Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to some of the most common questions asked about Home Audio by our customers are provided below.
- What are the benefits of using outdoor speakers?
Since there are no walls to reflect sound, getting good sound in wide-open spaces can be tricky. Unlike a controllable indoor space, there are no ceilings or walls to reflect sound. The great outdoors also comes with its own soundtrack in the form of wind, lawnmowers, barking dogs, etc. Good quality outdoor speakers are built with these factors in mind and include features that enhance sound quality such as high power handling and low frequency response for excellent bass. Most importantly, however, outdoor speakers are built tough and are tested under extreme weather conditions to ensure a long and happy life. A good brand like OSD Audio will work under extreme temperatures, and our speakers are designed to protect the components against rain, snow, dust, dirt, creepy crawlers and other backyard and patio perils.
- How do I connect the speakers to my source equipment?
Our outdoor speakers are compatible with just about any home stereo receiver/amp. Make sure your audio amplifier has enough juice (watts) to drive your outdoor speakers. Most receivers/amplifiers today have A B channels, so you can use the extra channel to drive exterior sound. It’s always a good idea to check your amplifier or receiver manual for the correct connection procedures. Most outdoor speakers are passive devices, which means they do not have built in amplification and will need a source of power. While many configurations are possible including the use of booster amps etc., most of our customers connect their outdoor speakers directly to household amplification, that is directly to a home a receiver/amp or outboard receiver/amp stored safely in a tool shed or other covered space where it is protected from the elements.
- How do you re-synchronize the wireless transmitter with wireless speakers?
When everything is plugged in and powered on, turn the wireless speakers off using the on/off button on the remote. Next, press the channel button on the transmitter once. Turn the speakers on using the on/off button on the remote. The speakers should start producing sound. Make sure that the volume is turned up using the volume button on the remote.
- Do I need special cable to run outdoor speakers?
We recommend using our CL3 rated speaker wire and wire connectors specifically designed for the outdoors. These speaker cables can withstand extreme weather conditions like rain, snow and high temperatures and incorporate twice the insulation and a formulated white polyethylene jacket that is U/V resistant. If you plan to bury the cable in the ground, we recommend using direct burial cable. OSD Audio outdoor speaker cables are available in a variety of gauges, depending on the length of the run: 16 gauge for distances up to 100ft, 14 gauge for over 100ft, and 12 gauge for distances longer than 200ft.
- What about wireless outdoor speakers?
Wireless outdoor speakers let you enjoy audio in your backyard or patio without having to run cables or wires. OSD Audio has a large selection of 2.4GHz wireless speakers in standard designs or disguised as rocks, planters, lanterns, yard decorations and more. The 2.4GHz wireless speaker uses a reliable transmission frequency, but keep in mind that we live in a wireless world. Transmitting any information wirelessly can present problems in terms of interference.
- What about the sprinklers hitting them or being splashed from the pool?
OSD Audio outdoor speakers are specifically designed to withstand water, rain, sun, snow and any extreme weather conditions. This doesn’t mean you can drop them in the pool and all will be well—technically all outdoor speakers are "water resistant" and not "water proof." However, they are proof against the intermittent water sprayed from garden sprinkler systems. The speakers can even withstand Fido’s occasional visits, although dog urine could cause some discoloration over time. While we do not recommend you place your speakers in the direct spray of garden sprinklers, intermittent or accidental exposure poses no problems. Some consideration should be made when considering prolonged exposure to pool or spa water. These waters contain harsh chlorinated solvents particularly harmful to modern plastics and advanced materials. Our product design team has considered this in their designs and while prolonged or continual exposure could be harmful, intermittent or occasional exposure is not. Many of our products are used regularly in marine applications.
- How many watts do I need for my application?
