Outdoor Speaker


Feature Request: Outdoor Speaker

12 replies

Userlevel 3
Badge +3
Ugh. Its been discussed a million times and makes no sense. Go buy a Connect Amp and outdoor speakers. I cant think of 1 good reason that you would want a speaker out in the elements that needs to be plugged into AC power.
I think there are several reasons. First, speakers exist that can be put outside, remain outside, and survive the elements. They exist at personal homes, businesses, and hotels. The answer, go buy a Connect Amp and wire it to some other vendors outdoor speakers is an inherent admission the functionality is desired by the users.
Let's say I go buy outdoor speakers and use a connect amp to drive them. The weak link in that chain is the SONOS product which as no design features for outdoor use. So, the average consumer that does not want to haul the Connect Amp and speakers in and out every time he uses outdoor speakers is left with hauling the connect amp in and out and cursing SONOS for not taking the time to design weather protection.
Using a Connect Amp adds the requirement of wiring between the amp and the speakers. Sure, out door wireless speakers require individual power, but the are not tied together at the amp making the installation cleaner.
As for AC power outside in the elements, anyone that has put up Christmas lights every year has the skill and experience to deal with that problem. Outside power is not an excuse to avoid designing an outside speaker.
Finally, let's be honest. $350 dollars for a Connect Amp when you can buy Play 1 speakers for $175 is just ridiculous. Consumers already know they are paying a premium for the proprietary connectivity of SONOS. However, they do want to have some sense of value when they have speakers on their porch. Reasonably priced outside wireless speakers that survive the elements make more sense than constantly hooking and unhooking a Connect Amp every time. So, users that desire the functionality of outdoor sound are forced to buy another vendors speakers and install wiring to a Connect Amp. You do see that the one product that those users are cursing to get what they want is the SONOS product.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
@blackcoffee The idea of using a Connect:amp for outdoor speakers is to leave the amp inside the house and run speaker wires through the exterior wall to the speakers outside. It's not recommending users take a connect:amp outside every time they want to listen to music on the back patio. And obviously, this isn't an option for every user.

And unfortunately, protecting Christmas lights from the elements is a lot easier than protecting a smart speaker from the elements. Ruggedizing a Sonos One, for example, would significantly raise the price. Then there is the problem that most households do not have good function wifi coverage outside their home, which would be required for a Sonos speaker outside the home while passive speakers obviously would not.

Lastly, there is the size of the market for such a speaker is probably a lot smaller than for typical indoor speakers,

But Sonos does listen to requests, wifi is getting more common outside, and the market is probably increasing for outdoor scenarios. With Sonos getting more money to work with through the IPO, who knows.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Get a connect, add a BlueTooth transmitter and place it within about 20 feet of an outdoor / poolside rated BlueTooth speaker and you'll get great sound but a tiny bit delayed from your inside Sonos music due to the BT link.
Or get a portable bluetooth speaker of which there are many good ones now available that can run for 10+ hours between charges and use internet services from a smart device as a source. With the added bonus of being able to use it on travels.

For a more permanent solution a Connect/Connect Amp indoors and passive speakers outdoors is still the answer and the investment of effort to run speaker cables is very much worth it if extended listening is the requirement.
I think I have a solution. I will run Yamaha multicast speakers off my Aventage AMP. They provide outdoor wireless speakers, no requirement to purchase a connect, and there is no delay between the inside and outside music. It also has the advantage of no speaker wires. Who knows, maybe multicast is a solution for other problems.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Multicast? Did you mean musiccast? For my own curiosity, could you post the wirelesses outdoor speakers you're referring to? I tried googling for them and could find anything that matches the description in your post. Not saying it's not there, I just can't find it.

All the outdoor speakers from Yamaha I could find where passive, requiring speaker wires.


@Stanley_4, although having multiroom functionality is nice, if you're going to run Bluetooth speakers off a Connect, then why not just stream from your phone directly to the Bluetooth speakers?
You're right, musiccast. My fingers were a little too fast on the keyboard. Researched Yamaha speakers and no outdoor wireless, just outdoor speakers. I guess the race is on to see who provides the functionality first. I can find a way to do this, but I want it to be simple and not require anymore effort than using what ever app controls the multi-room broadcast of sound. Have you ever been to someone's house and had to watch for 10 minutes while they setup technology that should work seamlessly but doesn't? All the solutions, SONOS, Yamaha, Bose, and Sony attempt to capitalize on proprietary approaches but then do not complete the full range of functionality requested by users. Ignoring plug and play outside speakers is the perfect example. So, when you decide to pick a system to multi-cast (generic use of the term) music, you are stuck in the world of the "not quite right." This is going to drive someone to hack the technology and insert a small bridge app.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
You're right, musiccast. My fingers were a little too fast on the keyboard. Researched Yamaha speakers and no outdoor wireless, just outdoor speakers. I guess the race is on to see who provides the functionality first.


