Published on May 8th, 2014 | by Greg0
Niles Audio OS6.5: An Everywhere Outdoor Speaker
One of the hardest applications in audio is the big, bad outside world. Inclement conditions- rain and wind- can quickly ruin most electronics and wreak havoc with your audio. Bass doesn’t travel far through air, and most speakers function best at specific angles and distances while with outdoor systems you want as broad a reach as possible. Whatever the environment, from your backyard pool to a dance in the park, you need a durable speaker with depth.
The Niles Audio OS6.5 Two-Way High Performance Indoor/Outdoor Speakers come in a matched pair, and are available in black or white- and even more unusually can be painted. And while most speakers operate optimally in a fairly narrow band, the Niles OS6.5 are rated to run from minus-50 degrees to 185 degrees. IPX5 rated, we didn’t try using them in a hurricane, but a rain storm didn’t even faze them. And they apparently exceed federal anticorrosion specifications, and are UV-stabilized to prevent fading in sunlight, which we’ve seen happen to many a piece of gear. And with up to 125 watts of power, you can rest assured that they will be heard.
There are plenty of other buzzwords in the feature set: carbon fiber woofer cones, 1-inch trilaminate Teteron dome tweeters, and dispersion stabilizers, which serve to help with clear off-axis audio. Basically, these are pretty serious components, and thanks to the heavy-duty construction, we noticed stable performance and a pretty stellar range. The case never vibrated or rattled even when pumping out the volume. You don’t need to be exactly three feet away, or right in front of the system, but can hear crisply and cleanly in multiple directions up to yards away. We wouldn’t recommend sitting up close, of course- these aren’t meant for near-field listening- and the bass is pretty strong up front and center.
The tapered design allows mounting in corners, and they can sit on stands or on their own. A clean, organic design, all smooth curves, looks pretty swanky and modern. The limited lifetime warranty is a good sign. At 10 pounds, they aren’t light enough to throw in a bag, and we would have liked a better way to transport them; there aren’t really handles and the plastic is a little slick to grab on to. Well-balanced, they were tonally a bit warm, and ideal for rock or pop music- a nice, easy to enjoy system with plenty of oomph and a good sense of space, never pinched if a bit sharp at the high end. Indoors, they might be a bit much, but if you’re in need of a outdoor system you can leave in the snow or storms without worrying, then the Niles OS6.5 system is a safe bet. They sound bold and brash, and have held up well on our rooftop. Available online and in stores for under $400, they’re a good value too.