Outdoor Speaker Choices: Close Proximity Listening - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 04-02-2012, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm in the market for two pairs of outdoor speakers that will provide stereo listening on two different decks. The seated listening area on each of these decks is approx 200 sqft.

I would like good sound quality and don't need to project the music to the rest of the yard so it's generally low listening levels.

I have a Yamaha RX-V1600 or a UPA-7 and HTPC that I'll use to power the speakers (also have a zone in the garage).

I'm in Toronto and have heard the BA Voyager line and the Bose line. This is of course indoors so I'll rely mainly on the boards opinion/experience to guide my decision.

Being in Toronto, I would like to be able to leave them outside during the winter and occasionally use them when playing in the snow.

I've been looking at the following online which are approx all the same price:
Def Tech AW5500
KEF Ventura
NHT O2
Speakercraft OE5 One
OSD AP650

Is there a standout in the list above for outdoor, low to medium level, eclectic music (funk, rock, pop, hip-hop, jazz) listening?

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post #2 of 23 Old 04-02-2012, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Adding Emo UOM-6.2 to the list.

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post #3 of 23 Old 04-02-2012, 09:24 PM
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Sorry. I'm no help with outdoor speakers, other than to point out that NHT has one.

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post #4 of 23 Old 04-02-2012, 09:51 PM
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post #5 of 23 Old 04-03-2012, 06:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

The Boston Voyager

Have you listened to any of the other speakers on my list? Particularly interested in the Def Tech's for range and well reviewed.

Van G

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post #6 of 23 Old 04-03-2012, 05:18 PM
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Do you really want your speakers set up as pairs of stereo speakers? The indoor answer to that question might be an obvious Yes!, but, because of the different environment and more active nature of outdoor listening, the outdoor answer might actually be Hmmm, maybe it would be better to have all the speakers playing in mono.

I have two patio areas. One has a pair of stereo speakers while the other has two speakers each playing in mono. I much prefer the mono setup because the way we listen to music outside pretty much negates the importance of things like imaging, soundstage, sweet spot, etc. (In my situation, even if we are calmly listening in a fairly centered position, more often than not, our backs turned toward the speakers anyway.) Rather, it's more important to hear all of the music equally well from wherever you and everyone else happens to be sitting, standing or moving about. The mono approach also affords much greater flexibility in placement of the speakers.

Whichever setup you decide on, I highly recommend these Polk Atrium 65SDI (6½ woofer). Until Polk's new line of outdoor speakers was released last year, the 65SDIs sold for $350 each, so, $110 w/free shipping is an almost insanely great price. I have these and just love them. When I was shopping around, the three best speakers that I auditioned (like you, I auditioned them indoors.) were the Boston Acoustics Voyager 6, Klipsh AW-650 and the Polk Atrium 65SDI. I really liked all three; thought they sounded pretty much equally good; and, thought that I'd be very happy with any of the three. I went with the Polk Atrium 65SDI because of the extra flexibility offered by their Dual Input option and because of their reduced pricing. (They work equally well as regular stereo pairs or as Dual Input mono pairs so there's absolutely no downside.) As I said, I just love them. Big, beautiful, detailed sound. - Hey, at this price you just can't go wrong. (Maybe not many left though?) I bet they're at least as good as any of the speakers on your list. Here is Polk's description of the 65sdi.

One consideration > Using the Dual Input method requires that both right and left channels be fed to each speaker, therefore it doubles the number of amplifier channels needed. - Each speaker is driven as if it were a stereo pair.
*On the plus side though, if you do decide to go with mono sound, you won't have to fool around with the whole series vs parallel vs parallel series wiring thing.
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post #7 of 23 Old 04-03-2012, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Appreciate the detailed reply and that's a nice price per speaker.
- They holding okay up? What climate are you in? Use-able in winter snowman building parties?

I'm not sure I understand you right with respect to using the Dual mode? Does it do stereo from one speaker like some of the in-ceiling speakers?

