, with quality sound. It has an automatic EQ feature, so no matter where it’s used, the sound adjusts to the surroundings.

Move the party outside, because this might be the ultimate portable Bluetooth party speaker. The Hyperboom is rated iPX4, so it’s splashproof. The battery can last all day and all night—literally. This speaker will give you more sound than you need for an outdoor gathering, even over chatter, laughter and the crackle of the fire pit. Fortunately, you can control the volume as well as the level of bass and treble, so even when the Hyperboom is whispering, clarity is first rate.

The biggest negatives: Big is the operative word here. With its size and all those speakers, the Hyperboom weighs 13 pounds—not everybody’s idea of portable. You must supply the 3.5mm cable if you choose to use one. It doesn’t function as a speakerphone. And although you can fast-forward through tracks, you can’t backtrack.

Outdoor Speakers

If your rig has outdoor speakers that fail to meet party standards, audio dealer Crutchfield recommends adding amplifiers. The amps are wired in before the speakers on existing circuits. You can add improved outdoor speakers, too. Make sure all are marine- or RV exterior-rated. Amps run about $150-250 per channel. Each flush-mount round outdoor speaker generally costs $30-$50.

If your tiny trailer lacks outdoor speakers and you want to add them easily, the King RVM1000 houses two speakers and a light for abut $50. The twist is that although it’s wired for power off an existing light circuit, the RVM1000 connects to your sound system by Bluetooth. There’s no need to run speaker wire.

Remove the standard light and connect the RVM1000 in its place. You’ll have LED exterior lighting but also have sound from a Bluetooth-connected computer, tablet or smartphone.

Image Credits: crutchfield.com

Read 62 times Last modified on Tuesday, 19 May 2020 18:17

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