tic corporation exterior audio, frequently asked questions - faq
Outdoor Speakers, Landscape Lighting and Accessories general questions
Question - "I have seen your TIC outdoor speaker products at Hotels, Resorts & Disneyland©. Can I install these outdoor speakers myself?
Answer - Yes, while we are most renowned for our professional commercial installations world wide, TIC outdoor speaker products are designed with ease of use in mind. Even professional systems integrators like a product easy to install and many thousands of normal consumers and enthusiasts have installed our products themselves with no difficulties. For further information first read our model specific Installation Instructions under our main menu item Technical Resources and then for further information consult our Audio Installation Basics under the same heading.
Question - "How soon could I receive my TIC outdoor speaker order?"
Answer - Orders received by 3pm PST ship the same day. We have a 98% success rate in providing this level of shipping efficiency. The rare occasions we don't obtain this target or have backorders are usually for reasons beyond our control. TIC Corporation keeps large JIT inventory stocks to satisfy the requirements of our large professional customer base.
Question - "Do you recommend wireless outdoor speakers?"
Answer - TIC researches and studies the developments in wireless speaker technology constantly. With the new developments in 1Ghz+ transmission technology there is some hope in the future. Unfortunately and at present we must conclude that wireless speaker technology for exterior use is below our minimum acceptable standard for exterior speaker performance. Also note, that according to consumerreports.org wireless models were tested and are not recommended;
"Among the wireless sets we tested, they were prone to interference from devices such as cordless phones, microwaves, resulting in static, hissing or clicking". They have high failure rate for a frequency transmitter, their sound quality is AM radio comparable and made of fragile plastics which can easily break."
Question - "Can I connect my TIC outdoor speakers to my receiver in the house?"
Answer - Yes! While many configurations are possible including the use of booster amps etc. TIC exterior speaker units are commonly connected to household amplification. Please refer to your amplifier for correct connection procedures.
Question - "How do I connect to my TIC outside speakers?"
Answer - While there are many methods of connecting exterior speakers, most are decided by the personal preference of the installer involved and we have heard of them all; from barely sufficient silicone filled screw-on wire caps to the most simple caulking and duck tape methods. What we recommend is to use our TIC SPCN1 weatherproof cable connector which is, as far as we know, the only specifically designed and weatherproof connector made for outdoor speaker applications. You may review these on the Outdoor Speakers Accessories products page of this TIC Corporation website.
Question - "Can I really get these TIC outdoor speakers wet? What about the sprinklers hitting them or being splashed from the pool?"
Answer - TIC exterior speaker products are in use from the frigid wastes of Alaska or Norway down to the baking sun of South Africa or Australia. In all these outdoor speaker installations TIC products have stood the tests of time and weather. TIC products are specifically designed to withstand water and while there are many stories of actual accidental submersion TIC outdoor speaker products continue to perform as designed. TIC exterior speakers are not underwater speakers and in that regard, technically, all such outdoor speakers must be referred to as "water-resistant" and not "water-proof".
TIC exterior products are also proof against the intermittent water wash of modern garden sprinkler systems. While we do not recommend you place your outdoor speakers in the direct spray of garden sprinklers, intermittent or accidental exposure poses no problems either by design or historically. Some consideration should be made when considering prolonged exposure to pool or spa waters. These waters contain harsh chlorinated solvents particularly harmful to modern plastics and advanced materials. Again TIC engineers have considered this in their designs and while prolonged or continual exposure could be harmful, intermittent or occasional exposure poses no problems. Many TIC products are used regularly in marine applications.
Question - "I have a _____ space, how many TIC outdoor speakers do I need?"
Answer - Outdoor Speaker quantity decisions based upon coverage space for exterior installation are difficult because each exterior space being a garden type setting has idiosyncrasies of design. In that, exterior gardens typically have garden walls, trees, foliage and architectural features all of which contribute to complicate the standards of audio systems design. Beyond the normal speaker installation considerations, some attention must be made to the landscaping and features of an exterior installation. Without knowing those existing conditions in advance it would be difficult or irrelevant if not impossible for TIC staff or anyone else to offer any "boilerplate" design specifications or recommendations. Be wary of those who do. They are selling you and not offering an Outdoor Sound Solution.
