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Choosing the right outdoor speaker systems
When designing and installing for outdoor spaces there are a few considerations to take into account.
Cabling must be done with external grade cable. These are typically rubberised to protect against the sun and moisture ingress and in some instances armoured. Whilst we’re on the topic of cabling it’s important that you understand how the speakers are wired at the design phase. Some systems such as the Sonance Sonarray use a non-standard configuration so be sure to check before planning the wiring.
The landscape gardeners will not thank you if they have to dig up all of their planting to install new cables. The Sonarray also offers very directional sound, which leads me nicely on to my next point. Speaker placement should be done with care. Installing speakers under the eaves of the roof line two or three stories up will require them to be turned up pretty loud for the patio area down below. Blasting your favourite music across the neighbourhood may not win you many friends.
Consider the following before deciding on the most appropriate system for you
- How do you intend to use the outdoor system?
- What will you be listening too?
- What time of day and year will you be listening?
The answers to these questions will help you determine the most appropriate choice of speaker and the positioning. Is it possible to get the speakers in a position where they are sheltered from the elements and are they aesthetically in keeping with the design of the building? Maintenance may become an issue if they are high up or exposed to some of our more demanding weather conditions.
Some people prefer speakers in disguise. If that’s the case look out for manufacturers creating look-a-like rocks or even vent covers that actually produce audio, the rocks are singing.
Most people have a smart phone, which, as well as being a phone is also the storage place of choice for lots of music. So if we’re putting in external speakers you need consider how to connect it to them. If the wireless network extends out in to the garden then that problem is pretty much solved. If not then a product such as the Soundcast Outcast may be the right choice. Fully portable and not relying on anything other than the phone’s Bluetooth to stream music, these are perfect for impromptu outside BBQs, when no wires can be installed or the wireless signal simply doesn’t extend far enough. It has the added benefit that it can also connect to streaming devices such as NuVo, making it an extremely flexible choice too.
Whatever the choice of speakers you select for your outdoor space, it will be a great addition to any system. Whether it’s listening quietly alone whist soaking up the sun or enjoying an afternoon with friends it can really add an extra dimension to the great outdoors. Well designed and installed it will bring you pleasure during these warmer months.