Hard to really call it a race. There isn't really much word that companies are really competing to win over this segment of the market. Hard to really even say there is enough market (prize) to make such a race worth the effort.



I can find a way to do this, but I want it to be simple and not require anymore effort than using what ever app controls the multi-room broadcast of sound. Have you ever been to someone's house and had to watch for 10 minutes while they setup technology that should work seamlessly but doesn't?


No, not really. For outdoor use, people either use wired speakers or they use Bluetooth speakers. And I know a lot of folks who want outdoor music and choose these options. I can't say that any of them would replace their current plan with a smart speaker option.


All the solutions, SONOS, Yamaha, Bose, and Sony attempt to capitalize on proprietary approaches but then do not complete the full range of functionality requested by users.


But again, there is no real proof that there are tons of customers demanding outdoor smart speakers. I would bet that many if not all of these companies have done market researched and determined that the there are not enough people who would buy the product at the price product it would need to be in order to release such a product. Then there is the likelihood and that support and warranty costs would be higher for such a products since failures would probably be more likely.

Full disclosure though, I think Bose does have a product that works with their wireless system that's designed to be used outdoors. IIRC, it's battery powered and not designed to be left outdoors.


Ignoring plug and play outside speakers is the perfect example. So, when you decide to pick a system to multi-cast (generic use of the term) music, you are stuck in the world of the "not quite right." This is going to drive someone to hack the technology and insert a small bridge app.


A hack is unlikely and certainly wouldn't turn into large scale use since it's going to bring in big lawsuits. Sonos has certainly shown they are going to protect their patents.

I don't think I'd buy an outdoor smart Sonos speaker if there was one. That's partially because I already have passive speakers already setup running off Connect products, but also because I don't like the idea of having expensive equipment sitting out there in backyard where they can be easily damaged by the elements. I've got Yamaha speakers out there that have made it through a hurricane, several days of freezing weather, and a summer filled with many 100+ F weather. If they did fail, it will cost me little to replace them. It took some work to get them installed, but I'm slightly handy enough and I actually enjoyed the work for the most part.

But maybe I'm wrong about this. Maybe several companies are developing an outdoor smart speaker and there is plenty of market out there for it. I just can't conclude that such a product is a no brainer given all the evidence we currently have. Just because it fits what you think you want and need doesn't mean everyone else is the same, or that it's a good idea for a company to make that product for you.

Note: If a smart speaker was made that had good voice control, I'd be interested, but I don't know that that is really going to work well for the outdoor space I have in mind over the typical noise level.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
melvimbe with no cell data plan, a dumb flip phone and a geezer cell plan streaming from my phone isn't an option.

I'm quite happy streaming using my connect TOS output to a Bluetooth transmitter and then to my hearing aids. Great stereo image with no seating location restrictions and the neighbors never complain about my poor musical taste. If I'm discrete I can even pull up something to listen to while the wife is telling me things I don't want to hear.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
melvimbe with no cell data plan, a dumb flip phone and a geezer cell plan streaming from my phone isn't an option.


Yes, I was assuming an environment where wifi access and/or good mobile network along with a streaming capable phone where available. The majority of people have these things these days. If a person doesn't have these things, then yes, your option is a good way to go too.

Yes, I was assuming an environment where wifi access and/or good mobile network along with a streaming capable phone where available.

Even WiFi/Cell tower access outdoors isn't essential; every music service allows downloads to the smart device for offline listening. And that also makes the device a versatile source that can be used in the car as well, to the extent that it is worth dedicating a cheap/used device for that to eliminate the disadvantages of using a phone as source.

There has to be a reason why external mains powered WiFi speakers are not on the market; those demanding one may be vocal but still a minority not worth the investment needed.

To repeat though: for extended listening outside, wired passive speakers and a source indoors is still the way to go.

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