Hardware Spotlight -- RBH
RBH AC Speaker System
By Mark Fleischmann
Surround systems anchored by floorstanding speakers in the front left and right positions combine the strengths of 5.1-channel sound with the old-fashioned virtues of stereo. But an optimum combination of livable size, placement flexibility and sonic performance usually carries a price, and customers on a tight budget often end up with speakers that don't look or sound very good.
That's why it was such a pleasure to pull the cartons off a pair of RBH's AC-5Ts; the speakers' curved enclosures immediately announced that they were something special. Nearly 40 inches tall, the AC-5T has a three-way design with four drivers. These include a 1-inch silk dome tweeter and a trio of 5.25-inch polypropylene mid/woofer drivers. One of these functions as a midrange driver (3,500 to 200 Hz), while the other two serve as woofers (below 200 Hz).
The AC-5T can be mated to a matching surround system with other members of the RBH AC Series, which all use tweeters and woofers of the same size. These include the AC-525 center speaker, which uses a fairly unusual arrangement of two tweeters flanked by two woofers. One tweeter and woofer adorn the baffle of the bookshelf-sized AC-51 rear-surrounds. The A-10S sub provides a downfiring 10-inch woofer and 150-watt amp in a rounded cabinet that visually echoes the other speakers. Slim and sleek, the speakers offer curves in a very small footprint.
The curves are more than cosmetic. Unlike conventional speaker boxes, RBH's curved enclosures provide the acoustic benefit of preventing standing waves from bouncing between parallel surfaces. Sound still bounces around inside the speakers, but in a more complex way, with a less dominant resonant frequency. The enclosures are a complex composite of medium-density fiberboard, fiberglass and other materials, with a smooth matte finish that's curiously pleasing to the touch.