Designing system configurations for outdoor landscape audio systems has always been a bit of a challenge. Many integrators design outdoor systems utilizing a “stereo” or two-channel configuration. However, engineers at TDG have developed technology that allows for an all-new system topology that provides for what we call the Infinite Sweet Spot.
But before we get into just how the Infinite Sweet Spot works, let’s first look at the extra challenges that exist when designing systems for outdoor entertainment.
The Challenges of Designing Landscape Audio Systems
1. Acoustics – The first challenge in designing landscape audio systems has to deal with the dramatic difference in outdoor acoustics as opposed to indoor acoustics. With no walls or boundaries, the sound waves emanating from the speaker just seem to disappear into the atmosphere. As a result, you’ll need more speakers and more power than you may have originally thought necessary.
2. Invisibility – The second challenge is that clients invariably want the speakers to be as invisible as possible. That means hiding speakers within the existing landscaping, both in the form of directional speakers that are designed to look like outdoor lighting fixtures hidden amongst plants…and speakers designed to look like rocks in your various flower and plant beds. It is often impossible to get optimal speaker placement for sound quality, as the client places near-invisibility as their greater priority.
3. Positioning – Finally, the larger and more diverse the grounds, the more challenging it can be to properly position the speakers for optimal sound performance. Generally, the design will include focus areas, such as around a hot tub for example, where the sound will be focused on a given feature. Here you will use a more directional speaker aimed for best sound performance at the feature.
But the landscape plans usually include open grounds, or an area such as a lawn where a larger group of celebrants, say, may stand and chat over drinks. In this case, wider dispersion speakers, perhaps encircling the area will provide better overall coverage.
A Most Important Question
But now we contemplate a most important question – how many channels should the integrator utilize? Should it be a two-channel stereo setup…or a one-channel monaural one?
Many integrators automatically utilize a stereo or two-channel design – but depending on the setup, this may not be your best choice. Why? Most landscape audio systems are installed to provide low-level background music for outdoor entertainment. It is rarely a primary listening system. For effective stereo sound, the listener must be equidistant between the left channel and the right channel. This is called the “sweet spot” and can be only a few feet wide.
But at an outdoor party, very few of the celebrants will experience the sweet spot, as it is almost impossible to be so perfectly positioned for optimal stereo sound. And in many cases, the listener may be positioned very close to one channel…and quite a distance away from the other. This situation yields a very unbalanced sound – at times so unbalanced it is even unpleasant.
So what about the alternative…instead of stereo, installing a one channel monaural (mono) installation? This would solve the issue of celebrants being positioned for proper stereo sound. However, depending on how a one-channel sound is accomplished, mono sound can result in unpredictable summing and cancelling of various frequencies, often leading to a degraded sound performance. Beyond this instance, many people find mono sound flat, un-dynamic…sounding a little like compressed elevator music.
So, what’s the solution?
TDG’s engineers have developed an elegant solution to this problem, a single-point stereo speaker called the Vanguard Dynamics ORS-802STT-G that is shaped like a rock but is actually a powerful 8″ two-way loudspeaker system featuring their exclusive STT – Stereo Tweeter Technology. Placed in your client’s landscaping, the ORS-802STT will – pardon the pun – rock their world.
What are single-point stereo speakers? They are quite simply a speaker that pairs a single woofer with two tweeters in one enclosure such that you can have one speaker at one point reproducing both channels for stereo performance from a single point source.
TDG’s Exclusive Stereo Tweeter Technology for the Infinite Sweet Spot
But to accomplish single point stereo speakers, most companies use two full physical tweeters placed in very close proximity – a design that causes distortion as the waveforms from each tweeter interferes with the waveforms of the other tweeter. TDG’s Stereo Tweeter Technology is a more elegant and better sounding solution utilizing a single tweeter with dual voice coils. Voice coils are part of the speaker’s sound generating “engine” that converts electrical energy into sound waves. In a STT speaker, the single tweeter has two voice coils, one for each channel – for real stereo performance with no waveform degradation.
Simply put – STT sounds better.
By using a Vanguard Dynamics ORS-802STT-G (for granite) or ORS-802STT-S (for sandstone) at each location throughout the client’s landscape, all partygoers get full, rich, dynamic stereo sound…no matter where they are.
In other words – everyone’s in the sweet spot, making it an Infinite Sweet Spot.
Learn more about Vanguard Dynamics Outdoor Audio solutions, including the ORS-802STT by following this link…
See more on TDG’s portfolio of unique and high-performance technologies here…