Indoor/outdoor home audio help

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(Chris) #1

Hey everyone I just recently purchased a house and would like to have surround sound inside for my entertainment system but would also like to be able to play music outside. So my question is what is the easiest way to go about doing this.
I currently have a pioneer set up that I’ve been using for years but it obviously has no smart capabilities and doesn’t have zone abilities so I’m wondering if I should just keep it and buy another receiver and speakers or what.
I don’t really know what I need exactly but I wanna be able to control the hole outdoor system from smart things or my phone at least. Wanna be able to control FM transmitter and play music off my iPhone onto the system as well.
Not sure if going with the new Logitech harmony hub would be my answer or what.


(Brian) #2

Sonos is the easiest. Also great sounding. But $$$.

Read reviews. There are many options. Others will chime in here with their favorites.


(Chris) #3

Yeah looks as if the sonos connect amp does what I want but for 500 bucks might be better off buying a newer style home theater receiver with wifi capabilities and multi zone control.


(Michael) #4

My recommendation is to purchase a new receiver with multiple zones. This way you have the ability to play different things in different areas of your home. Here is an example in my house, kids want to watch movie in the family room during a party and the adults want to listen to music in the kitchen and/or outside. My Denon dual zone receiver allows that and each operate independently. I do have the ability to have the same input playing in both zones too. But basically you will need X zones for the different areas you want to play something different. My main zone is in the family room and my second zone feeds my dining room, kitchen, and outdoor speakers. I have wired volume controls in each room to control the volume for that room. Sonos and the wireless stuff is OK but I am old school and believe that wired speakers sound the best.

For outside speakers, I fortunately had the ability to run wires up into my wall and have a volume control just inside my deck door and from there the wire goes up into an attic space on the side of my bonus room above the garage. From there speakers are hanging under the eaves. They work great.

As far as control, Denon, Marantz and many others have network enabled receivers that you can control via apps or websites. Some folks on the community have integrated these with SmartThings too so search the community for that. Or you can easily buy a Logitech remote and control it that way too. I will be honest though the automation with SmartThings isn’t that useful since once you have the input selected and the volume set all the music management is done in other apps like Pandora, Spotify, etc. In this case you could hook up an Apple TV, Fire TV, Chromecast or equivalent device that streams the music to your receiver and again the management of the music is done in those apps not SmartThings.


(Brian) #5

Just offering another view, belief and reality are sometimes different, especially as technology changes. I can’t believe how good Sonos sound. I didn’t believe it until I listened. And no wires is such an advantage when I want to move a room around.


(Michael) #6

I hear you but maybe I should have used the words “in my experience”. While I have no experience with Sonos, I do have several Logitech music players that just don’t perform like good old fashioned wired speakers. There is too much congestion in the 2.4Ghz space that causes lots of interference so I always run wires when I can.

In the case of outdoor speakers anyway from the OP, I wouldn’t want to leave my Sonos outside as they don’t make anything mountable for outdoor weather. Wired speakers either to the house or a rock type speaker is the only permanent option.


(Brian) #7

Logitech != Sonos.

In other words, worlds apart. Find one to listen to sometime. My house if any would be very congested, and they are just phenomenal.


(Chris) #8

Nice that’s exactly what I want just want my main zone for family room and zone 2 to my outdoor speakers.
I saw a nice multi zone denon amp for 500 so maybe that’s the way to go.
Like you stated I’ve always been a bigger fan of wired speakers over wireless anytime.

On your denon receiver what all controls can you control from the denon app? I’m assuming basics like volume and input and stuff but what about playing music directly from your phone? I just don’t wanna have to leave my phone in Bluetooth range it would be nice as long as my phone is connected to wifi I could stream Pandora or Apple Music directly from my phone into my receiver.


(Realy Living Dream) #9

I went the " cheap way " ( stuff I already had or could find on sale ) out. I looked at a central zoned system and just decided it wasn’t worth it. Sonos were never even close to being in my price range. Tried the ChromeCast2 but it is just a POS.

6 Bluetooth pathway lights in the front of the house controlled by tablet ( home control dashboard ) is plenty of outdoor music to annoy the most docile neighbors .

A soundbar mounted under the back deck above the hot tub controlled by Echo Dot feeds music throughout the back yard.

