With advances in the accessibility of music, no longer must we limit the listening experience to one set location. Speakers can be placed pretty much anywhere, and having music to jam to outdoors is a great way to enhance a beautiful sunny day.
In order to get the best out of an outdoor speaker setup, a receiver or amplifier (click here to know the difference) is required to power your sound system. Below I have listed the best options which will enhance your outdoor listening experience.
5 Best Amps & Receivers for Outdoor Speakers
1. Sonos Amp
The Sonos Amp allows you to connect all of your audio to your wired speakers, whether it is a turntable, CD player, or stored audio files of streaming services. The amp is perfect for powering outdoor speakers.
When you connect this receiver to your speakers or TV, you can enjoy the audio in stereo. A pair of Sonos One wireless surrounds speakers can also be hooked up so you can simultaneously enjoy audio in multiple locations around your yard and house.
The Sonos Amp is design to be rack mountable, and has a built in heat regulating facility which allows air to move through it freely and prevents overheating. Another bonus is that Sonus have thousands of unique radio programs that can be played through the amplifier, a combination of worldwide live radio and their own playlists.
With the Sonos S2 app hooked up to the receiver, you have an all-in-one hub for your audio and TV. You can effortlessly stream music through Wi-Fi from the app, to the amp, and out of your outdoor speakers through any of the major streaming platforms.
Sonos have built a reputation for their sound clarity and practicality over the past few years. The 125 watt Sonos Amp is a convenient addition to their line of quality products. It has the capabilities to play audio from any source and reproduce it with a crisp accuracy both outdoors and indoors.
With 125 years of experience in audio manufacturing, Yamaha’s expertise speaks for itself. The R-S202 receiver reproduces audio as it was intended to be listened to. With Bluetooth connectivity, you can easily stream music from any source, to the speakers and location of your choice.
Designed for power efficiency with minimal interference, the R-S202’s power transformer has been placed in close proximity to the amp circuit to maximize the supply of power. The result is a receiver that is capable of ample volume and detail to liven up an outdoor gathering.
If you enjoy radio, you’re in luck. This Yamaha amplifier has 40 embedded station presets in both AM and FM. The built in ECO mode limits the power consumption to 0.5 watts, a handy tool for energy efficiency.
The biggest selling point of the R-S202 is without a doubt its ability to produce detailed transients, clear low end and accurate treble for an overall thick sound that you would expect from a Yamaha product.
3. Pyle PTA44
This 500 watt, four-channel amplifier is well suited for powering your outdoor speaker system. It has the capacity to power multiple speakers with 48 ohms of impedance, ensuring the sound quality is preserved.
Wireless streaming is no problem for the Pyle PTA44 thanks to its instant Bluetooth connectivity. Whether your preferred audio device is a phone, tablet or laptop, you can pair it with this receiver with ease.
Pyle has generously installed seven inputs on this amplifier, which can be connected by aux, USB or micro USB. This makes it possible to play music from a record player or an MP3. There are also two microphone inputs at your disposal, with a talk over button.
Due to the random acoustics that occur when playing audio outdoors, the unit has an EQ control which can be tweaked using the provided remote control. This allows you to tailor the sound to suit the setting.
Sony’s STR-DN1080 provides you with cinematic audio at home. With phantom surround sound settings, you can experience immersive audio from 7 channels. The built it Chrome cast allows you to easily control the output of this receiver.
The STEDN1080 also features DTS:X and Dolby Atmos support, two of the ultimate tools for providing the ultimate sonic experience. Simply connect this amplifier to your outdoor speakers, and the auto calibration will tailor the output to make it as clear and acoustically correct as possible.
On the back of this Sony receiver there are six HDMI inputs for the purpose of watching video, two outputs, a USB port and AV connections which allow you to hook up a TV, phone or Blu-ray player with ease.
The AudioSource AMP100 includes some pretty impressive features. Firstly, it is perfect for multi-room audio setups. The sound quality doesn’t diminish regardless of how many speakers are connected to this receiver.
With two channels that are rated at 50 watts of output power, the AMP100 is perfect for setting up an outdoor speaker system. With a frequency response of 10Hz to 30kHz, you can guarantee clarity in the bass, mid-range and treble frequencies.
Another useful capability of this system is that it automatically turns on when you start playing music through your chosen device. So you can activate the audio outdoors without having to get up and go inside.
With mounted treble, bass and balance controls on the back of the AMP100, you can manipulate the output to your taste. The unit itself has a slimline design that won’t take up too much space.
With over 40 years of experience making audio related products, at least you shouldn't have to worry about build quality and reliability with AudioSource products for your outdoor speaker setup.
Planning Your Outdoor Speaker System
Setting up outdoor audio requires planning, and the consideration of a few factors. Here are some things you have to consider:
- The size of your outdoor area
- Mounting locations
- Power requirements
If your outdoor area isn’t huge, it’s a good idea to install stereo speakers with a distance of around 10ft between them. Position them in a way that your preferred sitting area is as close to the middle as possible. This way, the stereo panning will be most effective and you will clearly get sound from both speakers.
For larger areas, it’s better to have around six speakers spread out evenly, this time its better to send mono signals from your receiver, rather than using a stereo set up. This will help to avoid phase cancellation or a slight lag in the audio.
Size of the Area
Depending on the size of the area you want to fill with sound, you will need more or less speakers.
If it’s just a small area, like a patio or small yard, two speakers will probably be enough.
For a large yard, you’ll need more speakers set up in ‘zones’ if you want to cover the entire yard. For example, the patio zone, swimming pool zone, etc.
Some receivers are only capable of powering two speakers, once you know how many speakers you need or want to use, you’ll be able to pick the right receiver.
If you have a covered patio, in-ceiling speakers will work fine. You can also get moisture resistant speakers if you live in a very humid climate.
For an open patio or yard, the most common mounting place is under the eaves. This helps to protect the speakers from rain as they’re usually only weather resistant and not weather proof.
Just don’t mount the speakers higher than 10 feet, otherwise the audio won’t be as clear as you want it.
Wiring the Speakers
Depending on the setup of your speakers and the distance from the receiver, you’ll need certain wiring to connect the speakers to the receiver.
If you have a stereo speaker setup, use four-conductor cable to connect the speakers. These cables have wires to connect both the left and right channels.
If the speakers are 80 feet or less from the receiver, use 16 gauge cables. Up to 200 feet from the receiver, use 14 gauge.
The number of speakers you’re using will determine how much power the receiver needs to output for the speakers.
This means that if you’re only planning on using two speakers, something like the AudioSource AMP100 will be enough.
The more speakers you use, the more power they’ll need to draw from the receiver.
You can also get a 70-volt commercial grade amp. This gives you space to add more speakers down the line, and you’ll need less wiring for the setup.
They do require a bit more planning to setup, but the price difference between commercial and residential grade amps isn’t too great, and you could end up saving money with a commercial grade amp.
I’ve included a diverse range of receivers and amplifiers which are suitable for powering outdoor speakers in this guide, so there should be the ideal one to suit your specific outdoor area and to produce the quality of audio you desire. Hopefully it will provide you with many pleasant evenings in the yard listening to your favorite artists.