OSD AP490 Outdoor Speakers

Cat really likes these... It's the little ones on top, the noprice project speakers were used as a stands.

Visuals:

They are about 9x4x5 inches, so very, very tiny.

I think these tweeters are really exceptional. 1 inch almost see through textile in a wave guide.

The woofer has reverse roll surround, so it looks very neat.

Back of woofer, note the paper back with a plastic type coating on the front.

Dude! It's got a real crossover!

Inside is a very little bit of poly fill

Grill rattled after I took it off for the photos, so it's not going back on.

Positioning

They work very well backed up about 8 inches from the back wall on a desktop. The wave guide on the tweeter keeps it out of the mess of the wall baffle and cabinet. The mid bass does not seem to get muddy unless I push all the way against the wall.

I tried running desktop without stands, the closer reflections are helpful for bass, but the effect on the top end is not worth it. As with all desktop rigs, use the highest stands that you can. Moved up to using 8 inch stands for these 9 inch tall speakers. My desk is pretty low, but these should still be up, up and away for the best sound on a desk. I would go as high as to get the space between the woofer and tweeter ear level.

You really need the wall gain for the bass to work, so speakers less than a foot from the wall and your head needs to be 3-4 feet from the wall for them to have a shot without a sub.

If it's doesn't sound good, just try drinking.

Desktop Impressions:

No audible cone break up, and with room reinforcement they do an ok job down to 100Hz, with 40Hz being audible. Tweeter is very forward, but it is a wave guide, so I kind of expected that. They seem to get pretty loud, but don't go very low.

These image pretty well with a very defined center and good across the board left to right. Not a lot of stuff going on the sides or behind, as the side wall reflections are reduced and pushed behind their normal points.

Vocals are very correct and smooth, clear bass that roll off around 100Hz and dies completely below 40Hz.

I would say that these speakers have two very nice tweeters with sound bar woofers.

Without a sub this is near field with wall gain only... and that is final.

Pressed the loudness button, and they sound great with lots of clean clear bass. Bass boost could do good things for these on the desktop. The top end tweaking of the loudness button makes it ear piercingly hot.

These speakers will show bad recordings for what they are, the treble range is hyper detailed. Bad tracks sound worse than the train wreck I hear from my main rig. Be prepared to keep freaking out thinking that speakers are distorting, only to finding out that's some previously inaudible pop or click from your recording.

People are really not going to like these speakers, it's all tone related. No roll off on the top and limited reflected sound is really brutal to music. My old ears are not bothered by bright speakers, I can crank 20kHz all day and not hear a sound, but the 9kHz-20kHz usualy rolled off or digested by sheetrock is not happening and all of those details are here in full force. These remind me of a big JBL speaker, just way, way smaller. This is a speaker only an audiophile can love.

The whole package is very space age. I would call them pretty, but that might being going too far. I think different and purposeful is a better description.

Listening notes:

A Fog Lit Street by Sp33fy M@n
Got a few hours on these now, and either my ears are adapting or the bass is much improved. Great definition, not loud or forward, but very flat. Still only viable when about 2 feet away or less, but clean and passable.

Phantom Pt. II by Justice
Full volume, this is by far way too crunchy.. good god it's digesting my brain.. over detailed to the max. Not distortion, but just gritty like a cinder block grinding into your skull.. that's the sound. Backing away from the near field position helps, but once you hear these details you feel like you are missing them if they are not there, even if they are brutal.

Da Hype by Junior Jack
I bet vinyl setups will really hate the clear top end on this.. I'm getting tape hiss from mp3's.

Rio by Duran Duran
Sax is amazing.. bass guitar is perfect and does not get confused or lost.. drums sound like a live drum kit.. high hat is shrill, but detailed and defined.

Tour de france 2003(Long distance version 2) by Kraftwerk
I'm finally getting some distortion by being an asshole and cranking them at 98dB sustained. Surprisingly it sounded like it was the bottom end of the tweeter that gave a crackle and not the woofer bottoming out. May have actually just clipped the amp, but it was stupid loud.. and that's enough for now.

