Help me setup outdoor speakers

W

Westin Jones

Audiophyte
Hello! First time poster on this great forum. Thanks in advance for any help.

I'm spec'ing out a setup for outdoor speakers utilizing the Zone 2 of my 7.1 receiver and I wanted to run it by this forum to see if anyone could find any pitfalls in my plan.

Plan is to utilize the Zone 2 on the AVR to power 4 outdoor speakers -- 2 stereo pairs on adjacent sides of house wired in parallel.

Speakers would be outside on a covered deck. No direct exposure to elements, but will be exposed to below freezing temperatures and humidity.

My AVR is a Denon AVR-S750H (Stereo RMS Power 75 watts. Peak 165W, 1 channel driven. 4-16ohms)

For the outdoor speakers, I'm still deciding between the larger Klipsch AW-650 (10-85W, 8ohms) and the smaller Klipsch AW-525 (10-75W, 8ohms). Any thoughts on these speakers?

I'm not sure if the speakers I have in the living room wired for 5.1 affect the power handling of the outdoor speakers and load on the AVR, but just in case, they are the Triangle Borea 5.1 package and Xfinity Sub.

Below is my wiring diagram. This also includes measurements to show estimated length of cable runs.

I'm planning to use 12AWG wire rated or outdoor use, using these splitters and couplers.

Any feedback is much appreciated!
BBB407F5-A8F8-4B4B-BEA0-5061D639FFBA.jpeg
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Hello! First time poster on this great forum. Thanks in advance for any help.

I'm spec'ing out a setup for outdoor speakers utilizing the Zone 2 of my 7.1 receiver and I wanted to run it by this forum to see if anyone could find any pitfalls in my plan.

Plan is to utilize the Zone 2 on the AVR to power 4 outdoor speakers -- 2 stereo pairs on adjacent sides of house wired in parallel.

Speakers would be outside on a covered deck. No direct exposure to elements, but will be exposed to below freezing temperatures and humidity.

My AVR is a Denon AVR-S750H (Stereo RMS Power 75 watts. Peak 165W, 1 channel driven. 4-16ohms)

For the outdoor speakers, I'm still deciding between the larger Klipsch AW-650 (10-85W, 8ohms) and the smaller Klipsch AW-525 (10-75W, 8ohms). Any thoughts on these speakers?

I'm not sure if the speakers I have in the living room wired for 5.1 affect the power handling of the outdoor speakers and load on the AVR, but just in case, they are the Triangle Borea 5.1 package and Xfinity Sub.

Below is my wiring diagram. This also includes measurements to show estimated length of cable runs.

I'm planning to use 12AWG wire rated or outdoor use, using these splitters and couplers.

Any feedback is much appreciated!View attachment 43518
How close are the neighbors? If the speakers fire directly toward their houses, you'll hear complaints. Are they going to fire over a patio? That will add to the problem. Are you planning to landscape the area outside of a patio?

This isn't enough info to make a recommendation- how large is the area you want to cover with sound? What kind of budget are you working with? What is the expectation for the sound quality? What might you want to do with it in the future? Where will the wires be running- inside or outside?
 
W

Westin Jones

Audiophyte
Closest neighbors are about 600ft away behind fairly dense pine trees and some hills and not in the direction the speakers are pointing. I don’t plan on high volumes too often, and I mostly listen to quieter music (jazz, classical, ambient) as atmospheric sound. Though Id like to have the ability to crank it for the occasional party. I live in the woods and sound does travel, I think. I haven’t lived here long and there isn’t a lot of sound to compete with.

The area Id like to cover with sound includes the porch, which is the area right under where the speakers are hung. There is also a yard adjacent to the “side” of the house in my drawing which is maybe 60’ x 100’ that I’d like to project sound into.

My budget is $1K max. So I’d like it to sound as good as possible for that budget. The AW650’s are as much as I’d spend.

Wires are running outside the house, under the roof that hangs over the porch. There’s a little gap between the siding and the roof I think I can run the cables in. And I might also reinforce with some cable mounting hardware.

I’ve also never wired speakers in parallel and doubled them up on a channel. Am I doing it right?

Thanks!
 
Last edited:
J

Jeff R.

Audioholic General
I believe this will pose a 4 ohm load on the receiver. This could be a problem for you. Being zone 2, if you are running inside and outside at the same time it may be tough... you won’t know till you try. I might consider a separate amp for them assuming you have a preout for zone 2. Good news is klipsch are generally very efficient and easy to drive so that is in your favor.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
W

Westin Jones

Audiophyte
I believe this will pose a 4 ohm load on the receiver. This could be a problem for you. Being zone 2, if you are running inside and outside at the same time it may be tough... you won’t know till you try. I might consider a separate amp for them assuming you have a preout for zone 2. Good news is klipsch are generally very efficient and easy to drive so that is in your favor.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Thanks for your response. My receiver is rated 4-16 ohms... are you saying that running a 4 ohm load is still a little risky, even if it’s rated for such?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Problem more lies in combination IMO. An avr in general not particularly being the best way to run very low impedance loads, and it's not one of Denon's more powerful units either, and even nominal 8 ohm speakers often dip down into the 4/5 range, so you can actually end up at times with 2-3 ohm loads if you double up. It seems you don't have pre-outs for even zone 2 on that model so personally I'd limit using that avr with one speaker per amp channel. If you did double up I'd be leery of driving main zone and external simultaneously at least....
 
W

Westin Jones

Audiophyte
Problem more lies in combination IMO. An avr in general not particularly being the best way to run very low impedance loads, and it's not one of Denon's more powerful units either, and even nominal 8 ohm speakers often dip down into the 4/5 range, so you can actually end up at times with 2-3 ohm loads if you double up. It seems you don't have pre-outs for even zone 2 on that model so personally I'd limit using that avr with one speaker per amp channel. If you did double up I'd be leery of driving main zone and external simultaneously at least....
Gotcha, thanks.
What do you think about the Polk Atrium 8 which has a stereo mode? I’m having a little difficulty understanding what the ohm load would be for this speaker. How many of the 8’s do you think I could run on my zone 2?

Also, what about wiring in series? Isn’t that supposed to increase the ohms?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Wiring in series would basically treat 8 ohm load as 16 ohm but you'd lose power but perhaps be a safer load on the amp if doubling up on the channel. The Polk just looks to be an 8 ohm nominal speaker for use as a single channel speaker or if you want to run stereo into the one box, 4 ohm. Haven't seen that arrangement before.
 
J

Jeff R.

Audioholic General
You can try out both wiring setups. Just buy some cheap speaker wire, don’t run it permanently and try running the setup a few hours in 4 and 16 ohm loads. See how it does.
If you are not satisfied. You could just buy a really cheap stereo reviewer with A and B speaker outs. Usually you can find a Yamaha for about$125-150 on accessories4less.com


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
W

Westin Jones

Audiophyte
You can try out both wiring setups. Just buy some cheap speaker wire, don’t run it permanently and try running the setup a few hours in 4 and 16 ohm loads. See how it does.
If you are not satisfied. You could just buy a really cheap stereo reviewer with A and B speaker outs. Usually you can find a Yamaha for about$125-150 on accessories4less.com


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Only issue with a cheaper stereo receiver is I have no way to hook it up to my Denon avr (no pre-outs on the Denon zone 2 unfortunately) and a cheap avr doesn’t have AirPlay 2, so can’t combine audio that way either.

I got some advice on another forum too that piggy back wiring speakers 2 on 1channel is risky when running impedance values that close to the min/max. I don’t want to damage any equipment.

I think what I’m gonna do is get a pair of theKlipsch AW-650 and install them on the corner of the house. Not a perfect stereo sound stage, but I think this setup should carry enough sound around both sides of the deck and into backyard. And with this setup I shouldn’t have any risk of damaging any equipment.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Gotcha, thanks.
What do you think about the Polk Atrium 8 which has a stereo mode? I’m having a little difficulty understanding what the ohm load would be for this speaker. How many of the 8’s do you think I could run on my zone 2?