Great point on running mono for wide spread of pleasing audio as opposed to figuring out how to make everyone happy in a stereo zone. Makes speaker placement a lot easier!

Quote:


One consideration > Using the “Dual Input” method requires that both “right” and “left” channels be fed to each speaker, therefore it doubles the number of amplifier channels needed. – Each speaker is driven as if it were a stereo pair.

- sort of a hit on the pocket book when I need 8 amplification channels as opposed to 4. How much power are you running to these and what sort of listening levels?


Quote:


*On the plus side though, if you do decide to go with mono sound, you won’t have to fool around with the whole “series” vs “parallel” vs “parallel series” wiring thing.

- could you expand on this? Currently I only have 4 pairs of cable buried so getting another 4 pairs to the locations is actually impossible (they are under artificial grass and a compacted surface of limestone fines).

Van G

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post #8 of 23 Old 04-03-2012, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Ordered four of the Polk's but thinking I could probably just use 1 speaker running in dual mode for the deck attached to the house.

What sort of space could a single 'stereo' speaker cover?

Van G

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post #9 of 23 Old 04-03-2012, 09:40 PM
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First thing first:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Van G View Post

Ordered four of the Polk's but thinking I could probably just use 1 speaker running in dual mode for the deck attached to the house.

What sort of space could a single 'stereo' speaker cover?

.
I think you're wondering whether to get four 65SDIs or just three? If so, I'd go for four. - You're going to like these speakers.
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post #10 of 23 Old 04-03-2012, 10:26 PM
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I didn't know how to post a "multi-quote" response to a "multi-quote" post so, here goes:

Appreciate the detailed reply and that's a nice price per speaker.
- They holding okay up? What climate are you in? Use-able in winter snowman building parties?


They feel like solidly made speakers. I’ve had mine for about 18 months and they look and sound the same as on day one. When I was researching them, I remember reading a thread somewhere else where the posters were talking about listening to them with ten inch peaks of snow piled up on them. (that stuck in my mind - very picturesque) My climate is slightly different than theirs or yours; I’m in the north…. the North County of San Diego that is. Most people here wouldn't even recognize a snow shovel. – "Duuude, dig the crazy wakeboard dude; it's got a handle dude!"

I'm not sure I understand you right with respect to using the Dual mode? Does it do stereo from one speaker like some of the in-ceiling speakers?

Yes but, although I have actually used the term “single speaker stereo”, it really just seems like a fancy way of saying “Mono”; unless you’re an ant of something.

Great point on running mono for wide spread of pleasing audio as opposed to figuring out how to make everyone happy in a stereo zone. Makes speaker placement a lot easier!

Yes

Quote:
One consideration > Using the “Dual Input” method requires that both “right” and “left” channels be fed to each speaker, therefore it doubles the number of amplifier channels needed. – Each speaker is driven as if it were a stereo pair.

- sort of a hit on the pocket book when I need 8 amplification channels as opposed to 4. How much power are you running to these and what sort of listening levels?


You don’t need as much power as I have. I had an old (but very nice) Denon POA 8200 power amplifier that had recently been put out of a job by a 7.1 A/V receiver. The Denon POA 8200 puts out 120 clean watts per channel and has connections for “A” and “B” speakers. – I have one 65SDI connected to “A” and the other 65SDI connected to “B”. The Denon POA 8200 is fed by the “Zone 2” outputs of a old Denon stereo receiver. (Fwiw, this 100 wpc stereo receiver also has “A” and “B” speaker connections and its “A” connects to a pair of stereo speakers in the living room while its “B” connects to the stereo patio speakers which I spoke of earlier.) My setup will definately play louder than I would ever need and, while i'm certainly no metalhead, I'm not shy.

Quote:
*On the plus side though, if you do decide to go with mono sound, you won’t have to fool around with the whole “series” vs “parallel” vs “parallel series” wiring thing.

- could you expand on this? Currently I only have 4 pairs of cable buried so getting another 4 pairs to the locations is actually impossible (they are under artificial grass and a compacted surface of limestone fines).


