A military-spec audio toadstool designed to provide hi-fi music in hard-to-reach outdoor spaces.
Review:/ Christopher Holder
Alfresco music is always welcome and achievable when you have some kind of structure from which to hang surfacemount loudspeakers.
But in the event that you don’t, the options narrow.
Placing speakers in the wild, so to speak, is tricky. You need a high IP rating; they need to be sturdy enough to handle a knock or a whipper snipper; and they need to be relatively tamper proof.
I’ve always admired the camouflaging abilities of loudspeakers masquerading as a rock in the garden bed. Other models are designed to be buried and use a snorkel arrangement. The other tried and tested approach to outdoor audio is the mushroom format. (It’s worth noting, Sonance has rock, submerged and mushroom models… horses for courses, depending on the application.)
The Sonance Omni 6T is the latest generation of outdoor mushroom loudspeaker. It’s a two-way design, combining a 6.5-inch LF unit with four HF devices, producing an omnidirectional dispersion in the horizontal. It goes surprisingly hard. It has a quoted average max SPL of 107dB at one metre, which is more than enough welly for the local fauna to dive for cover.
The Omni 6T sounds good. The coverage is even. The low-end response is quoted as being 3dB down at 60Hz. So you’ll get a pleasing sensation of bass without the rumble.
Crucially, the Omni 6T comes with a laundry list of environment certificates. For starters, it’s IP66 rated — which means it’s built to handle everything bar full submersion. So rain, sprinklers and hoses aren’t going to dampen this mushroom’s performance. The 6T conforms to the military spec 810 for humidity, salt spray, temperature and UV. What’s more it has an IEC529 compliance for protection against the internal electronics. This is a loudspeaker that will survive pretty much anything you can throw at it.
You can run the 6T as a constant voltage or 8 Ohm loudspeaker. Thanks to the Laminated Core Transformer Sonance uses, the 100V sound isn’t compromised in the way you may have experienced in other attempts at constant voltage sound.
The Omni 6T blends in and disappears into many landscaped settings, and given the omnidirectional dispersion of the sound, it’s hard to pinpoint where the music is emanating, which is great for an immersive background music experience.
Freq Range: 60Hz – 20kHz
Power capacity: 120W Continuous Program Power
Nominal sensitivity: 88dB
Nominal coverage angle: 360°(H) x 160° (V)
Rated Max SPL: 107dB @ 1m average, 113dB peak
Rated Impedance: 8 ohms nominal, 6 ohms minimum
LF Driver: 6.5-inch Polypropylene Cone
HF: Four 1.25-inch EPDM dome
Environmental: Conforms to Mil Spec 810 for humidity, salt spray, temperature and UV, IEC 529, IP-66 waterproof rating
Dimensions: 368mm x 305mm
Weight: 6.62kg each
It has a quoted average max SPL of 107dB at one metre, which is more than enough welly for the local fauna to dive for cover
SHROOM TO MOVE
Who wouldn’t want an Omni 6T in their backyard? And with a list price of A$945 (okay, plus the amp channel and wiring), it’s not such a crazy proposition — go ahead, you deserve it. Meanwhile, the commercial applications are varied. Sonance lists resort gardens, hotel pool areas, theme parks and outdoor shopping malls as a handful of obvious applications, and I’m sure you can think of a few more yourself.
The 6T may look somewhat like a novelty but in reality it’s a high performance, military grade workhorse that is designed to run and run. Any project dealing with the great outdoors could well benefit from the Sonance Omni 6T.