Help me figure out how to choose and set up an outdoor speaker system.
July 28, 2013 10:56 AM   Subscribe

I would like to surprise my husband with an outdoor speaker system. Please give me advice about whether to go wired or wireless, which speakers to buy, other things I should know before I start this project.

I would like to surprise my husband with an outdoor speaker system sometime in the next few months.


*We live in the mid-Atlantic (so the speakers need to survive heat and snow).
*I would love these speakers to be installed in the ground so that we can leave them out year round and don't need to be too concerned about theft.
*The backyard (where I want the music to play) is very small. (16 ft x 16 ft). We are landscaping it this fall and I would like to install the speakers while we're digging everything up.
*We live in a brick row house with neighbors all around so we wouldn't be playing the music loudly.
*Our receiver is far from the back yard.
*My husband is an audiophile.
*I would like to spend less than $600 but substantially less would be welcome too.
*I don't have a lot of technical skills (and clearly don't know the lingo) but I can follow instructions and always have actually physically set up our audio system every time we moved, with my husband giving the instructions.

*What we already have:
- Receiver: Yamaha RX-A820 7.2-Channel Network AVENTAGE AV.
- A mac
- iphones
- ipad (older)
- AppleTV
- Wireless adapter: Yamaha YWA-10BL Wireless Network Adapter.
- speaker wire: Pyramid RSW18100 18 Gauge 100 Feet Spool of High Quality Speaker Zip Wire
- Verizon internet and a standard modem (?)
- DirectTV

I'm happy to answer any more questions if that would be helpful. I've been reading reviews of wired and wireless outdoor speakers, and discussions on sites like cnet. But I'm still somewhat stumped. I know I want the sound to be good, and that I don't want to have to bring the speakers in and out all the time. There will be an electrician working in the backyard at some point while we're doing the landscaping. I'd prefer wireless just because it sounds easier than running speaker wire from our receiver to the outdoor location, but that's not essential. And I guess I could pay someone to do the installation if this is just beyond my technical abilities.

Any advice?
posted by semacd to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
You might want to check local noise ordinances before investing in sound that almost certainly would not be contained within a 16 x16 space.
posted by Cranberry at 1:13 PM on July 28, 2013

Response by poster: @Cranberry - good point. I checked that out. All fine with our local ordinances. We don't stay up late and wouldn't be blasting music anyway. And my neighbors have outdoor speakers and we haven't been bothered.
posted by semacd at 1:32 PM on July 28, 2013

One issue with wireless speakers is powering them; you'll probably want to get 120v out to the speaker locations inconspicuously, or else you'll be investing in buttloads of D-cells. If you can run speaker wire more easily, you don't have this problem.
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:15 PM on July 28, 2013

Another issue with any speakers removed significantly from the receiver is how you are going to control them.
Does your remote have enough reach? It is quite annoying to have to wander to and fro to set the volume or change music... I've been there :-)
One perhaps less elegant option is to get an ipad dock and perhaps some kind of locker to store it in when not in use?
I'm using a Squeezebox Boom for patio sound and it's more than loud enough. An ipad dock should be sufficiently loud for 16x16 feet, I'd venture. Plus, you can point it to where you're sitting for some semblance of stereo sound.
posted by Thug at 5:05 AM on July 29, 2013

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