Outdoor speakers without surround sound? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-23-2013, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I am just starting the design phase of my outdoor theater. I am considering using outdoor speakers without any form of surround or stereo -- kind of like having an old school drive-in speaker, but hopefully crisper. My concern is neighbors. I will put this on a fairly small lot (1/5 acre to 1/3 acre?) and I think that putting speakers around the screen/yard will require volume levels that will annoy the neighbors.

My solution would be to use a number of speakers spread throughout the viewing area -- all delivering a mono sound signal. This would allow me to have speakers close to the listeners that deliver relatively low volume sounds.

If surround sound isn't a priority for you, what do you think of this approach? Do you have a better suggestion?

Also, how would you wire it? I assume I would send the sound signal through an amplifier first to get enough power, but coming out of the amplifier I would only need a mono signal. However, I would want to feed this mono signal to multiple (three? five?) speakers.
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-24-2013, 01:56 PM
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Why wouldn't you want to go ahead and run stereo, if not full 5.1 (or more)?

I have a barely 1/3 acre lot and run 5.1 on my deck. Once you get around to the front of the house, you can't hear a thing. I'm on a corner, and on the sidewallk with the fronts and center pointed directly at you, you can barely hear anything. The neighbors have NEVER complained and we've been out there until 1:00am watching a double feature.

You'll be amazed at how fast sound can drop off away from the speakers. AND the sound is AMAZING. I forget the exact percentage numbers, but in a room, MOST of what you hear is reflected off the walls....outside, MOST of what you hear is directly from the speakers.

Give it a try. Wire everything up and walk around to see how loud it is outside the perimeter of your speakers.

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post #3 of 7 Old 08-06-2013, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emellaich View Post

I am just starting the design phase of my outdoor theater. I am considering using outdoor speakers without any form of surround or stereo -- kind of like having an old school drive-in speaker, but hopefully crisper. My concern is neighbors. I will put this on a fairly small lot (1/5 acre to 1/3 acre?) and I think that putting speakers around the screen/yard will require volume levels that will annoy the neighbors.

My solution would be to use a number of speakers spread throughout the viewing area -- all delivering a mono sound signal. This would allow me to have speakers close to the listeners that deliver relatively low volume sounds.

If surround sound isn't a priority for you, what do you think of this approach? Do you have a better suggestion?

Also, how would you wire it? I assume I would send the sound signal through an amplifier first to get enough power, but coming out of the amplifier I would only need a mono signal. However, I would want to feed this mono signal to multiple (three? five?) speakers.

It really depends on how your neighborhood is layed out. My house is at the end of a cul-de-sac. So behind my house is just acres of trees and there is no direct line of sight to neighbors. My rental house on the other hand is also on a 1/3 acre lot, but in the middle of a straight street. I wouldn't be able to do anything in the back yard without the sound bothering at least 3-4 neighboring houses. Your house will block most of the sound in that direction, but not sideways or backwards.

5.1 or 2 channels aren't really the issue, it is more about how your land is and what might obstruct the sound.
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post #4 of 7 Old 08-07-2013, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emellaich View Post

I am just starting the design phase of my outdoor theater. I am considering using outdoor speakers without any form of surround or stereo -- kind of like having an old school drive-in speaker, but hopefully crisper. My concern is neighbors. I will put this on a fairly small lot (1/5 acre to 1/3 acre?) and I think that putting speakers around the screen/yard will require volume levels that will annoy the neighbors.

My solution would be to use a number of speakers spread throughout the viewing area -- all delivering a mono sound signal. This would allow me to have speakers close to the listeners that deliver relatively low volume sounds.

If surround sound isn't a priority for you, what do you think of this approach? Do you have a better suggestion?

Also, how would you wire it? I assume I would send the sound signal through an amplifier first to get enough power, but coming out of the amplifier I would only need a mono signal. However, I would want to feed this mono signal to multiple (three? five?) speakers.

My audio comes from inside and then I split it. I run 1 to a radio with an aux in and the other to an fm transmitter. I have a few radios around or they can listen with headphones if they want. It's wireless and sounds pretty good. An fm transmitter seems like a step backwards but when its within 50' of the radios it works great. I've tried wifi solutions, Bluetooth, and they all have a lag. Plus it's $15 to try it.
Your also right about multiple speakers. Keeps it a lot more quiet when your not blasting it for one person's benefit. And they can all pick their own levels.

If your buying a new projector, buy more lumens than you will use. Running it in "Eco Mode" makes your bulb last 20-40% longer and reduces noise and heat.
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-12-2014, 10:31 AM
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It really depends on the layout of your backyard for your home theatre. Generally bass reproduction for outdoors is poor so it's difficult to get cinematic effects going unless you place your sub by the patio with some reflective surfaces to enhance bass. Otherwise, more or less what you're gonna hear is sound coming directly from the speakers. Don't use bluetooth or wireless options because outdoor elements will affect the sync. Multiple speakers help to distribute sound better so you don't have to blast volume from a single one. Works like a charm although you might want to consider single-point speakers too (if your open space is really big)

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post #6 of 7 Old 10-12-2014, 11:53 PM
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This may be blasphemy but -

The fact of the matter about all outdoor theaters is that you're usually limited by outside factors. Your neighbors (and sometimes your wife). We can all set up a surround system if everyone sits in the right seats and your neighbor doesn't mind you're bumping subwoofer at 11pm. For simplicity I go with stereo and for the neighbor factor I lose the sub. That way I can do it more than once a year. Also consider how your speakers are pointed. If your speakers are pointed at you sitting by your house, the sound reflects right back off your house. Try it out and see for yourself. I sometimes put the speakers in back of me (yeah I know) because the sound in my case, goes away from my neighbors house. It's actually kind of amazing how much louder I can be because it goes the opposite way. Let's face it, people move around, talk, drink and eat while kids run around. Usually we are the only ones that know, or notice, the sub and the surround isn't there. We aren't screening an oscar movie for the academy. I'm just saying. A simple setup also goes a long way when (not if) weather rolls in. I assume I'm not the only one that has a radar app that you check a few times?

If your buying a new projector, buy more lumens than you will use. Running it in "Eco Mode" makes your bulb last 20-40% longer and reduces noise and heat.
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-13-2014, 12:16 AM
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In generally, your surroundings do decisive factor.
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