Whether you’re gardening, sipping refreshments with friends while waiting for the barbecue, or lounging in a hammock in the comfortable shade of trees, spring is a great time to be outdoors. But sometimes we want to bring our music or video entertainment out with us, and smartphones, headsets, or portable speakers don’t cut it.
The solution is to set up an outdoor home entertainment system, and if done right, these systems can be a highlight of your home.
You can run a sound system to almost any part of your backyard, from satellite speakers, to underground subwoofers.
How to get the best results for outdoor audio
As you probably know, there are many portable outdoor systems available. However, as with indoor home audio installations, the trend is toward systems that are integrated into your environment, which requires more planning and a professional installation to get it right.
If you want an atmosphere where you and your guests can hear the music throughout your outdoor area and still hear each other talk, a boom box or a pair of speakers aren’t enough. Fortunately there are some great options available for systems that can fill your yard, garden, deck or pool area with rich sound without drowning out your guests or blasting your neighbors! In addition, these systems are aesthetically pleasing and will integrate beautifully into your landscaping.
One of our clients recently purchased a lovely home, but discovered after she moved in that they had a lot of freeway noise in her back garden area where she had hoped to practice her morning yoga. After having a well-designed outdoor sound system installed, she was ecstatic to find the system drowned out the background noise but didn’t overwhelm her or her neighbors. She told us this completely changed her outlook on the house!
It can be a lot of work to properly set up outdoor audio, including equipment selection, system design, digging through the yard running cables and conduit, and finally, installing satellite speakers, subs, amplification and control systems. However, if great outdoor sound is important to you, it’s worth the effort.
Modern outdoor sound equipment, like this subwoofer here, are designed to minimize the disruption to your landscape, while still providing amazing performance.
A successful system is made for a specific purpose, and a plan ensures that the system is installed with that in mind.
When we’re working with our clients to set up an outdoor audio system, we establish what they want the system to do: Do you want music in your Sunday morning reading spot? Background music that fills your yard for parties? Music around the pool? Would you like multiple media zones? Also, do you prefer a bass-heavy sound, or a lighter touch? If you’re a bass fan, it’s hard to fill an outdoor area with good bass, but the subterranean subwoofers that are available today are stealthy, and they totally rock! The answers to these questions let us properly plan a system, select the best hardware for the job, and place everything where it’s best suited.
With the right plan and equipment you can get great outdoor sound on just about any property. You just need an installer who can plan around your unique challenges, understand the limitations of both the hardware and property, and adjust where necessary.
Want to watch TV and movies outside? You need specialized equipment for that, too.
There are numerous outdoor video solutions ranging from large format projector/screen combos for a cinematic experience to flatscreen TVs. Unfortunately, indoor TVs are not meant to live outside of a home, lacking the necessary protection against the elements. Brightness is also a serious issue for many indoor televisions, which are designed for dimmer lighting conditions, and are easily drowned out by sunlight. Most home theater projectors are similarly limited, an inherent limitation of their design.
What is the best hardware for outdoor entertainment?
A good outdoor theater doesn’t need to sacrifice comfort or sound quality. Bring the sound right to your lounging guests!
For homeowners who want a setup that is suited for outdoor music or watching the next big game, Valley Home Theater works with a wide range of products to ensure that our clients get the right solution for their needs. During our most recent outdoor audio and home theater projects, several brands in particular have stood out for their overall quality and versatility. The Garden Oasis speakers and in-ground subwoofers from Paradigm, along with their Stylus series speakers, allow us to turn whole backyards into evenly balanced soundscapes or full-blown outdoor concert halls. The Episode Landscape Series also offers an excellent range of outdoor audio products.
A good amplifier can make a difference for any outdoor audio system, and we want units that are properly suited for our work. A typical installation may involve 8 speakers connected to a single 1,000-watt, 70 volt amplifier in series. The Crown CDi Series Amplifier is the perfect fit for this, while also coming in a beefier 2,000-watt version for systems that need it.
Valley Home Theater installs specialized outdoor televisions for clients who want to enjoy media with guests out in the fresh air, and we have had very good results with SunBrite TVs. They provide three series of outdoor TVs ranging from full-shade outdoor spaces to TVs capable of clear viewing in direct sunlight.
Spring is the best time to step out of our homes to enjoy the pleasant weather, but there’s no reason to leave the rest of your entertainment behind! With the right outdoor home theater setup, you can entertain guests with the playoffs, watch movies with the family, or play a soothing soundtrack to accompany the yardwork.