RYOBI Score Wireless Speakers Review
By using SKAA technology to combine Bluetooth and wireless connectivity, the Ryobi SCORE system yields incredible range and outstanding value.
Those who know me remember that in my “former life” I reviewed home theater equipment. That included everything from $25,000 speakers and $1,000 headphones to the latest craze: wireless speakers. Ryobi Score Wireless Speakers include the Ryobi P760 and P761 and present an interesting take on wireless Bluetooth speakers by using a technology called SKAA. SKAA isn’t new—in fact, I first encountered it as a dongle back in 2013 as well as in some speakers by Monitor Audio. SKAA promised to supplant Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming for several reasons. First, SKAA can handle simultaneous clients or speakers. It can also play back music simultaneously across multiple receivers. Finally, it promises low latency—that’s the delay you experience when sending the same audio content to several destinations simultaneously.
Needless to say, SKAA didn’t take off as planned back then but is seeing a slight resurgence in 2017. With companies like Ryobi, Korus, GoRave, and Syncronice picking up where others left off, the technology has some definite promise.
How RYOBI Score Wireless Speakers Work
But back to the Ryobi Score system…The Ryobi Score wireless speakers maximize SKAA by allowing you to link up to five speakers together for simultaneous playback of music from a single source. The kit comes as a 2-piece set with a Ryobi P760 Primary wireless speaker and a P761 Secondary wireless speaker. The Ryobi P760, in addition to functioning as a speaker, serves as the transmitter. The Ryobi P761 wireless speaker is the receiver. You can then add up to three more Ryobi P761 secondary speakers into the mix for a grand total of five speakers—including the P760 Primary.
Assuming you’re streaming audio from a smart phone, you first connect to the Primary Speaker via Bluetooth (we used an iPhone 6S). Ryobi shipped us the P765 kit with the Primary and Secondary speaker as well as another Secondary P761 speaker. We now had three speakers with which to fill the office, shop…even the yard with music.
Ryobi P760 and P761 Features
Before we get into the use of the system, I wanted to go over exactly what you can expect to find with the Ryobi Score wireless speakers. First off, these are not just wireless speakers. Unlike most wireless speakers, you also get a radio. While it’s easy to queue up Internet radio that streams from your smart phone, having an actual FM radio with 5 presets is handy. I know as we’re getting ready here in Florida to get hit by Hurricane Irma as I write this!
You also get the ability to connect another device to the Ryobi P760 using its auxiliary input. Bring your own analogue 1/8-inch cable, and you can jack right into the AUX IN port on top of the speaker. If you connect a device to the AUX IN, you cannot then broadcast that audio to other Secondary speakers. That would require an analogue to digital conversion, which isn’t taking place in the P760 speaker. Also, there are no AUX inputs on the Ryobi P761 secondary wireless speakers.
Want more? The Ryobi P760 Primary speaker can become a Secondary speaker simply by toggling the Gear/Power button. This allows you to purchase an additional Ryobi P765 2-pack of speakers instead of two P761 Secondary speakers. Why would you do this? Flexibility. Since the price is the same either way ($199 for two wireless speakers), why not gain an additional P760 Primary speaker so you can separate them if desired and run two different sources?
The SKAA wireless speaker functionality and Bluetooth has many sub-features. When connecting to the Ryobi SKAA wireless speakers, the system can remember up to 10 Bluetooth sources. It will automatically connect to the last successful source, but you can cycle through them as needed by hitting the “Bond” button.
Let’s Get Physical…Physical…
I don’t want to overlook the obvious. One of the things that gives the the Ryobi Score a decent amount of low end is the use of a passive radiator. This design solves a couple of issues. For one, it eliminates the typical “port” solution for lower bass. Ports are great for indoor speakers, but if you want something weather-resistant, you don’t want access holes to allow water and debris to get behind your drivers. The oversized passive radiator (roughly 4″ x 2″) allows the P760 and P761 speakers to play significantly lower than you’d expect the single 2-1/4″ driver to allow. I’ll address this further in the listening tests.
Physically, the speakers are made of a durable plastic, and, thankfully, Ryobi went with a matte black. I love these speakers, but I doubt they’d have as much indoor appeal if they were their signature bright green. As it stands now, you can easily place these unobtrusively in your home and power them using the included AC power adaptor. Note that the AC input is located underneath the Ryobi One+ battery, so you can’t have both power sources inserted simultaneously. Last but not least, each speaker has a sturdy swept-back metal handle for the dual purpose of carrying and even hanging the speaker.
