Add to Your Outdoor Enjoyment

The sky is Carolina blue and the sun is shining. You’re standing in your backyard thinking about the perfect summer barbecue. As you survey the yard, a few fantasies dance in your mind:

A new deck or stone patio?

Built in Grill?

New outdoor furniture?

A fire pit?

Or maybe even a DJ …

 

Your imagination runs wild with the vision of family, friends and neighbors laughing and talking in your backyard – but wait …. there’s something else making it fun and festive – music!! With a sad glimmer of nostalgia, you remember the boom box that used to crank out your favorite party tunes (Jimmy Buffett comes to mind) – too bad that sudden summer shower destroyed it! With those fond memories running around in your head, you decide to look into something more durable. Something that is designed specifically for your yard where you can enjoy high-fidelity sound without worrying about the batteries, extension cords or weather.

Guess what… you’re in luck! Outdoor sound systems have come a long way since the boom box era.

When installed professionally, today’s systems produce extremely high-quality sound for listeners’ enjoyment. They are also very durable and can sound great for many years. However, there are a few key factors to consideration when designing your musical environment.

First off, an outdoor sound system can’t take advantage of the reflective surfaces that make indoor speakers more efficient (e.g. floors, walls and ceiling). In addition, there is ambient noise from passing cars, chirping crickets, and kids at play to consider in your design. Because of this, outdoor speakers require enough oomph from an amplifier with sufficient wattage to power them. The most common mistake people make with outdoors systems are under powering them which leads to distorted sound, or worse, blown speakers.

Consideration must also be given to the specific design of the area where people are to gather and the type of music you prefer to play. If your area is large, you’ll want to spread the load among multiple speakers and ensure optimal positioning. Multiple speakers playing softly in the right positions will sound much better than a few pushing too hard.

The backyard environment will also expose your system to the extremes of our North Carolina weather. Quality speakers must be able to endure sun, rain and hot/cold temperatures while melding in nicely with the landscaping. There are two basic types of all-weather speakers used: simple bookshelf-type models wrapped in protective casings, or stealth speakers that masquerade as garden rocks, flowerpots, or even benches. Although these speakers are built to be left out year-round, they will last longer and look and sound better if care is taken in determining their placement. For example, box-type speakers can be positioned under the protection of eaves or arbors. In the case of stealth speakers, they can be integrated and protected by natural cover like trees and bushes.

Finally, for convenience and user flexibility, wireless outdoor speakers are ideal. They operate on a designated frequency to deliver sound from your audio devices or Internet radio and can be tied into your home automation system.

So, this summer, you can stop just thinking about it and create the outdoor experience you have always wanted by adding quality sound to liven up gatherings or help you relax after a long, stressful day.

For more information on designing and installing quality outdoor sound systems, please contact Ken Henke at Secur-Tek: (919) 387-1800.

What Is Sonos?

Sonos 2What Is Sonos?

Sonos is a wireless audio system of HiFi speakers and components that lets you listen to music in any room with no skips, delays, or drops. You place the speakers throughout your house and then use the Sonos app to combine and access your music collection. Individual songs can be listened to on each speaker or the whole system can play the same song.

Sonos works with a variety of music sources. Wherever you like to get your audio—iTunes, podcasts, radio stations, Spotify, or Pandora—you can find it and file it into a dedicated local Sonos network through wireless or Ethernet connections and stream it to any Sonos device on the network. The Sonos system creates a dedicated path for playing audio which means you get smoother playback.

The Sonos system can be controlled by PC or Mac desktop applications, or apps for iOS or Android. Having a computer-based system means that you can customize all the playlists and music you want to hear. It’s like having an iPod in every room of your house that plays all the music you like—with great quality.

How It Works

The Sonos system consists of Zoneplayers and Controllers. “Zoneplayer” is the Sonos name for an element which outputs audio either via digital or analog connections or via speakers. Zoneplayers can be set up through wired or wireless connections. The Controller is the Mac/PC or mobile phone that runs the Sonos app.

If you have a home where WiFi doesn’t reach everywhere, you can use the Sonos BRIDGE to extend the range of your Sonos network. The BRIDGE also creates a dedicated wireless network for your Sonos system. The BRIDGE plugs into your router with an Ethernet cable. If you’re in an environment where the WiFi has performance challenges, you can use a BOOST—it’s like a super-charged BRIDGE.

For speakers like the PLAY:1, PLAY:2, or PLAY:3 you can simply plug them into the power outlet and they will wirelessly connect to your existing WiFi network or your dedicated Sonos network (if you have the BRIDGE or BOOST).

Place your speakers in the rooms where you want to listen to music. Then download and install a Sonos Controller app. You can access your entire music collection from anywhere in your house with the Controller. Follow the quick set-up guide that comes with the system and simply tell the Sonos app where the Zoneplayers and music library are located.

Last, but not least: play music! You can use any Sonos Controller to make music selections. Choose a music source from the Sonos music menu on a handheld controller, or from the MUSIC pane if you’re using the Sonos Controller App for Mac or PC.

You can tell the system to play the same thing on every stereo that’s linked to it or you can have a different playlist or source going in every room of the house.

Once you’ve got your system set up, you can easily add more Sonos products whenever you want. Only one part of the Sonos system needs to be linked with your home network; the other components link together directly. Since the Zoneplayers each transmit individually, each player you add increases the range of the Sonos network.

Why it’s Great

The main benefit of the Sonos system is that it delivers HiFi audio while really simplifying wireless streaming. The Sonos app lets you easily control the system and access a variety of music sources. There’s no need to link your phone with any of the individual speakers—all the speakers are controllable through the same app, no matter where in the house they’re located. Sonos uses their years of wireless networking know-how to make sure your music is in perfect sync and skip-free. It’s also super easy to get it going and new features are constantly being developed that work even with some of the oldest components.

Contact Secur-Tek today to find out more about the benefits of Sonos in your home.