Developing the JBL Stage XD Series All-Weather Speakers
By Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning
With the JBL Stage XD Series all-weather speakers, HARMAN has brought the high-performance sound of JBL to the great outdoors with resiliency and sustainability in mind. Offered in two sizes, the loudspeakers are available in both black and white finishes and are built on patented JBL acoustic technologies for an unrivaled listening experience. Stage XD Series speakers feature a 1-inch/25-millimeter aluminum dome tweeter with an acoustic lens for smooth on-and off-axis frequency response and a High-Definition Imaging (HDI) waveguide with optimized geometry to deliver dynamic, crystal-clear sound over a wide listening area. The larger Stage XD-6 uses a 6.5-inch/165-millimeter Polycellulose cone woofer, while the smaller Stage XD-5 uses a 5.25-inch/130-millimeter woofer. Included wall-mount brackets offer mounting flexibility by supporting a variety of installation options — making the speakers equally at home indoors — while a rotatable logo allows for horizontal and vertical applications.
But with the Stage XD Series, high-performance audio is just the beginning. Thanks to their IP67 rating, the Stage XD-6 and Stage XD-5 are designed to withstand the harshest outdoor conditions. This level of weatherization provides protection against ingress of harmful dust and airborne particles, as well as water and liquids, including immersion in water up to 1 meter (3.3 feet) for up to 30 minutes. To create a loudspeaker that could be sealed against water ingress — without compromising on acoustic performance or aesthetics — the design for the Stage XD Series’ enclosure went through several iterations.
The final waterproof enclosure features a clamshell design with a tweeter waveguide molded directly into the baffle side and a binding-post cup molded into the rear side. To minimize the number of joints — and thus the potential for leaks — we utilized our Zero-Bezel grille, which is held in place by magnets installed inside the enclosure that are never exposed to the elements. One half of the clamshell features a groove that holds a continuous rubber O-ring, while the other half has a molded ridge that presses the O-ring against the groove’s walls. The amount the O-ring is compressed is determined by how hard the enclosure halves are pressed together, which in turn is determined by mechanical stops designed into the parts.
We avoided holes in the design as much as possible, although some were necessary — such as the screw holes for holding the two halves of the enclosure together. The mating surface of each screw is offset into the part — allowing it to be very near the mating surface of the enclosure — and each is sealed with an O-ring and a protruding compression feature. In addition, the holes for the safety catch, binding posts, and tweeter are sealed with a liquid adhesive after installation onto their respective enclosure half.
Pressure equalization for the Stage XD Series is delivered by a hole on the rear enclosure, which is covered by a waterproof membrane made of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE). Air is able to flow through the membrane at a highly restricted rate, while water molecules are repelled. The hole is positioned on the rear of the enclosure, just above the binding-post cup. The adhesive membrane is attached over the hole on the inside of the enclosure and ensures there is no impact on acoustic performance. On the assembly line, the enclosure is checked for air leaks using a test that necessitates plugging the breathing hole. Its position on the enclosure was selected to allow this test to be performed mechanically and automatically.
In addition to the robust design of the Stage XD Series, we’ve also increased the speakers’ longevity by enabling easy repair. Featuring sustainably designed packaging and product, the Stage XD-5 and Stage XD-6 are the first repairable IP67 outdoor loudspeakers available. Instead of throwing away the speakers should they ever fail, they are designed to come apart and undergo repair in case of damage due to prolonged exposure to adverse conditions. Not only is this better for the environment, but it saves consumers the cost of having to replace them.
For more information, visit https://www.jbl.com/stage-xd-series.