Ryobi Score P765 Kit Features Summary
- Wireless protocols: SKAA technology, Bluetooth (for mobile device)
- Power: Hybrid Ryobi ONE+ 18V or AC power adaptor
- Integrated FM tuner with 5 Presets (P760 primary speaker only)
- Range: Up to 150 ft. of SKAA range between each speaker
- Drivers: 2-1/4″ main + 2″ x 4″ passive radiator
- Independent volume control for each speaker
- Includes: P760 primary speaker, P761 secondary speaker, 2X AC power adaptors, operator’s manual
Using the Ryobi Wireless Score Speakers
Connection to the P760 Primary speaker occurs exactly as you’d expect. We turned it on and then brought up the Bluetooth settings on our iPhone 6S. Selecting “RYOBI 760” connected us to the speaker and we began to hear audio. Getting the Ryobi P761 Secondary speaker to connect took a grand total of 2 seconds…total.
You simply turn it on.
And that third Ryobi P761 speaker? I just turned it on as well, and it connected automatically to the other speakers, giving me three perfectly-synched wireless speakers to spread around the PTR Shop. The range on these Ryobi wireless speakers is spec’d at 150 feet. We found that to be pretty accurate, though the spec refers to the maximum potential distance SKAA can transmit between speakers.
Using three speakers, we more than achieved that distance.
Our Impressively Long Setup
Keep in mind that the Ryobi Score wireless speakers need the Primary speaker to be connected to the source. That’s the P760, and I put it in the yard between my shop and home. I then stuck one P761 Secondary speaker in the back corner of our office where we shoot our videos. The third speaker I placed at the front door to the house. The distance from the front door to the Ryobi P760 Primary speaker was approximately 75 feet. The distance from the Primary speaker to the Secondary in the office was 100 feet. The gave us a grand total of around 175 feet covered by the three speakers!
Keep in mind that the two Secondary speakers were also dealing with a combination of block walls, wood frame construction, doors, and glass. You may be able to get some more distance if you’re talking line-of-sight. In real-world use, however, this is more than a little impressive.
One More Note on Using Multiple Ryobi Wireless Speakers
As you figure out how you might use the RYOBI Score wireless speakers, keep in mind that each speaker has its own independent volume control. That means that while you can simulcast audio to multiple speakers, you can also adjust the volume in each location independently—or mute it altogether. This is a nice feature when using these in your home, but it’s also great for the jobsite.
Listening Tests & Conclusion
Overall, the sound quality produced by these speakers puts most other $99 wireless speakers to shame. Midrange male vocals are always difficult for small-driver speakers to reproduce, but the Ryobi Score’s passive driver fills the gap nicely and pulls it off. For classic rock, we queued up some Steely Dan (“Hey Nineteen” and “Deacon Blues”) along with tracks from The Eagles. I was impressed by the quality of the vocals but especially dazzled by the low frequency response. It reproduced bass guitar and kick with a surprising level of accuracy while not attempting to overdo it. A great example would be Seal’s 1993 album. Crank up “Crazy” and you’ll find some subsonic that can wreak havoc on some speakers. The Ryobi Score drivers simply rolled off the frequencies it couldn’t handle without ruining the rest of the sound.
That’s a class act.
He Shoots…He SCORES!
Of course, I did more testing. I love music, so I went through everything from Pink Floyd to Def Leppard to Lacey Sturm. This became my go-to wireless music system for any time I did work in the shop or around the house. The Ryobi Score wireless speakers simply sound great. Music and audio are very subjective, but I have a lot of experience. These are excellent wireless speakers. It will be hard to beat these speakers on value. Add their exceptional functionality and placement flexibility into the mix, and you’ve got a system that’s well worth the price of entry. I just wish I could add one to my Ryobi battery powered riding mower.
About my only criticism for these speakers was that they could stand a bit more output when used outdoors. They do play loud, but I have some competitive products (though priced a bit higher) that can play louder and therefore cover more area. We can highly recommend grabbing at least the two-speaker starter kit. Then, add more Secondary speakers to cover more of the house or jobsite. You won’t regret it.
Get more information from the Ryobi website.
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