Our outdoor speakers range from 60 watt to 300 watt. The advantage of bigger wattage is not only the potential volume increase, but also better sound quality and coverage at lower volumes. A pair of 60-watt patio speakers installed under eaves 20 feet apart will give you great coverage in areas less than 300 square feet. For 300 to 500 square feet, look for 80 to 100 watt speakers; 150 watts to 175 watt speakers will cover 600 to 800 square feet with clear, sharp music sound at soft volumes. Our 200 watt HF12 Rock and HF14 speaker will cover over 1000 square feet and will shake the leaves off the trees, just remember your neighbors may not like you.
- Will one speaker create enough sound for outdoor use?
A total of 100 watts of sound is normally adequate for most yards, but two speakers will give you the stereo quality sound that people have become accustomed to. Most small wattage speakers are sold in pairs so two 80 watts speakers will give you a total 160 watts of sound.
- How far should the speakers be apart?
Typically the ratio for sound broadcast range is based upon the SPL (sound pressure level) of the speakers compared to the average ambient background noise. The general rule of thumb is that a 100 watt speaker will cover a 30 foot range. We recommend experimenting with speaker placement first to find out where and how far apart they should be.
- Do outdoor speakers have left and right channels?
Our outdoor speakers can be connected to either the left or right of a single channel, not both at once. In a typical situation an amplifier provides connections for two/four speakers connected to the "A" and/ or the "B" channel. Each speaker would be connected to the left or the right connection of those channels and not the left and the right or both. Speakers with left and right channels contained in one unit are usually dual voice coil and dual tweeter units. These are great for applications that only require one speaker but with both left and right channel.
- Do I need subwoofer for my outdoor music application?
It depends on your application and your music preference. A subwoofer will greatly enhance your listening experience but if you choose our 8" rock speakers, you don't need any subwoofer at all. Our rock speakers have such good bass response, there's no need for an extra sub.
- What do you mean by 70v switch-able on some models?
Some speakers are equipped with an "on the fly" 70v switch assembly. This allows an installer to rapidly switch to the correct 70v wattage tap each installation may require without soldering, tapping or disassembly and reassembly, which normally complicates such installations. You usually don't need use this feature for your typical home application.
- Can wireless routers affect the signal of wireless speakers?
Although rare, some customers have experienced interference with certain models of wireless internet routers. If you experience interference with your wireless router, we recommend moving the transmitter that came with your speakers as far away as possible from the wireless router and cycling through the frequency channels several times.
- Can your outdoor speakers withstand rain, snow and hot summer weather?
Yes, our outdoor speakers use weather-resistant components and non-water-absorbing materials. This is critical in winter so it won't freeze and crack. The shape of our rock speakers is designed to withstand large amounts of pressure, extreme temperatures, and moisture. It's important to remember that outdoor speakers are an investment, so take good care of them. If possible, install your patio speakers under eves for added protection. During extreme winter months, cover up your rock speakers or store them away. This will only lengthen the time you’ll have to enjoy your outdoor speakers.
- What is the crossover pass through to the satellite speakers?
The "crossover passthrough" is a type of speaker that offers the ability to send signal directly through one speaker to other speakers connected to the crossover. Typically, speakers have 1 strand of wire coming from the speaker, or vice versa you can only connect 1 strand of wire to speakers. In this scenario, this speaker is featured with multiple strands of wire to connect to your Amplifier or AV Receiver, then the other wires are instructed to connect to other pairs of speakers and have enough power sent to them for more sound.
- What are in-ceiling speakers used for?
In-ceiling speakers are very similar to in-wall speakers in form and function except that they are round in shape and slightly smaller in size. In-ceiling speakers are usually a little lighter and less noticeable than in-wall speakers, and like in-wall speakers, come with dog ears and can be mounted in either a ceiling or a wall. In-ceiling speakers can also be placed in custom installation frames (brackets) or boxes for new home construction projects. Just like in-walls, in-ceiling speakers are often categorized by the size of the woofer, not the size of the speaker itself. In-ceiling speakers are more commonly used for whole-house audio; however, customers also use ceiling speakers for 5.1 and 7.1 home theater systems and media room as well.
- What are in-wall speakers used for?