In general it would be best to calculate any exterior speaker coverage areas against any existing features that may apply. Typically sound "broadcast" spread from the outdoor speaker is calculated at between 30' - 60' speaker dependent. This is a simple calculation for TIC's famous outdoor Omni Speakers which will cover the whole radius, however many exterior speakers are mono-directional and as such require placement to best receive their more limited "cone" of operation. Ambient conditions and background noise would lean towards using corners or solid architectural features for sound promotion while ignoring any promontories or surrounding foliage would lead to detrimental outdoor sound decay. Consider the use or avoidance of all exterior garden features before deciding on final garden speaker speaker layout.
Question - "How far should the TIC outdoor speakers be apart?"
Answer - Typically, the ratio for outdoor speaker sound broadcast range based upon the SPL of the speakers used and average ambient background noise, is 30 - 60 ft. It is generally accepted that speakers of less than 88db or more generally (full range) under 100 watts are typically expected to perform satisfactorily in the 30 foot broadcast range while outdoor speakers above these ratings should adequately reach and even begin to exceed the 60 - 100 foot separation stage. The actual outdoor speaker type as well as configuration also plays an important part of outdoor system design; mono-directional vs. omni-directional, stereo vs. mono etc.
Question - "How long can I run the TIC outdoor speakers to or what TIC burial cable should I use?"
Answer - Speaker separation or spread was answered in an earlier question but basically amounts to 30' to 60' feet of separation, individual speaker performance dependent. Exceeding these averages creates "dead zones" where a difference in sound quality or eroding speaker performance is noticed. Please study our Audio Installation Basics under our Technical Resources section to obtain guides for outdoor speaker cable usage.
Question - "Do your TIC outdoor speakers have left and right channels?"
Answer - TIC full range outdoor speakers may be connected to either the left or right single channel individually, not both at once. (*exceptions are specialty speakers like our TIC outdoor sub woofers or individual stereo speakers like our dual voice coil TIC
TFS12 "Stereo" speaker) In a typical (*some amplifiers are excepted) situation an amplifier provides connections for two to four speakers connected to the "A" and / or the "B" channel. Each TIC speaker would be connected to the left or the right connection of those channels and not the left and the right or both.
Outdoor Speakers with left and right channels contained in one unit are usually dual voice coil and dual tweeter units. TIC, due solely to lack of market demand for these units, does not currently produce an individual "stereo" speaker unit. TIC does monitor this situation constantly and may produce such a unit at an opportune time. Most outdoor speakers we produce operate on one channel.
Question - "You say the TIC outdoor speaker burial cable only needs to be 4" below ground cover; Could animals chew the burial cable or some insects infest it?"
Answer - TIC has recommended as a "standard", 4 - 6" of cover for its exterior speaker cable for many years. In all that time we have never had one single report of wild animals chewing or piercing the outdoor speaker cable nor any type of insect infestation.
Question - "Are there any special precautions I should take to protect my TIC outside speakers in Snow or Winter?"
Answer - While no special precautions are absolutely necessary, some may be beneficial or even prudent considering the range of exterior conditions seasonally and world wide. A trick learned many years ago from the many theme parks who use TIC products is to cover the units with a plastic bag while outside in winter or under severe weather conditions. This acts much as "lagging" a pipe in preventing components from absolute freezing and complete saturation during the long winter months.
Question - "I hear a tiny rattling in the outdoor speaker housing sometimes as I shake it or turn it on its side?
Answer - During the post manufacturing period the housings are ground internally prior to the application of the Silicone seal. This sometimes produces small particles or inert "swarf" which will settle at the base of the unit and have no effect whatsoever on the outdoor speakers performance.
Question - "What do you mean 70v switch-able on some TIC outdoor speaker models?"
