What Is Outdoor Landscape Audio?
For all of you backyard enthusiasts who love to spend time in the comfort of their own home, an outdoor landscape sound system is certainly the thing for you! Imagine installing an outdoor luxury audio system, that is positioned around your large patio-seating area, where everyone likes to kick back and hang out, enveloping that patio area in a bubble of music that you can hear clearly (even in different weather conditions). The point in having the outdoor system is to enjoy music whether you are standing outside grilling hamburgers, sipping lemonade and getting some sun, or soaking in the hot tub at night and having some soft background music accompany you. This can help you achieve all of the above, and more!
What Are The Options?
To start, buying the right weather-protected speakers is extremely important. If you want them to last longer than a year, buying specific speakers that are built to withstand most weather conditions helps to ensure the longevity of your outdoor audio system. The type of outdoor speakers currently available includes traditional outdoor, landscape 2-way speakers, or if you are looking for something that blends in a little better with your backyard and is hidden from view, there are several speakers that are now designed as planters, rocks, and even benches. What’s convenient about the Landscape Series is that you can rest assured that your speaker will be protected and you will get your money’s worth. We do not recommend purchasing anything that isn’t weather protected. TruAudio provides a “Humidity Rated” seal on their outdoor products so even when it is hot or humid out, those speakers will still perform efficiently. Also, they have an added IP66 Certification which translates to the product being dust, water, and moisture-proof.
Make It Easy With a Package
Getting into the landscape design and the correct system for your outdoor area can get complicated and sometimes you just want to make it easy, try a package! Depending on the quality of sound and how big your outdoor area is will determine the package and materials that are ideal. With a package purchase you are most likely going to get an amplifier, “x” number of speakers and subwoofer(s) (in different styles and sizes per chosen package). Some companies will include installation, a 90-day tech line provided if you have any issues with the package installation, it all depends. With the quality and the number of speakers that are included, the price will range anywhere from $1999 up to $15,000 or higher. Packages do not include EVERYTHING. The wiring and the device to stream your music (Bluetooth is not recommended, to avoid interrupting connection) are usually not included and you will need to purchase them separately.
70 Volts vs. 8 Ohms
A common question for outdoor speakers and sound systems seems to be, “Which is better, 70-volt or 8 ohms when it comes to outdoor use?”. First, when discussing the volts and ohms of a product, it is in referral to the electrical impedance. Electrical impedance is the apparent opposition in an electrical circuit to the flow of the alternating current, basically, the resistance on the line of the speaker. Speakers can be wired as a series, parallel, or a mixture of both to allow for the desired load impedance. Unfortunately, when you are installing a larger system, the more speakers that are added, the more complicated the wiring will be.
The advantage of using 70-volts outdoors is the way that you can wire the system, it is so much easier and less complicated. Using a 70-volt line outside is more attractive because of the option it gives you to do something called, “daisy-chaining”. Daisy-chaining is a wiring scheme that allows the installer to connect multiple devices or link them in a specific sequence. It also allows you to use a different cable to connect to the subwoofers from the amplifier and then connect the subwoofers together. Essentially the wiring will be a lot cheaper (especially if you have more speakers) and it will connect to longer distances. The disadvantage of using 70-volts is that the quality is not the same as using 8 ohms. The key benefit of using 70-volts is that it gives you an easy setup with the wiring.
Now, with 8 ohms the quality of sound will be much better. Generally, you can not tell the difference in sound outdoors between the 8 ohms and 70-volt systems. But as a rule of thumb, if you need to have more than 4 speakers you will need a 70-volt amplifier. If you are intending to power a smaller system that is only intended for your patio or for a smaller backyard, then an 8 ohms amplifier will perform great! 8 ohms is just a more expensive option when it comes to wiring and it will be more difficult to connect more speakers. The thicker the wire, the more expensive the wire will be. With 70-volt, you can run a thinner line of wire and the setup is just simpler.
When it comes to installing subwoofers into your backyard area, figure out what it is that you would like your audio to sound like. Do you want it loud with a lot of bass for large parties or get-togethers, or do you just want clear sound for your small family enjoying dinner on the back patio? Each subwoofer will reach about 25 feet away and at most will reach 30 feet. Any further than that we do not recommend, the subs would be a waste of money and you wouldn’t hear much from them. The more bass you want, the more subwoofers you will need for your outdoor area, especially if it is a larger backyard.
The Benefits of Outdoor Audio
- It Can Withstand The Weather Elements- The point of purchasing an outdoor system is to have an audio system that not only provides entertainment and brings joy to any activity on your patio, but is built to be outside to survive in the elements and still sound great when the weather is not ideal.
- Performs Well in Any Weather Condition- Most of the time, people who want their music outside will just bring a portable speaker or even turn their indoor music on loud to hear it outside. With an outdoor audio system, you can hear the music in the sun, wind, rain, and snow and not have to worry about sitting close to the speaker to hear it clearly, and there will be no muffled output. It will bring you a clear and pure sound through it all!
- Designed With You In Mind- Another benefit of setting a sound system up outdoors is that you want it to fit YOUR backyard and not buy something that you can’t hear by the fence and you can only hear it right by the house, what’s the point in that?! You want to be able to hear it from anywhere in your backyard and that is what these are designed to do. Picture gardening by the back fence and you can still hum along with the music because it sounds the same as if you were standing right next to the speakers. These speakers can be placed virtually anywhere in your yard!
- It Is Used With Modern Technology- One of the best things about outdoor speakers is the ease of use. Bluetooth is one of the biggest advances in technology but it is not the best when trying to stay connected. Purchasing a premium product that allows you to stream your music from anywhere is your best option. The VSSL amplifiers are some of the best products on the market and they allow you to connect to multiple zones. The VSSL uses Native Streaming™ which lets you stream from apps that you already know and use to play music. VSSL even has Apple AirPlay 2. You can connect your device to the speakers or have it connected as a zone that is connected to your house. This allows you to control your music from anywhere in your backyard, no remote necessary (unless you want one). The use of outdoor speakers is meant to make your backyard experience easier and simpler.
- Connects To Multiple Devices- We are way passed the era where we have to stick a CD into the CD player on a stereo (thank goodness). That was rough, forced to listen to one band/artist or maybe even a burned CD (boy, that was rough). With the current technology, you can connect the speakers to any phone/tablet/laptop, whatever you want! Now that there are high-quality speakers, they can connect to an outdoor T.V. and add to your outdoor entertainment space. The higher quality speakers can also connect to projectors to bring you that summer “outdoor home-theater” feel.
- Bring Your Home Entertainment To Your Outdoor Living- Yay for being able to listen to your music when you’re in the pool during the day, in the hot tub at night with some soft-soulful tunes, hosting a barbecue, spiffing up your garden, and much, much more!
There are endless benefits to having an outdoor audio system and you won’t regret the decision to make the upgrade to your backyard area. TruAudio offers support for the entire outdoor setup and even has access to installers across the nation.