Singing in the shower is one of the universal quirks of all of us. Who doesn't love to sing along to their favorite tracks while washing off? Unfortunately, most speakers don't get along too well with water. There's always the chance that water can splash out of the shower and end up ruining your expensive sound system.
Thankfully, instead of having to worry about your speakers getting wet, you have another option. You can instead invest in a speaker which is specifically designed to work in the shower. As you may have guessed, they are called shower speakers.
Before we get into the details about shower speakers, we will discuss regular speakers since they are broadly similar. Speakers are audio devices which use the principle of electrical induction to generate sound waves using a vibrating diaphragm. When electrical signals are sent to the speaker, vibrations are created which produce sounds.
The most common form of speaker that you will find in use today is the dynamic speaker. These are the most simple and cost effective form of a speaker to make, so it is logical that they are used more than other types. If you want to listen to music with a good range of sounds, you will need a speaker which is capable of reproducing said sounds correctly.
The first device which the speaker was developed for was the telephone since one would not be able to work without reproducing the voice of the person on the other end. While the first proper speaker was invented around 1860, it was not capable of reproducing actual speech, only a few tones.
Most of these early speakers used compressed air to function. This feature meant that the speakers were rather poor at reproducing sounds at a low volume. This aspect, in turn, made them relatively ineffective and very loud. While dynamic speakers were first thought up near the beginning of the 20th century, it took another decade and a half for them to become effective.
It took another ten years after that for the first dynamic speaker featuring a moving coil to be patented. The men who are widely credited with inventing the type of speaker that we use today were Chester Rice and Edward Kellogg. These speakers had a relatively small sound range thanks to their use of only one driver.
It took until around 1940 for speakers to start resembling those of today, featuring several different horns and woofers to ensure a good sound range, from highs to lows. Ever since then, the fundamental principle of speakers has remained the same. Most improvements have been in the domain of construction materials.
Since the 1940s, advanced construction techniques and materials have been used to increase the sound fidelity of speakers and also decrease the price. The first speakers were outlandishly expensive and could not be afforded by most people. They were instead investments for businesses and the wealthy.
Speakers feature a wide variety of different parts, but the part that makes the sound is known as the driver. There are three kinds of drivers which are designed for different sounds frequencies. The driver which is meant to work on the lowest frequency is the woofer driver. It is supposed to produce sounds below 200 Hz. This range is also known as bass.
The next driver is the midrange driver, and it is meant to produce sounds in the mids, which are from 200 Hz to 2000 Hz. The last driver is the tweeter, and this handles high frequencies, which are known as treble. These sounds all have a frequency of over 2000 Hz.
Drivers are made up of a few components, the most crucial of which is the cone. The cone can be made out of many materials, and it is the part of the speaker that you see when you take off the grille or faceplate. The cone is the part of the speaker that vibrates to create sound waves.
The cone can also be referred to as the diaphragm, and the grille or dust cap is there to protect the speaker from both dust and accidental damage. Two types of magnets are present in a dynamic speaker. The first is a fixed magnet which is only referred to as the magnet.
This magnet provides a standing magnetic field for the dynamic magnetic field to "bounce" off of. The dynamic magnetic field is generated by the voice coil, which interacts with the standing magnetic field to make the cone vibrate and create noise. The voice coil winds around the former, which is a cylinder made of a non-conductive material in the center of the speaker.
There are three parts of the speaker that are integral when it comes to keeping everything together. The first two parts work together to ensure that everything returns to its regular place after the magnetic fields interact. These two parts are the spider and the basket.
The basket is the frame around everything, which provides much-needed integrity for the speaker as a whole. The spider acts as a spring, ensuring everything can move but can also return to where it started, so the cone doesn't remain permanently out of shape after you are done listening.
The last piece which keeps everything all together is the surround, which requires sufficient elastic qualities since it is what holds the cone and the basket together. It is similar to the spider in that it needs to be flexible enough to deal with the movement of the diaphragm, but should also be able to return to its original position.
We have already given a bit of an overview on how speakers work over the last few sections since it would be hard to explain the parts without doing so. However, this section will go a little bit more in depth when it comes to the functioning of modern dynamic speakers that you see today.
