Thursday, October 30, 2014

Outdoor Audio Tech part 1

Since moving, I now have something I hadnt had since I was in my teens. A backyard.  I find myself spending more and more time out in the backyard as the weather cools off. Even during the summer we would be outside by the pool enjoying the space. I bought, what I think are really good bluetooth spearkers. Turns out it was merely a gateway to what I have come up with now.

TDK Life on Record A33 Wireless Weatherproof Speaker is a really good speaker, and I bought it because it was weather proof and if you live in Texas you know that just because it looks sunny, it doesnt mean its not gonna rain on you. But over these few months, Ive soured on bluetooth technology. Its unstable and buggie at best and I really dont want to have to jump out of the pool to get the music playing again. Yes I could plug my phone into this device using an Aux cable but whats the point of that.

So I looked into other options. Saw this video on youtube. Thanks Mark for shinning a light in this direction because I love the way this turned out. Mark uses a Lepai amp and a Apple Airport Express.
This allowed me to implement a Sonos like option without the hurt to the pocket book, using Apples built in Air Play functionality. If I want to use the computer upstairs in the Gameroom to Airplay Music, I can do that. If I want to use an old IPad, or my IPhone, I can do that as well.

What was next was finding the speakers. I didnt go with the cheapest and I didnt go with the most expensive. If this didnt work as I envisioned this working, I didnt want to invest to much up front. I purchased these beauties, the Yahama Indoor/Outdoor Speakers. They are bigger that anticipated but are way better sounding than anticipated as well. I needed Amazon Basics Speakerwire as well as I previously did not have any. To finish it off I purchased the Wiremold white Cordmate Kit. I bought the kit because I was not going run cables through my walls, and wanted to conceal them as neatly as possible.

The installation took no time at all, and this is coming from a very novice handyman. I can put Ikea stuff together, but I have friends and family help me with anything more difficult. After setting it up the Yamaha speakers sound great and carry a long way. The amp puts out a better than expected quality, however I am not an Audiophile so I wouldnt be the best person to ask. The Airport Express connected to the amp and plays flawlessly I really enjoy the ability to play music over airplay and will be going over other functions of Airplay in upcoming blogs.

Upsides. AIRPLAY, need I say more. Music play back to any room in your house that you have a connected AIPLAY capable device. Multi Room playback. Yes you can rock this just like Sonos. Its awesome, and you can control the volume for individual locations. PRICE. Huge factor for me, its cheap compared Sonos and comparable devices. Expand-ability, you can buy Airplay Enabled speakers or receiver like the Denon Avr. Also Apple Tv (2nd gen and higher can Airplay as well)

Downsides. While its like Sonos, its clearly not. I cant have another person control the music or play something they want, unless connected to my network. Also another user cannot play music when I am connected to the airplay device I am playing to. Meaning I have to disconnect from the session before that person can play the music. Technically adventurous capable people are needed. By no means is this a difficult install, infact it basically plug and play for the most part, but its not as easy as the Sonos is.

In Part two I will discuss the my second outdoor project. In Texas your garage technically is an extension of your outdoor space, just like your backyard patio.

Regardless of how you want to set up your speakers & system, adding outdoor audio is a fun project that pays off for months and years in the end.  Add a Tv into the mix and you will be able to enjoy endless hours of outdoor family and friends time outdoors.

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