|RBH MC Series Home Theater Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Tim Hart|
|Sunday, 01 May 2005|
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In the heyday of hi-fi, it seemed like there was a wide gap between the highest-end speakers and speakers the masses could afford. Today, things are different in that the budget-minded audio-video performance enthusiast now has the opportunity to buy speakers that can hang with the high-end players at a price that is only fractionally more than the speakers found advertised on TV infomercials, along with noise-canceling headphones.
For over 25 years, RBH has been producing a wide range of performance loudspeakers that are designed and engineered from their Utah-based facility. I first became aware of their work four years ago, when AVR editor Bryan Southard invited me over to his home to get a second opinion on the Signature series that he had installed for review. I remember really admiring the fit, finish and workmanship. I was impressed with the solidness of the enclosures and the smooth, refined sound that they produced. One of the most impressive aspects was how well the RBH units blended with each of the other speakers in the 5.1 system. While RBH might be the second most famous high-end speaker company based in Utah, they have speakers that compete with their neighbors at some of the high-end price points, along with models that are priced way below anything Wilson offers, making the RBH brand a bit more accessible to the non-millionaire music enthusiast.
The MC series of speakers from RBH are closer to the entry-level price points for the RBH product lineup. This line allows you to mix and match five different speakers and two different subwoofers that will fit just about any room size, giving the consumer some size and price flexibility. All of these products are voiced to work seamlessly together. The speakers that I received for review included the MC-616C ($479 each), which can be used as a main, center, or surround speaker, the MC-6C bookshelf speakers ($749.00 per pair) and the TS-10AP subwoofer ($699.00 each). All came in a black wood veneer, which is the only finish option for the MC series. The slender profile presents a sleek contemporary look that is unobtrusive and tasteful with grilles on. When the grilles are removed, the speakers look more purposeful. One of the aesthetic improvements in this area from prior models is the lack of visible mounting hardware for the drivers, which refines the appearance even more.
In this set-up, RBH supplied three MC-616Cs to use as the front mains and center speaker, although they could also be used as surround speakers if you so choose. The sealed cabinet of the MC-616C is seven-and-three-quarters inches in height, 19.5 inches wide and nine inches deep, with a solid weight of 24 pounds each. Their frequency response is listed at 50Hz - 20 kHz at ±3dB and has a sensitivity of 89dB, meaning that these speakers are not a particularly hard load, which allows you to drive them to reasonably high volumes with as little as a moderately powered receiver. The MC-616C has a power handling capability of 150 watts and uses 2 six-and-one-half-inch aluminum dome woofers surrounding a one-inch aluminum tweeter in a D’Appolito configuration. The solid-feeling cabinet can be set up vertically or horizontally, as in my set-up, and the cabinets are magnetically shielded to reduce interaction with your TV.
The MC-6C bookshelf speakers were used as the rear surround speakers and are 12.5 inches high, seven-and-one-half-inches wide, eight-and-three-quarter-inches deep, and weigh in at a hefty 17 pounds each. Frequency response for the MC-6C is listed at 60Hz–20kHz with a sensitivity of 86dB. The same six-and-one-half-inch aluminum dome woofer and one-inch aluminum tweeter that is used in the MC-616C is also used here and can handle up to 120 watts in this configuration. The cabinet is a sealed design as well.
For the lower registers, RBH supplied the TS-10AP subwoofer. The TS-10AP uses a RBH designed 200-watt class A/B internal analog amplifier to drive a 10-inch-long excursion aluminum woofer. This is housed in a solid, single-ported cabinet that is 14 inches high, 14 inches wide, 17 inches deep, weighs 45 pounds and has a rated response down to 30Hz.
On the back panel, you will find a gain control, adjustable low-frequency cutoff and a 180-degree phase inversion knob, allowing you the necessary flexibility to properly blend the TS-10AP with your other speakers. It also provides you with a low pass cutoff switch, a feature that defeats the internal crossover for applications in which you are controlling the LFE from your electronics. There are also high-level five-way binding post inputs to connect your receiver or amplifier, or corresponding line level RCA inputs to input a line level signal, and 100 Hz high pass crossover outputs.
After about 20 hours of break-in playing CDs and DVDs, the RBH system started to warm up and it was time to dial it in for optimal set-up. I positioned the two MC-616Cs about 20 inches from the back wall, two feet from the side walls, and set the third MC-616C horizontally on top of my TV. After some listening, I adjusted them without venturing too far from my original starting position. I stationed the TS-10AP sub in the right-hand corner just behind the MC-616C, and I positioned the two MC-6Cs behind my couch. For this review, I used the Sunfire Theater Grand IV preamp/processor, the Aragon 2007 200 watt x seven-channel amplifier and the Denon DVD-2900 universal player. RBH also supplied their 25-inch Plateau stands, allowing me to adjust the main and the surround speakers to the correct height. The Plateau stands retail for $219.