Grounds For Greater Audio

4 May 2022

Exterior music systems installed in gardens and the grounds of properties are a growing phenomenon as the trend for outdoor living, staycations and advanced technology meet to deliver a high-quality experience consumers love.

Exterior Music Systems

The success of exterior audio in the UK has been a relatively slow burn. The concept of high-performance domestic focused systems specifically designed for outside has been around for some time, but early manufacturers perhaps underestimated their potential in the Northern European market.

Early systems were mostly developed in the U.S for areas like the Californian market where outdoor living is a way of life, makers assumed wrongly that UK consumers did not spend much time outside. However, a few systems began to make their way over to Europe and many involved in the distribution of these products were surprised at how well they sold. Gradually the market has grown and is now one of the fastest expanding sectors in the high-quality AV world. However, it’s important to point out, this is specialist exterior audio, not just moving an inside product, outside.

Let’s go outside!

Exterior audio systems have been around almost as long as there have been audio systems. Some of the first speakers produced were public address systems that were mounted in train stations, on the outside of factories and other spaces where the equipment would largely be open to the elements. Over the decades these systems evolved to service areas such as the marine market and domestic pool areas where the technology evolved to make the systems super resistant to the elements being able to survive with ease extremes of temperature, and other challenges such as salt, dirt and insects. What was missing until relatively recently, was quality, the ability to design a system for domestic use which cares as much about the quality of the audio produced as systems designed for the inside.

Music and audio behave very differently outside than inside. The most obvious difference of course is that there are no walls to enclose the sound. Walls can create problems such as reflections and standing waves in the audio which interfere with clarity, but they also hold the sound in the space meaning creating volume and in particular strong bass sounds are easier inside than outside.

With an exterior audio system, products must be specially designed to focus the sound into the area you need it to be in and be able to deliver the right level of bass. Without going into too much technical detail, loads of research and design focus has gone into doing just that, so now customers can have systems to cover a small or large garden, patio/pool areas as well as much larger grounds for bigger properties. Exterior audio systems can now take their place alongside the growth in other high-quality exterior experiences such as exterior kitchens and high-quality BBQs. Another trend that has helps is where developments and renovations look to bring the ‘outside in’ using architectural design to link outside and inside spaces. For example, as consumers transition from their large open plan kitchen/lounge with large bi-folding doors into the garden, their music can follow them. 

Exterior Music Systems

The COVID situation has also had an effect here as many homeowners had to spend more time at home and have discovered that their homes can be great places to be. So rather than going out to enjoy themselves, they stay in and make the most of their homes and gardens. Exterior music systems have played a huge part in that from just enjoying alfresco dining to full on party time by the pool. The original meaning of ‘staycation’ was not a holiday in the UK, but a holiday at home and making customers home’s cooler places to be played a big part in that.

High-quality audio manufacturers have poured lots of their R&D time and money into developing a wide range of systems and so as an integrator of technology we can cater for any type of requirement. Systems from the likes of Sonance weave subtly into the space offering the chance to enjoy any type of music when enjoying the outside. If a more party vibe is what is called for a manufacturer such as L-Acoustics offers exterior music systems systems with the right amount of power and poise to deliver a large sound stage and entertain larger groups of people with ease.

So, when thinking about your customer’s exterior spaces, don’t forget the music, listening to audio outside is a real joy and adds a totally new dimension to the audio-visual life of any property.

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