How to take your music outside (without annoying the neighbours)
Want to have a summer garden party without annoying the neighbours? Check out our tips for getting your music outside without disturbing the peace.
Taking your music outside used to be a hassle. It involved ghetto blasters perched precariously on windowsills or iPod docks with cables trailing across your garden.
But those days are now over - and there's a new generation of wireless speakers designed for outdoor use. Read onto find out how to choose the right one, and how to set things up to keep the neighbours onside.
1) Finding the right wireless speaker
A portable wireless speaker is the option to go for. These are:
- Battery powered so you don't need to plug in.
- Lightweight and easy to carry around.
- Able to stream music from your phone or tablet via Bluetooth.
There are many of these speakers to choose from. Check out the below features perfect for outdoor use:
- Long battery life. Bluetooth speakers that use lithium-ion batteries can go for as long as 15 hours and can be easily recharged.
- Water-resistant. Some speakers are water-resistant - so you can keep the party going in the rain or by the pool.
- Sound-boost. Certain speakers let you connect to another speaker to pump up the volume.
- Ruggedness. If you're going to be using it outdoors you want a speaker that can handle a few knocks.
The UE Boom has all of these features. It's wrapped in a sturdy plasma coating that's water resistant to IPX4 - this protects against splashing water (not being submerged). It's our perfect speaker for a garden party or summer barbecue.
2) Organise your party
- Pick a date.
- Check the weather forecast.
- Invite your friends - try to keep the numbers realistic. Don't transform your garden into Glastonbury!
- Avoid putting anything on Facebook - you don't want any unexpected guests.
3) Pre-warn the neighbours
- Pop round to your neighbours - next door or those whose gardens back on to your property - tell them you're having a party and when.
- Tell them when you expect your party to finish - and make sure it does.
- Explain why you're having the party - if they know it's for a birthday or to tie into a one-off event they may be more understanding.
- Give them your mobile number in case they want to ask you to turn the noise down.
4) Get the music sorted
- Create playlists on your tablet or smartphone in iTunes or Spotify.
- Think about the type of party you're holding and pick the tunes to match.
- Essentially you want to keep the neighbours onside.
Good garden party music:
- Laid-back folk: Laura Marling, Mumford and Sons, The Best of British Folk compilation;
- R&B: Pharrell Williams, Beyonce, John Legend
- Chilled-out electronica: Zero 7, Air, Ministry of Sound chill-out albums
Top tip: Avoid bass-heavy, thumping dance music, naughty-word laden gangsta rap, amp-popping hard rock and also clichéd anthems people are totally tired of hearing.
5) Set up your speaker
- Decide where your speaker is going to go. The UE Boom is shaped like a cylinder with a speaker wrapping around it completely. Stand it upright to throw music out across 360 °C. It's louder than its size would suggest too.
- Make sure your speaker's battery is fully charged. A flat battery would really kill the party.
- Decide who is in charge of playing the music. They'll need the iTunes/Spotify playlists and the phone or tablet to set them playing.
- Have you got a second speaker? You can connect 2 UE Booms together to play the same music with Double Play. Put them equal distance from your party table for solid stereo sound.
- Set a volume level you're happy with and don't go over it. Your neighbours might still complain even though you've spoken to them.
- As the evening progresses, begin to turn down the music bit by bit.
- The UE Boom lets you set alarms - this can remind you when it's time to turn down the music, and when the party is nearing its end time (as agreed with neighbours).
6) Is your phone or tablet good to go?
You will control the music playing on your Bluetooth speaker through your phone or tablet. Make sure:
- Its battery is fully charged.
- You have paired it and the speaker over Bluetooth.
- The Bluetooth range has been tested - you normally have to keep the phone within 10-15 metres of the speaker.
- Can you access Spotify or iTunes from your phone?
Lastly, don't forget to have fun, that's what summer is all about!