April 29th, 2009
The weather's warming up, the BBQ grills are coming out, and everyone's starting to think about outdoor entertaining. It's time to turn to Your Electronic Warehouse for everything you need to create the perfect outdoor sound system. This article will give you some tips on outdoor speaker placement including proper speaker positioning, adding multiple speakers to cover larger areas and the placement of outdoor volume controls.
Placement Tip #1Position Speakers Between 12' to 15' of the Listening Area
- This guideline may sound simple, but it's amazing how often it's ignored. By positioning your outdoor speakers between 12' to 15' of the listening area, you provide quality sound for the listeners at comfortable volume levels -- without the need for huge amounts of amplifier power.
- In this illustration to the right, the primary listening area is the table on the deck. To ensure good sound for the listeners, we're using a pair of outdoor speakers on the wall approximately 12' away. Another option would be a couple of Niles Audio Planter Speakers along the wall or along the side of the deck.
- You will get more sound projection the higher you mount your speakers which will extend the listening area. Most outdoor speakers include mounting brackets that allow you to adjust the tilt of the speaker. The speakers should be angled down to project within the 12' to 15' range. Angling your speakers down will also assist with proper drainage for wet locations.
- When selecting outdoor speakers, be sure to choose speakers that will provide enough bass for a satisfying listening experience. Mounting your outdoor speakers close to a wall or other solid surface will increase the bass performance of your speakers.
- When positioning speakers outside, be sure to select speakers that are rated for extreme conditions and are designed as outdoor speakers . For example, Niles Audio Outdoor Speakers exceed the military's anti-corrosion specs (MIL-STD-883D).
Placement Tip #2More Loudspeakers Are Better Than More Power
- When you have an oversized or a particularly large outdoor area, it's always better to add more speakers than more power. In this setup we'll start with the same listening area from tip #1, but we'll add a pool area that's 30' away. You could just boost the amplifier power so the patio speakers play loud enough to reach the pool, but that would just blast the ears of our listeners at the table.
- The solution in this example is more speakers, not more power. In this illustration, we added a pair of Niles GeoRealistic™ rock speakers and a pair of Niles Planter Speakers hidden in the landscaping, placed approximately 12’ from the pool. Now with proper speaker placement, the guests sitting at the table can enjoy music at a comfortable volume level, while everyone in the pool also gets just the right amount of sound. Everyone’s happy and the party rocks.
Placement Tip #3Provide Volume Controls for Each Listening Area
- Ideally, each listening area should be equipped with a way to adjust the volume. A volume control or keypad in each listening area will do just that. You want the people sitting at the table to be able to adjust their music to a comfortable level while allowing the swimmers in the pool to enjoy their music at their own volume level.
- Individual zone volume controls are the best solution for large, single zone outdoor areas with multiple listening areas. In this illustration, Niles WMVC100E Weatherproof Muting Stereo Volume Controls are positioned for easy access near the hot tub and the deck. To adequately power all these loudspeakers, a Niles SI-1260 12-Channel Systems Integration Amplifier would do an excellent job. Of course, if your outdoor area is made up of more than one zone, a combination of the two above scenarios might be appropriate. So keep in mind the importance of volume controls. It will make the difference between a good outdoor sound system and a truly great one.