|RBH T-2P Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Thursday, 01 July 2004|
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It’s been about three years since I last had some RBH speakers in one of my review systems and I hadn’t realized how much I missed their sound until I cracked open the crates for the company’s best speakers. I was fortunate to be slated to review RBH’s reference-grade giants, the T-2P ($9,295 per pair) loudspeakers for review. These massive speakers, while not the largest speakers sold by RBH, are definitely a statement piece whose size and stunning appearance is sure to attract attention from audiophiles and non-audiophiles alike.
The RBH speakers are probably best known for their use of aluminum drivers. This tradition is kept in place with the T-2P system, which utilizes two 10-inch woofers, and four six-and-a-half-inch midranges per side, in addition to three one-inch silk dome tweeters for a total of nine drivers per side. Each T-2 speaker is comprised of a T1 midrange tweeter cabinet staked on top of a 1010-SEN subwoofer and joined with a pair of brackets. Each cabinet is 30 inches high, 13 inches wide and 18 inches deep. Stacked, they measure 61 inches tall and weigh about 190 pounds per side. The 1010-SEN’s have two 10-inch drivers vertically aligned above a large port. The driver configuration on the T-1 is somewhat unusual and is reminiscent of some large Cello prototype speakers I once saw. The three tweeters are vertically aligned along the inside edge of the cabinet; the midrange drivers are arrayed in a curvilinear fashion akin to a parenthesis mark.
The RBH cabinets are solidly built and finished in your choice of 30 wood veneers. This aesthetic flexibility is virtually unheard of in this day and time due to the large amount of inventory that is required to make this possible. My sample pair was finished in South American Rosewood, a rich brown with vibrant grain patterns. The back of each cabinet featured bi-wireable binding posts. I am not sure of the need to bi-wire your subwoofer, but you can with these if you want. Those of you who are familiar with RBH speakers will be happy to hear that the new production T-2Ps have binding posts that are much improved over their predecessors, making it much easier to tighten the posts on your favorite cables.
The last component of the T-2P speaker system is the power that puts the “P” in the name. RBH makes their own mono-block subwoofer amplifiers; the pair of SA-400s that are part of the T-2P system are discrete class A/B, 400-watt amplifiers. The amplifiers have a host of line and speaker level inputs and outputs to accommodate a variety of connection methods. The amplifiers have an auto-on circuit, switchable boost at 25 Hz, continuously variable phase control, adjustable crossover and a master volume control. While this may seem like a lot of controls for a subwoofer amplifier, they provide essential flexibility for getting the best possible sound from the lower frequencies.
The entire system features a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz and four-ohm impedance; it needs 100 to 500 watts per channel for the T-1 portion. Steep acoustical crossovers at 24dB per octave ensure that all the power goes where it is needed without damaging the drivers. System efficiency is rated at an impressive 91 dB/m/w.
Set-up was a bear. These are physically large and heavy speakers that will require you to invite some friends over, or better yet, buy them from a dealer that delivers (all RBH dealers will deliver a reference product like these). Once I got each of the 100-pound cabinets out of the box, I then had to mount the T-1 cabinet on top of the 1010-SEN cabinet and connect them with the supplied mounting clamps. The clamps are large bars that lay across the tops of the woofer cabinet, one towards the front and the other near the rear. The end caps for the bars are machined out of aluminum and complement the speaker’s feet. I then enlisted the help of a friend in lifting the T-1, setting it down on top of the 1010-SEN and clamps. Once the T-1 was in place, it was fairly simple to tighten the clamps for a solid connection.
Once the speakers were assembled and in place, I had to figure out how I wanted to hook them up. I used my reference Krell 300iL integrated amplifier to drive the T-1 cabinet. I connected the preamplifier outputs of the Krell to the SA-400s, which drove the bass sections. Once everything was up and running, I took considerable time making adjustments to the phase and master volume levels until everything seemed right.
RBH Sound sells the T-2Ps through dealers who are knowledgeable about the product and rudimentary acoustics. They would absolutely perform the set-up on a product at this level as part of the purchase price of the loudspeakers. Part of the fun of owning reference-level loudspeakers for many experienced audio enthusiasts is finding the best locations for them in your room. Nevertheless, it is always reassuring to know that your dealer got you set up and in the ballpark before you spend the time finding that last one-tenth of one percent of audio perfection.