Mod #15: External Speakers
Submitted on: 06/19/08
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Many RVs now offer factory installed audio systems that can rival some of it’s fellow car-based cousins. With 6 speaker surround sound and sub-woofers galore, blasting your favorite movie or music for all in the campground to hear is just a switch away. After all, isn’t that what an RV is all about? Entertainment on wheels? Some beg to differ, a lot. What if you just want to listen to story-telling on CD while sitting by the campfire, or some low-level background music while having dinner under the awning? External or outdoor speakers will fit the bill nicely.
There are several types of external speakers, from flush-mount to box-type that mount with a bracket to integrated systems that include a stereo/CD/MP3 player and speakers in one flush mount unit. Flush-mount speakers will give you the most variety to choose from as there are many sizes and colors to suite your taste and the color of your RV. But boxed speakers with brackets give you a little more freedom with mounting locations.
If you choose flush mount speakers, mounting them to the outside of your RV takes some nerve. Just be sure before drilling large holes through the wall that you know what’s behind and within the wall. Use a stud finder to ensure there are no frame members runing through the middle of where you want to cut. Try to find a location that will allow the rear of the speaker to face in to a cabinet or some sort of enclosure. This will provide the best sound quality.
Bracket mounting is usually reserved for locating box-type speakers, for example, within an external storage compartment where you can open the compartment door to expose the speakers. You have more choices with this arrangement since the speakers don’t need to be weatherproof. You can use either marine grade or standard home-type speakers. You can get some big sound for those big group party get-togethers.
The all-in-one systems that include a stereo/CD player with the speakers are decent but lack sound quality at higher volumes. If all you’re shooting for is some ambient music at lower levels, then this might be a good choice. it certainly simplifies mounting and wiring. Some units even come with external 12-volt DC and 110-volt AC receptacles, offering greater utility than just being a noise maker.
Lastly, wiring from the speakers to the stereo can be a bit of a challenge. If you don’t opt for the flush mount speakers facing in to a cabinet where you can hide the connections, you will have to deal with those unsightly exposed wires running along the ceiling, wall, or floor. You can use some wiring covers or wiring channels with colors to match where you will run the wiring. They can be found at any home improvement center.
ModMyRV recommends these parts for this mod:
Under-Floor Mounted Box Speakers