Also, what about wiring in series? Isn’t that supposed to increase the ohms?
The Atrium speakers are decent but wiring three in parallel still poses a problem WRT impedance.

Is it possible to run additional speakers to the outside? If so, I would consider a multi-channel amplifier from Parts Express- it's basically the same as the Russound, etc but it has the Dayton name on it. I have used them and the ones I installed are still working after being in place for years- one is over ten years old, another isn't much newer. These amps can be used in stereo or mono, bridged, each channel has its own input jack and the amp has two 'Buss' settings, so you can use one pair of stereo jacks for the whole thing, if you want. If you would use it for two zones, you could set it to feed some speakers from Buss 1, the others from Buss 2. If you want to use other channels for something else, you still have the ability to set the input to 'Line'. It can be set to turn on as soon as the signal hits it, you can turn it on manually or with a smart switch or 12V trigger. If you need to trigger something else (I used to like muting volume controls because nobody will be surprised when the system turns on), the trigger output jack operates just by turning the amp on.

I have used this model (not refurbished) and I have seen an 8 channel version.


DO NOT wire speakers parallel and use an amplifier in bridged mono mode- the effective impedance is half of the actual load and the amplifier will shut off.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Only issue with a cheaper stereo receiver is I have no way to hook it up to my Denon avr (no pre-outs on the Denon zone 2 unfortunately) and a cheap avr doesn’t have AirPlay 2, so can’t combine audio that way either.

I got some advice on another forum too that piggy back wiring speakers 2 on 1channel is risky when running impedance values that close to the min/max. I don’t want to damage any equipment.

I think what I’m gonna do is get a pair of theKlipsch AW-650 and install them on the corner of the house. Not a perfect stereo sound stage, but I think this setup should carry enough sound around both sides of the deck and into backyard. And with this setup I shouldn’t have any risk of damaging any equipment.
One thing about some AVRs that have additional zones- you can set the output to Mono, which is very helpful for outdoor speaker installations, especially when the speakers are farther apart. The ping-pong effect of the vocals or instruments bouncing from one channel to the other is eliminated and really, do you care about whether it's stereo when you're closer to one speaker? If you still need an AVR, look for one that allows this. I haven't used other brands for this application, but I know the Denon models have a Mono setting for Zone2/Zone 3.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
One thing about some AVRs that have additional zones- you can set the output to Mono, which is very helpful for outdoor speaker installations, especially when the speakers are farther apart. The ping-pong effect of the vocals or instruments bouncing from one channel to the other is eliminated and really, do you care about whether it's stereo when you're closer to one speaker? If you still need an AVR, look for one that allows this. I haven't used other brands for this application, but I know the Denon models have a Mono setting for Zone2/Zone 3.
The Atrium speakers are decent but wiring three in parallel still poses a problem WRT impedance.

Is it possible to run additional speakers to the outside? If so, I would consider a multi-channel amplifier from Parts Express- it's basically the same as the Russound, etc but it has the Dayton name on it. I have used them and the ones I installed are still working after being in place for years- one is over ten years old, another isn't much newer. These amps can be used in stereo or mono, bridged, each channel has its own input jack and the amp has two 'Buss' settings, so you can use one pair of stereo jacks for the whole thing, if you want. If you would use it for two zones, you could set it to feed some speakers from Buss 1, the others from Buss 2. If you want to use other channels for something else, you still have the ability to set the input to 'Line'. It can be set to turn on as soon as the signal hits it, you can turn it on manually or with a smart switch or 12V trigger. If you need to trigger something else (I used to like muting volume controls because nobody will be surprised when the system turns on), the trigger output jack operates just by turning the amp on.

I have used this model (not refurbished) and I have seen an 8 channel version.


DO NOT wire speakers parallel and use an amplifier in bridged mono mode- the effective impedance is half of the actual load and the amplifier will shut off.
How would he use an external amp with his current avr?
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
How would he use an external amp with his current avr?
Since it doesn't have pre-out for anything other than the subs, the only way would be to use an outboard HEOS device and group it with the AVR if he wants to listen to the same music if he wants independent control via an app.

