Listening to Rocks
When I set out to listen to these speakers, I was a bit skeptical. I'd heard outdoor speakers before, some sounding very good, some not so good. The rock-like speakers I'd experienced at vacation resorts sounded just a rung above a high school PA system. Yet these RS6s proved to be a real surprise. Figuring I'd give them the best opportunity I could, I hooked them up to a Yamaha DVD-A/SACD player, and cued up a few SACD tracks. There are a few things you might figure you'll give up when listening to speakers outdoors—primarily imaging and bass. In both those cases, the Niles speakers outperformed a good many indoor speaker systems that I've heard. In fact the biggest surprise was the amount of bass. Niles lists the frequency response as going from 60Hz to 21kHz, and while I didn't put them to a meter, they really did produce a striking amount of detailed bass. Overall they sounded very musical, exhibiting none of the harshness or hollowness sometimes found on outdoor speakers. They also produced a very pleasing soundstage, though that will vary greatly with the placement of the speakers.
To keep visitors from accidentally moving the speakers and to discourage theft, the RS6s come with a security spike and cable you can use to attach them to the ground. The speaker wires are rated for burial, so you don't need to concern yourself with getting them wet. Speaking of getting them wet, I did actually pour water over one speaker, and true to the company literature, they kept right on playing. When I picked it up later and shook it, I couldn't hear any water inside. Try that with your home speakers.
For many customers, the yard is their favorite part of the house; integrators can't afford to miss this opportunity. These rock speakers treat the music they'll hear outdoors as well as the music they'll hear inside.