Answer - TIC "Pro" products 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.
Question - "What is the TIC outdoor speaker Warranty?"
Answer - The standard TIC outdoor speaker product Warranty is a "no-hassle" one year comprehensive warranty covering parts and labor. TIC also offers a five year warranty under certain purchase conditions. TIC does not offer limited, unworkable or misleading "lifetime" warranties.
Question - "What is a 70v transformer? Do I need to buy one?"
Answer - A 70v transformer is part of a 70v commercial in-line distributed audio constant voltage system. Each speaker requires a 70v transformer and the whole system needs to operate using a special 70v amplifier. These systems are most popular in commercial systems for background music, telephony, PA and other public broadcasting. The main advantage of such a system, in simple terms, is that it allows you to operate multiple speakers from a single line out without many of the normal 8 Ohm system impedance matching or cable wiring considerations.
You do not need to consider such a 70v system for normal domestic use, using a limited amount of speakers.
Question - "What kind of cable do I need to use for my outdoor Omni Speakers, Patio Speakers or my Rock Speakers?"
Answer - Cable requirements for standard 8 Ohm outdoor speaker systems depend much upon the distance between the power source or amplifier and the outdoor speakers themselves. General guidelines for cable length vs cable gauge required may be found under the TIC Technical Resources drop down menu/ section or HERE.
Question - "Do I need to purchase speaker cable for my outdoor speakers?"
Answer - Most outdoor speakers offered for sale do not come with speaker cable due to the different cable length’s or gauges required for each outdoor installation however, TIC does offer 30’ of high quality 14/2 gauge speaker wire with several models like our GS5 or GS10 outdoor speaker models.
Question - "Do I need TIC SPCCN1 cable connectors for my outdoor speakers?"
Answer - The TIC weatherproof outdoor speaker cable wire connector, SPCCN1 is used whenever a break or splice in the speaker cable may occur. TIC outdoor speakers have a base plate cable connector and the other connection is at the power source or amplifier. Almost anywhere in-between you may join two cables together using the SPCCN1 cable connector.
Question - "I saw some of the speakers have a free installation kit on your website. Can I have one as
well? What does it do to help me with my speaker installation?"
Answer - The TIC exterior speaker installation kit,
SPIN1 is designed specifically for use with our “TFS” outdoor rock speakers in particular. The SPIN1 outdoor speaker installation kit contains 30 ft. of 14/2 speaker cable, 1x rock speaker security stake and 1x outdoor speaker cable connector.
Q -"What is the difference between TIC GS-5 and TIC GS-3 omni speakers?"
Answer - The TIC Pro Omnispeaker GS3 is the latest iteration of our award winning omnispeaker line. A full 8” driver powers this omni directional unit. The TIC “mini-omni” GS5 omni directional speaker pair are a smaller version of the GS3 offered in pairs with 5” drivers.
Q -"What is the replacement outdoor speaker for the TIC OmniSpeaker®?"
Answer - The standard outdoor speaker / driver replacement for the OmniSpeaker®, GS3, GS3A, GS3T and all older iterations of this Pro Omni Speaker model is the SP82200, 8" Co-Axial driver.
This is the latest upgrade for 8" omni speakers.
This unit is replaced by first removing (stretching) the black, blown foam infestation grill cover. Then undoing the three screws at the bottom of the grill which hold the anodized aluminum impact screen to the base of the unit. Lifting off the lid carefully reveals the mounted speaker. Undo the four speaker mounting screws and replace with the new unit accordingly. Re-assemble in reverse order.
The TIC Mini Omni speakers use replacement part number
SP5280 speaker driver.
Q -"What is the difference between the GS4 & GS3 Omnispeakers?"
Answer - Our Award Winning
GS3 Pro omni speakers are "normal" single channel, left or right side, stereo speakers. The
GS4 DVC (dual voice coil) Pro stereo omni speaker uses a different configuration. Unlike the GS3, the GS4 accepts both L & R side of a full audio channel which results in the GS4 playing both sides of a channel from one speaker where you would normally use two speakers.
