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:
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.