My summer staycation outdoor speaker project. Part 2 -- Planning the install
Ken Nail has written about car audio for Crutchfield since 2003, after four years as Crutchfield Sales Advisor, and 10 years as a music teacher. He's an avid music listener, whose favorites are classical and film music. When not chained to a desk, Ken spends most of his time training for triathlons and marathons, and likes getting outside for backpacking, downhill skiing, and bicycle touring. He attended West Virginia University, where he received a Master's Degree in Music Performance and a Bachelor's Degree in History.
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In my first post in my outdoor speaker project series I talked about the gear I'd need to get my project for adding outdoor speakers to my deck off the ground. Now I'll take a look at how I'm planning the installation.
In any home remodeling or improvement project, it's important to take some time at the beginning of the project and sketch out what you want to do. This helps you ensure that you'll have the right materials and the right tools to do the job correctly, and to plan out the work so that you can do it in the minimum amount of time. In the case of my project there are four key parts to the project. Let's take a look at each part.
Part 1 — Wiring inside the house
Inside, I'll be installing a Niles® Audio 4-post wall outlet with speaker terminals behind my stereo cabinet, which is located in a corner of the living room see image at right). This way I can easily connect or disconnect the stereo's "B" speaker outputs to the outdoor speakers with a minimum of hassle. It'll also be a lot cleaner installation than simply running lengths of speaker wire through the walls to the outside.
Part 2 — Outside wiring
Since the stereo is on the opposite side of the house, I don't want to try running the speaker wire through the walls of the house to the deck in the rear. I'll bring the wires outside at the front of the house, (below) and then run them around the side to the deck.
As you can see from the photo below, the only real obstacle along the way is the brick chimney. Here I plan on dropping the wires to ground level so they're not too obtrusive. Everywhere else I'll paint the wires after I install them so they won't be noticeable.
Part 3 — The volume control
The volume control is a key feature of the installation. I don't have to have it, but otherwise it'd be necessary to go inside each time I want to turn up (or turn down) the music. I'll mount the volume control to the right of the downspout so it's out of the way, and run the wires up to it through a length of PVC pipe that I'll paint to match the exterior of the house. In the picture below you can see the drainpipe on the corner of the house. I'll place the volume control to the right of the drainpipe, about four feet up from the surface of the deck.
Part 4 — The speakers
The roof's overhang presents the perfect place to mount the speakers. As you can see in the picture below, they'll be well protected from the elements here. Even though the speakers are built for outdoor use, I'll feel more comfortable if they have some protection from heavy rain, snow, ice, and lots of direct sunlight. At this point I'm not certain about the exact locations I'll use, but since the speakers will be the last thing I put up, I'll be able to experiment a bit with different speaker positions at the end of the job.
Next time I check in, I'll update the steps of the installation.