Want to turn your backyard BBQ holiday into a real dance party? Installing outdoor speakers may sound daunting, but when you get down to business, you will find that the task is much easier than it might seem at first glance. Self-installation of the speakers can take an entire lunch, but you will significantly save on calling an electrician by doing all the work yourself. A little diligence and you will listen to music throughout the yard, bothering your neighbors.
Method 1 of 3: Installing Hardware
Step 1. Installing the receiver indoors
Most outdoor speakers connect to an existing indoor receiver. Since this receiver is a highly sensitive electronic piece of equipment, you will probably decide to install it indoors. The multi-zone receiver will allow you to turn on music in the yard and at the same time do something different in the house.
Step 2. Installing the volume control outside
It must be in a protected location. You will need to run the speaker cable from the receiver to the volume control, and then from the control directly to the speakers. Usually the volume control is easily installed on an external wall.
Multiple volume controls can be set for multiple speaker pairs. This will allow you to separately adjust the volume in different zones
Step 3. Install a multichannel amplifier if you have multiple pairs of speakers
Each pair you add increases the likelihood of overloading the receiver's built-in amplifier. You can install the amplifier next to the receiver and lead the cable to the speakers directly from the amplifier.
Step 4. Purchase a speaker cable of the required length
16 gauge cable will work for total lengths up to 24 m, but for longer cables you should choose 14 or 12 gauge. Incorrectly selected cable gauge will affect the sound quality. The longer the cable, the more the quality degradation will be.
- The four-wire cable allows you to connect two pairs of speakers with a single cable, eliminating a lot of the hassle of extra cabling.
- For outdoor speakers, use speaker cable CL2 and CL3, which can be safely routed through walls without interfering with other electronics and risk of fire. Also, such a cable is resistant to weathering, which is very important for outdoor installation.
- Add an extra 10-15% to the length in case of obstructions and sagging. Do not pull on the speaker cable too much, as curling in the wires affects the sound quality.
Step 5. Route the speaker cable from the receiver and out
Drill a hole at the bottom of the wall to guide the speaker cable out. Seal the hole with silicone sealant to preserve the insulation of your home. Run the speaker cable up to the volume control and then run the second cable from the volume control to the speakers.
- Do not route speaker cable through windows or doorframes. In this case, the cable could be deformed, resulting in poor sound quality.
- Some modern speakers are completely wireless and work via Bluetooth. If you use just such equipment, then you don't have to worry about wiring. You just need to make sure that the receiver supports Bluetooth speakers and that they are located close enough to the receiver. In the absence of obstacles, the Bluetooth signal is sufficient for a distance of up to 45 meters. Walls between the receiver and the speakers reduce the operating range.
Method 2 of 3: Positioning and securing your speakers
Step 1. Place the speakers in a protected area
Despite the fact that most modern outdoor speakers are designed to withstand the weather, even a little protection will significantly extend their life. Try to position the speakers under eaves or under a terrace roof to protect them from the elements.
Step 2. Spread the speakers
The speakers should be 2, 5-3 m apart. If you place them too close, the sound will overlap. If you spread them to an excessive distance, then there will be problems with the perception of sound and you may lose the effect of stereo sound.
Step 3. Alternate channels
A pair of speakers covers two channels: left and right. Together they form stereo sound. When installing more than one pair of speakers, it is very important to alternate the left and right channels to ensure correct stereo sound. This is especially important when installing a large number of speakers.
- If you are installing more than one speaker on a wall, alternate between the left and right channels.
- If you are installing the speakers around the perimeter of the terrace, then install the two left channels in opposite corners and the two right channels in opposite corners.
Step 4. Listen to the speakers before installing
Before mounting, you need to make sure that you are satisfied with the sound quality and projection. By listening to the speakers prior to installation, you will save energy and hassle when you turn on the system for the first time.
Better more speakers than higher volume. If the audibility of the sound is insufficient, then it is better to add a couple more speakers, and not turn the volume to maximum
Step 5. Install the speakers high, but not too high
With a high speaker setup, the sound can be projected further, so fewer speakers cover the entire coverage area you need. When installed at a height of 3 m or more, there will be significant low frequency losses. Install them at a height of 2-2.5 meters from the ground.
Step 6. Tilt the speakers down
This will help you direct the sound most accurately and minimize background noise for your neighbors. Existing brackets allow speakers to be positioned at an angle, and are often equipped with hinges for the most accurate positioning.
Step 7. Follow the installation instructions
The installation process will depend on the type of brackets, but usually you will always need to drill holes in the mounting location. To do this, you may need a masonry or masonry drill.
- Place the speakers only on a solid wood or stone surface. Try not to install on cedar or aluminum cladding at home, otherwise the speakers may sag over time. This will generate vibrations that reduce the sound quality; also, the speakers may fall completely altogether.
- Use the supplied brackets. The outdoor speaker brackets are already weatherproofed. Brackets that are not designed for outdoor use can corrode and weaken over time.
Step 8. Connect the speakers with banana plugs
Such a connection will be much more reliable than bare wire, which is very important for outdoor speakers. Banana plugs plug directly into the jacks on the back of the speaker and receiver.
- To install the banana plugs, you will need to strip the end of the speaker cable. Each speaker cable has two wires: red and black. Stretch them out to the sides to separate and provide room for maneuver. Each of them must be exposed from the end by about 18 mm.
- With the wire exposed, unscrew the end of the banana plug and insert the exposed part into it. When the cable is inserted, simply tighten the banana plug screw. Perform the action for all wires.
Method 3 of 3: Troubleshooting
Step 1. Check the specifications of your speakers and receiver
There are many factors that can distort or degrade sound. One of the most common reasons is the wrong equipment. Check that the impedance of the amplifier and receiver matches the speakers and that the speakers can handle the power output of the amplifier. To do this, study the documentation for all available equipment.
Step 2. Check connections
If you accidentally mix up the positive and negative speaker wires, they most likely won't make a sound. Check all connections again and make sure the black cables are inserted into the black connectors and the red cables into the red connectors.
- If the speaker is too far away and the cable used is not of the correct gauge, there may be a lot of noise in the sound. Try moving the speaker closer to the receiver and shortening the cable length, or route a new cable with a lower gauge value.
- Twisted wires can short-circuit the speakers and cause serious damage. Make sure the black and red wires do not touch each other with bare ends.
Step 3. Physical damage
Check for physical damage to the speakers. A burned-out speaker will sound terrible, so check the integrity of your subwoofers. If there is any physical damage, try to replace the speaker.