Outdoor audio: Stereo or mono?

rtcarey

Commendable
Mar 6, 2018
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After recently setting up a backyard system (specs below). I am thoroughly satisfied with the sound, except for the slight lack of lows, which a new Polk powered sub I'm waiting on should take care of. It really sounds great, but depending on where you are standing in the backyard, there seems to be some spots where you seem to hear nearly 100% right or left channel only. And that doesn't mean I'm standing right underneath either of them. It happens in random spots around the backyard, and I'm assuming it has to do with the acoustic layout. I'm in a typical suburban Chicago home (on a double lot) with a detached garage (so sound is reflected and contained pretty nicely). Per advice in another thread, I was sure to avoid mounting the speakers too far apart (about 8') in order to avoid this problem of dead spots. Of course no one can notice but me, and my wife thinks I'm crazy, but I do notice, and I'd still like to have it tuned to perfection before summer comes around.

I realize what I will lose in going to mono, but in reality, that true sweet spot is really only a couple feet wide, right between the two speakers, drawing a line back to the house (about 50' (or 15 yds)). Which leaves a lot of 'non-sweet-spot' territory.

So, the question is twofold: 1) would going mono solve the problem of these 1-channel dead spots? and, if yes, is what I'm gaining worth what I'm losing?

As a follow-up, is it worth keeping stereo sound and going with a higher priced multi-directional satellites, like the Bose Environmental 251s? Assuming this would also solve the problem, but not sure it's worth the extra cost vs just going mono if will do the trick.

My setup:
- Yamaha S202 receiver with bluetooth in the garage with speakers on A/B
- B side speakers: 2 Yamaha AW350s mounted outside garage for the backyard
- A side speakers: 2 Yamaha AW150s mounted inside the garage
- 1 Polk 10" powered sub (awaiting delivery)

Nice weather is almost here and I'm just itching to get outside!
 

jay32267

Admirable
I do "outdoor stereo" all the time....and my solution is I run in stereo and pretty much put the speakers right next to each other....so it's pretty much like mono.

...and I think you are always going to have this "stereo" problem outside...even with the multi directional ones. Maybe not...but that's my guy feeling.

For me..."stereo" does not go with "outside"....I'm in it for the sheer volume.

Running about 2000 watts at least. lol

 
You may not be able to cover the entire backyard with just two speakers (the inside garage ones don't count).
There are going to be dead spots. Running it in mono might help if you are getting actual cancellation but I don't think the receiver has a mono button (except for the radio).
I would also suggest you get Sonance outdoor speakers rather than Bose if you are going to spend that much. Use them for the main listening area and put the Yamaha speakers in a less used space or use then as filler speakers. You can add an impedance matching speaker selector so you can run three pair at the same time.
 

rtcarey

Commendable
Mar 6, 2018
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@jay32267 - great advice. As much as I like where I have the speakers mounted now, I think my solution might just be to mount them closer together. I'm going to try doing a mono setup first to see if it solves the problem first, as it's the less invasive option. ...pushing 2000 watts though? dang! I'd be chased out of my neighborhood!

@americanaudiophile - coverage isn't a problem. The two 350s cover the entire yard just fine, it's just that one speaker can be heard much more clearly than the other, depending on where you're standing. My backyard is like a big rectangle, and no trees or obstructions. Garage in front of you, house behind you (or reverse), so it works well for sound as it's almost a stage-like setup. Thanks for the recommendation on the Sonance, I'll check them out if I decide to change speakers, but so far I'm very happy with the Yama 350s if I can get the sound distributed more evenly. I think I'd opt for a second pair first. -- And there's all kinds of ways to get mono sound :)

@madmatt30 - In really large areas, I'd agree that subs don't work outside, but my yard isn't huge and I've successfully used two subs in the past (not at the same time) on various occasions. This was before I had my newly installed system. These were just temp setups for parties and neither were large or outdoor subs. One setup I used was the Klipsch 2.1 Promedia system. This little sub pounded outside. Unfortunately it doesn't like my Yamaha receiver as I tried to repurpose the sub only and it wasn't happening. I also used an LG soundbar with wireless sub in the yard. It also sounded great. The only reason I installed my current system is because I was tired of putting up the soundbar and taking it down every time I wanted to listen to music on more than a bluetooth speaker in the yard, so it was time for something permanent. The point I'm trying to make is that subs have worked great for me outdoors in the past. Even subs not meant to be outdoors. Both of these were 6.5" drivers. The Polk I'm waiting to have delivered is 10", so I'm hoping it will give me even more punch (fingers crossed).
 

rtcarey

Commendable
Mar 6, 2018
11
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Just an update on this... After ordering and testing two subs, I am now in agreement that subs just don't work outside. Both subs have been returned. I also moved my Yamaha 350s to inside the garage (the little Yamaha 150s I had in there are also going back). I splurged and got 2 Polk Atrium 8s for the yard. Apparently much better bass response and known for producing high volume with this highs and lows (without the need for a sub). I chose to get these over the Bose Environmental 251s because many reviews mention muddy sound from the Bose as they try to get the lows and highs from the same drivers.
 
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