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Sonance Mariner Speakers Promise Superior Sonics And Rugged Build

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Sonance Mariner Outdoor Speakers

Sonance Mariner Outdoor Speakers

Summary

  • Product Name: Mariner Series
  • Manufacturer: Sonace
  • Review Date: September 27, 2018 08:00
  • MSRP: $350/pair - Mariner 54; $425/pr - Mariner 56; $500/pair - Mariner 64; $650/pr - Mariner 66; $800/pr - Mariner 86
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now

Mariner 54 (small)

  • Tweeter: 1” (25mm) cloth dome, Ferrofluid cooled, in acoustic back chamber
  • Woofer: 5.25” (130mm) textured polypropylene cone with a Santoprene surround
  • Frequency Response: 65Hz - 20kHz ±3dB
  • Impedance: 8 ohms nominal; 6 ohms minimum
  • Sensitivity: 87dB
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 6.36” x 10.08” x 5.68”
  • Shipping weight: 12 lbs/pair
  • *Available in a Single Stereo model (Mariner 54 SST: $325 each)

Mariner 56 (small, high-performance)

  • Tweeter: 1" (25mm) powder-coated aluminum dome, Ferrofluid cooled, in acoustic back chamber
  • Woofer: 5.25" (130mm) Kevlar/Nomex laminated cone with a Santoprene surround
  • Frequency Response: 60Hz - 20kHz ±3dB
  • Impedance: 8 ohms nominal; 6 ohms minimum
  • Sensitivity: 88dB
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 6.36" x 10.08 x 5.68"
  • Shipping weight: 13 lbs/pair

Mariner 64 (medium)

  • Tweeter: 1" (25mm) cloth dome, Ferrofluid cooled, in acoustic back chamber
  • Woofer: 6.5" (165mm) textured polypropylene cone with a Santoprene surround
  • Frequency Response: 55Hz - 20kHz ±3dB
  • Impedance: 8 ohms nominal; 6 ohms minimum
  • Sensitivity: 89dB
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 7.51" x 12.14 x 6.86"
  • Shipping weight: 14 lbs/pair
  • *Available in a Single Stereo model (Mariner 64 SST: $450 each)

Mariner 66 (medium, high-performance)

  • Tweeter: 1" (25mm) powder-coated aluminum dome, Ferrofluid cooled, in acoustic back chamber
  • Woofer: 6.5" (165mm) Kevlar/Nomex laminated cone with a Santoprene surround
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz - 20kHz ±3dB
  • Impedance: 8 ohms nominal; 6 ohms minimum
  • Sensitivity: 90dB
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 7.51" x 12.14 x 6.86"
  • Shipping weight: 17 lbs/pair

Mariner 86 (large, high-performance)

  • Tweeter: 1" (25mm) powder-coated aluminum dome, Ferrofluid cooled, in acoustic back chamber
  • Woofer: 8" (203mm) Kevlar/Nomex laminated cone with a Santoprene surround
  • Frequency Response: 45Hz - 20kHz ±3dB
  • Impedance: 8 ohms nominal; 6 ohms minimum
  • Sensitivity: 91dB
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 9.01" x 14.02 x 8.58"
  • Shipping weight: 20 lbs/pair

Sonance has been a driving force in the custom installation industry since the early 1980s, when company founders Scott Struthers and Geoff Spencer developed the world's first residential in-wall speaker. The brand continues to excel in the in-wall speaker business, and is currently working on a new series of architectural speakers designed specifically to work with the new Sonos Amp. But Sonance has also expanded into a variety of other product categories, including what the company describes as “landscape solutions that deliver audiophile sound-quality in outdoor environments.” Audioholics is in the process of reviewing one such product, the Sonance Mariner 86, which is the largest in the Mariner series of outdoor speakers. The Mariner series comprises seven different models of all-weather speakers  designed for courtyards, patios, swimming pools, and other outdoor spaces where audio performance and unobtrusive aesthetics must find a way to coexist.

Sonance Mariner 86 Outdoor Speaker Unboxing YouTube Video

Note: Make sure you watch this video as we discuss design details

Sonance Mariner 86The Mariner series speakers are visually inconspicuous, with a clean and contemporary design that shouldn’t attract unwanted attention. The sealed polypropylene cabinets are available in black or white, but can be painted to match whatever exterior wall or ceiling on which they are to be mounted. The “FastMount” bracket system provides up to 180 degrees of pivot, and ensures both secure positioning and ease of installation, according to Sonance. Plenty of outdoor speakers claim to be weather-proof, but Sonance goes the extra mile in this regard. The Mariner speakers are guaranteed to operate in temperatures from -13º to 149ºF, and their IP66 waterproof rating means that they can withstand heavy rains (and multi-directional, high-pressure water jets, if you happen to have those in the backyard). The Mariner speakers also conform to Mil Spec 810, which is a U.S. Military ruggedness standard that ensures resistance to humidity, salt spray, and UV light. On many outdoor speakers, the rear-mounted wire terminals are the weak link when it comes to weatherproofing, but Sonance has devised a clever solution to this problem. The Mariner series features front-mounted wire terminal connections, which are protected from corrosion by a removable panel in the speaker’s baffle. The perforated aluminum speaker grilles are naturally rust-proof, and even the woofers and tweeters are water impermeable.

The drivers themselves have seen a complete redesign for the new Mariner series, borrowing materials and technologies developed for Sonance’s Visual Performance line of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. The woofers are capable of 2.5 times the excursion of earlier designs, resulting in significantly decreased distortion at high volumes. The diameter of the voice coils has also been increased, allowing for greater output. Vented pole pieces decrease heat at the voice coils. The tweeters are ferrofluid-cooled, and positioned in their own acoustic back chambers. This design allows for cooler operation, a lower crossover frequency, and higher power handling.

Seven Models to Choose From

The seven Mariner series models are divided into three sizes: small, medium, and large. Small Mariners have 5.25” woofers; medium Mariners have 6.5” woofers; and the sole large Mariner — the Mariner 86 which we currently have in for review — has an 8” woofer. The small and medium speakers are offered in two performance levels. The standard versions have 1" cloth dome tweeters, and textured polypropylene woofers, while the high-performance versions feature 1" powder-coated aluminum dome tweeters, and woofers made from a Kevlar/Nomex laminated cone. The high-performance models offer increased sensitivity, higher power handling, and deeper bass extension than their less expensive counterparts. The large Mariner 86 uses the same driver materials as the high-performance versions of its smaller siblings; there simply is no standard-performance option in the large size. Lastly, there are two “Single Stereo” Mariners, one in the small size, and one in medium. These “SST” models feature two tweeters and one woofer in each speaker, so you can use just one speaker to play back a stereo signal. The SST models are only available with the standard-performance drivers.

On paper, the Mariner series as a whole seems to offer solid value (see full specs and pricing information above), innovative design, and best-in-class protection from the elements. But how do these speakers actually perform? You’ll have to wait for our full review of the Mariner 86, coming soon. In the meantime, share your thoughts on the Sonance Mariner series in the related forum thread below.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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