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You can bet on a nice atmosphere for the warmer season, but how can you make sure you're choosing the right outdoor speakers for your customers? Read on for everything you need to know before selecting the right speakers for your customers’ residential AV installation.
Deciding which speakers you need
Outdoor speakers are designed to withstand weather-related conditions, whether that be rain, wind or snow. That means you should look for speakers that are weather-resistant, waterproof or water-resistant. There are two main categories of weather-resistant outdoor speakers: surface mount and landscape.
Surface mount speakers
Surface mount speakers are designed to be installed against any exterior wall either vertically or horizontally and can be positioned toward the desired listening area. Most surface mount speakers include mounting hardware and accessories to mount directly to a wall. Available in various sizes and colors, surface mount speakers are a great way to bring sound to the outdoor porch or patio.
Landscape speakers offer the same weather resistance as surface mount speakers plus, they allow you to bring the speakers much closer to the listening area. By bringing the speakers closer, they can be played at lower volumes and provide a more controlled environment and a better overall soundstage. Landscape speakers can come as rock speakers or satellite speakers. Both options can be tucked away in a flower bed, a rock garden or on the periphery of a patio, offering amazing sound coupled with a discrete, attractive design.
Deciding where to place outdoor speakers
One crucial decision you or your customers will need to make is deciding where to place their speakers. For instance, will the speakers be set up in a big or small backyard? Will they be placed on a patio, deck, covered or screened-in porch? Keeping these requirements in mind, outdoor speakers need to provide rich and clear sound for gatherings, events or personal use. Below are a few different settings you can place outdoor speakers while creating a keen ambiance for your customers.
Covered or screened-in porch
In-ceiling speakers – These types of speakers can fit perfectly in a corner or side, or hang from the ceiling, making them perfect for a covered porch.
Wall-mounted speakers – The best option for installing speakers to a wall, floor or porch. Designed for being weather-resistant, most wall-mounted speakers can be left outside all-year round.
Open patio or deck
Consider installing more than one pair of speakers for open patios or decks. This will ensure you can cover the entire area, as open patios do not have walls to mount to. You can also try to mount the speakers under the eaves or on the edge of the deck.
Large outdoor area
If your customer is looking for sound coverage across a large yard or space, landscape speaker kits are a good option to consider. These packages couple high-end speakers with quality subwoofers for ample audio coverage.
Speaker size — For the best sound possible, you'll need to carefully consider the size of the speaker and cone. Outdoor speakers need to deliver a strong bass that often comes from larger speakers with a good low-frequency response. Additionally, these larger speakers also come with bigger cones for more bass. In some cases, weather-resistant subwoofers may be required to provide enough bass to satisfy the listener.
Space — Another factor to consider is the area of the backyard or outdoor space the speakers will be installed. If homeowners want to listen from further away or entertain a crowd out in the yard, ground speakers or options that mount on in-ground stakes are the right, permanent solution. The larger the coverage space, the more speakers will be required to offer an acceptable volume without having areas that are too loud or not loud enough.
Volume control applications — If installing in a residential neighborhood, you’ll likely consider offering your customers volume control products to seamlessly control their audio devices that help avoid disruption for their neighbors.
Other things you'll need
An outdoor audio setup often requires more than just the speakers. Here are some other things your customers may need.
Amplifiers and receivers – Outdoor AV equipment will need something to power and connect it with. For permanently installed speakers, you'll need to run your cable from inside to connect amplifiers and receivers to each device. A good rule of thumb to remember when installing amplifiers is to make sure the amp comes with up to two times the power rating as your speakers.
Outdoor wiring or cable – The standard American Wire Gauge or AWG for outdoor wire speakers is between 12 to 14 AWG when searching for exceptional sound for your customers. This number determines the thickness of the wire and the outcome of audio quality. For instance, the bigger the number gauge is, the thinner the wire, and the shorter distance it can run. It is recommended to choose 12 to 14 AWG wiring for outdoor purposes. That way you can run wires greater than 200 feet.
Speakers make a great addition to a variety of outdoor spaces, so it’s critical to know your options and what to consider so you can deliver an outstanding outdoor speaker installation for your customers, rain or shine.