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Moph

Patio audio design

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Hi all

 

I'm having a fairly large patio built in the next month or so with a cedar lined vaulted gable roof, much like the one in this example image.  Basic details are:

 

  • length 12.9m 
  • width 5.4m at one end stepping in to 4.2m at the other end
  • 2.1m high at the eaves rising to 2.8m at the flat section beneath the ridge
  • liquid limestone floor slab

 

I've attached a sketch layout showing roughly where the lounge, dining and BBQ areas will be.  My question is, what's the best way to achieve a reasonably decent (but not audiophile level) setup for ambient music and the occasional chill out session?  It pretty much has to run off a Sonos Connect or Connect:Amp as we use that elsewhere in the house, and that I have budget approval for ~$1500 all up from SWMBO (excluding installation).  

 

My thoughts thus far are a Sonos Connect:Amp running 4x 80W 8 ohm B&W CCM382 down-firing ceiling mount speakers installed at regular intervals along the centreline of the patio in LRLR configuration, wired in parallel to give 4 ohms per channel.  That'd give 55W RMS per speaker which should be satisfactory given they won't ever be driven hard.  I've auditioned the CCM382 and liked the sound of the ceiling-mounted pair in store, but I'm not sure how that's going to translate to a patio with two open walls and a solid limestone floor slab beneath...?

 

Any suggestions?  I have a quote for $1650 from a local hifi place for the Connect:Amp, 4x CCM382 and 30m of 4 core 16g cable ... slightly over budget but within normal wriggle room =)

 

Cheers

vtKWx4X.png

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Do you need to use in ceiling speakers?

 

You are much, much better off with 2 well placed high quality enclosed outdoor speakers than in 4 ceiling imho. 

 

Personally i I highly recommend these:

http://au.yamaha.com/en/products/audio-visual/speaker-systems/outdoor-speakers/ns-aw992__g/?mode=model

 

If you must use in ceiling speakers then suggest you look into dyna boxs and or addition of a discrete outdoor subwoofer as bass response ( even for 8 inch) in ceiling speakers not great at all.

 

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For an ambient/social setting like this, more speakers are better to an extent. The more speakers, the less sonic 'hot spots' there will be for people sitting close to a speaker. For the size of your space I would say 4 is a minimum, 8 would be ideal. 

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I find that in ceiling speakers are the worst at causing sonic 'hot spots'.  I agree with @Drew  - enclosed quality outdoor speakers give a much, much better effect.  You usually need more in ceiling speakers because they hot spot.  Placement is key, as usual.  I went PSB CS1000's positioned at either end of the seating arrangements, angled to fire just above everyone's heads, and there's no hot spotting at all - audio is evenly spread and everyone gets stereo - meaning I can keep the volume to ambient levels and it 'sits' in the background perfectly.  Of course, when I want to turn it up I can and there's clean head room to do so. 

 

Of course your placement will vary to mine, but personally I'd stick with these same principles -

 

P1000962.JPG

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Thanks for the feedback!  No, I don't have a specific requirement that limits me to ceiling mounted speakers - I just thought it would be a nice neat solution.  I must admit that I didn't realise that hotspotting would be such an issue; I've never experienced a patio with in-line ceiling mount speakers as I was proposing, so don't have any point of reference as to performance.  Auditioning in-store is difficult too due to floor displays beneath the speakers and audio spill from other parts of the store.

 

I've sketched up a few alternatives below - top left (A) is in-ceiling speakers as I proposed; top right (B) is outdoor speakers focused on the living areas; bottom left (C) is outdoor speakers mounted at the corners; and bottom right (D) is a less attractive arrangement firing across the living areas.  I'm guessing either B or C would be the general consensus for best SQ?  I'm not fussed with not having good coverage at the BBQ end - the space and our budget don't lend themselves to an outdoor kitchen, so the BBQ area is purely functional.

 

The space probably would lend itself to six speakers, but I can't really consider that due to the extra cost for wiring + amp blowing my budget.  Likewise 6 ohm speakers like the Yamaha NS-AW992's are out of contention as they'll present 3 ohms impedance when wired in parallel, which is out of spec for the Connect:Amp - again requiring a separate amp which won't fall within range of my budget.  I figure four decent speakers on the Connect:Amp is going to sound better overall than six cheaper (or four decent 6 ohm) speakers on a Connect + separate amp.

 

So if I was to look at PSB CS1000's or similar, do you think Option B or C would be the way to go?  Option C is probably the tidiest construction-wise as there are gable trusses at both speaker locations, but I could probably work something out to achieve Option B if it is preferable.

