Residential Systems / Outdoor Living / Outdoor Speakers
Getting the Right Sound Outside by Brad Parsley
When most people think of outdoor speakers they think of those little green round speakers on the ground or the surface mounted speakers pictured to the right. While these types of outdoor speakers are very flexible and budget-friendly, they barely scratch the "surface" of what's available.
Classic: The Sonance Mariner
Available in black or white with 5 .25", 6.5", or 8" woofers, the popular Sonance Mariner ranges from $325 to $800 per pair.
Most commonly seen mounted under the eaves, the Mariner speaker by Sonance can also be mounted on walls, railings, and close to the ground on a steel stake. They can virtually disappear in landscaping and are capable of producing enough sound to fill a large area. The 8" models ($800/pair) are especially punchy given their large woofers but the 6.5" will be the model most homeowners choose. At $500 for a pair, the Mariner 64 is our most popular model. Great sound and a modest size make this perfect for many outdoor sound applications. With more basic versions as low as $200 per pair, we have something for even the most modest budget.
The Latest Trend
The Landscape series by Sonance is definitely the coolest outdoor speaker system on the market. I say "system" because it consists of multiple small satellites that get distributed around your landscaping, a subwoofer that is buried in the ground, and an amplifier specially designed to drive the speaker array. The result is stereo sound no matter where you are in the yard. Another benefit is that the sound can be heard clearly at low volume all around the yard. Traditional outdoor speaker are loud close to the speakers and a person can barely hold a conversation while people on the opposite end of the yard can barely hear the music. The Landscape series is perfect for pools and patio areas. Kits range from $1500 to roughly $10k. For just under $4k installed, you can get amazing sound complete with high current DSP amplifier, a 12" subwoofer and 8) sateliite speakers. Yes, it's a little more expensive but it's a tiny fraction what a pool or outdoor kitchen costs and you'll get more use out of it than anything else in the backyard.
There are speakers disguised as pathway light posts, planters, and my personal favorite: rocks. Available in brown "sandstone" and gray "granite", these disappear in your landscape and they sound really good. Starting at about $450 for a pair, they are a bargain. Larger 8" woofer models will run about $700 for a pair and provide punchier pass extending down to 40Hz. For real bass fans, ask about our wide selection of outdoor subwoofers that can be added to any of our outdoor speakers. And yes, we even have a subwoofer that looks like a rock!
Above: The Sonance Landscape Series
Above: Rock speakers
Architectural speakers are used in porch ceilings all the time. Regular speakers will work just fine in this application but weatherproof speakers will last much longer. Unlike standard in-wall speakers, weatherproof models can be built right into brick or stone patio walls. Special magnets allow them to be hosed off easily without the grills flying off. Conforming to Military Standard 810G for humidity, salt spray, temperature and UV, the Sonance Extreme series carries an IP-66 waterproof rating.
Above: The Sonance Extreme
Streaming Sound to Your Speakers...
Connect a Paradigm PW Link ($349) or PW Amp ($499) to your outdoor speakers and instantly enjoy all your favorite streaming apps from your smartphone. Folks with Integra AV Receivers can use the Zone2 output to do the same thing. If you want music throughout your home, let us show you how to integrate the entire home through one app.
All In One Solutions
We also offer portable, app-controlled powered speakers from Sonos, Denon Heos, and Paradigm. Starting at $329, these are inexpensive alternatives to permanent install and they offer great sound and tons of flexibility.