In-wall speakers can be mounted on a variety of flat wall surfaces and provide excellent sound for home theater applications, as well as whole house audio. Typically rectangular in shape (although OSD does offer square models), in-wall speakers take up far less space than traditional box speakers and wires are neatly concealed behind the wall. Wall speakers can even be painted to match a room décor—a favorite feature among interior decorators. Most in-wall speakers use the wall cavity as their enclosure or cabinet; however, boxes can be purchased for new home construction projects that create a solid, resonant-free enclosure. In-wall speakers come with special screws (called dog ears) that flip out and secure to the drywall (or other wall surfaces), a nearby stud, or a special frame attached to the studs. Custom installation frames (brackets) can also be purchased for a more secure fit or for lighter wall materials that require more support. In wall, speakers are often categorized by the size of the woofer, not the size of the speaker itself, so a 6½” in-wall speaker has a 6½ woofer.
- What is the advantage of LCR (Left-Center-Right) speakers?
Many of our customers choose LCR right in-wall speakers for their home theaters. LCR in-walls are very effective when room layout isn’t optimized for a 5.1 surround sound system. Say, for example, your video screen is in the corner of your room. This position would make it difficult for ordinary speakers to track across the soundstage because the left, center and right speakers should be on the same plane as the picture. With the video display in a corner, it takes away the flat surface you need when trying to couple audio with video. LCR speakers allow you to get imaging and staging that would be lost with regular, down-firing ceiling speakers because their woofers are set at a 15° angle. The critical high and midrange frequencies are pointed toward the listener, not the floor. So, when your video tracks left to right, the soundtracks right along with the video. You can even use them for rear and side surrounds in 5.1 or 7.1 systems.
- What are dual voice coil speakers?
Dual Voice Coil speakers are another clever option created by audio engineers that allow both the left and right channel to be played from a single speaker by placing two angled tweeters in one speaker. Dual voice Coil speakers are ideal for small or oddly shaped spaces where the balanced left and right sound would be difficult to achieve with two speakers. Dual Voice Coil speakers offer excellent sound quality and great flexibility because you don't need to worry about placing two speakers for balanced sound. Dual Voice Coil speakers use regular speaker wire except, instead of connecting one wire to the left and one to the right, you connect both wires to their respective connectors in the speaker.
- Center channel speakers do what?
The center channel speaker supplies the dialog and many of the surround effects in a surround sound system. Center channel speakers use only tweeters and mid-range to mid-bass drivers to create voices and sound effects in a home theater setting. Center channels leave the low-frequency information to subwoofers or left and right speakers. Center channel speakers are also, in most cases, magnetically shielded so they do not interfere with the video display.
- Why use 70 volt ceiling speakers?
Custom installers will often use 70V speakers for commercial background music applications. These speakers are useful when many speakers are being connected in series, for example in a restaurant or office for background music or short announcement applications. The 70V commercial speaker allows the installer to connect a few speakers together in series before running the line back to the amplifier. Regular speakers run each speaker directly back to the amplifier. 70V speakers are designed for commercial applications where powerful amplifiers are used to supply sound in large spaces. High-quality surround sound is not the purpose of 70V speakers and they are not recommended for home use.
- Why use brackets or back boxes for in-ceiling and in-wall speakers?
Pre-Construction Brackets are used for new home construction or remodeling before sheetrock is hung. Brackets allow you to precisely position where speakers will be installed. The aluminum bracket wings can be stapled, nailed or screwed to studs or joists. Back boxes are designed specifically to enhance the speaker's performance; they utilize the ideal air volume for the speaker and act as a sound chamber, directing the critical sound to the sweet spot. Back boxes can also reduce the sound going to other rooms/floors up to 10dB and provides one-hour fire break protection.
- Can I mount rectangular speakers in my ceiling or round speakers in my wall?
For most purposes, the round speakers are designed for use in ceiling installation as they disperse sound in a conical fashion, whereas rectangular speakers are designed for installation in-wall as they disperse sound in a linear fashion. While all speakers will function in either wall or ceiling, using them as they are designed will maximize performance and aesthetic appeal.
