Every outdoor party speaker needs to be able to handle rain, sand, and the occasional physical impact during travel. The Rock (no relation to Dwayne Johnson) passes these basic tests, but falls short of being “very rugged.” Its IPX-3 water-resistance rating means it can get rained on or survive a spilled drink, but it cannot be fully submerged. The lightweight rubberized exterior and metal grilles are prepared to take on some bumps and resist scratches, but a hard fall would likely damage the smooth finish or dent the flexible grille. We don’t think you’ll spend a lot of time carrying around this 10 pound speaker, although the conveniently placed hidden handle in the back makes this task easier than it looks.
The Rock has a few extras in addition to standard playback controls like hands-free calling with a built-in mic, NFC pairing, and a USB port for charging mobile devices. You can also connect an input source via Aux-in and chain to a second Rock or other speaker using the line-out port. The ports and charge indicator LEDs are safely stowed behind a rubber gasket that keeps the unit waterproof when closed. The speaker’s 6600 mAh battery doesn’t have a ton of capacity, but it’s enough to keep the speaker playing for up to 8 hours depending on volume level.
As for sound, the Rock does a great job reproducing bass and the low rumble of sub-bass ranges. However, the treble register is somewhat over-pronounced, which can make midrange vocals sound harsh at louder volumes. That was disappointing since blasting music at maximum volume is a big draw for a boombox-style speaker. In spite of this, backing off the volume a few notches helps to avoid the sibilance and distortion; you still get plenty of sound with a decent amount of detail from a dozen yards away at moderate listening levels.
Nyne’s Rock joins the ranks of contemporary large-bodied boombox speakers like Monster’s Superstar Blaster and Braven’s BRV-XXL. While it lacks the on-board EQ control and PA system capabilities of its competitors, the projection and the sound quality are comparable across all three. The Rock’s MSRP of $250 is already the most affordable of the bunch, but we spotted it recently online going for $180. At that price, this speaker could be an enticing option for your next backyard bash.