 

Thanks a bunch for your advice =)

 

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Edited by Moph

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Yeah when I looked at your floor plan I considered B and C to be the options I'd go for.  Aesthetically it's too hard to say off a drawing, but based on your knowledge of the lay out it seems B & C would be fine.  I'd be mindful of the smoke that would emanate from the BBQ, over time would it impact the corner speaker in diagram C?  If not then I don't see any real issues between B & C - go with what looks better/easier to set-up.

 

With good quality wall/eave mounted speakers you'll get good results at the BBQ anyway from the speakers facing the BBQ.  Obviously the sound field is inside the firing area of the speakers, but the audio spill will still be very good with a quality system.  In my photo I posted off to the left of the image is our backyard - believe me, no loss of quality audio out there.

 

If you're considering four speakers in that area then I'd also consider the PSB CS500's (http://www.deniswhite.com.au/psb-cs500-outdoor-speakers.html).  Not quite as much bass as the CS1000's, but really would achieve an excellent result based on you wanting ambient music and the occasional chill out session.  My CS1000's can be heard clearly several blocks away no worries, so a bit of overkill really - I'd hate to think what four would do!  In all honesty, the CS500's would have done my area just fine, but that wasn't what I was after...

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I use 2 of the Yamaha speakers linked above near the corners of the house walls facing out into the veranda (can't take a photo as at work).  It's a large area (at least 100m2) and they fill that area very nicely with good spill out into the yard.  Honestly I have been blown away with them.  I am not convince you need 4 speakers, and with your budget I would be inclined to go with 2 higher quality speakers than try to stretch it to four,  Especially since all running of that little sonos amp which frankly have found not that powerful...

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1 minute ago, Kaynin said:

I'd be mindful of the smoke that would emanate from the BBQ, over time would it impact the corner speaker in diagram C?

 

There will be a 900w stainless steel rangehood above the BBQ at eaves level vented through the roof, so it shouldn't be an issue.  The BBQ is a Weber Genesis E320 (hood down cooking) and the smoke / heat vents out the rear of the hood, so it's unlikely that much will escape the rangehood.

 

I did see the CS500's but the reviews on the CS1000's look pretty darn good and they're only a $200 additional cost overall.  If they audition well, it's a no brainer to go for the additional bass response IMO.  I'll have a listen to them later today if I can clear a bit of work this morning.  

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5 minutes ago, Drew said:

I use 2 of the Yamaha speakers linked above near the corners of the house walls facing out into the veranda (can't take a photo as at work).  It's a large area (at least 100m2) and they fill that area very nicely with good spill out into the yard.  Honestly I have been blown away with them.  I am not convince you need 4 speakers, and with your budget I would be inclined to go with 2 higher quality speakers than try to stretch it to four,  Especially since all running of that little sonos amp which frankly have found not that powerful...

 

While I know it's not possible to 'stage' a patio given there's no one listening position, it is just gut feel that I'll get better fill and coverage out of four than two.  If I went with two then the reasonable locations would be:

 

1) both at the gable end near the lounge; not as much dispersion into the rear yard

2) both at the gable end near the BBQ; located at the opposite end of the patio to the living areas

3) one centrally at each gable end; might work, not sure

 

I guess Option 1 would be the 'normal' one for a 2 speaker setup but I'm not convinced that it's going to sound good from the dining table, even at ambient levels.  It would work fine for chilling on the couch with a beer or a glass of red though.

 

The Connect:Amp isn't a monster but is rated for 110W per channel at 4 ohms, which I reckon should be enough for my needs.  

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26 minutes ago, Moph said:

 

I did see the CS500's but the reviews on the CS1000's look pretty darn good and they're only a $200 additional cost overall.  If they audition well, it's a no brainer to go for the additional bass response IMO. 

 

 

Agreed. 

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I note on your layouts you have labelled the speakers L and R. I would suggest if possible to run all speakers mono. It's nit-picking, but if you have a track which utilises a lot of panning, or has some instruments/vocals on a L or R channel only, it's not going to sound consistent for everyone. 

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4 minutes ago, Krispy Audio said:

I note on your layouts you have labelled the speakers L and R. I would suggest if possible to run all speakers mono. It's nit-picking, but if you have a track which utilises a lot of panning, or has some instruments/vocals on a L or R channel only, it's not going to sound consistent for everyone. 

 

Unfortunately that's a limitation of the Sonos Connect ... no summed mono option.  Again it would mean using the Connect with a separate amp, and that's just not cost or space effective for this install.  I'll just have to live it - it's not a deal breaker for an outdoor system in my book.

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Choose quality over quantity.  That goes for speakers as well as watts ;)

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Why not get two single stereo speakers then?

