|RBH MC Series Home Theater Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Tim Hart|
|Sunday, 01 May 2005|
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I went right for the jugular and started out with “Bad Magick” from Godsmack’s Awake CD (Universal Records). The drumming and bass line on this track is solid and threatening with its low-level assault. While not the deepest-sounding presentation I’ve heard in this price range, the MC-616Cs did a great job for their size. Teamed with the TS-10AP sub, there was a deftness and snap to the lower registers that was very satisfying and more articulate than I expected. Low-level detail came through with authority and lacked any true signs of congestion, a common negative artifact in speakers of this price class. Integration was just about seamless with very little lost in the lower midrange where some satellite systems aren’t able to span the gap between sub-100 Hz and the upper ranges. The soundstage was quite good, specifically located with a slightly laid back presentation. The vocals and midrange had a nice balance that leaned a bit to the warm side and the higher frequencies were neither fatiguing, etched nor edgy.
Bela Fleck is one of those musicians who definitely strays from the norm. Anyone who can play a form of progressive jazz/fusion on a banjo immediately gets my attention. Having seen Fleck live several times with the Flecktones, his performances are unique and compelling. On his DVD-Audio disc The Bluegrass Sessions: Tales from the Acoustic Planet, Volume 2 (Warner Brothers Records), with some help from some very talented musicians including the legendary Earl Scruggs, Fleck explores three generations of bluegrass, from traditional to new. The interplay of banjo, fiddle, guitar and bass guitar on “When Joy Kills Sorrow” is intricate and enveloping in this 5.1 mix. The RBH system did a nice job of rendering the nuance and resolution of the performance. Detail was abundant and the RBH’s midrange remained warm, even at high volumes.
I love soundtracks that put you in the middle of the action and make you feel that if you closed your eyes, you would be there, too. “Ladder 49” (Buena Vista Home Entertainment) is one of those films. The scene towards the end of the movie, when Jack Morrison (Joaquin Phoenix) goes into an apartment building to try to save a little girl and gets trapped himself, depicts how it might feel if it actually happened to you. The sounds of flames popping up above and all around are well defined. The RBH package is able to translate the emotion of this horrific event with great impact. Popping and cracking of wood and flames have a convincing feel to them.
“Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” (Paramount Home Entertainment) is a novel movie that is more of an artistic statement than a film, but it has some interesting spots in the soundtrack that I felt would be a good test of how well one speaker hands off the information to another. When Sky Captain (Jude Law) is flying his highly modified P-40 through the cityscape, the soundtrack depicts the effects a pilot would experience flying between buildings. Camera angles force the soundtrack to maintain spatial cues dynamically, utilizing all of the channels in an intricate way. The RBH system handles this aspect very well. The intricacies of the sound effects are sorted out and never seem compressed or confusing, traveling seamlessly from one channel to the next. The sub also does a nice job with explosions, which are not earth-shattering but still well-defined and punchy. While they are investigating a huge and apparently abandoned warehouse, Polly (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Sky Captain’s footsteps echo convincingly within the large area, with creaky doors and voices reverberating though the implied space. The RBH system reproduces the details well, with the whispery voices and scraping shoes fleshing out nicely.