- What is impedance matching?
All speakers have an impedance rating, typically 8 ohm for a pair of home speakers. To operate in the safest mode, most standard amplifiers and basic two-channel receivers are rated for an 8-ohm incoming load. To operate safely and consistently, the amp needs to see an 8 ohm load, and that’s where impedance-matching comes into play. To protect the amp, the volume control has impedance matching that you can turn on or off (manually). Impedance-matching provides more precise protection for the amplifier/receiver versus the protection built into the speaker selector. In fact, when adding impedance matching, you must turn off (disable) the protection in the speaker selector. Most impedance-matching volume controls feature three standard settings: 1/2x, 4x and 8x, while some add a 16-ohm setting like our VMS series. These settings correspond to a chart in the owner’s manual based upon the type of amplifier (4 or 8 ohm) and the number of 4 or 8 ohm speakers that you will be using in the multi-zone/room/speaker system.
- How do I figure out which speakers I should buy to match the wattage of my existing audio equipment?
First, determine the wattage of your receiver or amplifier. The speakers you purchase should always have a wattage handling capacity equal to or greater than the wattage rating of your amp or receiver.
- What's the difference between a woofer and a subwoofer?
These terms have become almost interchangeable, and there is definitely a gray area between the two. The difference can be in the woofer itself, or how the woofer is being used. A raw speaker or "driver" that we call a subwoofer generally has a limited frequency response range, often not extending above about 400 Hz. A standard "woofer" can have frequency response easily reaching 2500 Hz or higher. This upper limit is a function of electrical and mechanical characteristics; often the large voice coil inductances on high-excursion subwoofers limit their high-frequency capabilities. It is a matter of compromise in the design of the woofer: trying to achieve good high frequency performance generally will cause poor low frequency and power handling abilities, while producing a powerful subwoofer with ultra-low frequency abilities and high power handling will not be able to play well at higher frequencies. However, if a wider-range woofer is used only below 80 Hz or so it could be called a subwoofer due to how it is being implemented.
- What is the difference between an active and a passive subwoofer?
A passive subwoofer contains only a woofer in an enclosure with no amplification. An active subwoofer contains an onboard amplifier that will accept a low-level input and usually contains electronic crossovers. A passive subwoofer must be powered by an external amplifier and connected via the speaker-level connection. Many times this passive subwoofer contains a built-in passive crossover that sends the bass to the subwoofer driver and passes the higher frequencies to the satellite speakers. This methodology is inherently difficult to implement and will usually result in very poor integration between the woofer and the satellites. Using an active subwoofer system will almost always provide superior results due to the greater control in matching output levels and matching the crossover point between the subwoofer and satellites.
- What is a subwoofer amplifier and why would I use it?
A subwoofer amplifier is a type of amplifier that is usually used in making active powered subwoofers. They are an aluminum plate with inputs, controls, and heat sinks on one side and the amplifier section and other electronics on the other. They're intended to be mounted into a cabinet with the subwoofer driver and have features to optimize them for subwoofer duty. By using a plate amplifier in the subwoofer cabinet, the need for an extra external amplifier can be eliminated, which is very useful in home theater situations. Other benefits of using a plate amplifier are the ability to have independent volume control from the other speakers, a built-in low-pass crossover, and the ability to adjust the phase of the subwoofer.
- How is the crossover properly adjusted?
The lowpass filter on most subwoofer amplifiers can be adjusted between roughly 40 and 160 Hz. As an example of what it is doing, if we set the filter to 80 Hz, it will produce everything lower than 80 Hz. It is called a "lowpass" crossover because it allows all frequencies lower than the crossover point to pass. Most home stereo speakers can work at their best down to 60-100 Hz, so we would like our subwoofer to begin making sound right about where the main speakers stop. To find this setting, get the system up and playing music that has a good bass component. Adjust the subwoofer's volume so you can hear its output clearly. Adjust the crossover knob back and forth through its full range. As you increase the cutoff frequency to the point where it begins to overlap the main speakers, you'll hear the system begin to "boom". (If you have trouble hearing this change while standing very close to the subwoofer, go to the area where you would normally listen and have someone else adjust the knob for you.) Turn the knob back until the boom just falls away. Leave the knob set there. Optimize the volume of the subwoofer so it matches the main speakers, and you're done. Once optimally set, your active subwoofer will require no further adjustment if used exclusively for either music or home theater. You may find that different settings work better for each situation, so take note of these. Because of this, often a remote-controlled plate amplifier is used, or the enthusiast will have a separate system for music and home theatre.
