Cool Tech Wander Project Issue 11

Ah, April, with you comes the magic of warm air. That of course, combined with cold water in the ocean makes for thunderstorms and other weather disturbances. The implements of the fireplace go into standby mode for a few weeks. We move to the outdoor fire pit and the grill though shortly when it is a little warmer.

Today’s cool tech wander that of outside speakers. I have two different types of outside speakers and one indoor speaker that I can take outside and plug in. We have a back deck and a back porch. The deck sits over about ½ the porch. The back porch has the hot tub, and we have added a beautiful sun setter awning that covers the hot tub so you can enjoy the tub when it is sunny.

sonos baseThe initial outdoor speaker I am going to talk about is the Sonos play 3. We switched to entirely Sonos speakers inside the house. We have speakers in the kitchen, living room, media room and my office. The Kitchen Sonos speaker can also be taken outdoors and used as a speaker. Wi-Fi extends to roughly about a 8 feet past our fence. I won’t boost the wi-fi signal any more than that. I don’t want someone sitting on the street below our house using free wi-fi. Or worse a hacker sitting there trying to crack the home network. The Sonos Play 3 is a very easy to use and setup speaker. I can take it outside to the porch or the deck and play XM/Sirius, Iheartradio, Pandora and any other service. I can also play my other media sources thanks to Control4. Although with the recent change to the Sonos software, the Control4 system can no longer switch sources on the fly.

Another speaker we have is a Bluetooth JBL speaker. I got it originally for the boat, but the boat has better speakers now, so I am going to use it as a speaker phone when I want to sit outside. Because of the nature of the iPhone, I now have access to all my audio sources outside via the JBL speaker. That makes for an enjoyable summer. I had the JBL portable speaker on the boat last year, so this year it will be on the porch.

Finally, the last speaker is an old PA system I have. I know, how many people truly need a PA system at their house. I do, but I probably don’t. It does have an old integrated 30 pin iPod connector, that is quickly converted to lightening with the apple adapter so I can connect my iPad and my iPhone to it still. The device is nice because it lets you directly connect microphones, but also because it is battery operated. One of the things I don’t have outside is lots of plugs. (there are a total of 8 inconveniently placed plugs in the back of the house).

The most important decision in outdoor speakers is do you want to leave them outside, connected or bring them in. For me, bringing them in and taking them out per use is much better than leaving them outside. I’ve looked at, and considered some times over the years, having permanent speakers outdoors, but I always end up going with portable speakers. Although, in fairness, I have considered permanent speakers many times. The last being last year, as we added the porch to our house, and suddenly had a larger outdoor seating area (deck and port cover the entire back of our house now).

But, I returned to using the portable speakers I have now. It is I guess as much my preference as it is a recommendation. I do recommend, however, that as you consider outdoor speakers, think about what sources you want to share with the speakers.The problem with LP’s if you aren’t in the room is that they stop playing at the end of the last song, and have to be changed. Internet music sources are great, as long as you have the internet. Your music collection (as LONG AS IT IS LEGAL) is probably the easiest way to guarantee continuous music unless of course, you have a power failure.

My recommendation based on my experience is to consider the Sonos system as your core base music speaker system for your house. It is expandable, offers lots of options for connection and helps you ultimately get your music to where you are.

Now if I could only find my car keys.

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listening to my music sitting on the bay!