Underwater Pool Speakers (What they are and how they work)

If you’re looking for a unique audio experience, underwater pool speakers are the perfect way to go. As someone who loves music technology and the water, I am fascinated with this technology, how it works and how it could be useful to regular swimmers like me.

Underwater speakers are loudspeakers that are specifically designed to work underwater to allow swimmers to listen to music as they swim. Designed to be waterproof, they are typically mounted onto the wall of a swimming pool and connected to an above-ground stereo system.

In this article, I am focusing on wall mounted underwater pool speakers.

If you are looking for a way to listen to music as you train in a public pool, I recommend waterproof headphones which I cover in greater detail in this article, “Can You Wear Headphones When Swimming?”

Alternatively, if you are looking for a quick and affordable waterproof speaker for a pool party, then checking out “Portable Bluetooth Underwater Speakers” is the better option. This link will take you to a collection on Amazon.

What Are Underwater Speakers?

Underwater pool speakers are a great way to enjoy music while swimming. They are mounted to the wall of the pool and connect to an above-ground stereo system. This allows swimmers to listen to music as they swim.

Underwater speakers are designed to be waterproof.

As you can imagine, it is expensive to mount speakers into the wall of a pool. It is possible to use portable underwater speakers and there are standalone alternatives on the market if cutting a hole in the wall of your swimming pool does not appeal.

From a general user operation point of view, underwater speakers operate similarly to standard above ground speakers. Just like above ground speakers, the actual underwater speaker will have to be connected to a sound system that plays the music.

This can be complex, as it is necessary to run wires from your pool underwater speaker to the above-ground music sound system.

As mentioned, there are standalone underwater speakers that do not need to be fitted into the pool wall. However, the speaker wire still needs to be handled. If the speaker is not built into the wall, you must find a way to handle the speaker cable.

For adult private pool users, it may be acceptable to have a wire exiting the pool, but for children or the public in general, this can be a hazard.

Can You Really Hear Music Underwater?

Yes, you can hear music underwater. However, the quality of the sound will be different than if you were to listen to music above water.

Because of how sound travels through water, you cannot hear high frequencies as well as you can above water. So most underwater pool speakers have a subwoofer built in so that you can still enjoy your music even underwater.

From my experience, underwater speakers are great for music with bass as bass frequencies travel well through the water.

However, for any songs with a lot of high frequencies, for example, voices or high-sounding instruments, then the music can lack clarity.

What Do Underwater Speakers Sound Like?

Hearing audio underwater for the first time is a unique and often confusing experience. It can be very disorientating when you cannot identify the source of the sound.

It is even more disorientating when you pop your head out of the water, expecting to hear the sound, and you find you can only hear it underwater!

As a general rule, the sound quality of your underwater speakers depends on the make and model of your speakers. However, most underwater pool speakers will have a lower quality sound than regular speakers as you cannot hear high frequencies as well as you can above water.

Here is a great demo that I found which give an example of how underwater speakers sound. We should note that the quality of the sound recording equipment will affect the quality of these demos, so don’t judge too harshly.

How Do Underwater Speakers Work?

From an engineering point of view, both air and water are considered “fluids”.

Just like a standard speaker vibrates and pushes air to create sound waves which will eventually reach your ear, underwater speakers operate on the same principle, but instead of vibrating and moving sound waves through the air, they are pushing sound waves through the water.

As water is denser than air, underwater speakers need a lot more energy to make sound waves than regular speakers. It is very easy to vibrate something in the air, but harder to vibrate in the water.

As regards how underwater speakers work, the fundamentals are the same as regular speakers. However, there are some key differences that allow underwater speakers to be safe underwater and project sound through the dense medium of water.

Check out this article for a great in-depth and technical look if you are interested in the engineering behind underwater speaker design. [source]

Why Would You Want Underwater Pool Speakers?

Given the cost and complexity of fitting an underwater speaker system to your pool, you might wonder why you would want underwater pool speakers at all, especially as there are some fantastic waterproof headphones and waterproof floating Bluetooth speakers on the market.

There are many situations where underwater pool speakers are needed. Here are the most common:

1. Synchronised Swimming

For synchronised swimming, where swimmers move in a synchronised motion to the sound of music, underwater speakers are essential.

If you have ever watched the Olympics or any professional synchronised swimming event, you see that a vast majority of the performance is underwater.

With the swimmers submerged for such a long time, it is not possible to stay in time with the music and synchronised if they cannot constantly hear the music that is playing.

Underwater speakers allow synchronised swimmers to hear music underwater as they perform.

2. Hotel Leisure Pools

It can be very common to have underwater speakers fitted in hotel leisure pools.

This can be done to enhance your relaxing experience if calming music is being played.

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it can help to create an ambience and a calm swimming environment.

3. Hot Tubs

They often fit underwater speakers into hot tubs. When buying a hot tub, they may give you the option to upgrade to include a speaker system.

Again, this is used for relaxing and playing calming music underwater.

4. Private Pools

Although fitting underwater speakers into your existing pool can be expensive, for pool owners who love their pool and want it to be the best it can be, then this is not seen as an expensive upgrade.

Whiter private pool users want underwater speakers to help improve their workouts, or just to have more fun at pool parties, underwater speaker systems are typically found in higher-end private pools.

How Much Do Underwater Speakers Cost?

The cost of underwater pool speakers will vary depending on the make and model that you choose. However, as a general rule, you can expect to pay anywhere from $900 to $3000 for a good quality set of speakers.

Some factors that will affect the cost of your underwater pool speakers include the size and number of speakers, as well as the type of material that they are made from. If you want a higher quality sound, you may have to pay a bit more for your speakers.

Finally, don’t forget to include the cost of installation. The cost of installation will vary dramatically depending on the existing design of your pool.

Where Should You Place Underwater Speakers?

If you are going to the expense of fitting underwater speakers, in order to get the most for your money and ensure they sound good when fitted, it is essential to consider where you will position your speakers.

I am an audio fanatic and obsessed with speaker placement for general listening. In a standard room, you can move standing speakers around to get the most from room acoustics and find a sweet spot for an optimal listening experience.

Underwater you will need to position your speakers in the right place to get the best sound, which includes the right distance from the top of the pool, the level of submersion, the distance from the bottom of the pool and the right distance from any other underwater speaker has to be considered.

For example, if you place your underwater speaker too close to another underwater speaker or directly across from another underwater speaker, the sound waves produced may interfere with each other and decrease the quality of the sound.

So before you start the installation process, talk to an acoustic expert or to the speaker manufacturer to learn where the optimum speaker placement is for your pool.

Are Underwater Speakers Safe?

I get very nervous when electricity and water are close together.

As with all pool installation, from filter systems to lights, safety is paramount.

As a general rule, underwater speakers from an established speaker manufacturer will be designed with safety in mind. However, always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Overall, underwater pool speakers are safe to use. However, it is always important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and to use them properly.

Final Thoughts

Underwater speakers are growing in popularity and as the technology becomes more affordable and versatile, we are going to see them more and more in public and private pools.

Although it’s strange to get your head around listening to music underwater, it is a unique audio experience that can give life to your pool party, calm your guests or simply help you listen to uplifting tunes and audio to improve your workout experience.

It is important to note that only speakers designed for underwater can be used underwater.

How you install, and where you place your underwater speakers, are essential to get the best user experience. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using your underwater pool speakers to ensure you’re using them safely and properly.

Happy listening!

Emma Moore

Hi, I am Emma, and I am obsessed with all watersports, from swimming to surfing and everything in between. I spend my free time in the water or preparing for my next water travel adventure.

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