If it's not a long walk to the area where the equipment is located, an Art HeadAmp could be used for connecting the Rec Out from the AVR to the multi-channel amplifier, then adjust the speakers as needed. It doesn't waste power the way a resistive speaker selector/level control would and each pair of channels can be configured as needed, rather than forcing the used running them in stereo, as would be required with a selector with controls. If one pair is covering a larger area and requires more output, four channels can be bridged so each receives more power without the need to subtract power from the others, just to make one pair louder. The HeadAmp is a lot less money than a speaker selector with level controls, too.

I have one of these in the system for a fitness facility and the big room has four pairs of in-ceiling speakers, each pair used as its own zone, even though they're not separated. One pair is closer to the end wall, the opposite end has overhead doors and the two pairs in the middle have no boundaries, so balancing 'on the fly' is more difficult and if a zone doesn't need to be as loud, it's a PITA to have to reach the back of the amp and adjust the controls.

 
W

Westin Jones

Audiophyte
Since it doesn't have pre-out for anything other than the subs, the only way would be to use an outboard HEOS device and group it with the AVR if he wants to listen to the same music if he wants independent control via an app.

If it's not a long walk to the area where the equipment is located, an Art HeadAmp could be used for connecting the Rec Out from the AVR to the multi-channel amplifier, then adjust the speakers as needed. It doesn't waste power the way a resistive speaker selector/level control would and each pair of channels can be configured as needed, rather than forcing the used running them in stereo, as would be required with a selector with controls. If one pair is covering a larger area and requires more output, four channels can be bridged so each receives more power without the need to subtract power from the others, just to make one pair louder. The HeadAmp is a lot less money than a speaker selector with level controls, too.

I have one of these in the system for a fitness facility and the big room has four pairs of in-ceiling speakers, each pair used as its own zone, even though they're not separated. One pair is closer to the end wall, the opposite end has overhead doors and the two pairs in the middle have no boundaries, so balancing 'on the fly' is more difficult and if a zone doesn't need to be as loud, it's a PITA to have to reach the back of the amp and adjust the controls.

yeah, i do want independent control of each zone's volume via an app. So I think I'm just gonna stick with a pair of Klipsch AW-650's connected to the Zone 2. Then I can connect my phone to the AVR via Airplay 2 to play music, and control the volume of each zone via the Denon app. If I later find I want 2 pairs of stereo speakers outside, I'd need a new AVR. Or maybe I would look to add an additional amp or another AVR with Airplay 2 that could power 4 speakers, which I would use in addition to my current AVR as a dedicated outdoor amp and combine with my HT via Airplay 2 on my phone to have another "zone".

Also -- and maybe this is something I should start a new post about -- i just want to make sure the combination of all these speakers with my AVR isn't at risk of under powering my speakers/overpowering my amp.

Here's my setup with specs:
Am I ok powering everything with this amp?

Currently the 5.1 system sounds GREAT (to me) for both HT and music use. I never have the amp at more that 60-65 on the volume level and that is LOUD. Often I'm at 40-50 volume. This would suggest to me that I have plenty of power left over for Zone 2, unless it doesn't work that way?

Most of the time I listen at very reasonable volumes and I'm guessing in lower volume settings I'm not at risk of blowing my amp. However, based on the above specs, am I at risk at louder volumes, particularly when both zones are active? And if it were to blow, does it just shut off the amp, or can the speakers be dammaged?

Thanks again for your help!
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Generally if you use the volume control well, i.e. if things sound bad you turn it down, you'll be fine and at your stated volume levels thats not likely to be an issue in the first place....now if you turned the volume all the way up, yeah things could happen (like a drunken party when people start to play dj :) ). Each of the amp channels in the avr is equally capable at a given moment, and not too likely you'll have full demand simultaneously in all channels either (and you'd probably tax the system the most when using an all-channel stereo mode). As to the general indication of your volume scale, you did calibrate by using Audyssey or with an spl meter? Seems a tad on the low side, and I'm generally keeping the volume down from my younger days. Power gets chewed up not linearly but logarithmically....so each time you raise the volume dial by 3dB you're doubling the power used.
 
