How Do You Get Great Audio Quality Outdoors?
Here’s What You Want to Know
Whether you’re a certified audiophile, “audioholic," or simply enjoy listening to great music at the best possible quality, chances are your passion for the sound doesn’t stop outside your listening room. When you’re outside soaking up the sun this summer by the pool in Dallas, you want to hear music with the same intensity you enjoy indoors.
So how do you get great audio outside? Buying good quality equipment is undoubtedly a part of it, but there are some different wrinkles to getting impactful sound outdoors. Just as in any audio setting, speakers, their placement, amplifiers, cabling, and source material all matter. But the outdoors presents its own challenges.
Ready to learn more about getting the best audio quality in your outdoor audio-video setup in University Park? Just keep reading.
Balancing Sound Outside
There are two significant challenges to overcome with outdoor audio. One is that people aren't always sitting and listening; they tend to move around. The other is that there are no walls or ceilings to reflect sound, which makes a huge difference in volume and directivity. As such, there is no stereo "sweet spot" like the perfect one you have in your favorite listening space indoors.
In outside audio design, careful attention needs to be paid to speaker spacing. Depending on the size of the area you want to cover with sound, you may need to employ a series of speakers to have sound in a contiguous space with no dead spots. Moreover, you will want the audio to be distributed evenly so that if someone is standing near a speaker, it is not blasting them; they hear the same level as they move.
To achieve this ideal level and coverageyou can employ sets of satellite speakers at spaced intervals with buried subwoofers to add the low-end bass punch. If achieving stereo sound may be difficult with speaker placement, many outdoor models accept stereo input, so that one speaker handles both channels of audio, in much the same way that some of today's wireless speakers work. The Sonance Landscape Series (SLS) is a perfect example of a system specifically designed to accomplish this.
Power and Cabling
Because there are no walls outside to reflect sound, you may need a lot more power to achieve higher volume outdoors. One rule of thumb that we use - as a starting point - is to double the power output that you might need indoors to drive a given set of speakers to the desired output. Naturally, this depends on the chosen speakers, their efficiency, if you are using subwoofers, and other factors, but it’s important to understand if you like it loud outside.
There are also a couple of types of cabling to consider for outside audio. The typical wiring for speakers is the type that delivers a channel (or two) of audio to a specific speaker from an amplifier output. Borrowing from commercial installations, 70-volt systems permit daisy chaining of multiple speakers off of a single 70-volt amplifier. The advantage of this is the ability to run a single cable to power a series of speakers, which might simplify the design of your outdoor setup. The Sonance Landscape Series (SLS) is an excellent example of a system designed for 70-volt chaining and blanketing a given area with even, superb sound.
We could go into more detail, but there are too many options to list everything you can do, and every situation is different. Your best bet in the Park Cities is to give us a call, fill out our online contact form, or click below to instantly connect with of our outdoor technology experts - we can design and install the perfect outdoor audio system for you.