TIC first released these GS4 DVC units in reponse to professional audio contractors demand to cover various requirements of modern commercial audio installations. Since that time thousands on customers have enjoyed these units in various applications desiring full stereo sound from a single unit.
Question - "What colors do the Outdoor Rock Speakers, Terra-Forms®, come in?"
Answer - The Terra-Forms® Outdoor Speaker Stones are available in CN: Canyon. SL: Slate and WG: White Granite finishes. Each one is hand finished to create the most realistic and aesthetically pleasing natural stone look and feel. The Canyon finish emulates many of the natural stones found in the southwestern United States while the Slate finish recreates natural stone found throughout continental North America. The White Granite finish matches many of those stones found throughout the southern states.
Question - "What are the Outdoor Rock Speakers, TIC Terra-Forms® Series made of?"
Answer - Our Terra-Forms simulated stone speakers are constructed of an Aerospace grade composite first developed by the Composites division for use on the US Army's Apache Helicopters. It has a tremendous strength to weight ratio and is totally inert in use. It is a PU/ Poly Hybrid composite material and represents some of the most advanced specialty formulated plastics being used today.
Question - "What is the difference between a TIC outdoor woofer and a TIC outdoor sub woofer?"
Answer - Most people know that a sub woofer promotes the Bass notes or more correctly the low frequency response in the sound they hear. Simply put; a sub woofer is a woofer with a limited frequency range, typically below 1kHz. A better quality sub-woofer such as the TIC models GS50 or TFS50 also have a larger voice coil and magnet system to promote that lower frequency range. A designed outdoor sub woofer such as these also has another advantage over a woofer with limited frequency response; it can, through its design, promote the lowest frequencies at a volume not normally obtainable by a standard outdoor woofer without considerable distortion. Typically you would install an outdoor sub woofer in conjunction with a pair of fuller range outdoor satellites speakers.
Question - "What is the difference between your TIC outdoor passive sub woofer and the powered sub-woofer on my indoor home theatre system?"
Answer - TIC produces a passive outdoor sub-woofer in our GS50 and TFS50 units for a number of reasons, mostly to do with their exterior performance function. The main difference between a passive sub woofer and a powered or active sub woofer is that an active sub woofer has an amplifier contained within the unit which artificially amplifies the low level frequency signal received from the Receiver player by the active sub woofer.
Many "audiophiles" and music purists do not like this effect, stating that powered sub woofers distort and discriminate the full range audio signal.
While powered or active sub woofer speakers enjoy certain benefits, they are also somewhat limiting. Due to their built-in amplifiers, active speakers must be placed near electrical outlets in order for the amplifier to be plugged in. Additionally, their amplifiers cannot be upgraded later for more power or a higher quality design, and by incorporating the amplifier into the sub woofer speaker, a user cannot choose a particular amplifier and speaker based on their individual and combined merits. For these reasons, most speakers (other than subwoofers) are not active or powered designs.
In exterior speaker use this type of powered speaker amplification is also the subject of numerous regulations for exterior power installation as well as definitely having to comply with UBC (Uniform Building Code) restrictions. This will to some large degree or another complicate the install and potentially, greatly increase its costs. The TIC GS50 & TFS50 passive outdoor sub woofers suffer no such restrictions and its installation is little more than that required for a typical full range speaker unit.
Question - "On your TIC outside lighting, what does "LV" mean?"
Answer - "LV" stands for Low Voltage on all TIC outdoor lighting. All TIC exterior lights are low voltage requiring only 12v to operate the lamp. 12v lamps are extremely safe in use. A concern of all homeowners with kids, pets and visitors in mind. LV lamps are very cost effective and the Hi-Halogen bulbs make them bright in exterior use.
Question - "What is the difference between the "MR-16" and a "PAR-36" bulbs you use on your TIC outside lights?"
