|RBH TS-12AP Subwoofer|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Subwoofers|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Monday, 01 January 2001|
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I used a variety of music while evaluating the RBH system including,. Bill Berry’s For Duke mastered by Ken Kreisel (of M&K fame), Keb Mo’s Slow Down (Okeh/550 Music), The Crystal Method’s Vegas (Outpost Recordings), Eric Clapton’s Unplugged (Reprise), Elvis Presley’s Elvis is Back (RCA/DCC) and a worthy new addition to my repertoire, St. Germain’s Tourist (Blue Note).
Overall, I found the RBH’s to sound to be better than my expectations even with the post-CEDIA show hype from our Publisher, Jerry Del Colliano who heard and liked the MC-6CT’s in September – even under trade show conditions. Having lived with extremely clean and open sounding Martin Logan Scenario electrostatic hybrid speakers ($2,000 per pair) I was expecting more coloration from a dynamic driver in a box enclosure. I never heard the flaws I expected the hear based on my predjusices before I listened to the RBHs.
I could have been convinced that Eric Clapton was actually playing in my room when listening to "Before You Accuse Me" on Unplugged." Elvis’ rendition of "Fever" (or perhaps the story I saw in the National Enquirer at the grocery store) made me think for the first time that perhaps Elvis is actually alive. The soundstage on "Fever" and "Before You Accuse Me" was consistently huge, extending well beyond the outer edges of the speakers. With seven feet between the MC-6T’s the image between the speakers was solid and full although when experimenting with placement at greater distances this began to suffer a bit. Imaging was fairly solid and well defined, while the soundstage itself had depth I did, at times, have some difficulty in discerning the depth between various instruments.
The bass performance of the MC-6T’s without the subwoofer was a bit thin on the lowest of low frequencies, but was still detailed and tight. With the addition of the TS-12AP the bass went significantly deeper with only the slightest loss of detail or cloudiness. The TS-12AP is the most detailed 12 inch subwoofer I have had in my system to date. The main speakers and subwoofer blended well with a bit of experimentation. I ended up with the cross-over frequency being near the lowest setting of 40 Hz and the relative volume a bit on the low side. Crystal Method’s "Busy Child" has some tight, earthshaking synthesized bass that pushed the RBH woofer to the limit. When listening to this track at high volume, I noted that the TS-12AP could not reach down quite as low as some of the bigger subwoofers I have tested and or auditioned.
Throughout my listening sessions the RBH system remained detailed and composed irregardless of the source material I selected. There was never any harshness attributable to the speakers, even at the highest of volumes. The high frequencies were extended, detailed and slightly forward much like you’d expect from say a B&W product. There was a slight discoloration in the lower treble/upper midrange area, this was most noticeable on instruments such as the flute.
The RBH’s setup lacks a slight bit of the clarity found on the most detailed systems. The RBH combo also slightly suppresses the depth of some of the images specifically depending on the placement of the speakers from the back wall. When listening to selected recordings it is, at times, hard to tell which singer or instrument is farther forward or back on the stage.
A potential problem is the tweeter may be a bit low to provide on axis listening for some seating arrangements. The RBH comes with interchangeable adjustable spikes, rubber feet and a tweeter that swivels up in order to help alleviate this potential problem. I overcame the problem by auditioning the RBH speakers with my new Herman Miller’s Aeron chair which is adjustable and provides one heck of a relaxing seat while listing to music and movies.
What I learned about RBH Sound and their speakers is that they are simply well made – exceeding my expectations for their price. Aside from the unique usage of the aluminum drivers and sexy finishes, there was no patented, breakthrough technologies used in the RBH speakers that set them apart from the crowd. However, upon audition, the qualities that make RBH stand out became very apparent. The MC-6T and TS-12AP that I had the opportunity to listen to demonstrate what solid engineering and superior execution can accomplish.
The MC-6T’s have a clear, detailed sound, good dynamics and musicality. When coupled with the TS-12AP subwoofer the resulting system will easily handle all but the very lowest of lows at any reasonable (or even some unreasonable) volumes without a hitch. The system’s tonal neutrality, detail and dynamic range make it appropriate for practically every type of music.