Your patio is an extension of your home’s living space. It can also be a valuable addition to your seaside restaurant’s seating area. Taking in all the South Florida lifestyle has to offer, we flock to the outdoors, gathering around the grill, relaxing poolside or enjoying an intimate dinner at an outdoor bistro. Whether you’re engaged in an intense Bean Bag Toss Tournament, puttering in your garden, or sipping cocktails under your tiki, there’s one thing that could really add to your enjoyment: music.
Choices in Outdoor Speakers
Outdoor audio comes in all shapes and sizes! So, where do you start? Here are some things to consider:
· How would you like to use the system? If you have an automated home control system, such as Control4, your outdoor entertaining space can be added as an audio zone, allowing you to select any of the available sources (streaming subscriptions, AV receiver, audio library or CD Player). This integration also allows for signal interruption when the phone or doorbell rings – handy when throwing a party!
· Where would you like to have the music play? Your outdoor area may consist of one or multiple zones. You may find that you enjoy the ability to play music in some areas and broadcast the big game in others. You may also enjoy having separate volume controls in each area. Even if you elect not to do so now, it is easier and more cost-effective to wire for these future upgrades at the project’s inception.
· Do you want to play the TV’s audio through the outdoor speakers? The system can be set up so that you may select either a music source or audio from your outdoor LCD.
· How do you want to control it? You can choose from simple remotes or waterproof styles, either independent to the system or integrated onto a whole house remote. And, of course, your smart phone makes a reliable, familiar control device too!
What’s the difference between indoor and outdoor speakers?
Outdoor speakers are designed to endure the elements and to complement their environment. They are durable, featuring specialized finishes and enclosures. Speakers intended for interiors can’t brave the brutal, tropical conditions of sun, sand, sea, rain or even wind. All-weather speakers also offer various installation locations. Speakers can be mounted under the eave or up in a tree, placed as an elegant patio planter, installed in your landscaping resembling a spotlight or rock (yes, they look real now! Check out the variety from Episode), or even buried underground as a subterranean subwoofer.
System Design meets “Interior” Design
Outdoor speakers are sleek and aesthetically designed, but the most important part of designing an outdoor audio system is proper speaker placement. Sound travels from yard to yard if no walls are there to obstruct it. In fact, pools and waterways can actually help to amplify it. Speakers offer varying dispersion patterns that can be aimed and controlled within a specified area for smooth, consistent volume. Here’s a great example from Martin Logan, Plan a Scalable System. If you rely on having a pair mounted under the eave to cover a large area, the volume close to the source may be uncomfortable, while those at the edge of the patio can barely hear it. Or, while you may be listening at a comfortable level at your lanai, your neighbors may be subject to a rock concert! This is where a few well-placed landscape speakers would serve well, allowing for background level audio to play evenly throughout.
At the core
Control of the system requires connectivity. You’ll want to make sure your Wi-Fi is accessible. This may mean setting up a separate network (think about the conveniences of a guest network) or at least ensuring adequate antenna coverage for a reliable signal from every corner of the space.
Years of enjoyment
Your outdoor audio system will provide years of entertainment and enjoyment. While it will endure everything Mother Nature (and Florida!) has to throw at it, you can rest assured knowing that your high quality, professionally installed system will be supported by the manufacturer warranty and your integration specialist.