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How Underwater Sound Systems Work


Speakers From the Depths
Here we see the Diluvio pool speaker. The yellow speaker wire cord connects with the speaker itself, which in turn connects to a sound lens.
Here we see the Diluvio pool speaker. The yellow speaker wire cord connects with the speaker itself, which in turn connects to a sound lens.
Image courtesy Clark Synthesis Inc.

Normal speakers don't fare all that well at the bottom of a swimming pool, so it should come as no surprise to learn that underwater speakers come specially designed to not only deliver quality audio in a submerged environment, but also to avoid shorting out, electrocuting swimmers or turning to driftwood.

It's a rather niche corner of the audio market, so you can expect to drop anywhere between $300 and $2,000 on a quality underwater speaker. Typical models consist of a watertight, waterproof plastic speaker connected by a length of insulated speaker wire to an above-water sound system. You might choose to install the speaker inside an alcove in the pool -- in which case you might use an acoustic sound lens to direct the sound waves out into the pool -- or you might just attach the speaker to a rope and dangle it into the water.

A good underwater speaker won't sound all that great if you use it out in the air. In fact, it might sound downright awful. According to Clark Synthesis President Bill Phillips, a quality underwater speaker is more like a fine wooden instrument such as a cello or violin. The sound radiates off the entire surface area of the speaker rather than from a focused point.

The volume of water you can cover with a speaker varies. For instance, Clark Synthesis recommends one of its Diluvio pool speakers for every 20-foot-by-20-foot (6-meter-by-6-meter) section of the pool. The Lubell System 3300 Diver Recall System -- intended for use on dive boats -- can sound a siren heard across an entire 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) underwater radius, assuming optimal conditions. Dive speakers such as these enable instructors to communicate with other divers, but they can also blast funky beats for man and fish alike.


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