Who can it be now? by Men at work
These do Sax and snare so well it's retarded.

We are the Night by The Chemical brothers
Subsonic 18Hz waves makes the 4 inch woofer fap like a retard.. doesn't do much music, but I love it. The rest of this song is so piercing it's killing me... can't stop.... song too good.... ahhhhh!!!!!! Holy shit the highs!!!! My Ears are clipping!

Mr. Handagote by Tomas Dvorak
Brilliant track, but the engineered static is a bother. Bass cello parts sound great. I hate shitty bass with a passion, and will gladly take minimal but flat over a big subwoofer farting one note bass out any day.

Icarus by Trash 80
I honestly have not heard this sound better.. that's probably because I blew my ears up on that chemical brothers track, but fuck it - this is good.

Desktop Conclusions:

These by themselves on a desk -- If your desk is against a wall and your room is less than 130sqft and you only plan to listen while sitting at the desk, then yes. If you have a bigger room or have a desk away from a wall or like listening from a different position, get a good sub and throw a party at your desk. These beat other budget speakers for clarity, and that makes up for the tone that really can be brutal.

Measurements:

I only had about 3 hours to get this setup and measured, so it's all a bit rushed.

The Couch



Couch Response with annotation



Near field



Against the wall near field



Integrated with Subs - 180Hz 24db slope, probably could have tweaked this a little better, but I was short on time.

Living Room Setup

Tried it without the sub and it's not going to work. If you try it disappointment is all you will find.

Running my subs uncorrected just drivers in a box with an amp, the DEQX is only doing the crossover which is just a Linkwitz 24db, so nothing too exotic... It's just like anyone else's sub, well 2 10 inch monsters per channel, but with good placement a decent sub should be able to get close to what I'm doing here. Sub integration is easy, mainly because I have the subs positioned properly already. I could have tweaked the gain down a bit and maybe moved the crossover point around some to make improvements, but this is good enough to get the idea.

look, a couch!

Living Room Listening Impressions:

The midrange is very good and flat, the highs are way too high for my taste, but given a few tracks my mind can adjust to tone as long as it's not full of nasty sharp peaks or distortion. These are clean, and after a while it's not as much of a bother, but keep in mind these are 8-10dB above most speakers at 14kHz in the listening position.

It's a meat grinder.. insert music you like and out comes every single flaw the recording could possibly have. Even after your mind adjusts to the tone you can still hear the effects of it. Lots of hiss, clicks and pops.. none of it related to the equipment.

Midrange with the subs is very satisfying, things are working well, with a deep tone that is full and contrasts well with the over active highs.

Doing some headroom tests things got a little out of hand, pulled the highest measurements I've recorded just trying to get these to pop, and with the subs being in the system shit was definitely happening. 107dB Peak, this is seriously loud, pulled a steady 98dB on the couch that sounded clean and never got them to pop at all. These can work in large spaces, and as long as your ears can handle the highs these are great little speakers for a living room.

Speaker close up.

Final Thoughts:

How good are they, well I don't like them. Tonally they are miserable to listen to for me, but they do not have any massive problems which is a huge improvement over all of the other speakers in this price I have tested so far and tone really is a matter of taste. I will say that the midrange measured very well, better than many expensive speakers I've seen. These speakers are not the cleanest sounding I have heard, but the drivers are good enough to be considered very good.

I'm keeping these on my rig for some more listening. I'll be using a corrected response adjusting for tone, it only took 2 bands of the paramertic EQ to fix these to my liking, so that says plenty. A simple treble knob can do most of what I did here.. just turn it down and you are good to go.

As a final note these speakers need to be wired out of phase to work correctly. I noticed how strange they were sounding once I had them corrected, tested with a battery and they are actually wired from the factory out of phase.. I am assuing this has something to do with them being "outdoor" speakers so they don't want to draw attention to the speakers location with the music.. either way if you are setting these up inside of a house wire them out of phase, red to black and black to red. Also obvisously this improved the imaging results plenty.

Corrected nearfield response

Updated 7/2/2013: DSP correction file

Click here to get the DSP correction file for these speakers.