|RBH Signature Series 5.1 Loudspeaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Bryan Southard|
|Saturday, 01 September 2001|
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When purchasing your audio/video system, there is no component that better defines its character than your speaker system. Speakers define both the sonic and aesthetic personality of your sound system. With the better part of the audiophile era behind us, a time when a good-sounding product in a hideous package seemed acceptable, the importance of combining performance with an attractive look has never been greater.
Several months back, I approached RBH about reviewing their loudspeaker systems. RBH is hardly a newcomer to the audio/video industry having just celebrated their 25th anniversary. Having seen and heard their speakers at CES 2001, I was intrigued with their products, as they appeared to perform very well in an environment that is less than optimal, and because their speakers looked to be well-built at an affordable price. Finding products of value is a high priority for AudioRevolution.com. After speaking with RBH, we selected a speaker system that was felt to best match the size of my A/V room. Having an appetite for performance, I selected a 5.1 package from RBH’s Signature Series line.
For front main loudspeakers, I used the Signature 1266-SEs, the highest-performing speakers in the Signature line. The 1266-SE is a tall, slender speaker, measuring 48 inches in height, eight-and-three-quarters inches wide, 16 inches deep and weighing 79 lbs. The rear-ported design has a driver complement of two six-and-one-half-inch aluminum midrange drivers, a single one-inch silk dome tweeter, and a side-firing 12-inch aluminum woofer. The 1266-SE has a rated frequency response of 27Hz to 20kHz at +/- 3dB, with a rated sensitivity of 88dB. These loudspeakers retail for $2,600 per pair in standard black finish, and $3,400 in any of the 30 available wood veneer trims.
For the center channel speaker, I used the 661-SE, also from the Signature line, which can be used in pairs as mains. This single speaker measures 22 inches wide while lying on its side, eight-and-three-quarters inches tall, and 11.25 inches deep. Its driver complement is a single one-inch silk dome tweeter, with two six-and-one-half inch aluminum dome woofers and an overall frequency range of 45Hz to 20kHz. The 661-SE also has a ported design and weighs 31 lbs., retailing for $599 in standard black finish or $759 in a vast array of custom wood veneers.
For surround speakers, I was provided with the Signature Series 61-SE loudspeakers. This is another speaker in the Signature line that can be used in pairs as front mains. However, in this case, they made for a recommended match to the selected front main and center channel speakers. The 61-SEs are somewhat diminutive in size, yet they provide sizable low-frequency performance. The 61-SE measures 14.5 inches tall, eight-and-three-quarters-inches wide and 11.25 inches deep. The 61-SEs use a one-inch silk dome tweeter and a 6.5-inch aluminum dome woofer. The 61-SE weighs a mere 22 pounds and has a rated performance of 45Hz to 20kHz. The retail price of the 61-SE is $900 per pair in standard finish or $1,100 per pair in custom wood.
The subwoofer that was selected was the impressive-looking 12-SE, which was stunning to look at with its wood veneer finish and radius edges. The 12-SE is 15-3/8 inches wide. 17 inches tall and 17.5 inches deep. The 12-SE is a vented-enclosure, powered subwoofer with an internal 300-watt amplifier. Its rated response drops down to 30Hz at +/- 3 dB which, although isn’t among the lowest-rated frequencies on the market, is still fairly low. However, it’s the in-room performance of a subwoofer that is important. As your room interacts with and contributes to your sub’s performance, this db number proves to be much less significant that a real-life testing in your listening environment. The 12-SE provides volume control, adjustable low-frequency cutoff, and a 180-degree phase inversion switch, providing assistance so that you can properly match the phase based on the position of your sub relative to the position of your other supporting speakers. Additionally, the 12-SE has a low pass cutoff switch for applications in which you are controlling the LFE from your electronics. It provides inputs and outputs in both RCA and speaker binding posts, which will accept a variety of speaker connections, including spades and banana plugs.
The loudspeakers that were provided for me to review came in a very attractive walnut wood veneer finish. RBH offers over 30 wood finishes to choose from. Today it is quite rare to be offered choices of more than a few wood trims. I found this feature notably attractive, as many of us are trying to visually integrate our loudspeakers into our fine homes. The RBH webpage listed below has a fully pictured list of almost all of the available wood trims.