I’m really no expert on the “series” vs “parallel” wiring aspect of this. Since I utilize the “dual input” method, I didn’t have to learn; so, it would probably be better if someone more knowledgeable would chime in on this for you. – However, this info does seem to make the "dual input” method look more iffy. Are you certain that the cables only have two conductors inside? They could have used four conductor cables something like this: Monoprice 4-Conductor Loud Speaker Cable. In any case, don't worry; you're going to like these speakers either way.
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post #11 of 23 Old 04-04-2012, 06:11 AM - Thread Starter
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I did lay 4 conductor to each deck, but only 1 cable! I might be able to figure out a way to get a second run of 4 to each deck but its unlikely.

What height do you have your speakers? Sitting, standing, or high? What's the spread like?

In addition to considering how to get the extra cable run, I have to figure out how to power them and how much! Looking at 7.1 AVR plus a power amp if I'm putting a zone in the garage.

Van G

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post #12 of 23 Old 04-04-2012, 11:56 PM
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I bet there aren't any real guidelines about outdoor speaker mounting heights. My guess is that, within reason, higher is better but, I don't really know. You really have to work with your circumstances and hope that you're actually left with some choices. - There's the eaves factor too. Proximity to eaves and corners increases bass. That may be good; or maybe bad. Depends on location, architecture, speaker, taste, etc.

Me: The mono pair is mounted vertically at 6 feet high (to the bottom) because, for a variety of, hard to explain, logistical reasons, that's where I decided/compromised to put them. In a perfect world, I'd have liked them higher but it's actually worked out great. (It's hard to explain but, people wouldn't normally be standing in the area right in front of where the speakers are mounted.) There's about 20 feet between them and I don't see/hear any reason why they couldn't be spread somewhat wider.
For very different, equally hard to explain logistical reasons, the "stereo" pair on the other patio, is mounted horizontally at about 8 feet to the bottom with about a 15 foot spread. They've also worked out great.
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post #13 of 23 Old 04-07-2012, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I just thought about this... If I'm running all 4 speakers in dual mode, what AVR or amp setup will handle 4 stereo zones plus the one in my garage?

Van G

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post #14 of 23 Old 04-08-2012, 01:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Van G View Post

I just thought about this... If I'm running all 4 speakers in dual mode, what AVR or amp setup will handle 4 stereo zones plus the one in my garage?

I think you may be confusing Channels and Zones.

I'm not sure exactly how you want things to work but, using four 65SDIs in dual input mode does not necessarily mean four outside Zones. If you would be satisfied having all four patio speakers turned on simultaneously and playing the same music at the same volume, then that could be just one outside Zone that would require eight amp channels (four right channels and four left channels). If you prefer having independent control over each of your two patios, then that would mean two outside Zones and, again, eight amp channels.

Let's say you did prefer the two outside Zones approach, plus independent control of the garage area: A receiver that had three Zone capability (the Main plus Zone 2 and Zone 3) would give you all the control flexibility you would need. Then, to power the four 65SDIs in dual input mode, you would need either two four-channel amps (one for each Zone) or two two-channel amps that have A and B speaker connections (again, one amp for each Zone).

On this subject of receivers, I'm now getting in over my head because, I don't know about all the capabilities, details and associated price ranges of the newer receivers. (My setup is based on the limitations as well as the abilities of the receiver and amp I had sitting around.) I can come up with ways that could work but, there could well be better, simpler, and cheaper ways. For example, maybe some new receivers have built in amplification for their second and third Zones? I don't browse over there but, this kind of question might be old hat over in the AMPs, Receivers, and Processors Forum.
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post #15 of 23 Old 04-08-2012, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Have started thread in amp section to figure out best solution for my setup. I am looking to run the four outdoor speakers in two zones and have control with iOS device.

Van G

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post #16 of 23 Old 04-21-2012, 07:05 PM
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I have no experience with AudioSource amps but, they've been around for a long time and, for whatever reason, they don't seem to get dissed. Also, all the amps and receivers that I have bought have been around 100 watts per channel but, everything I read seems to indicate that 50 watts can be plenty.