Answer - The MR-16 units contained in various TIC exterior simulated stone outdoor lighting models is a high halogen "spot" type lamp. Particularly useful to highlight specific areas, signage or highlights. The PAR-36 type bulb used in several of our outdoor lighting units is a broader, more spread type beam. Useful in highlighting whole areas of interest or interesting foliage and architectural features.
Question - "What is the output wattage of AMP10 ?"
Answer - "The TIC AMP10 outdoor receiver amplifier is fully digital and has an on-board (pcb) amplification module so its quoted output is 2.5/ 5W which is unlike the big heavy copper coil analog transformers in traditional receiver amplifiers that traditionally quote such high outputs.
It is like your computer but more similar to your modern flat screen television in digital sound output type. You can judge by the output of such televisions that the AMP10 is more than capable of supplying adequate output volumes.
Question - "How can the AMP10 drive my 100W(+) outdoor speakers ?"
Answer - Wattages quoted for speaker output and the input required to drive a speaker are almost two different things. TIC, as a professional speaker manufacturer, regularly tests our outdoor speakers in an anechoic chamber at 1W with an anechoic mic 1M away to find S.P.L. (sound pressure level). Many of our outdoor speakers admired by new customers at theme parks, resorts and hotels are being run on a commercial audio 70v system, at 10W. Surprising to them when they comment upon how “great” they sound.
The AMP10 regularly powers a couple of our own 200W outdoor speakers. The greatest limiting factor, as always, is resistance down the line where power is lost due to speaker cable length vs. gauge.
Question - "How many outdoor speakers can the AMP10 drive ?"
Answer - The AMP10 outdoor receiver amplifier can drive up to four (4) exterior outdoor speakers, of various wattages.
The AMP10 uses two pole (positive & negative) RCA type, phono plugs as connectors for each speaker connected. Please note the AMP10 connection illustrations page.
Question - "Is the AMP10 outdoor receiver amplifier really Waterproof ?"
Answer - No. The TIC outdoor receiver amplifier is quoted as "Weatherproof or Weather Resistant only". This means the unit itself has a general resistance to all weather conditions but is not waterproof. If allowed to get thoroughly wet, left in water or thunderstorms etc., the unit may rendered unusable and void any warranty through negligence.
Note; The power supply and transformer for the AMP10 is weather tight at the connector to the unit itself but is not weatherproof, weather resistant or waterproof beyond that. Care should be taken with the power supply and transformer to avoid its exposure to outdoor conditions, especially moisture.
Question - "Why is the AM radio not working as I’m used to, on the AMP10 ?"
Answer - TIC Corporation designs, produces and supplies products worldwide. The current AM set for the outdoor receiver amplifier AMP10 is 9mHz, common in many countries. The US standard is 10mHz, so some AM stations cannot be adequately tuned in. We are looking into changing this sometime in the future.
All other functions of the AMP including FM tuning operate normally.
Question - "What are the accessories contained in the AMP10 package ?"
Answer - The TIC outdoor receiver amplifier AMP10 includes the mains power supply and transformer; 110v / 12v, the car (cigarette lighter connector) power supply, a simple aerial for basic radio reception and 2x Red & White phono (RCA type) connectors for speaker wire etc.
Question - "Do I need to purchase any cables for the AMP10 ?"
Answer - Cable you may need for the TIC outdoor receiver amplifier AMP10 depends upon how you will use it. You will require speaker wire but how much depends upon how many speakers, 2 or 4, length of cable run will increase the gauge required. You may also require cables to connect your preferred audio source devices like Ipods, CD or MP3 players. The TIC AMP10 offers many connection options for these devices.
Question - "Do you have any other kind of outdoor receiver amplifier I can purchase for higher wattage outdoor sound ?"
Answer - At the moment TIC produces only our outdoor receiver amplifier AMP10. In the future we will be releasing a higher performance model, the AMP50 with a remote control. Availability is estimated at some time during 2011-2012.
*Note; this section is under constant review and we will post the most frequently asked questions as they come up - We Thank all our customers world wide for their input and consideration - TIC Corporation, U.S.A.