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A Sound Idea
Mike Dahl, LC/DBM


Low voltage audio systems allow contractors already skilled at installing low voltage lighting to add audio installations as a service. Here a 15-volt power supply is being attached to the side of the house while other components from Coastal Source await final installation. To the left of the installer is the company's "Turtle," a self-contained audio system consisting of a music streamer, an amplifier and a subwoofer. Once wired, it is turned right side up and secured in the ground with stakes with theft guards - disks on the bottom of the stakes that make it hard to remove from the ground. It can also be attached to the hardscape. Next to it is a 10.0 ellipse bollard, full-range speaker that can be partially buried.

Expanding is usually near the top of the list of goals for business owners: be that by increasing customers, increasing production or increasing the number of services provided. Many contractors have recently been able to accomplish this by adding outdoor audio installation as an offering to their clients.

One such company is The Paver Guy, a hardscape firm from Cape May Court House, New Jersey, that designs and builds backyard outdoor living areas with pools, fireplaces, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, pergolas, lighting and more. They got introduced to outdoor audio through Jon Bowman, the director of sales at Coastal Source, a manufacturer of outdoor lighting and audio products.

"At first I was apprehensive because we didn't know anything about it," recalls Mike DiPalantino, the owner of The Paver Guy." Once we were trained by the manufacturer and we started to install the audio I could see how our customers really liked it and appreciated the fact that we designed it into our plan for their enjoyment."


Inside this watertight box is part of a component audio system, which has the amplifier and streamer separate. This allows the streamer to be positioned closer to the Wi-Fi source in a residence, and the amplifier closer to the speakers. The boxes can be buried halfway. The manufacturer's patented cables, which are rated to operate underwater and used for their lighting products as well, have male-female connectors so no splicing is necessary.


The modulus 4.5 bullet fixture can house one speaker, two speakers or a speaker and a light. It can be mounted on structures if needed. If the positioning of the light points the speaker towards the ground, against a wall or other unfavorable location, a reflector can be installed to redirect the sound.

Monello Landscape Industries, a design, build and maintenance company from Wayne, New Jersey, has been installing outdoor audio for two years now after getting the knowledge and confidence to do so from the same audio equipment supplier. Owner Joe Monello said they received initial training at one of his offices and continuing education at in-state and out-of-state seminars.

"The similarities are that we already trench, notch and snake wires and pipe through hardscape & soil," says Monello. "There is no difference for the audio wire."

Bowman adds, "The beauty that our system brings is that it is low voltage so a guy that is doing low voltage lighting can now also do an audio system. The other systems that are on the market on the audio side are 70 volt so you have to have a different license."

Bowman says his company will have an informational webinar that will be available the last week of November. To learn more, go to

As seen in LC/DBM magazine, November 2016.

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A Sound Idea

May 26, 2019, 3:14 pm PDT

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