- I don't have a subwoofer out jack, what other connection can I use?
The next best connection possibility is using the speaker, or high-level, connections. This input on the plate amplifier receives the signal that is normally sent to speakers and converts it internally into a smaller signal that it can use. This can be implemented either as a loop-through or as a straight feed. When used with small main speakers, it may be beneficial to route the speaker signal through the high-level inputs, and then connect the high-level outputs to the satellites. This provides a 6 dB/octave highpass crossover to the main speakers which will help protect them from receiving too much bass information. The other possibility is to "parallel" the speaker input connection with the feed going to your main speakers. Because the input impedance is very high on the high-level inputs, this method usually will not strain the main amplifier. This connection method can be used with main speakers that are relatively robust on their own, and if they have a steep low-frequency roll off, decent integration between the subwoofer and the mains is possible. Many people try to use a "tape monitor" loop to feed the subwoofer amplifier, which will work, but the level will not adjust as the main level is adjusted. Since you have to re-set the relative subwoofer level every time you use your speakers, it becomes a very annoying prospect.
- What is a 2.1 home theater set-up?
Two speakers and a subwoofer comprise the 2.1 setup of Dolby speakers. For an optimum listening experience with a pair of speakers and a single subwoofer, balance and symmetry are important guidelines. The subwoofer offers omnidirectional, low-frequency sound, so its location in a room is more flexible than other components. Wherever it fits and is easily linked to the receiver should be a suitable spot for the subwoofer, as long as it is not inside a cabinet or too close to a wall. Other than the low-frequency effects emanating from the subwoofer, the rest of the sound in a 2.1 system will come from the right and left speakers. If the screen is 8 to 12 feet in front of the viewer, each speaker should be placed 3 to 4 feet from the center of the screen, one on one side and one on the other. They should be placed at about the same height as the seated listener's ears. Angle the speakers slightly inward toward the listener/viewer. An advisable angle is between 22 and 30 degrees inward. This will create a cone effect of sound directed at the listener.
- What is a 5.1 home theater set-up?
A 5.1.2 setup of Dolby Atmos speakers employ either two ceiling speakers or two Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers or modules. If you have Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers, place them at the left front and right front locations. In the case of add-on modules, they should be placed atop the left and right front speakers, or within 3 feet of those speakers. The drivers must face the ceiling. Do not place speakers higher than half the height of the room's wall. A 5.1.4 system uses four ceiling speakers, or four Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers or modules. Place speakers at the left front and left right locations of the listener, and at the left and right surround locations. Follow the same directions as stated in the above paragraph for add-on modules, with add-on modules also on top of the two surround speakers, or no further than 3 feet from them. Optimum sound is achieved with front and surround speakers at or just above the ear level of the seated listener.
- What is the difference between a 7.1 and 9.1 home theater set-up?
