Outdoor Speaker System Design Guide 101
Updated: Sep 6, 2020
Achieving Great Outdoor Audio Quality Requires the Right Planning
Outdoor audio systems are complex for your New Jersey home, and there are many variables that come into play to design the best system that meets your performance and budget requirements. Your outdoor area could be a wide-open grassy lawn, an expansive hardscape patio, beautiful gardens, or may feature many trees or other landscaping that could obstruct sound. It might be a combination of all of these or also include pool and water features that need to be factored into the design. If you want good sound quality across a variety of these areas, there are some important design parameters to consider. So what do you need to know about outdoor sound systems for your New Jersey home? Keep reading for considerations, tips, and ideas for your planning efforts.
What Kind of Landscape or Outdoor Area Do You Have? Generally, you're going to want outdoor sound in those areas where you will spend plenty of time with family and friends. That will be a patio, an outdoor kitchen or barbecue, a pool, hot tub, outdoor fireplaces, or garden seating areas. The size of the area is critical to the number of outdoor speakers needed, the types of speakers, and the equipment to feed them. Ambient noise may be a consideration whether it’s from pool or spa motors, traffic, or even the occasional airplane overhead if you are near an airport.
How Do You Listen to Music Outdoors? Some folks may only want background music outside, the way you might have in the supermarket or doctor's office. Others want to hear their favorite music and turn it up loud, either to frolic in the pool or by the grill. The type of music to be played will also matter and may influence the choices in outdoor speakers and subwoofers for specific areas.
Where Will The Equipment For Your Outdoor Speaker System Be Located? While outdoor speakers will be located where you want sound, the system needs source equipment, amplifiers, control modules, and other ancillary gear for a complete solution. Where that gear will go is an important consideration. Some gear may be placed outdoors as well, though much of it will remain inside. These decisions will drive how the speaker wire is laid to bring sound to the speakers. Distances matter when connecting speakers, as current is what makes speakers produce sound, and different outdoor speaker types have varying power requirements.
What Types of Outdoor Speakers Will You Need? There is a wide variety of outdoor speaker solutions for practically any application. As with indoor speakers, performance and aesthetics will drive choices. There are surface-mount speakers for patios and outdoor kitchens, architectural models for patio ceilings and walls, rock speakers to blend into gardens and water features, buried subwoofers, spike mounted satellites, bollards, “works-of-art” speakers designed to be seen and more. You can have any combination of these as well, and the choices will depend on your performance preferences, how hidden you would like them, and the layout of your outdoor spaces. See our Knowledge Center for detailed information about outdoor speaker types.
How Do You Want to Control Your Outdoor Sound Systems? There are various choices for bringing entertainment outdoors. Your outdoor speakers might be an extension of a complete whole-house solution, or a standalone outdoor solution. 95% of the time the outdoor system is part of the indoor system. 99% of the time Sonos is the music source. The primary form of control is through a smartphone app, If you choose to have an outdoor TV, it would be preferable to integrate all your outdoor entertainment under the control of a smart system like Savant. Are you ready for a complete outdoor speaker system with the same quality you expect from your indoor setup?
For additional resources, please visit our page on outdoor speakers or outdoor TV's with articles like this on everything you need to know. Additionally, you can check out our photo gallery on the same page to explore our previous work.
Bravo AV is proud to be an HTA (Home Technology Association) Certified Installation Firm and professional A/V experts. Tom Curnin, the owner of Bravo AV, is a CEDIA Professional Designer, a certified THX Level 1 home theater professional and a member of the Home Acoustic Alliance trained to Level II. You can contact Tom directly at (908) 953-0555 or through email at Tom@BravoAV.com.