Advice for music outdoors

OK, so I'm going to be installing some outdoor speakers for tunes in the backyard. I've got the speakers part covered, but what do others do for electronics?

I'm thinking of locating an integrated amp in a closet near the door to the deck, with an iPod hookup and a CD player. Speaker cables would end up about 25' long, with the speakers mounted to the house. For the most part, people will face away from the house with the sound coming from behind, and of course will also be moving around, talking, etc.

I want 'good' sound, but it doesn't have to be great sound. I was thinking of the lower end Arcam, Rotel, Cambridge audio, etc, stuff. It seems like spending more money would be wasted due to the long speaker cables and non-ideal listening environment - but I'd like to hear the experiences of others.

Another question is on the remote, is there any practical way to have remote control from outside (where the kids may occasionally leave the remote - rain, etc). An RF setup with a weatherproof remote would be good, but not sure if that exists.

So, has anyone 'been there, done that' and have any advice they could offer?


Let me say first that I'm not really a big fan of Bose products, however, in outdoor or low level listening applications I find them to be a good value.
I wouldn't even spend THAT much for your outdoor front-end. A receiver like a Yamaha ($200 at BestBuy-less if open box) will serve you nicely.
Even lower cost, would be to just run longer 12ga. spkr wires from one of your other areas (home theatre?)if you have the extra speaker outs available.
If running the wires is a challenge, get a cable or security alarm person to run them. They can do miracles with running/hiding wire.
I've done TWO of these systems and simply ran off of a higher-end HT receiver (no contradiction of terms-just relative). Only out the cost of the wires and the labor for the cable guy (he was a sub-contractor and I just hired him "on the side") and put the speakers up myself and connected them.
Sorry...Can't help on the remote you are wishing for.
Good luck and Good Listening!
there is a new IPOD wireless gizmo that beams your Thumb drive wirless to the reciever....stuff a pod in your pocket and dont leave it outside.....PS atleast you would also have control of the tune list.
Of course I'll be wrapping my trees in tube traps :-)

Thanks all for the advice. Seems no one is suggesting higher quality amps, which is a relief (on my wallet, but I still want to buy something cool).

I also found some outdoor volume controls from Niles - wired in line with the speaker cables. Seems convenient, but I wonder what it does to the sound (one more component and likely another 10-20' of cable to get the volume control in a good spot).
I use B&W speakers and a Russound amp for in house and outside - see my virtual system for details. I have keypads all over the house and these carry infra red to the all the components in the control room. All works seamlessly and good quality ambient sound.
Nice setup Shadorne. How good is the airport express's DAC? (I have Mac's and wifi and was also considering an airport express as a source).
The Airport Express DAC is excellent - I would even recommend it for dedicated systems. I am not a fussy DAC person, however, as I can't hear the differences that others claim. I do use some fairly good AKM DAC's in my Anthem AVM20 for serious listening in my main system (but this is being cautious, as differences from extensive A/B comparisons between the Sony bog standard DAC's in my CD players and the more expensive AKM's in the Anthem DSP were actually inaudible to me).
I work as an installer for these type of systems, as well as security and home theater. The volume controls are convenient to have, and I wouldn't shy away from them over concerns about degradation in sound quality. Just be sure to get one designed for outdoor use and put it in a gasket sealed housing. Same goes with the wire and any necessary crimp caps - use the weatherproof stuff.
Also, various animals find certain brands of speakers delicious. I can't say why, but I know that squirrels and deer seem to prefer outdoor speakers from Mirage over most "rock" speakers. They can really do some damage, so be prepared.
Great advice, thanks. I was prepared for the rain and sun, but not critters chewing on my speakers !

On a similar note, anyone have ported speakers outdoors? The new speakercraft line looks interesting, but they are ported. The ports are in the front behind the grill, so the bugs shouldn't be able to get in but I'm wondering about issues with driving rain getting into the cabinet.
If you're still looking for electronics, check out this thread.

I just bought a couple of receivers off of ebay, to run in-wall speakers. The Nakamichi sounds very good so far, I haven't received the Carver yet.