Speaker setup for outdoor theater - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 02-06-2013, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello. I was wondering what type of wattage/ how much I would need to spend to have speakers for an outdoor theater. The screen will be 9'x21', so people will be sitting ~30 feet away I would guess. What sort of wattage should I be looking at so that everyone will be able to hear fairly well? There will probably anywhere from 4 people to 20 people watching at a time by the way.
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post #2 of 35 Old 02-12-2013, 03:09 PM
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Let's assume the goal of an average level of 75dB at the listening position, with 30dB of headroom (consistent with THX-like or classical music requirements)

People are 30' away, which I'll call 8 meters to make things easy. 8m is 3x doubling of distance, or -18dB reduction in SPL relative to 1m.

However, we also have 4 speakers (again, to make things easy, I assume L, C, R and a combined surround makes 4), so we regain 6dB.
(Why only +6dB when we lost -18dB due to distance? Because the latter results from the inverse square law.)

So a speaker with a (75-18+6) = 87dB@1W, 1m sensitivity can achieve the average level with 1W of amplifier power. The problem is that you need 10x the power for every 10dB of headroom you desire, or 1000W for 30dB. Make that a 97dB@1W speaker and you only need 100W for the same headroom capability. Or you can live with 20dB of headroom and less sensitive speakers. Just know your program if choosing the latter.

And this hasn't touched on low frequencies, where in-room boundary gain is a huge SPL multiplier, and we still use kilowatt amps. Give up the infrasonics and live with a "musical" bass capability, or plan on horn subs that still won't go as low outdoors.If its' a nice night, no one will notice...

HAve fun,
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post #3 of 35 Old 02-13-2013, 03:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmm. Let's pretend I didn't understand any of that.. Do you have a recommendation of specific speakers I should get, or a minimum power handling I should look for?

Will these be enough? http://www.klipsch.com/aw-500-outdoor-speaker
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post #4 of 35 Old 02-13-2013, 08:06 AM
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The Klipsch are entirely inadequate for what you're attempting.

Questions;
Exactly what are you wanting to achieve? Interested in 5.1 surround movie playback outdoors? That's three front speakers, two surrounds and a subwoofer system. This is ideal and can be very impressive, however not entirely necessary.

1.) Two channel, full range stereo playback, no subs.

2.) Two channel playback with separate subs/woofer cabinets and tops per side. Similar to a live sound scenario for bands/clubs etc, with sub/sat crossover and amps. There are many mfrs that facilitate this quite easily with minimal gear.

Then you move into more Home Theater techniques, primarily bass management. If you're not familiar with bass management, it's occurs in your receiver or pre/pro (possibly disc player), it takes the low frequency signals from your speakers, and combines that with the LFE (low freq effects) signal, and sends it all to the subwoofer system. That's quite the simplified version, as it becomes more complicated with the various choices of control etc.

3.) 2.1 Stereo, bass managed with sub system. An AVR/Receiver based system.

4.) 5.1 full bass managed playback, as commonly found in homes. Due to the rigors of outdoor HT, you'd likely have more than one sub due to the lack of natural boundary loading from walls, etc.

What you would need?

In addition to being an audio enthusiast since the 70's, I've been involved in live sound reproduction in every sized venue up to stadiums. I currently own what is often considered the biggest bang for the buck loudspeakers for this type of use you're describing. They are QSC's K series, K-8, K-10, and K-12. These are 8", 10", and of course 12". These things are extraordinary, and ideally suited for what you're describing. They powered (1,00watts each), their response is contoured w/on-board EQ'ing, they possess every connectivity feature you can imagine, and you can simply plug an Ipod right into them and jam, use them in a full blown HT system, or anything in between. They really are amazing.

Yes, you could get by with simply the K-12 per side with no subs. It would likely impress you with their capability. But they can't overcome the physics inherent to outdoor playback of low frequencies. For any kind of decent impact associated with movie playback, music playback, you're going to need some subs. Yep, it be ok without htem, but it'll lack the fun factor that accompanies contemporary soundtracks.

The QSC's are outstanding. Mine are K-8's, and I use them for my four surrounds (7.1) in my HT. Upon initially buying them, I un-boxed them and set them and set them up for a listen. I ended up using them extensively for my three front LCR's for a few months. I had merely temporarily did this, to perform some simple comparos, and they blew me away. I've since moved on to the much more expensive Seaton Catalysts for LCRs, but the K-8's perform amazingly well amidst some tough competition. The 8, 10, and 12 inch versions all use the same amps, power, and HF driver, they simply match the coverage angle of each sized woofer with three different waveguides/horns at the crossover with three different horns.

Yes, there's less expensive options for you to take, but the K-12s (or any of the K series) would be an outstanding set of mains for an outdoor system.

Is this an option for you budget wise? A pair of these.

Is there more in the budget for the needed subwoofer system? A pair of K-12's and subs?

Full blown 5 QSCs and two subs? (LCRs all QSC K-12s, two QSC K-8s for surrounds, + subs)
That's ideal, expensive.



Best of luck

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post #5 of 35 Old 02-13-2013, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jephph View Post

Hello. I was wondering what type of wattage/ how much I would need to spend to have speakers for an outdoor theater. The screen will be 9'x21', so people will be sitting ~30 feet away I would guess. What sort of wattage should I be looking at so that everyone will be able to hear fairly well? There will probably anywhere from 4 people to 20 people watching at a time by the way.

I meet that need with a pair of EV ZX-1 or ZX-5 speakers and a Crown Xti 2000 power amp.

I've seen it done with a pair of Behringer B2031A that fit into your budget.
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post #6 of 35 Old 02-13-2013, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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My budget is more like $400 for the whole sound setup. Another thought I had was headphones. I've got a few pair, and I could have people bring their own. Is there some sort of setup I could get that would allow multiple headphones to be plugged into the audio source?
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post #7 of 35 Old 02-18-2013, 02:25 PM
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Actually, suspect you understood me perfectly... hard to get there from here.

arny beat me to this recommendation, but it's still good. Active monitors for $400 the pair. A good place to start, but not the system FOH laid out, by any means.
http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-B2031A-Active-Reference-Monitor/dp/B000MJ7AA2/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_1

The QSC's FOH linked are in the same realm, just at higher capability.

HAve fun,
Frank
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post #8 of 35 Old 02-18-2013, 03:28 PM
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$400 for the entire thing?

These 8" two ways come in at that price shipped to your house, have fun.

If you have a big chain music store in your area, Sam Ash, Guitar Center, etc, go there and peruse your choices, ... I'd suspect they'll take care of you.

Beware, that's a tall order ... your modest budget will yield comensurate results.

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post #9 of 35 Old 03-21-2013, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, so I've had another thought. Those Behringers look nice. However, I have neighbors that are roughly 100 feet away from where the "theater" will be. Of course the sound will diminish by the time it gets to them, but I plan on watching movies pretty late at night, and wouldn't want to wake anybody up. I was thinking, instead of a big set of speakers at the screen, maybe I'll buy a couple or a few set of smaller computer speakers, and position them closer to the seating area. I could use a splitter to send the sound to all of the speakers. I had hoped to run the video directly off of my wife's Kindle Fire HD anyway, so I could just plug into that. The other problem with the Behringers is that I would need a receiver to run them. I don't have one currently, so that would add to the cost.

So, basically, I have two more questions:
1. If I were to place the speakers at the screen, in order for them to be clear to people sitting 30' away, would they have to be loud enough for people 100ft away to hear them?
2. What are your thoughts on running multiple sets of computer speakers closer to the audience, rather than 1 set further away?
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post #10 of 35 Old 03-21-2013, 08:21 PM
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Ummm, I have serious concerns regarding your idea.

Tell us how you plan on making the picture and sound align, while using a Kindle Fire?

I'm leaning towards a T-amp and the cheapest large speakers that you can find. However, the movie would need to be in stereo(2 .0) and not in any surround format(5.1).

As for the neighbors, invite them, so no one complains.

-_999_-
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post #11 of 35 Old 03-22-2013, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
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So, I plan to plug the kindle into the projector via the microHDMI output on the kindle. If the Kindle can output audio through both outputs (HDMI and 3.5mm), then I'll plug the speakers into the 3.5mm jack. If not, then I'll plug the speakers into the audio out on the projector. Why would the audio and video not be aligned?
What's a T-amp, and what else would I need in order to use it?
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post #12 of 35 Old 03-24-2013, 02:39 PM
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This is a T Amp: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-383

That one comes with a bunch of interconnects, which may be of use. Watch the video for use, use KF instead of phone.

Then get the biggest set of speakers that can handle 50w...easy to find, should be cheap.

Get some speaker wire to run from where the KF and Projector are, presumably in the back, to where the speakers will be, front.

Assuming that a KF can output two channel audio, AKA 2.0, you will be able to enjoy a basic movie...no bells and whistles, but enjoyable none the less.

-_999_-
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post #13 of 35 Old 04-25-2013, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I decided to get a blu-ray player instead. I might get the Sony S5100. It's only got digital coaxial audio out. Will that T-amp accept that? If not, which blu-ray player should I get?
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post #14 of 35 Old 04-27-2013, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
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post #15 of 35 Old 04-27-2013, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jephph View Post

I decided to get a blu-ray player instead. I might get the Sony S5100. It's only got digital coaxial audio out. Will that T-amp accept that? If not, which blu-ray player should I get?

I've never seen a BD player without analog outs, but you're right, that Sony has the coaxial digital out, and HDMI, and a RJ45 network jack too.

There's an abundance of BD player for under $100, perhaps at your local WalMart, Costco, or Sams, you may score one at $50-$75 ... Despite me utilizing a $1k Oppo player myself, I've had good luck w/acceptable quality with these cheapos, and they really seem fine.

I'm unclear as to the direction of what you're attempting, what else do you still need?

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post #16 of 35 Old 04-27-2013, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, I'm getting the Behringer B2031A's that arnyk and fbov posted, and I plan to get the T-amp that underminded posted. However, it seems that the inputs for that T-amp are only RCA inputs. I was wondering whether that would work if the BD Player only has coax digital out. I also got the ViewSonic Pro 8200 for reference.
So, will that T-amp work for what I want? If not, which BD Player should I get that will make it work?
Edit: Or, would it be better to send the coax audio out to the projector, then from there to the t-amp, then out to the speakers?
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post #17 of 35 Old 04-28-2013, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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post #18 of 35 Old 04-30-2013, 09:43 AM
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Two things... B2031A is an Active speaker, with internal amplifier. B2031P is passive, requiring an external amp. About $100 difference per speaker....
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/search.jsp?Ntt=b2031

You'll need an analog input for the T-amp, unless the USB port can read teh digital signal... if the projector has an analog output, you should be good.

HAve fun,
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post #19 of 35 Old 04-30-2013, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmm. I already bought to B2031A's So... does that mean that I won't need the T-amp, but that they'll need to be plugged into an outlet, and that I'll have to figure out how to convert from the projector output to speaker wire input on the speakers?
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post #20 of 35 Old 04-30-2013, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jephph View Post

Hmm. I already bought to B2031A's So... does that mean that I won't need the T-amp, but that they'll need to be plugged into an outlet, and that I'll have to figure out how to convert from the projector output to speaker wire input on the speakers?

The inputs to the B2031As aren't speaker wire inputs, since they already have amps in them.



There are two input jacks per speaker, one a 1/4 phone TRS (for use with professional audio systems) and the other a regular RCA jack.
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post #21 of 35 Old 04-30-2013, 06:35 PM
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I have to admit, that is an interesting speaker. Didja also get stands? If not, I am sure you can rig something up, but you don't want to leave them on the ground, you would want to elevate them to widen the sound dispersion.

Now, let's move onto the projector. Have you got it yet? If so, make & model? Also, didja decide on a BD player, or are you still planning on using a Kindle?
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post #22 of 35 Old 04-30-2013, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I did not get stands. I will have some extra lumber. I plan to raise them up a bit with that. I did get the ViewSonic Pro8200. I've not gotten a BD Player yet, but plan to. I was looking at the Sony BDP-S590.. However, I just bought one for somebody for their birthday for $100. It's now listed for $150, so I would feel like I'd be getting ripped off if I got that same one for myself for $50 more. The S5100 doesn't have analog audio out, which I'd really prefer to have just in case sending audio out to the projector first and then to the speakers causes any problems. I was actually just checking out Blu-Ray players when I click back on this tab and checked for more posts. It seems there's not much with great ratings for under $150. I've checked Amazon, Newegg, Best Buy, and Walmart.
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post #23 of 35 Old 04-30-2013, 08:54 PM
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You can get that model BD for $89.99(refurb) here.

The specs say it has Analog Audio 2ch Output(s) : 1 (Rear). Whereas the projector only has a 3.5mm jack. So you are better off using RCA left and right from BD to speakers, then having HMDI from BD to projector. The BD specs also say it has LPCM 2ch out : Yes, so set it to that in its internal menu.

The projector's spec is here. But I don't understand how far back it needs to be to fill your screen. There is a chart, but it looks like a metric to inch conversion chart.
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post #24 of 35 Old 05-01-2013, 11:12 AM
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+1 to short runs of line level signals, unless you convert to balanced lines. It's a potential noise source, the only real downside to an amplified speaker.
http://www.audioholics.com/education/cables/balanced-vs-unbalanced-interconnects

BTW, Arny didn't look at the manual... it takes XLR and bal/unbal 1/4" phone plug; RCA is not a built-in option.
http://www.behringer.com/assets/B2030A_P0135_M_EN.pdf

Have fun,
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post #25 of 35 Old 05-01-2013, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbov View Post

+1 to short runs of line level signals, unless you convert to balanced lines. It's a potential noise source, the only real downside to an amplified speaker.
http://www.audioholics.com/education/cables/balanced-vs-unbalanced-interconnects

BTW, Arny didn't look at the manual... it takes XLR and bal/unbal 1/4" phone plug; RCA is not a built-in option.

I don't know what that first part means. Anyway, about the second part... so, what sort of cable would I need to convert from the Blu-Ray player output port to the inputs on the speakers? Or, more specifically, which blu-ray player would I need to get in order to run the speakers?
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post #26 of 35 Old 05-01-2013, 04:04 PM
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Don't quote me, but I think two of these will work.

Then just run some RCA cables.

OR, maybe these.

Lengths will vary.

However, I recommend we see who else posts before you buy any cables or interconnects
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post #27 of 35 Old 05-02-2013, 12:12 PM
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The first part has to do with noise injected into the wire run between the BD player and the speakers. Normal RCA cables are 2 conductor, and good ones are coax, a center conductor plus shield. XLR and any balanced lines have 3 conductors, so the shield is not part of the circuit. Long RCA cables act like antennae, picking up any stray fields, like from power cords, and frequently causing ground loops (120Hz hum). XLR cables are immune, period.

The 1/4" adapter is cheap, and the XLR-RCA cable not expensive. I don't believe you need anything more, but I'm not a user of XLR components, so underminded's caveat applies.

I don't know of any BD players that have XLR outputs... perhaps a pro version? Easier to use adapters...

HAve fun,
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post #28 of 35 Old 05-03-2013, 07:50 AM
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Hi All,

I will be putting up a pair of outdoor speakers strictly for 2-channel music. I had not considered a powered pair and plan on using Zone 2 of my HT amp, at least for now.

I've looked at all the usual suspects, Def Tech, BA, Polk, Emotiva, etc, but this thread has caused me to rethink that a bit. Should I be looking at one the brands mentioned here in a non-powered version, or are the others better considering a separate amp is available? My price range is say $800ish total.

Thanks in advance.
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post #29 of 35 Old 05-03-2013, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
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post #30 of 35 Old 05-04-2013, 06:24 AM
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They have good reviews, I would have thought 13' was too short, but the reviews mention that they don't pick up line noise, which would be a concern with longer runs. So the longest length wire you will use will be the HDMI from the BD player to projector. My suggestion for that would be a HDMI cable with ferrite cores.

So now for the checklist.
Speakers
Speaker interconnects
Projector

Unknowns:
Screen
BD player
HDMI cable
Extension cord(get a heavy duty one)
Powerstrip(same as above)

Let us know where you are on the unknowns, and let's see if we can get this up and running.

Lastly, have you figured out the distance between projector and screen yet?
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