Before we get started, let's just address some basics, so we make sure that we're all on the same page. Sound waves are physical vibrations that resonate through the air around us. When these waves come into contact with the fluid in our eardrums, they product neural impulses that we perceive as sounds.
The job of a speaker is to convert electrical impulses into vibrations (sounds). This is done through a straightforward process which takes advantage of magnetic attraction and repulsion.
The voice coil is an electromagnet which works in tandem with a permanent magnet which provides an unchanging magnetic field.
When electricity is fed into the electromagnetic voice coil, the coil will either attract or repel the permanent magnetic field.
When this happens, the electromagnet pushes or pulls against the cone (the part of the speaker which creates the vibrations), and the cone creates sounds.
This is the basic principle behind which speakers work. Different kinds of speakers may have different numbers of cones so that they may more faithfully reproduce your sound. This explains the distinction between tweeter cones, midrange cones, and subwoofer cones, assigned to highs, mids, and lows, respectively.
There are a few features that are important to your understanding before deciding on which speaker is right for your needs. While these technical specifications are easy to understand, they can be confusing to someone who has little experience buying audio devices like speakers and headphones.
This is the first technical specification and one of the most important. The max number of decibels that your speaker can emit is the highest volume of sound that it is capable of producing. The symbol for the decibel is dB, and it is a ratio which is often used to define sound levels.
There is one important thing to keep in mind when it comes to decibels and how they are measured. Decibels get exponentially louder as they get higher. This makes it so that an increase of ten decibels increases the sound level by ten times. This may be confusing so that we will provide an example.
An increase from 20 decibels to 30 decibels will be ten times more powerful, 20 decibels to 50 decibels, however, will be 1000 times louder. While whispering will usually be 20 decibels and a normal conversation will be 40 decibels, you can see how the change gets more extreme the higher up you go.
For example, the usual noise coming from a TV will be about 70 decibels but at 100 dB, an increase of only 30 decibels, you have what it would sound like standing right next to a jackhammer.
Only 50 more after that, at 150 decibels, and you have what it would sound like to stand right next to a jet engine, a deafening experience if there ever was one. When purchasing your new speaker, keep in mind that the change between decibels gets more and more extreme the higher you go.
Wattage is a measure of power. It represents how much power your speaker uses to function, and it will usually have a bearing on a wide variety of other characteristics when it comes to your speaker.
For example, a speaker with higher wattage will be able to support more cones. This means that it can more faithfully recreate songs and noises since it is more likely to be equipped with cones capable of creating highs, mids, and lows. Logically, this also means that speakers with a higher wattage will also be larger than their low wattage cousins.
Wattage will also have a direct correlation when it comes to the volume of your speaker. A speaker which consumes more power will logically be able to play music at a greater volume. Since higher volume requires higher power draw, high wattage speakers will typically need to feature larger batteries.
If a high wattage portable speaker were equipped with the same size battery as a low wattage model, its battery would logically run out faster. If the speaker you intend to purchase has a higher wattage than a competitor, ensure that the battery can last just as long as well.
In this section, we will be looking at features and design aspects which delineate shower speakers from normal speakers. There is a certain set of inclusions which can make a speaker work as a good shower speaker, and they can improve the convenience of your speaker in a wide range of conditions.
One of the more important aspects about shower speakers is that they need to be portable enough to easily bring with you into the bathroom. The last thing you’re going to have to want to do before getting into the shower is unhooking and reconnecting a whole bunch of wires.
Features which improve the portability of your speakers include the size of the speaker itself. A smaller speaker will take up less space in your bathroom, so there will be more spots where it can be placed conveniently. Of course, small size must be balanced with effectiveness when it comes to the sound quality.
The weight of your speaker will also affect how portable it is since an unreasonably heavy speaker will just be a nuisance when it comes time to bring it into the shower. We have already discussed the importance of cable management or lack thereof.
Most shower speakers function using one of two wireless connection methods, which we will be addressing in the next section.
These two connection methods have their pros and cons, but the more common way for speakers to connect remains Bluetooth. Bluetooth has the advantage of better compatibility since most modern devices can support it. These devices range from phones to laptops and most everything in between.
Portable Bluetooth speakers, including shower speakers, also have the advantage of a simpler connection method. This makes the setup process much faster and more user-friendly than connecting a wifi speaker. Wifi speaker connections may also make your network more crowded and moderately decrease your internet speed.
