Outdoor speakers

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RRP $149.00
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Outdoor speakers

Outdoor speakers are specifically designed to withstand the unique conditions created by an outdoor environment. Expectations of outdoor audio have been rising in recent years for several reasons:

  • We take our music with us everywhere – it’s both background to other activities such as work, exercise, commuting, entertaining, and foreground as we listen intentionally to artists that move us and inspire us. In social or other shared situations, we want to be able to share and appreciate our music in the same ways: as background and foreground.

  • We also use audio to convey important messages – especially in out-of-home contexts (at work, in entertainment venues, in public spaces, etc.). The need for quality audio messaging is just as real and important outdoors as it is inside.

In 2020, we have added on the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • We’re all spending more time at home, and as we come into the Southern hemisphere summer months we want to take ‘our sound’ into the safety of our back yard or outdoor living spaces.

  • At the same time, in order to comply with government social distancing requirements while still meeting demands, all sorts of venues will be taking their services outside during the warmer months. Restaurants, pubs, cafes – anywhere that people gather to share food and drink in company will be ‘moving outside’ – and with that move comes the need to take the ‘inside atmosphere’ outside.

There are some commonalities between residential outdoor audio ‘at home’ and commercial outdoor audio ‘at work’:

  • To create a great atmosphere with background audio, the following needs to be considered:Distribution – even sound level across the space (no too-loud hot-spots, no boring dead spots)

  • Quality – it’s important to be able to hear the highs and lows in the music, to be able to identify the song and appreciate it. People find it annoying if the music is tantalisingly unidentifiable because the quality is poor

  • Appearance – it’s much better if the source of the sound is pretty much invisible.

  • Foreground sound shares some of the same considerations, but some are a bit different:Distribution – still important; but more important than complete evenness is that the important messages reach (and are intelligible) to the extremes of the coverage area

  • Quality – foreground music needs to sound amazing, but for foreground announcements and warnings, the primary consideration is intelligibility; unintelligible sound that travels a long way is no use to anyone

  • Appearance – even if speakers need to be large for outdoor foreground applications, we still want them to look appropriate and modern. Rust streaks, droopy brackets, dangling wires, dented grilles and similar things don’t detract from the sound, but they make a venue look tatty.

Residential Outdoor Audio

When designing a new home or renovation, for most people the garden is seen as an extension of indoor living spaces for relaxation or entertaining. The trend for outdoor rooms and fully kitted-out open-air living spaces has increased the importance of choosing the right type of sound system for the alfresco area. Sonance has a range of solutions at different price points and installation options to suit anything from a small patio to a large landscaped garden area.

If traditional speakers are used outside, they may not only look unsightly and not blend into the outdoor environment, they can also produce low quality “narrow sound” requiring a much higher volume than indoors. This can place greater loads on the amplifiers and in turn project sound into neighbouring properties and surrounding dwellings. While portable Bluetooth speakers provide quality audio, they’re not designed for ambient music when entertaining outdoors.

An outdoor audio set-up using specifically designed outdoor speakers can enhance the environment and takes the pressure off an indoor audio system to be used to create ambience outside. Whether you are looking to create an outdoor home cinema, an outdoor living room or to simply relax on the deck, having high-performance, quality audio blended into your natural landscaped surroundings will provide a greater level of enjoyment to any outdoor activity.

What to look for in an outdoor speaker system

Traditionally, outdoor speakers have been placed on verandas and balconies facing towards the backyard. Unfortunately, this type of set up can project sound across the space and into neighbouring properties but is still fine for small spaces or limited coverage areas. Products that might be considered:
  • Sonance Mariner (or Rock) outdoor speakers : Weatherproof (but not for salty areas), great sound, classy appearance

  • Sonance Extreme outdoor speakers: For more extreme environments (such as beach houses, saunas, even onboard yachts and cruisers)

  • Around swimming pools, a rock speaker system can blend in discreetly, while still producing high-performance sound. Sonance Rock speakers are splash resistant and suitable for exposure to temperatures from -25 to 65 degrees Celsius. With two colours and sizes available, the Sonance Rocks can blend easily into any landscape, providing an invisible and fit for purpose audio solution.

