Speakers AlFresco Indoor/Outdoor
As noted earlier, I auditioned all these speakers indoors—for two reasons. First, as an apartment dweller, I don’t have access to a backyard (though my windows do look out on a beautiful park with trees and grass). But more to the point, as someone who’s listened to hundreds of compact speaker systems in the same room with essentially the same reference equipment, my indoor environment provided both familiarity and consistent isolation from environmental noise that a traditional backyard installation could not deliver. Aside from having to account for the obvious bass boost applied in the design of these speakers and the additional boundary reinforcement my room walls provided beyond an outdoor eave or deck, this approach allowed me to apply an even playing field to all three models to assess qualities like dispersion, dynamics, imaging, and detail.
All three speakers proved to be good performers in my indoor environment, though your choice will come down to personal preference. Do you go for the Boston Acoustics’ more delicate high-end and dual-voicecoil/two-channel arrangement? The NHT, designed with loud-and-low in mind? Or the high- disperson Niles, with its customizable and government-rated weatherproof cabinet? Only you can decide if one of these will better fit your needs and musical taste. That said, we’ve been remiss in covering this category over the years, and this being summertime, we’d love to hear about your firsthand experiences with outdoor speakers. Have you installed a speaker model or brand you like or were unhappy with? In what kind of environment? Has it held up over time?