How to Enjoy Great Outdoor Sound Without Disturbing Your Neighbors
The solution is more speakers, not fewer.
Have you ever wanted to relax in your backyard while enjoying music from your outdoor speakers but couldn’t due to complaining neighbors? You’re not alone. Fortunately, the solution is simple: add more speakers.
That may sound counterintuitive, but theme parks have long adopted this method for allowing their patrons to hear music clearly during a parade without having to blast it loudly. The strategy requires you to add a speaker every five to ten feet, which allows you to keep the overall volume down while your music remains clearly audible anywhere in the yard.
To create the perfect ambience for yourself or your guests during a summer party, you’ll need the right tools for the job. Start the process by creating a basic system in your yard with a two-zone AV receiver such as the Yamaha RX-V685 and a pair of outdoor speakers. If this isn’t sufficient to cover your entire yard at moderate volume levels, consider adding another amplifier to power more speakers.
The reason you’ll need a second amp is to ensure that the extra speakers don’t overload the AV receiver — something that could potentially damage your equipment, or worse. As an example, the RX-V685 has a minimum impedance rating of 6 ohms per speaker. Adding another amp that has 4 ohm drive capability (such as the Yamaha WXA-50 MusicCast wireless streaming amplifier) will allow you to safely add up to four more 8 ohm speakers for low-volume, full coverage music in your backyard without any danger of overload. As a bonus, the WXA-50 also provides MusicCast capability for wireless control. For more zones, and ultimately more speakers, check out the Yamaha AVENTAGE line of receivers.
You’ll also need the right outdoor, all-weather speakers to execute this plan. To start, try up to four of the reasonably-priced Yamaha NS-AW194 high performance outdoor speakers. They offer a versatile design for ease of installation and provide outstanding sound quality with each speaker rated at 8 ohm nominal impedance.
Setup, Placement and Positioning
To get the most from this multi-speaker approach, there are several things to consider. First, decide where the speakers will go. Then you’ll need to plan out where to run speaker wire and how each speaker will be mounted. Some areas you can use include the eves of the house, a fence or a pergola if you have one. To learn more about mounting outdoor speakers, check out our blog article “How to Mount Outdoor Speakers.”
If you intend to listen in only one part of the yard (in a patio sitting area, for example), it’s recommended to mount the speakers around the perimeter of the area facing inward towards the center. Just be aware that controlling sound outdoors is more difficult than indoors, especially if you’re located near a highway or busy street. But using this method will help cut through environmental noise and at the same time reduce the need to blast the music at high volumes.
If you’d like to control your speakers wirelessly using a mobile device, check out the MusicCast Controller App, which is compatible with any MusicCast-enabled device, including the RX-V685. (Look for the MusicCast logo to ensure compatibility.) If you have a receiver without MusicCast, the WXC-50 pairs well with any legacy AV receiver or Hi-Fi system to allow you to select and listen to your favorite streaming services through the MusicCast app. To get an idea of other practical applications for using MusicCast outdoors, check out our blog article, “Wireless Amp Turns Outdoor Speakers into MusicCast.”
Once you’ve put in the work, you’ll have a powerful outdoor speaker system that both sounds great and contains your music so that only you get to hear it … and not the neighbors next door!
Note: The setup described in this article is merely a suggestion. We recommend that anyone unfamiliar with how to set up a system like this consult an expert installer to ensure that proper precautions are followed.