The quest for finding the best outdoor audio speakers is never-ending. Personally, I don’t know if I ever had that “one” favorite speaker I couldn’t replace. At any given time, I have at least five different favorites. Different speakers work differently in different settings. So, I keep switching between my top five depending on where and why I need them.
Today, I am going to talk about one of my current favorites in the outdoor speakers’ category.
Yes, I said it! Polk Audio Atrium 4 is one my favorite these days and I think it is going to stay on my list for a while. This review is all about how it earned that spot.
So, let’s cut to the chase.
On its website, the brand describes Atrium 4 as “All Weather Outdoor Loudspeakers” with 4.5″ Drivers (woofer) and 3/4″ aluminum dome Tweeters. They claim Atrium 4 to be small-sized speakers capable of producing high fidelity sound in an outdoor setting. That sounds even more impressive if you look at the price tag.
Depending on where you buy it from, this set can cost you anywhere between $ 89.00 to $ 99.00. So, basically they are affordable speakers, and this whole review will focus on whether there is any real value in purchasing these budget-friendly speakers.
All-weather means they come in a waterproof casing and will survive the rainy days, the humid days, the sunny days, and even the snowy days.
They can be easily installed and mounted in the lawn, on the patio, near the pool, in the garage, on the deck, and even in your room. The fact that they are outdoor speakers doesn’t mean they aren’t any good inside your home.
I do have my personal favorite indoor speakers but I tried this model for the sake of testing them and I’m quite happy with how they sound inside the house. So, for me, they are kind of an all-purpose speaker for a small scale event.
Before we move on, here is a list of specs:
- Dimension: 5-13/16″W x 8-5/8″H x 6-13/16″D
- Frequency response: 75-25,000 Hz
- Power: 80 Watts
- Sensitivity: 89 dB
- Impedance: 8-ohm
- Weight: 4.31 kg
- Warranty: 5 years
After spending less than a hundred dollar on a pair of outdoor speakers, I was quite impressed by how expensive they actually look.
The speakers come in two color choices – silver white and black. Silver may sound , but I have to admit even in silver color, the speakers don’t really stand out in terms of aesthetics. They are your typical cylindrical shaped speakers that aren’t as big as most outdoor counterparts. Now that is a good thing when you actually don’t want anyone to notice the speaker or bump into it now and then.
To be honest, the size made me a little skeptical about the kind of sound they can produce. Keep reading, and I will discuss the performance aspects in details after reviewing one of my two most favorite aspect of this product.
Build for Endurance
The all-weather enclosure seems quite sturdy and that is very important for your peace of mind when installing speakers out in the open. It may be less than a hundred buck but you don’t want your hard earned hundred dollars gone with the thunder.
Despite the lower cost, the speaker is built up to industrial and military-grade standards for environmental endurance. They could not have earned an all-weather certification without proving its worth. So, if it rains too often in your area, you won’t have to worry about your hundred dollars. And it isn’t just the rain. These speakers can endure extreme temperatures as well.
Hassle-free Mounting System
I really love the handy speed-lock mechanism. I have yet to see a similar feature in other affordable outdoor speakers. It is innovative, stylish, and convenient.
Speed Lock mechanism makes mounting a simple matter of place and click. Just install the brackets, place the speakers, listen to the click and you are good to go.
You can install them vertically or horizontally, however you require them to be for the best sound experience. You can tilt them up to 180 degrees. So, you can easily make them face the audience.
I’ll be honest, these pair of speakers may not be a looker and if you are into looks, it might leave you unimpressed. Other than its visibly sturdy build, there isn’t anything to wow you.
However, that isn’t something I can say about its performance. “Small speakers, big sound” isn’t really an exaggeration here; it is a fact.
Atrium 4’ sound is surprisingly too clear and loud for its size. It can produce sound 12 kHz to 20 kHz. That is all you need because anything above 20 kHz is virtually inaudible for humans. It is good enough for a setting with lots of ambient noises.
The sound is quite clear whether you are listening to music or voice. I personally loved how it handles the guitar sounds in classic rock. If you are planning a small unplugged session in the backyard, Atrium 4 won’t disappoint.
The bass may not be heavy enough for everyone’s liking but Atrium 4 can easily handle the thumping bass of hip-hop.
If you have gone through the specs, you know that the sounds quality primarily comes from two components: the anodized aluminum dome tweeters and mineral polypropylene cone driver.
The dome tweeters have a rubber surround with neodymium magnet that allows for a smoother response and better power handling. The cone drivers are surrounded by butyl rubber that contributed to a clean midrange and a great bass response.
Seems like folks at Polk really put their mind into creating these small-sized, high-performance speakers. It is quite clear that there is too much effort behind the performance of these speakers.
Two of the technical aspects I especially want to talk about is the Dynamic Balance® and Klippel Optimization.
Dynamic Balance® is Polk’s patented technology that utilizes improved material selection, construction technique, and geometry to eliminate unwanted distortion. Simply put, it works on a whole different level to get rid of elements that negatively affect the speaker’s performance.
Together with Klippel motor optimization, Dynamic Balance technology works to ensure a more realistic sound reproduction at various volume levels. It is why the speakers are capable of delivering amazing performance at high as well as lower volume.
Do I Have Any Cons to Discuss?
I know I sound like a typical fanboy, but I do have a few concerns. In all honesty, these concern only bother me if I don’t think of the price point. Otherwise, the price tag doesn’t give much to complain about. Just for the sake of clarity, let’s take a look at the concerns.
The Power Conundrum – To deliver their best performance, Atrium 4 requires more power. Anything between 10 watts to 80 watts is recommended. At 10 watt, the sound quality isn’t the most satisfying to say the least. I like it at 80 watts but I am not quite sure how that much power for prolonged time is going to affect the speakers because anything above 80 will surely cause some damage over time.
The Portability Dilemma – Another aspect I am not a fan of its portability. I know these are lightweight, small sized speakers but the design doesn’t allow for portability. I was actually surprised that so many reviewers call it portable. I don’t know if they are just talking about the fact that you can easily carry them, but that isn’t my definition of portability. Once they are installed and mounted, I wouldn’t want to remove them too often just to install them elsewhere.
Lastly, these speakers these speakers won’t play from a mobile phone or a laptop. You’ll require a professional device that connects through Gold-plated 5-way Binding Posts.
I’ll be honest, these speakers are a steal.
Any audiophile must be thinking that there are much better, feature rich speakers out there but we all know how much they can cost.
That said, even if we take out the affordability factor out of the equation, I would still count Atrium 4 among my top favorites. I am glad that Polk has paid so much attention to every detail in terms of design and performance. I can’t think of any reason why it can’t beat many higher end outdoor speakers out there.
This was a highly recommended product and I know people who have installed these babies everywhere around their home, both indoors and outdoors. Even I won’t think twice before purchasing another pair.
So, the verdict is out! If you are looking for amazing value for money, small sized speakers with big sound, and a product that is built to last for years, you won’t find a better pick than Polk Audio Atrium 4.
You have any outdoor speakers that you think I should try? Leave a comment here and I’ll try to review it in my next blog post.
Further reading in case you like my in-depth reviews: