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Choosing wattage for outdoor system

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
So here's the scoop.

My uncle has a cottage on an inland lake, and would like to have an audio system for his patio. He's coming to me for help, because I know a lot about computers and technology, but I think I need to consult some greater geeks on this one.

Feel free to stop me right here if I'm not starting out with the right questions, but first thing I'm thinking about is amplifier wattage and impedance, and matching that to a set of outdoor speakers.

Most of the basic stuff I'm looking at starts at 50w x2 (stereo) RMS
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-MHC-EC69i...ref=pd_sim_e_6
http://www.amazon.com/RCA-RS2696i-Au...487401&sr=1-35

I'm looking at bookshelf systems, because he kinda wants to have a CD-player to go with it as well, and component CD players cost more than most of the bookshelf systems I've looked at.

Is 50w/chan a reasonably powerful amplifier? we're only talking about background "Mood" music. Speakers will probably be about 30 feet apart, and about 10-15 feet above the ground, wanting to cover an area about 30 feet by maybe 40-50 feet.

Thanks for your help.
post #2 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdowning View Post

So here's the scoop.

My uncle has a cottage on an inland lake, and would like to have an audio system for his patio. He's coming to me for help, because I know a lot about computers and technology, but I think I need to consult some greater geeks on this one.

Feel free to stop me right here if I'm not starting out with the right questions, but first thing I'm thinking about is amplifier wattage and impedance, and matching that to a set of outdoor speakers.

Most of the basic stuff I'm looking at starts at 50w x2 (stereo) RMS
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-MHC-EC69i...ref=pd_sim_e_6
http://www.amazon.com/RCA-RS2696i-Au...487401&sr=1-35

I'm looking at bookshelf systems, because he kinda wants to have a CD-player to go with it as well, and component CD players cost more than most of the bookshelf systems I've looked at.

It's not clear to me if you're buying an entire "mobile" system like the ones you linked, or whether or not your uncle might better appreciate a decent in home receiver and CD player, that he can also run speakers off when he's outside. This will be your first decision to make, and I'd think that he might be happier with the latter. Of course, it's impossible to answer a 3rd party question like this without stabbing into darkness .

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdowning View Post

Is 50w/chan a reasonably powerful amplifier? we're only talking about background "Mood" music. Speakers will probably be about 30 feet apart, and about 10-15 feet above the ground, wanting to cover an area about 30 feet by maybe 40-50 feet.


The answer is...maybe. 50wpc is fine for inside your home, but speakers outdoors....30' apart...and 10-15' in the air? You may be lucky to get background mood music with the receiver cranked up all the way if you actually set it up this way. You lose room acoustics (walls, bouncing sounds, bass will suffer, etc..) when you go outdoors, so a bit more power would offer you more flexibility to get the job done. And beside, you can probably get a plain old 5.1 AVR that's 100wpc for well under $200...and thrown in a $30 CD player.

Just as a quick example, here's a Sony 100w 2 Ch receiver that sells for $133: http://www.amazon.com/Sony-STR-DH100...H8/ref=lh_ni_t And again, throw in any cheap CD player....and you're still well under $200. Now all you need are speakers and some wire.

Hope that helps.
post #3 of 3
If this is just outdoor background music, there wont be any real stereo separation or necessary SPL levels. To make it very easy, I would suggest you consider a simple 70volt distributed system. You can buy 70 volt line matching transformers at Rad Shack, Lowe's HD that can be used with anyones speakers or you can but outdoor grade speakers already equipped with transformers.

Using this method, you can have several speakers, not worry about impedance matching, and they can even be zoned for a couple different areas of the yard with a separate volume control for each. The entire speaker array can be fed from a mono amp with a 70 volt output designed for distributed audio systems. There are dozens of brands out there. You then simply feed you audio source into the dedicated outdoor amp in parallel if you like with feeds to the indoor systems. The fidelity is quite good through the amp and transformers and is really limited only by the speaker choice and location.
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