So, with the above in mind, fwiw:

This AudioSource AMP-100 50 Watt 2-Channel Amplifier is currently on sale for under $100 (even without the expiring $10 coupon) with free shipping. It has A and B speaker connections so, you'd only need two (one amp for each patio Zone).

If you wanted to take a total $180 flyer on them, two of these (when attached to the Denon 3312ci that you referenced elsewhere) would give you the eight amp channels needed to power four Atrium 65sdi, in dual input mode.
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post #17 of 23 Old 04-23-2012, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Price point is good. Each amp would power one speaker and the Denon would drive 2 of the speakers?

I don't see how this gets hooked up? Zone 2 and 3 pre-outs are only 2 channels. Does this require additional hardware to duplicate channels?

Van G

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post #18 of 23 Old 04-24-2012, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Van G View Post

Price point is good.

Yes, the price point seems excellent - that's the reason I posted it. But, as I said, I have absolutely no experience with AudioSource and therefore, I can't personally vouch for sound quality or how loud it will play.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Van G View Post

Each amp would power one speaker and the Denon would drive 2 of the speakers?

No. Each AudioSource Amp-100 would power two Atrium 65sdi speakers in dual input mode. All of your Denon's built-in amplifiers would be available for drive your garage speakers.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Van G View Post

I don't see how this gets hooked up? Zone 2 and 3 pre-outs are only 2 channels. Does this require additional hardware to duplicate channels?

The Amp-100 has additional features that may be useful but, for your purpose, the basic hookup for using four Atrium 65sdi in dual input mode:

Connect your Denon's Zone 2 outputs to one Amp-100's inputs.
Connect one 65sdi to the Amp-100 A Speakers" terminals and another 65sdi to the B Speakers" terminals.
Zone 2 is now ready for use.

Connect your Denon's Zone 3 outputs to the other Amp-100's inputs.
Connect your third 65sdi to the Amp-100 A Speakers" terminals and your fourth 65sdi to the B Speakers" terminals.
Zone 3 is now ready for use.

Here's a link to the Amp-100 Owner's Manual..
.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Van G View Post

Does this require additional hardware to duplicate channels?

The only additional hardware needed would be speaker wire and RCA interconnect cables.
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post #19 of 23 Old 04-24-2012, 12:19 PM
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I just got a pair of Polk Atrium 7s from amazon for $350 and they were more than worth it. With a separate amp, i can full bass, clean and clear mids/highs without having to crank the volume.

Plus, they are basically bulletproof since they are certified to military standards for water, humidity, etc.

I highly recommend.

FYI, if you're looking to use Zone 2 or similar, consider a separate amp to power the speakers. It is worth it.
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post #20 of 23 Old 06-04-2012, 07:30 AM
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TheWind,

I think I may have just gotten the last pair on Amazon. Thanks for all the good info on these speakers.
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post #21 of 23 Old 06-05-2012, 12:10 AM
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Hi hamhocs,

Thank you! I appreciate that. Hope you enjoy your 65SDIs as much as I enjoy mine.

Happy Listening!
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post #22 of 23 Old 06-05-2012, 04:34 AM
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I'm also in the middle of an outside install. Running the wires this friday, hopefully the speakers will arrive soon.

I ended up with the deftech AW5500 after listening to several at bestbuy. They had it set up so i was able to listen to them with a similar receiver to mine. They also had a whole setup of outdoor speaker to listen to, the polks sounded best as compared to the klipsch and some others i didnt pay attention to because they sucked. The klipsch were the same price as the deftechs but sounded worse than the less expensive polks.

I have a room full of deftech in the living room that i love so i'm hoping these live up to that.

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post #23 of 23 Old 01-20-2013, 11:49 AM
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I know this thread is old, but I have a basic question. I'll be finishing the backdoor patio soon and ordering speakers, leaning toward the Emo's.

The question is, why go through the trouble of "double" wiring when most (if not all) AVR's have a mono mode? What am I missing?

Thanks in advance.
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