  • For more traditional outdoor setups such as courtyards, patios and under eaves, Mariner and Extreme high performance in-wall and in-ceiling speakers can be installed to achieve a more standard audio distribution result. Mariners and Extreme speakers are also suitable for installation on marine applications such as high-end leisure boats

For a fully bespoke option, the James Loudspeaker ‘under eave’ products can be fully customised in length, colour and texture to suit even the most discerning architect.

Larger areas

Designing and installing landscape speakers scattered around a larger outside area is more effective to deliver high quality audio to exterior entertaining areas at a comfortable volume for all. For larger areas, we recommend people consider a truly distributed audio solution. A collection of small (satellite) speakers placed in garden beds (behind the shrubs), backed up by a semi-buried sub-woofer, can deliver astonishingly good sound that’s never too loud or too soft. Placing the satellites in periphery garden beds pointing INTO the yard also minimises disturbance of neighbours.

  • For small/simple yards, the Sonance Patio Series is the entry point into the distributed audio range.  A system with eight satellites and two subwoofers (known as 8.2) will make a great job of a back yard of up to around 200 sqm.

  • For larger-sized yards, the step-up Sonance Garden Series steps up the sound quality, the volume and the coverage area. Suits areas up to 500 sqm, or maybe a bit more. The Garden Series is also suited to a small commercial outdoor dining area or beer garden.

  • For premium residences with extensive (and flowing) gardens, the Sonance Landscape Series employs distributed audio technology adapted from the commercial environment (100V line) to allow for an essentially unlimited number of satellites and subwoofers to be distributed across a very wide area. People are genuinely ‘wowed’ by the ability of the Landscape Series to deliver quality and quantity of sound across very large areas. It’s also well-suited to large/dispersed commercial applications such as outdoor function centres, wineries, massive outdoor venues, resort gardens, concourses, etc.

  • Sometimes an omnidirectional solution is needed. The Sonance Omni-6T takes the familiar ‘mushroom’ form factor that’s been around for years but makes it sound good!

  • And if a fully custom colour is required, or for someone who wants to play LOUD, there’s a James Loudspeaker solution as well: the All Terrain Series

Commercial outdoor audio

The same background audio considerations apply in the commercial world as in residential: even sound levels, and great quality. The Sonance Garden Series, Sonance Landscape Series, Sonance Omni-6T and James Loudspeaker All Terrain Series are just as effective in large, outdoor commercial spaces as in large residential spaces. The goal is the same – great sound that lasts for years.

There are sometimes budgetary considerations –options exist that deliver great quality sound at value-oriented prices. The Australian Monitor MP30 Music Horn looks a bit like an old-fashioned horn speaker – but it contains a high-quality cone driver that delivers good frequency response and, importantly, doesn’t sound like a 1960s transistor radio. The MP30 is suited to distributed background audio or for important announcements and information in small-to-medium-sized spaces. The Australian Monitor Flex Series are a great value product for under-eave applications.

Outdoor foreground audio comes in many types – here are a few scenarios and options:
  • For areas like school playgrounds, sporting fields, outdoor transportation concourses we need to deliver high intelligibility for announcements and warnings, as well as good music quality. High-powered two-way music projectors such as the One Systems SP Series fill this bill perfectly. These speakers provide high sound pressure to cover long distances (where a distributed system is infeasible), but still deliver great intelligibility (you can understand what’s being said) and music quality (you know what song is playing).

  • If the need is for louder sound, longer distances, or for installations in salty environments, the One Systems Platinum Series delivers. These speakers are built to be strong but totally weatherproof, and will sound great at the surf club, a sports stadium or around a public swimming pool.

  • Sometimes you need concert-level sound outdoors in a permanent installation. Renkus Heinz has been making speakers up to and including concert-grade systems for decades – and can ‘weatherise’ just about every product in the range. So, if needs to be loud and proud and to survive in the sun and rain, there’s always an option

Don’t forget to support the artists

At home, you can play your CDs, LPs, archived music or streamed music to your heart’s content. Commercial premises however need to comply with music licencing arrangements – and need to curate their playlists to suit clientele, time of day, type of event, etc. It’s simply not OK to use a personal Spotify subscription as the music source for a business. Our community of artists is struggling right now – and they need to receive the performance rights payments for their bodies of work.

There’s a great new Australian streaming service that’s targeted at commercial spaces called Audalize, available through the Amber Technology dealer network. Audalize allows venues to carefully program and curate music for their spaces (including different music in different spaces) while also making it easy to meet the APRA requirements.
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