7.1 SETUP Seven speakers and one subwoofer produce a sound experience worthy of the cinema with Dolby 7.1 surround. Each speaker in the set has a distinct role. After you have acclimated yourself to those respective roles, you can decide how to position and angle your Dolby speakers, remembering to keep the speakers at or near ear level (when sitting down) no matter where you place them in the room. A clear path from the speakers to the listener should be created. If you position any speaker behind a piece of furniture, that clear path is occluded, and so is the sound. Adjust and reposition speakers in an effort to determine where you will experience maximum sound production. Keep in mind, too, that bare walls and floors can mess with the balance of sound coming from your 7.1 system. Putting speakers in a room with carpeted floors and covered walls can actually affect the balance in a positive way. 9.1 SETUP Nine speakers and one subwoofer result in a sound quality comparable to what you'd find in an actual cinema with Dolby 9.1 surround, which employs two front height channels. Every speaker has a different purpose in the set. After figuring out what each speaker's role is, decide on the angle and position you'd like to try for your Dolby 9.1 surround speakers. When the listener is seated, the speakers should be at or near an ear-level position. Create a clear path between the speakers and the listener. If you position any speaker behind a chair, table, desk or cabinet, that clear path is blocked, and the sound will be also. Adjust and reposition speakers so you can figure out how to maximize sound production. Bare walls and floors can adversely affect the balance of sound coming from the Dolby 9.1 surround system. Placing speakers in a room with carpeted floors and covered walls is a better option to achieve the desired balance.
- Do I need more than one powered subwoofer for my home theater set-up?
Unless the listening room is exceptionally large, you should not. The average listening room is about 1500 cubic feet. That is a room roughly 14' by 14' with an 8' ceiling. A good quality 10" or 12" subwoofer will generally produce sufficient levels in this size room for most listeners. However, if more extreme output levels are desired, or if the room is very large, multiple woofers can be used to achieve the desired output. Also, often a single subwoofer will sound good in some locations within the room, but lacking in other locations. Using two subwoofers may help "even out" the bass response throughout the room.
- How do I control the volume independently for indoor or outdoor speakers or between rooms in the house?
Speaker selectors are useful when you want to connect more than two pairs of speakers to a typical stereo receiver or amplifier, or when you want “on/off” speaker control from a single location.
- Can I control more than one pair of speakers with a single volume control?
Yes, the maximum number of speakers you can connect to a single volume control is 2 pairs.
- Can I run my speaker wire along or near electrical lines?
No. This will cause interference and distortion. If you need to cross electrical lines, do so in a perpendicular fashion.
- Why are there four different wires in my speaker cable? And how do I use them?
There are four different conductor wires to accommodate two speakers (one pair) with each run of cable. When connecting wires always use the red and white wires for the positive ( ) connections and the black and green wires for the (-) connections as shown below. Left Speaker Positive ( L) = White wire Left Speaker Negative (-L) = Green wire Right Speaker Positive ( R) = Red wire Right Speaker Negative (-R) = Black wire
- How do I track my order?
Tracking numbers are usually sent to your email account 1 business day after the order is shipped. You can also track the status or your order directly from our website. Click the link under Support on the home page, input your order number (example: 3287) and your billing zip code and you’ll get a real-time status of your order. Then click the tracking number to be redirected USPS or UPS live tracking website. Tracking numbers that begin with C111 can be tracked by going to www.ontrac.com.
- My order does not show it's in progress. How do I find out the status?
Our shipping and processing speed is blazing fast, but keep in mind that orders placed after 3pm PST will be shipped the following business day. All orders placed Friday 3pm PST through Sunday will be processed on the following Monday.
- Why has my tracking number not updated yet?
Typically tracking numbers from USPS (your regular mail), UPS and Ontrac take 24 hours to update. Often with USPS tracking numbers, it could take up to 48 hours or longer to update.
- My package has shipped. When will it arrive?
Once your order leaves our warehouse, it’s in the hands of the designated shipper such as the US Postal Service, UPS or Ontrac . Typically, the USPS packages take 2-3 days to arrive with Saturday counting as a delivery day. UPS ground service may take up to 5 business days depending on your location (Please note UPS doesn't count Saturday as a shipping day). Ontrac takes 1-3 business days depending on location.
- How do I know if an item is in stock or not?
Check the product page to verify that the item is in stock. If the item is not in stock, we'll display the day we estimate it will be back in stock. You can also enter your email address to be automatically notified when items are back in stock.
- Where are you located?
We are located in Southern California (near Berry St and Imperial Hwy): 775 Columbia St, Brea, CA 92821