As the outdoor market continues to explode, the era of merely okay-sounding all-weather speakers is coming to a pretty swift end. I mean, seriously, it doesn’t seem that long ago when an outdoor speaker that sounded barely better than a wood-paneled AM clock radio deserved pretty high praise. If Legrand had dropped its Nuvo Series Six Outdoor Speakers into that sort of market, heads would have exploded. As it stands, though, Legrand has some pretty stiff competition from a number of manufacturers cranking out truly audiophile-quality outdoor offerings.
With that in mind, it’s not so surprising that Legrand brought its “A” game when designing the speakers in its new Series Six lineup, all of which benefit from beefy carbon-fiber/Kevlar woofers (either 5.25 inches or 6.5 inches, depending on the model) and 1-inch titanium tweeters (either one or two, again, depending on the model).
Nuvo’s NV-6OD6-BK front view
The speakers that Legrand provided us for review are all of the 6.5-inch variety, including two of its NV-6OD6-BK Nuvo Series Six outdoor speakers, as well as one of its NV-6OD6-DVC-BK dual-voice coil outdoor speakers, which provides stereo output from a single chassis. The cabinets, by the way, are identical across the board, as are the connections: a phoenix connector with two positive and two negative terminals, along with a rubber waterproofing cover to keep the speaker connections dry. All speakers in the line boast IP65 protection against dust and water, and MIL-STD-810-level protection against UV rays, salt spray, and extreme temperatures. That all sounds very industrial, but the cabinets themselves are as lovely as they are well made.
I began my testing by tinkering around with the placement of a pair of the NV-60D6s installed under my patio overhang. Legrand doesn’t give much in the way of recommendations for installation, but each speaker’s aluminum bracket can easily be installed horizontally or vertically (or even hanging from the underside of a soffit, should you so choose). There’s only one axis of rotation, though, so which way you mount the speaker determines what sort of positioning you can do. With the bracket mounted horizontally, the single tweeter is to the left or right of the woofer, and aiming is limited to up and down.
In truth, though, the NV-6OD6-BK’s dispersion is so generous in every direction that there really wasn’t a wrong way to mount and position the cabinets.
Before we dig into sound quality, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that you also have several options for how to connect the NV-6OD6-BK. As I said, connectivity is provided by a phoenix connector with two positive and two negative terminals. If you want to run the speakers in stereo, as I did (with power provided by a NEAR 6XL outdoor amp, relying on my Control4 EA-3 entertainment and automation controller as my source), you simply pick a positive/negative pair and that’s that. You can also run a mono system (or use two speakers per stereo channel), use one +/- terminal pair as an input, and the other to daisy chain a second speaker. Note, though, that this drops the nominal impedance from 8 ohms to 4 ohms, so you’ll need to make sure whatever amp you’re using can handle such a load. The NV-6OD6-BK also lacks taps for 70V installation, so two speakers in a daisy chain is the max.
Using an amp as powerful as the 6XL did mean that I needed to keep a careful eye on the volume knob, so as not to blow the Series Six speakers, which are rated to handle 120 watts peak power. But you’d never know I was holding anything back by listening to the speakers. If I had to sum up their performance in one word, I would have to go with “robust,” but one word simply doesn’t cut it. I also found the speakers to be as detailed and nuanced as one could hope for in an outdoor speaker, especially with tracks like Nickel Creek’s “Smoothie Song,” which is a dense mix of overlapping acoustical textures, tones, and harmonics that proves a good test for even the best indoor hi-fi speakers.
A look at the back with cover
Convinced that the Series Six speakers could deliver a rich and satisfying stereo experience with two cabinets, I pulled down the NV-6OD6-BKs and installed the single NV-6OD6-DVC-BK right in the middle of my patio overhang to see how well it would stand up on its own.
The short answer? Amazingly well. I didn’t really expect much in the way of stereo separation from a single cabinet measuring just 12.9 inches wide; we’ve all, I’m sure, heard stereo Bluetooth speakers with dual tweeters that really just fill a space with sound rather than deliver any semblance of an actual stereo experience. Much to my surprise, even from 7 feet away, the NV-6OD6-DVC-BK created a genuine soundstage.
Even still, I expected it to fall a bit short of spectacular with my all-time favorite stereo test track: Beastie Boys’ “Hey Ladies.” What I love about this track for testing stereo systems is the way it puts its chunky guitar riff through a phase shift a few bars in, really spreading the sound out from wall to wall (or, in this case, from fence to fence). Either way, the NV-6OD6-DVC-BK’s stereo tweeters handled that phase shift with aplomb, and although I have to admit I still prefer a proper two-speaker setup on my patio, if space or design constraints limited me to a single NV-6OD6-DVCBK, I would have zero complaints. None.
That’s in terms of performance. If I have setup complaints, it’s the fact that there’s no labeling to let you know which pair of the speaker’s dual +/- connections is for the left channel and which is for the right. Another concern is that when you loosen the knobs to adjust the angle of the speakers, they come out of their bracket pretty easily. So be careful not to drop a speaker on your noggin.
But those are minor complaints. All things considered, Legrand has some truly lovely speakers on its hands here, none of which rock the world with fancy features or electronic wizardry, but all of which will rock a patio or poolside sound system with rich, thick, detailed sound that’s an absolute treat for the ears.
Sexy design and stunning performance make the Nuvo Series Six lineup a standout in the world of outdoor audio. What’s more, the NV-6OD6-DVC-BK dual-tweeter model delivers shockingly good stereo performance from a single cabinet.
Documentation could be a little better, and the NV-6OD6-DVC-BK would definitely benefit from some labeling as to which of its input is for the left channel and which for the right.
► Frequency Response: 55Hz–20KHz
► Material: ABS plastic shell, aluminum powder coated grill, aluminum powder coated bracket, brass inserts and knobs
► Nominal impedance: 8 ohms
► Power Peak: 120 watts
► Power RMS: 60 watts
► IP65 Rated for outdoor use and MIL-STD-810 for UV, salt spray, and temperature extremes