Sonance is highly regarded not only for its extensive line of inwall and on-wall loudspeakers and home automation offerings, but also its outdoor products. Recently, the firm completely revised its eight-model Mariner range of outdoor speakers—a lineup that includes the Mariner 63, the subject of this review. At first glance one might never suspect that this svelte, sealed-box, two-way speaker sports the kind of water resistance that would be the envy of the Cousteau family. The speaker’s front baffle couples to its main enclosure via a silicon O-ring seal, while the polypropylene enclosure is infused with UV inhibitors to remain colorfast in all but the most harrowing seafaring or outback conditions. The pressure-fit aluminum grille is powder-coated for weather resistance, while even the robust 6.5-inch carbon fiber woofer diaphragm resists moisture absorption.
Sonance has devised a dummyproof installation system to minimize queasy time spent high up on a ladder. Installation of Sonance’s swiveling Fastmount brackets is a breeze. The brackets provide a 180-degree range of adjustment with lockable clickstops in 10-degree increments, and they have been devised for horizontal, vertical, corner, or even pole-mount installations. Just cinch down four masonry screws per bracket with your trusty Makita, and step one is history. The speaker then slides between the bracket swing arms where it clip-locks securely into place—a secret release button making the Mariner virtually theft proof. But the really trick installation advancement is PACT (Protected Access Connection Terminal), a system where speaker wires are routed through a weatherproof rubber-grommeted back port, and pushed through to the front panel where they can be connected to the spring loaded binding posts. Once wiring is complete, a little access panel presses neatly into place ensuring a near air-tight seal.
I placed the Mariner 63s under the eaves and angled downward onto my back patio. Their sound was smooth through the middle range, with enough mid-bass energy and dynamics to enliven the first barbeque of the season, and there was even a hint of soundstage depth to be heard. Treble performance was detailed, although a bit bright in comparison to most audiophile speaker systems. Sonance offers a hefty limited lifetime-warranty that covers nearly anything that can go wrong under most natural conditions.
In the rough and tumble world of outdoor products, Sonance’s Mariner 63 has clearly raised the bar for performance, durability and ease of installation. And it made a landlubber like me feel like a home-improvement expert.