Do you want to transform your next BBQ into an outdoor dance party? You may be discouraged by the idea of installing an outdoor speaker system, yet once you get started you will find that the task is easier than it looks. It'll take you about half a day, but you'll save a lot of money by not having to hire an electrician to do the work for you. You'll get blazing music that disturbs the neighbors in less time than you think!
Method 1 of 3: Prepare your equipment
Step 1. Configure the indoor receiver
Most outdoor speakers work in conjunction with a receiver that is inside. Since this is a part where the electronics are quite sensitive, most of the time it has to be installed indoors. A multizone receiver will allow you to stream music outdoors, while streaming something else indoors.
Step 2. Install a volume control box outside
Place it in a sheltered area. You must unwind the speaker wire between the receiver and the volume control box, then between the volume control box to the associated speakers. Most volume control boxes can be easily mounted on an exterior wall.
Consider putting in multiple volume control boxes if you have multiple pairs of speakers. Thus, you will be able to control the volume in several places
Step 3. Install a multi-channel amplifier if you are using multiple pairs of speakers
Each additional pair increases the chances of overloading the receiver amplifier. You can install the amplifier near the receiver and then unwind the wire from the amplifier.
Step 4. Unwind enough wire to reach the speakers
A 16 cable is fine for a distance of less than 25 meters, but if this distance is longer it is better to use 14 or 12 cables. suffer. The longer the cable, the more degraded the sound will be.
- The four-conductor cables will allow you to connect two pairs of speakers with a single cable and therefore avoid headaches with a lot of cables.
- For outdoor speakers, the CL2 and CL3 cables are normally matched to standards. This means they can be rolled out on walls safely without the risk of causing problems with other electronic equipment and without the risk of fire. Such cables can also withstand the elements, which is essential for outdoor installation.
- Add 10 to 15% more cable length so that the cables are loose and can avoid obstacles. The cable should not be stretched too tightly, as this may affect the audio quality.
Step 5. Unwind the speaker cable from the receiver to the outside
Drill a hole at the bottom of the wall to route the cable to the outside. Fill the hole again with silicone to maintain the insulation of your house. Unwind the cable to the volume control box, then unwind a second cable from the box to the speakers.
- Do not route cables through doors or windows. Your cable could be damaged and the audio quality will suffer.
- Some speaker kits are completely wireless, they work with Bluetooth. If you use such an installation, you do not have to worry about the wiring. You just need to verify that your receiver is compatible with the use of Bluetooth and that the speakers are within close enough distance of the receiver. Bluetooth can have a range of 150 meters if there are no obstacles to the signal. The walls between the receiver and the speakers will reduce the signal range.
Method 2 of 3: Place and attach the speakers
Step 1. Place your speakers in sheltered areas
While most outdoor speakers are built to withstand the elements, they will last longer if you protect them a little. When possible, place your speakers under awnings or under a patio to protect them from the elements.
Step 2. Space your speakers
The speakers should be 2-3 meters apart. If they are too close to each other, the sound will be scrambled and the speakers will overlap. If they are too far apart, it will be difficult to hear and you will lose the stereo effects.
Step 3. Alternate channels
A pair of speakers covers two channels: right and left. Both sets generate stereo sound. When installing more than one pair of speakers, it is important to alternate the right and left channels to ensure a good stereo mix. This is especially important if you are installing a large number of speakers.
- If you are installing more than one speaker along a wall, alternate along the right and left channels.
- If you are installing speakers in a given perimeter around your patio, install the two left channels in opposite corners and the two right channels in the other two opposite corners.
Step 4. Listen to the sound from the speakers before attaching them
Check that the sound is of good quality and that its projection is sufficient before attaching the speakers. Listening before you install will save you a lot of time and headache rather than just testing when you're done.
It is better to have more speakers rather than a volume turned up to the maximum. If you have trouble hearing sound from all the places you go, it's better to install another pair of speakers rather than cranking up the volume to maximum
Step 5. Set the speakers high enough, but not too high
By setting your speakers high enough, you allow the sound to project further, giving you maximum sound range for a minimum number of speakers. However, if you place them at a height of around 3 meters or more, you will lose a lot of bass. Try to place your speakers between two and three meters in height.
Step 6. Tilt the speakers down to allow sound to flow
The listening quality will also be better and there will be less noise pollution for your neighbors. Most stands allow you to tilt the speaker. Many come with swivel nuts that you can position exactly the way you want.
Step 7. Attach your speakers according to the instructions
These depend on the type of bracket, but in general you will need to drill a hole where you are going to attach it. Which means you need a drill.
- Only mount speakers on solid wood or cement. Avoid attaching them to cedar or aluminum siding or the speakers may end up sagging. This can cause vibrations that will reduce the quality of the sound or even cause the speakers to drop altogether.
- Use the included stand. The outdoor speakers are equipped with a water resistant stand. If you replace this mount with another mount that was not designed for outdoor use, the mount may rust and wear out.
Step 8. Connect the speakers using a banana plug
It allows a more reliable connection than with a bare wire, which is essential for outdoor speakers. The banana plugs connect directly into the clips on the back of the speakers and receiver.
- To install the banana plugs, you must strip the end of your cables. Each speaker cable is made up of two wires: one red and one black. Pull them to separate them and have more space to work on them. Each of them should be stripped about 2 cm from the end.
- Once the cable is stripped, unscrew the banana plug and slide the exposed cable into the end. When the cable is inserted, screw on the banana plug. Repeat this for the other cables.
Method 3 of 3: Troubleshoot your speakers
Step 1. Check the specifications of your speakers and receiver
There are many factors that can cause distorted or scrambled sound. Mismatched equipment is one of the most common causes. Check that the amplifier and receiver are suitable for the resistance of the speakers and that the speakers can withstand the power sent by the amplifier. Check the documentation for all of your gear to make sure they match.
Step 2. Check the connections
If you accidentally swap the positive and negative wires on your speakers, you may not hear any sound. Double check all your connections: check that the black cables are inserted in the black clips and that the red cables are inserted in the red clips.
- If the speaker is too far away and you are using the wrong gauge cable, the sound may be distorted. Bring the speaker closer to the receiver, then shorten the cable or place a new one of a smaller gauge.
- Tangled wires could cause a short circuit and cause serious problems. Check that the black and red wires are not making contact when stripping the ends.
Step 3. Look for any visible damage
Check that the speakers are not physically damaged. A damaged speaker can produce very bad sound. If you find physical damage, replace the affected speaker.