Wifi speakers, on the other hand, have the advantage of longer range. A wifi speaker network can be set up to broadcast around your whole home. While this specific feature may not be so important for shower speakers, it is much easier to set up an interconnected household with several sound systems with a wifi speaker.
This section will take a look at some of the innate advantages of a shower speaker and what makes them better than your average portable speaker when it comes to using in the shower.
The main advantage of a shower speaker is that it is designed to be waterproof to a certain degree. This waterproofing will allow your shower speaker to withstand varying amounts of water, depending on the level of waterproofing. This can range from resistance to droplets of water, to being able to be submerged for a certain amount of time.
The level of waterproofing will depend on where you will want to position your shower speaker, which we will be looking at in a section further down. Shower speakers are also optimized for use in the shower because they are much more portable than most sound systems.
Shower speakers should also be ruggedized to a certain extent. This is because they are liable to fall over in the shower thanks to the combination of slippery surfaces and because you will not often be paying close attention to the speaker while showering.
A speaker with sufficient bass may end up moving of its own accord thanks to the vibrations emanating from it. When combined with a slippery tile surface like the one you will find in most showers, this can result in your speaker falling over, so a certain degree of ruggedness will help immensely.
A shower speaker is also a great choice because it is versatile enough to be used in a wide variety of situations. You can use it as a portable speaker while you are camping because the combination of a weatherproof design and the rugged construction will keep it from being damaged outside.
You can also bring a shower speaker with you to the beach, but be careful to keep it away from salt water. Most shower speakers are only designed to be resistant to fresh water so salt water may end up damaging your speaker thanks to its corrosive characteristics.
As you can see, shower speakers are highly versatile thanks to their combination of good build quality and superior weather resistance. This makes them a popular choice for customers who are looking for a portable speaker which will last a long time and be able to play music in almost any conditions.
As we discussed earlier, there are two main wireless connection types when it comes to shower speakers, but you also have the option for wired connection. When connecting your speaker with an audio cable, all you will have to do is run the wire from your chosen device to your speaker.
A wired connection will provide the best sound quality, but it is much harder to make a waterproof wired connection as opposed to a wireless one. This means that a shower speaker can be compatible with wired audio connections, but it may not necessarily retain the same level of waterproofing.
The next method is through wifi. Wifi connections are arguably the most complicated way to connect a speaker, but it is not much more difficult than the other options at your disposal. To connect a wifi portable speaker, you simply have to activate it and pair it to your wifi network.
Once your wifi speaker is on your home's wireless network, you will be able to connect it to any wifi capable device that can also support wifi speakers. While a wide number of devices support wifi speakers, not all of them may do so. It is a good idea to ensure that the devices which you own can support a wifi speaker before investing in one.
When it comes to connecting a Bluetooth speaker, it is much more simple. You simply turn on your shower speaker, hold down the Bluetooth connection button, and attempt to find it on the list of Bluetooth devices displayed on your phone or computer. Once they are paired, you can play your music.
It is up to you where you wish to position your speaker while taking your shower. If you have a tub, you may wish to put it on the edge of your tub. Some shower speakers will come with suction cups so you can place them on one of the walls of your shower. You will want to place it somewhere that the sound won’t be muffled.
Here are some of the best manufacturers on the market.
AOMAIS shower speakers are meant to be as durable as possible while still retaining a good deal of affordability. If you are looking for the most rugged shower speaker, invest in a model from this company.
As you may have guessed from the name, Hydro-Beat shower speakers are meant to be highly resistant to water. They feature purpose build models which are built to better waterproofing specifications than much of the competition.
DOSS shower speakers are meant to be resistant to a wide variety of conditions. Their speakers are equally at home in the shower or on a snowy trek through the wilderness. This makes them ideally suited for outdoor use as well as shower use.
Cambridge Soundworks shower speakers tend to be of higher quality than much of the competition. While they have a moderately higher price than much of the competition, they offer better audio fidelity and range.
We hope that we have managed to enlighten you when it comes to the features and specifications of shower speakers. As you can see, there are quite a few parallels between them and rugged speakers which are designed for outdoor use. If there are any comments, feel free to leave them down below.