Outdoor technology continues to be red hot, as CE Pro’s 2021 Outdoor Technology Deep Dive research found nearly half of surveyed integrators’ say the pandemic has boosted outdoor business. And audio is the leading driver of projects, with dealers report installing systems on 65% of their jobs – well ahead of other categories such as networking/control (50%), security/surveillance (46%) and video (41%).
Meanwhile, that audio budget can incorporate many types of solutions, residential and commercial; per CE Pro’s research integrators report selling and installing everything from under-eave speakers to staked satellites, buried in-ground landscape speakers and subwoofers plus other models like rocks and planters meant to blend into the environment.
Audio that blends into or disappears altogether in an installed environment is a specialty of Stealth Acoustics, and whether dealers are working on a luxurious outdoor living space or a hot new retail or restaurant spot, the company’s versatile StingRay can give dealers a real differentiator for this booming market.
3 StingRay Form Factors Can Address Assorted Applications
The StingRay speaker family encompasses three distinct form factors, explains Stealth Acoustics vice president Brian Azzano. The first includes the SR6, SR8 and SRX83 2- and 3-way fully sealed, rectangular speakers (11”H × 15”W × 4”D and 21”H × 15”W × 4”D) with a flat radiating diaphragm front panel and beveled back enclosure.
These speakers have multiple integrated mounting points and include wall-mount hardware ready to install right out of the box, Azzano adds. Optional swivel mount and ground stake are available, too.
Second is the large SR430 Subwoofer (32”H × 18”W × 18”D), which features a flat radiating diaphragm on each of the four sides for 360-degree coverage. The SR430 is driven by eight 8” cone woofers to add bass to any large patio area.
Finally, the StingRay Soffit Kit speaker is a hybrid form factor for under-eave installation. Similar to Stealth’s LineaResponse line, the Soffit Kit speaker is flat-panel speaker with a simplified rear enclosure designed to install flush into a soffit. “The seams of the speaker are then sealed and the unit is painted to match for a nearly invisible speaker, waterproof from outside with no speaker grille,” Azzano says.
The StingRay lineup provides integrators – and their customers – several advantageous features, Azzano notes.
“The no-metal exterior means no rusty speaker grilles! StingRay speakers are designed to last a lifetime in outdoor conditions,” he enthuses. “No need to repair/repaint speaker grilles every season, and cleaning with a hose (and light scrubbing if necessary) will quickly rinse away any dust/dirt that would accumulate like any other outdoor fixture. The fully sealed enclosure also means no pests can get inside.”
From an audio standpoint, StingRay speakers are ideal for the outdoors, he says. The 170-degree sound dispersion pattern means they do not suffer from the typical “flashlight” effect of traditional speakers.
“Planning speaker placement is easy because they can be located in inconspicuous areas and adjusted around obstacles without affecting the overall soundscape,” he says.
The broad StingRay product lineup means there is a speaker model for nearly every outdoor application, opening even more potential avenues for integrators to explore if, say, they have not already dabbled in commercial/resimercial. Dealers can take a mix-and-match approach to cover more bases.
“Combining StingRay 83 3-way speakers and a StingRay 430 subwoofer adds impactful audio for outdoor theater and entertainment spaces. Adding StingRay 8 or StingRay Soffit speakers to a patio area will fill the air with high quality music. Or, for an exceptional distributed audio system in a courtyard or outdoor restaurant add the optional 70V transformers to an array of StingRay 6 speakers,” Azzano comments.
Flexible Install, Ability to Customize Enhance Value Proposition
He adds that Stealth Acoustics staff can assist with outdoor audio system designs as well to help solve potential problems before they arise on a jobsite.
“The StingRay 6/8/83 are IP68 rated and can handle exposure and harsh climates making them very versatile and easy to incorporate into an outdoor audio system, but it never hurts to ask the Stealth team ahead of time for advice on a particular application,” Azzano says.
Most StingRay products are ready to install out of the box with the included mounting hardware; the subwoofer is free-standing. The Soffit Kit speaker requires a little more planning and some minor construction, Azzano says, but is less involved than installing an indoor LineaResponse speaker. The Kit includes a router template for cutting a precise hole in the soffit and the internal bracket easily aligns the speaker flush with the surrounding eave. Screws, seam sealing, and paint finish the installation process.
To accommodate customers’ aesthetic wishes, a custom vinyl print can be applied to the front of a StingRay speaker.
“This is often used as a camouflaging technique – a photograph of the surrounding wood siding, brickwork, shrubbery, etc., is applied to the speaker helping it blend further into the background,” Azzano describes.
A recent hotel project in Texas, for instance, incorporated StingRay speakers into various outdoor areas, custom-wrapped to match the different wall materials: stone, stucco and tile. At another commercial job at a popular Florida theme park, the dealer installed two dozen StingRay 8 and StingRay 6 speakers throughout the display area.
“They selected the custom vinyl wrap option, and themed graphics were designed and applied to the face of each speaker to specifically incorporate them as part of the overall display rather than needing to hide a traditional speaker with grille somewhere in the background,” Azzano says.
“Our dealers – and their clients! – love StingRay speakers because they sound great, are easy to deploy, are low maintenance and backed by a 5-year warranty.”