Adding speakers to your backyard, patio, or pool area is easier than you may think. Though drilling through an external wall of your house or garage may scare some of you out of pursuing this worthwhile home improvement, we hope to shed light on the details and provide some time-saving tips to get the job done. For an afternoon of work and less than $500 you can install an outdoor sound system that rivals any professional system.
Step 1: Routing Power Outdoors
The biggest challenge of any outdoor system is how to get the power from your amplifier to where your speakers are-outside. Amps are not designed to be weather-proof, so it's imperative that it stays dry. For this installation we chose the Dayton Audio APA150, mainly because of its ample power and convenient auto-on feature. When the amp detects a signal it turns on, after a short period of not detecting a signal, it goes into standby. This eliminates the need to constantly power up or shut down your amplifier.
We installed the APA150 in a detached garage located near the outdoor speakers. To run the speaker wire outside, we used the Arlington Industries CE1RP Hole Saw Cable Entry Bracket. Using a 3-1/2" hole saw, we cut a hole in the exterior wall of the garage and routed our cable. This wall plate installs easily with screw down clamps. If you are routing your speaker wire through your house, you may be able to drill a hole just big enough for the wire between your foundation and framing. finish by caulking around the wire for a permanent seal.
Step 2: Using a Bluetooth Source
For ease of connection, we use a Bluetooth receiver for our input source. When the amp detects a signal from the Bluetooth receiver, it turns on; and when there is no signal, it goes into standby mode. Using your phone or tablet to connect to this receiver takes about a second and because it uses the aptX codec, the sound it produces is clean and near CD quality.
Step 3: Maintain Control
It is important to mention the need to use outdoor rated speaker wire. We used JSC 14 AWG Direct-Burial Speaker Wire for this project. After making connection to the amp, we run the wires outside and into the Audtek Electronics Waterproof Outdoor Volume Control. This setup provides an overriding level of control over the volume. The detachable Phoenix-style screw terminals make connecting the speaker wire easy. Just connect the four wires from the amp to the input section and two wires to each speaker. The built-in gasket keeps moisture out of the volume control and it seals up nice and tight with four screws.
Step 4: Burying the Wire
We buried the wire two different ways for this job because of the needs of the surroundings. The first speaker is located in a flower bed right next to the garage, so we simply dug an 8" trench, laid the wire, covered the wire, and compacted the dirt. The second run was considerably more challenging because we needed to go through one flower bed, through the grass, and then into a second bed. Using the first process is fine until you get to the grass.
For this portion of the run we used a flat edger. You could also use a spade as long as the blade is flat. By plunging the edger and rocking back and forth, we created a narrow trench to lay our cable. This is a good technique because after a couple days the grass grows back hiding any evidence of the wire beneath. It is extremely helpful to split the ground a day after a good rain. The ground should be moist, but not overly wet. To close the trench, just press each side back together with your foot.
Step 5: Confident Connections
The Dayton Audio ROC8S Outdoor Rock Speakers provide accurate full range sound, have a wide dispersion, and look nice. We selected this speaker for all of these reasons. Each speaker comes with an 18" speaker wire lead that we terminated to our burial wire using an Express Seal Weatherproof Butt Splice. Each connector has a crimp tube and heat shrink tubing with weatherproof sealant. first you crimp, then using a heat gun, shrink the tubing around each set of wires. The weatherproof sealant oozes out when heat is applied and creates a moisture-proof seal around the speaker cable.
Step 6: A Backyard of Sound
With a little planning, and only a few tools, you can have a professional-grade sound system in your backyard for less than $500, and the operation is super-convenient. Once you're outside, connect your phone or tablet to the Bluetooth receiver and start playing music...it's that simple.
You can adjust the volume by using your portable device, or from the installed outdoor volume control. When you're done listening, just unpair your device and the amp will go into standby mode. Whether you are relaxing or having a party, music enhances the experience, and now that you know how to accomplish this project, what are you waiting for?
Step 7: Parts List
Express Seal (16-14) Weatherproof Butt Splice Connector 10 Pcs.