With Summer on the horizon, and no big holidays planned for the summer break, I thought that it was time that I started planning some ideas to ramp up the pool / deck area for the festive season. Our deck is a great spot for entertaining, and an inviting space to have a drink and BBQ with friends a hot summers day. What is missing though for these idyllic occasions?, but some Music. Traditionally I have gone to great lengths to drag out the good old stereo and piles of CD’s, connect up speakers, not to mention the piles of wires lying around, just to set the scene. How-To: How do I utilise the technology that I have invested in, inside the house, outside. Thanks to Apple iTunes and Airplay, I already have wireless access to an extensive media library, however how do you bring all these good things that reside inside the house, outdoors on a budget?
Speakers: Speakers are a very personal thing, however for this project, I purchased some Flush Mounted Indoor/Outdoor ceiling speakers. I have an eve that I wanted to mount the speakers under, as well as some new lighting that we want to put in down the track. By mounting the speakers under the eve, this gave me a direct access to the wall cavity to run the wires down into a cupboard where I am able to locate the Amp and Airport Express, connected via internal power.
Amplifier: To keep the budget down, and keeping in mind storage space, I selected theAmphony Micro Fidelity Mini Amp. This amplifier has had great reviews as this is the size of a deck of cards, but pumps out a whopping 40 watts RMS per channel. Another reason for selecting this amplifier was the simple interface which allows you to set and forget. The Amplifier has an external power pack, volume dial, stereo / mono speaker inputs and an RCA (L & R) audio input.
Wireless: Once I have the speakers connected to the Amplifier, I simply ran a ‘Mini Jack’ to ‘RCA’ cable into the Apple Airport Express, and configured the Airport so that it would talk with my existing network. The Apple Airport Express would have to be by far one of the most adaptable wireless products made to date. The Airport Express is a Wi-Fi access point / repeater that has an ethernet port, mini jack audio input and USB, so options are endless what you can achieve around your home. Once configured the Apple Airport Express will simply bridge the wireless network with your home network, and select the AirPlay option within iTunes to select the outdoor speaker configuration.
AirPlay: AirPlay takes the music from the iTunes library on your computer and sends it wirelessly to any stereo or speakers in your home. All you have to do is plug an AirPort Express into an electrical outlet near those speakers, then connect them with an audio cable. In iTunes, you can choose which speakers you want your music to play on — in your den, living room, or bedroom. If you have more than one AirPort Express connected to speakers, you can play the same music on all your speakers at the same time to create a whole-house musical experience. Apple.
Now that all speakers and amplifier are connected to the Airport Express, all I have to do now, is to select the external speaker option within iTunes or if you have an iPhone or iPod touch, you can use it to control your iTunes library from any room in your home. Thanks to the Apple Remote Application, you can browse music, control volume, and configure your playlists right from within the App.
Outdoor Photos Courtesy of Livingstone Audio