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11 minutes ago, Drew said:

Choose quality over quantity.  That goes for speakers as well as watts ;)

 

 

He is.  He's auditioning PSB's...   ;)

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9 minutes ago, thathifiguy said:

Why not get two single stereo speakers then?

 

Haven't seen any individual stereo outdoor speakers in my search thus far?  Just stereo pairs.

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2 minutes ago, Moph said:

 

Haven't seen any individual stereo outdoor speakers in my search thus far?  Just stereo pairs.

 

Niles do some nice ones. Check them out

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Just now, thathifiguy said:

 

Niles do some nice ones. Check them out

 

 

I have Niles as my in-ceilings in my rumpus room - a quality built speaker that sound superb.

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I had Boston Acoustic Voyager 6's mounted under a large patio, on wall just under ceiling.

Performed exceptionally well with both background and party level dB.

Local pricing was cost prohibitive so I imported mine from U.S and saved plenty.

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Hmmm.  I've had an idea, which is generally not a good thing =)


The patio will effectively have two usage modes:

 

1) Entertaining - aiming for good fill and spread across the entire patio at lower volumes

2) Chilling to music - stereo staging (preferably) in the lounge section only at higher volumes

 

Is there any reason then why I couldn't splice in a simple DPST switch for the BBQ-end speaker circuit?  With the switch in the on position, all four speakers would be connected at 4 ohms per channel.  Flipping it to the off position would disable the BBQ-end speakers leaving just the lounge area speakers connected at 8 ohms per channel.  

 

Seems like the best of both worlds. Quiet ambient fill through four speakers when needed, or louder stereo staging at the lounge end only with less strain on the amp.

 

Thoughts?

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Had a listen to the CS1000's today against a pair of Krix Tropix and Polk Atrium 6's.  The Krix were a much brighter speaker to my ears (overly so) with the PSB's sounding very musical by comparison.  The Polk's were a much closer match to the PSB's and would likely keep me very happy, but the bass floor of the PSB's sounded slightly more controlled and filled out so they got the nod.

 

TL : DR Bought a Connect:Amp and 4x PSB CS1000's.  Picking up the CS1000's on Monday as they didn't have four new in stock, but have the Connect:Amp running some Jensen bookshelf speakers in the loungeroom in the meantime =)

 

Thanks again for the advice.

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A wonderful sounding speaker, no doubt about that.  Their bass performance is excellent...and you've got 4 of them!  They'll do exactly what you need, in spades...

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On 6 January 2017 at 7:55 AM, Drew said:

Do you need to use in ceiling speakers?

 

You are much, much better off with 2 well placed high quality enclosed outdoor speakers than in 4 ceiling imho. 

 

Personally i I highly recommend these:

http://au.yamaha.com/en/products/audio-visual/speaker-systems/outdoor-speakers/ns-aw992__g/?mode=model

 

If you must use in ceiling speakers then suggest you look into dyna boxs and or addition of a discrete outdoor subwoofer as bass response ( even for 8 inch) in ceiling speakers not great at all.

 

 

I have those Yamaha speakers over my back deck and they work a treat. Did not pay that much for them tho. Got them through a buddy in the trade. Easy to install too.

I also 2nd the opinion to avoid ceiling speakers. I worked in the AV industry and installed both types and unless you used fully enclosed ceiling speakers they will not sound as good, plus speakers facing straight down causes the sound to reflect off the floor back at a the ceiling causing slap.

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

Edited by spin33

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Here's the finished patio!  Well almost finished - still waiting on patio blinds and a small section of flashing to the gable end, but it's done to a point where we can move furniture in this weekend.

 

The CS1000's and Sonos Connect:Amp work a treat.  Wouldn't pump the kind of volume associated with a street party but nonetheless drive much louder than I'd be comfortable subjecting my neighbours to even on a Saturday afternoon, so no issues there.  Good sound fill along the entirety of the patio with no 'dead' areas so I'm pretty much as happy as a pig in mud.

 

I was a little underwhelmed by the packaging of the CS1000's though - none of them came with the set screws required to lock the speaker in place on the sliding bracket; one came with the port plug missing (not an issue as I was removing them, but still...) and one had the wall bracket separate while the others had it in place on the sliding bracket.  They didn't look like they'd been opened and West Coast Hifi are sure they were new in box, so just some careless packaging.  West Coast are chasing down replacements for me anyway so not a big deal.

 

EDIT:  Also I noted online (after installing the speakers...) that it's best to install the tweeters towards the outside of the area.  I, of course, installed them all with tweeters on the inside.  Is it worth the half hour to remove them, spin them around and refit them?

 

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Edited by Moph

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Looks great!

 

Putting the tweeters on the outside will give a greater stereo effect..............maybe.

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