Backyard Resort Surrounded by Sound


GOLD WINNER: Best Outdoor Space

Loaded with 34 speakers, this backyard sounds better than poolside at a four-star resort.

Jun. 05, 2009 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The well-traveled owner of this outdoor oasis has visited a number of vacation resorts, and like most vacationers, he enjoys relaxing with music by the pool deck. It was an experience he wanted to replicate in his own backyard (in Connecticut and not the Caribbean, mind you), but with certain upgrades.

“He wanted to have something extraordinary,” says Chris Ursin, president of Natural Audio in Tolland, Conn. “Not just your typical rock speakers arranged around the pool.” Per that request, Natural Audio set out to find the finest sounding outdoor speaker on the planet. Its pick: James Loudspeaker speakers and subwoofers.

To fill every square inch of the backyard with sound, Natural Audio installed a total of 34 James speakers and four James subwoofers throughout the half-acre property. Some speakers were attached to the pergola, others were positioned within the landscape, and a few were suspended 30 feet up in the branches of the trees. “The idea was to make the speakers as inconspicuous as possible,” Ursin explains. The subwoofers went where they were designed to go: directly into the ground. “By adding some bass, we really rooted the system to the property,” says Ursin.

Not all of the speakers do the same thing, though. Natural Audio divided them into four independent listening zones; so while the speakers by the pool can crank out rock tunes, the ones by the deck can softly play a selection of classics, for example. The homeowners activate the zones, choose their music and adjust the volume via a variety of Crestron controls located both outside and inside the house. A ReQuest music server, AM/FM tuner, XM and Sirius satellite radio tuners and DirecTV receiver are all accessible through the Crestron remotes.

Music isn’t the only way to entertain here. A 46-inch SunBriteTV outdoor LCD TV receives video from an indoor DVD player and cable box via high-speed cabling planted underneath the lawn. Although the display is designed for the outdoors, Natural Audio felt it needed some extra protection. A specially designed weatherproof cabinet was crafted to house the set when it’s not being used. On command from a Crestron remote, a motorized lift raises the TV, as well as the granite that covers the top of the cabinet, into view.

The display switches automatically to the owner’s favorite cable station and audio can play through either the two speakers that Natural Audio attached to the sides of the TV or through every one of the 30-plus speakers in the yard. Let’s see a tropical resort do that.

Click here to view additional photos.

  Find an Installer
  Find custom electronics installers who provide home theater systems,
  lighting, home automation, A/V and more! Click here to get started.

Systems Design and Installation
Natural Audio
Tolland, Conn.

B&B Landscaping
Glastonbury, Conn.

Lighting Design
Connecticut Lighting
Hartford, Conn.

Crestron CP2E control processor
Crestron TPMC-8X WiFi touchpanel
Crestron TPMC-8XDS tabletop docking station
Crestron STX-1700CXP handheld WiFi touchpanel
Crestron WRP-48 KIT waterproof remote
Crestron C2N-DB12W keypads
Crestron PAC2M lighting control
Crestron CNX-PAD8 audio distribution processor
ReQuest 250 GB audio server
Crestron Sirius satellite tuner
Crestron C2N-TXM XM satellite tuner
Crestron C2N-TFM FM radio tuner
James Loudspeaker satellite speakers (34)
James Loudspeaker subwoofers (4)
Monitor Audio Radius 225 speakers (2)
Integra ADM-2.1 two-channel amplifier
Furman Elite 15PF power conditioner
SunBrite 4600HD 46-inch all-weather LCD TV
Lift-Tech LT-230-S-BP motorized swivel lift
Middle Atlantic ERK3520 equipment rack
Wireworld audio/video interconnects
Intelix component audio baluns
ProFlex speaker wire

Return to full story: