Where are you bound to find reliable, durable outdoor speakers? Malls, car dealerships, office buildings ... commercial environments, you get the picture.
NEAR (New England Audio Resource) is a 25-year-old manufacturer that’s under the larger auspices of commercial manufacturer Bogen Communications, through which it’s developed and tested outdoor-rated loudspeakers. Now NEAR is bringing its weatherproof models to the home (or outside the home, to be more specific).
At this week’s CEDIA Expo in Denver, the company is showing its bracket-mountable LB Series speakers and burial IG Series in-ground speakers (prices for each series are yet to be determined).
NEAR’s Bill Kieltyka has been working with noted designer Allen Boothroyd - whose work can be seen in high-style audio products from companies such as Meridian - on the industrial design to complement the internal fortitude of the outdoor speakers.
The crux of NEAR’s models involves its metal diaphragm technology (MDT) and unique driver design that features a magnetic liquid suspension (MLS) that not only seals it from the elements but aids in the 360-degree dispersion. In an inverted dome design, with the voice coil centered, the driver becomes more linear as the signal level goes up, according to NEAR’s Jeff Kussard. For the in-ground series, Kieltyka notes, you can either bury most of the speaker below ground or simply sit it on your patio or in the yard.
The IG series is offered in 5.25-, 6-, 8- and 12-inch driver models, the latter being the IGS12 subwoofer; the bracket-mountable LB models come in 4-, 5-, 6- and 8-inch two-way driver arrays.
To power the speakers, NEAR offers a 6XL amplifier to deliver up to 600 watts to two-channels, and includes multiple tabs for spreading the juice to multiple speakers that can be daisy-chained throughout the yard in 70-volt. So if you’ve got some speakers that are further away from where people will predominantly be hanging out, you can increase the power to the ones located further away and decrease the strain on those nearby.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.