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After work on the weekdays, I spend a lot of time on the back deck. I get home from work around 3:45pm and my wife gets home with the kids around 6:30 which means I have over 2 hours to do some very light chores, cook dinner (I also barbecue a lot), and relax. I want music outside. A bonus would be to have a music player usable inside.


I have a few options I'm looking at but was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions or had a firsthand experience with the products I'm considering.


First is the Sonos Play:5. Costco has them right now in a bundle form where you get the Play:5 plus a ZoneBridge for like $300 (forgot the exact price but I remember that it's priced well). The pros with this is that I will now have a semi-portable music player that I can bring anywhere in the house or outside.


Pros: Lots of built in services (Pandora, etc.). Ease of use. Expandability (although this comes at a price).

Cons: Not a versatile solution - I don't think it would be loud enough outside which is where I would be using it the most. No battery means I need a plug wherever I will use it.


Second is the Soundcast Outcast. It's big and unsightly but from what I've read it makes up for it in sound. It stands about 25" high, has an 8" subwoofer and 4 full range drivers. Specs are here.


Pros: Portability (battery lasts up to 10 hours). Will stream everything from my PC or music player. Ease of use.

Cons: Price.


The last option is to do something like get some speakers installed under the eave of my roof on both sides of the patio door and maybe make a weatherproof enclosure for a subwoofer and mount it under the deck. Wire everything to an old Sony amplifier I have and get a Sonos Zone:Amp in order to stream music from my laptop to the speakers.


Pros: Will have a much more expandable and powerful solution but portability is zero. Can eventually create an outdoor theater on the back deck for movie nights.

Cons: Lots of work. Will have to do lots of wiring, something I'm not particularly skilled at.


Overall my heart says Soundcast but my brain says Sonos Play:5.


Am I missing anything? Other options I haven't explored? Budget is around $500 but I would stretch higher if the Soundcast was my best option.
 

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I would love to hear more opinions on the Soundcast Outcast, especially with respect to its wireless range. I purchased a legacy model, the 3.4i, over the weekend. Sound is great from the unit (lots of volume - would be great for parties and general outdoor use), but I found its wireless performance to be unacceptable. I will probably return the unit. I had the transmitter sitting on my kitchen counter about 8 ft from by patio double doors (not even solid doors - glass pane inserts). The Outcast was sitting on my patio no more than 15 feet from the door. I could not get the system to play reliably in a 'real' environment. Every time I walked past the outdoor unit, it lost signal and the sound cut out. This would NEVER work in a party environment. I even took the transmitter outside and tried an open-air line-of-sight test (best possible range scenario), and I couldn't get anywhere near their claimed 350ft spec.


Love the sound, but they need some new RF engineers. It's really too bad, because on their web site it's their wireless capability that they tout even more than the sound.
 
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