W

Westin Jones

Audiophyte
Generally if you use the volume control well, i.e. if things sound bad you turn it down, you'll be fine and at your stated volume levels thats not likely to be an issue in the first place....now if you turned the volume all the way up, yeah things could happen (like a drunken party when people start to play dj :) ). Each of the amp channels in the avr is equally capable at a given moment, and not too likely you'll have full demand simultaneously in all channels either (and you'd probably tax the system the most when using an all-channel stereo mode). As to the general indication of your volume scale, you did calibrate by using Audyssey or with an spl meter? Seems a tad on the low side, and I'm generally keeping the volume down from my younger days. Power gets chewed up not linearly but logarithmically....so each time you raise the volume dial by 3dB you're doubling the power used.
Yep I have my volume capped at 70 in anticipation of those drunken djs you speak of!

I do listen to music in all stereo mode. So will err on the side of caution.

I configured using Audyssey. Is there a setting where I can lower the volume ratio? Or i would have to turn off Audyssey and configure manual? I do wish I had more play in my volume adjustments, especially when turning up/down on my phone.

But in general it sounds like I’m fine with my amp/speaker choice? I was mostly worried seeing impedance values on the speakers lower than the 4ohm rating on my AVR.

Thanks!
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Yep I have my volume capped at 70 in anticipation of those drunken djs you speak of!

I do listen to music in all stereo mode. So will err on the side of caution.

I configured using Audyssey. Is there a setting where I can lower the volume ratio? Or i would have to turn off Audyssey and configure manual? I do wish I had more play in my volume adjustments, especially when turning up/down on my phone.

But in general it sounds like I’m fine with my amp/speaker choice? I was mostly worried seeing impedance values on the speakers lower than the 4ohm rating on my AVR.

Thanks!
Not sure what you mean by volume ratio. You can calibrate to the THX standard for the volume scale with Audyssey or with an spl meter, but they shouldn't be much different. Are you turning volume of your app up and down or using the remote app for the avr to turn volume up and down?

Yeah I think you're generally fine with your avr/speaker setup (especially with the single pair of speakers on zone 2).
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
yeah, i do want independent control of each zone's volume via an app. So I think I'm just gonna stick with a pair of Klipsch AW-650's connected to the Zone 2. Then I can connect my phone to the AVR via Airplay 2 to play music, and control the volume of each zone via the Denon app. If I later find I want 2 pairs of stereo speakers outside, I'd need a new AVR. Or maybe I would look to add an additional amp or another AVR with Airplay 2 that could power 4 speakers, which I would use in addition to my current AVR as a dedicated outdoor amp and combine with my HT via Airplay 2 on my phone to have another "zone".

Also -- and maybe this is something I should start a new post about -- i just want to make sure the combination of all these speakers with my AVR isn't at risk of under powering my speakers/overpowering my amp.

Here's my setup with specs:
Am I ok powering everything with this amp?

Currently the 5.1 system sounds GREAT (to me) for both HT and music use. I never have the amp at more that 60-65 on the volume level and that is LOUD. Often I'm at 40-50 volume. This would suggest to me that I have plenty of power left over for Zone 2, unless it doesn't work that way?

Most of the time I listen at very reasonable volumes and I'm guessing in lower volume settings I'm not at risk of blowing my amp. However, based on the above specs, am I at risk at louder volumes, particularly when both zones are active? And if it were to blow, does it just shut off the amp, or can the speakers be dammaged?

Thanks again for your help!
Your surround speakers have absolutely nothing to do with the outdoor speakers.

It's hard to predict what would happen if the amp pukes- make sure it doesn't overheat, don't connect it to loads it can't handle and don't crank it wide open.

Speaker peak power means nothing when the amplifier can't come close to it.
 

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