Audio System for a outside 3-teir deck


Hello all. I need some suggestions for a system we are installing for a customer.

Here is an explanation of the deck:

We have a customer that has a 3-teir outdoor deck. None of the decks are covered so everthing has to be weather proof. The flooring for the deck is all concrete. The sides of the deck are brick walls. When you walk out his back door, you are on the top teir. This runs for 15 feet away from the back of the house. You have an outdoor speaker mounted in the brick walls on the each side (2 speakers for teir 1). You then go down some concrete steps to get to the second teir. This teir runs for 30 feet as you walk away from the house. This teir has 2 pairs of speakers in the side walls (4 speakers for teir 2). You then go down another set of stairs to get to teir 3. This teir is the same length as teir 1 (15 feet). Like teir 1, teir 3 has one pair of speakers (One speaker on each side). So 2 speakers on teir 3. Teir 3 has a hot tub so they will probably want to be able to control the audio while they are in the hot tub as well as the other teirs. Again, none of this is covered so everything is exposed to the weather.

Altough I'm not sure how the acoustics will work out between the different teirs (As far as one teir's music interfering with another teir) I'm going to assume that he wants to treat each teir as a seperate zone (Be able to play different music per teir). I figure I will assume the worst case, if different music interferes too much between the teirs then he can just drive all the zones with the same music. I guess I could see a case where someone is grilling on teir one listening to one thing, while people in the hot tub on teir 3 are listening to something else. As long as they don't crank things too loud.

He wants to put the audio distribution control in the basement of the house where his wiring closet is. We are looking at a Russound solution so in the future he might be able to integrate the whole house audio with his existing HAI panel.

Here is my issue. I don't think I can put keypads outside due to the weather. Unless someone knows of a weather proof setup. So I was thinking of a system that could be controlled via remote control. That way he could just walk outside with the remote when he wants to change what he is listening to. Also good for setting in the hot tub. The problem I'm having is that it seems like most of the remotes are IR and communicate with the keypads IR sensors. Since I don't have any outdoor keypads I guess this is a problem. Ideally I would like an rf remote or mobile keypad that can communicate with the system directly in the basement. Do you know of any such systems.

I know this is long winded, but I wanted to explain the situation in case someone has a better way of handling the whole system. I'm open to suggestions. I'm kind of new to whole house audio systems.

Thanks in advance,

Use Cinemar's MainLobby 3 music system with an outdoor weatherproof touchscreen w/ tranflective & high nits screen. You can run the PC sound outputs to a Russound CAV6 and operate that too via Mainlobby touchscreen to Russound Plugin. You can operate MainLobby and the Cav6 via a wireless PocketPC as well. That's as good as it gets for a demanding customer.
Our HAI plugin is also in final laps so should be ready when you are ready to do the install.

We can hook you up with the touchscreen outdoor setup. Not cheap, but less than Crestron.
I use wifi too. I'm using a Fujitsu 3400 that I wallmounted but is removable with CQC [], and simply take it outside if I want the full 800x600 UI to control what i'm listening to.

I probably wouldn't recommend that specific device for a "professional" install, but there's other options [did any of those UMPC's come out yet]?

If I don't want all that control or if that's too big, then I can use my wifi Siemens SX66 Cingular PDA-cellphone which is only 320x240, and have full control that way too.

CQC handles all the communications, allows you to custom paint the UI, and has native back-end device control for nearly 100 devices including the russound CAV & HAI in the release you can download now, so it's a pretty robust and well rounded solution.
If I remember correctly, Xantech makes a keypad for use in bathrooms that is waterproof. I think it is aptly called WaterPad. There is not an lcd, but the buttons are programiable using xantech software and the labels are customizable. I've never had personal experience with them though.

You might want to take a look at Sonos. Full color remote control, 32 zones. The remotes are not RF.
The Russound keypads can be enclosed in the weatherproof boxes that WayneW linked. Russound won't warranty any keypads that show signs of water damage or corrosion, but I've had actual Russound employees tell me that they have keypads installed this way without issue in New Hampshire.

I'll be installing one outside for the first time for a customer in 3-4 weeks...

Thanks everyone for your responses. We went ahead and wired for outside keypads and are thinking about using WayneW's approach. But having wired the outside for both keypads and speakers covers us either way. I can always add the wifi approach later if needed now.

Thanks again. This site is the best for getting great ideas and I really do appreciate everyone's help.