Getting Ready for Summer Entertaining: A Guide to Outdoor Audio

Getting Ready for Summer Entertaining: A Guide to Outdoor Audio

Jason Yang
Apr 24, 2013

While there has been some debate over the idea of bringing the television outdoors, we're sure that this guide to bringing tech outside will be met with more joyous sounds - the sounds of music, that is. Today we'll talk about options to bring audio outdoors.

Outdoor Speakers

Whether you go with wired or wireless models, there are a variety of options for weatherproof outdoor speakers. Here are 10 great tips on purchasing and placing outdoor speakers as well as some great speaker recommendations to get you started.


Hidden Speakers

If prefer to hide/disguise your tech, there are many options for making speakers as an unobtrusive as possible. Install them in planters, place units that look like tree stumps or rocks. You can also tuck them away into the eaves of your roof, or hide them amongst your bushes and plants. Don't feel like you need to ruin your backyard landscaping to bring the music outside, there will always be a way or place to hide away or make more subtle your speakers.

Audio manufacturers like Polk Audio offer speakers specifically for outdoor use, for patio and poolside installation; materials used and construction is optimized for outdoor listening, and range in size, shape, and output.

Portable Speakers

If you're not ready to invest in an outdoor sound system, the explosion of portable sound systems has made it super easy to bring the music with you wherever you go. Simply plug in and go!  You can go the battery powered or plug in route, as well as docked music player or wireless over Bluetooth.  You can even stream

Computer Speakers

Chances are you have a pair of neglected old computer speakers thrown in the closet or out in the garage; why no reuse them specifically for outdoor audio duty, hooked up to your laptop, tablet, or computer. Using small desktop speakers is not exactly hi-fidelity, but it does the job in a pinch, and far better than your device's tinny little speakers.

Music Sources

There are lots of ways to get your music from your computer or other device to your speakers. Perhaps the easiest is creating and serving up a playlist via smartphone; pairing your phone to a portable speaker and pushing play is as simple as it gets, especially if your device is Bluetooth enabled. 

If you're into this little company called Apple, AirPlay is an easy way to go. AirPlay enabled speakers work over wi-fi, so you can stream music directly from a computer connected to your network. If you don't have an AirPlay enabled speaker, you can use an old jailbroken iPhone to bridge the connection. If you're a Windows user, you can use Windows Media Player to stream your music to a compatible device. Systems from Sonos are a great alternative, but require more of an investment.

(Images: Heather Blaha / Maurice's Garden Tour, Jawbone, Klipsch, Sonos)

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