My entertainment center does have BT, but I never really thought about attaching outdoor speakers to it. Easier ( for me ) to just open up Google Play, Amazon music , Pandora, whatever on tablet on the wall if we are out front and want music. Use the same pathlight speakers for the Holiday display music ( Original reason for the purchase )


(Michael Hess) #10

I have a three zone Onkyo, two zones are front and back deck. All controlled via Harmony. Two other Onkyo’s that have an additional zone should I want to extend off the sides of the house or anything. These are not “whole house audio” they only play one source in multiple area’s (3) or three sources in multiple area’s if I were to utilize the other two receivers.

This is not the way to go if that is your goal. Nor is the Echo Dot unfortunately as I really like that, have it on two of my Onkyo’s.

I have an old Moto X in the bathroom that uses BT to a light speaker and that works fine in there and is voice controlled.

Not sure if maybe the new Chromecast audio will stream the same stuff to multiple? If so that’d be a way easy solution with some cheap BT speakers or old receivers with $15 BT adapters. Not audiophile by any means, but for outside, who cares!

@RLDreams, what’s wrong with the Chromecast? Was it the audio only one you tried? I like my original Chromecast but it’s only used in my theater for streaming Netflix.


(Marc) #11

I have a Sonos Amp connected to my exterior Yamaha speakers and I am very happy with the integration and automation I can achieve. If I go to let my dog out and one of my side gates is open, Sonos warns me.

In my main living room, I have a Sonos Playbar, sub and 2 play 1’s and it sounds amazing, Also great for home automation. When the wife comes home, Sonos warns me, so I can stop eating the cookies :slight_smile:


(Ben W) #12

Vizio is making all their latest gen devices with smartCast. Not sure on pricing but something I am considering, since I just purchased a new TV and plan on getting a Vizio Soundbar.

https://www.vizio.com/smartcast-home-audio


(Realy Living Dream) #13

Oh I still have one of the original originals and it works as designed and has for 5 years. I preordered one of the ChromeCast Audio and could never get it to work. It was constantly losing wifi connection, losing sync with the app, disappearing out of the app , showing in the app and then once you tried to stream to it, it would suddenly become unavailable etc.
There are 1000s of posts in the Google forums about the CCA and all the issues. $30 for CCA or $45 for Dot, I’m sticking with the Dots. Now if Amazon ever open up whole home … but I digress


(Chris) #14

I appreciate all the bit of info.
I’m thinking the Denon AVR-S720W will get me want I want in multi zone capabilities and being able to completely control it through my iPhone or iPad and I’ll just run a pair of wired speakers to my attic and mount them to the side of my house and I think it’ll project enough audio to hear in the hole yard and possibly add a subwoofer onto the deck if needed later


(Chris) #15

Well now to make it less money I just discovered the apple airport express. I think it might do exactly what I want and can get like a 35 dollar class T amplifier to hook up to a set of outdoor speakers and play my iPhone right across my airport when needed.


(Michael Hess) #16

Be wary of those amps, I’ve tried two now. One just popped a few minutes after I powered it up and died. The other sounded REALLY bad, not defective, just terrible, like a crappy set of BT headphones.


(Michael) #17

@egobuster1 are you in the need for a new amp for your family room? My Denon is the “hub” for my entire AV system in my living room. It switches the video to my TV based in the input and powers my 5.1 setup. Then my second zone powers the rest of the speakers and I have a switch box where I can turn off individual zones as well as volume controls in each room to further control.

I realize a cheap amp will solve your issue but with AV equipment I have always paid more for something that will last. I still have a working Denon receiver that we bought 16 years ago that works great.


(Michael Hess) #18

I’ve got a 22 year old Pioneer VSX-505S that I bought as a teen. Still works great as a source in my wife’s office.

Good equipment is worth it in the audio realm.

Got a Macintosh tube preamp, receiver, and early solid state amp too, but I don’t power them, I just stare at them. :slight_smile:


(Eric) #19

Before you go buying things, where is you music stored / what services do you use?


(Chris) #20

I’ll try and answer everyone’s questions here at once.
I know buying a nice amp is the desired method and I found s nice multi zone denon amp that has wifi and all that for 400 which is perfect.
However my current pioneer amp still works so I debated do I move it to the garage or what.

I was wondering how well some of those powered amps worked I was gonna do more research on them to see which is good and so forth.

My music isn’t stored anywhere. I have a apple radio subscription I normally use to just stream my music on my iPhone or iPad