RBH T-2 Technology Overview
RBH Sound has been manufacturing high performance loudspeakers for over 25 years catering to the high performance (mind you not necessarily high priced) and custom install marketplaces. Yet their name isn't as widely recognized by consumers like some of the big guys out there. Fortunately name recognition is not always a reflection of product quality or performance. I can't think of a better example than this particular loudspeaker manufacturer. We have always been impressed with RBH Sound products since we began reviewing them a few years ago (so much so that two of our reference systems are comprised of their Special Anniversary Edition Signature Series Loudspeakers).
When their Chief Designer Shane Rich phoned me about a new Signature Series flagship product, you could imagine my enthusiasm about wanting to get my hands on a set. However, upon my first glimpse of these super sized speakers, I had reservations as to how they would fit in my listening room, and more importantly how I would convince my wife of living with them during my evaluation.
The sheer size of the T-2 System implies intimidation and power, making lesser-sized speaker systems seem smaller than they would ordinarily appear. Granted, we all know the saying " Bigger doesn't mean better ", but does that apply in this case? Continue reading to find out....
When I asked Shane what their target market is for this system, he told me it is for the home theater enthusiast who demands uncompromised performance and dynamic range to handle two-channel music and sophisticated home theater playback with equal measure.
The T-2 subwoofers are basically unpowered versions of the renowned 1010-SEP subwoofers. RBH Sound classifies the T-1 speaker array as a satellite speaker, perhaps the worlds largest at that! The T-1 uses the identical sized cabinet of the 1010-SEN subwoofers. When I saw this, I thought to myself, very clever. RBH Sound probably didn't require this much cabinet volume for the satellite module. Now they had a common cabinet design for the whole package, saving them on material costs through higher purchase volume, as well as maintaining a uniform appearance to the speaker system when the modules are stacked. My assumptions were correct, as Shane told me about 1/2 of the cabinet volume is stuffed with insulation and baffled bracing at the midpoint to minimize resonance. For those who like mass loading the bottom of their speaker cabinets, you can take it to the next level by mass loading ½ of the cabinet from top to bottom! This would surely yield a more inert cabinet, but good luck moving such a beast as the stock system already weighs in at a whopping 200lbs. The weight would likely double if fully mass loaded, so if you found a permanent residence for these speakers, you may wish to give it a try. I would advise to first load the mass (ie. sand, led shot, etc) in plastic baggies so it would be easier to remove when you find it necessary. I ultimately did not choose to mass load these speakers during my review, but if time permits at a later date, I may give it a try and report the results in a review addendum.
What makes the T System unique is its rather unconventional driver array, which appears to be a cross between a line array and D'Appolito configuration. Since RBH Sound did not capitalize on a name for this unique driver arrangement, I aptly labeled it the "Rich Array" after the inventor. According to Shane, the increased cone area is responsible for increased dynamic range and less distortion. The specific driver alignment allows for a very broad/uniform dispersion pattern between the speakers and a more controlled dispersion pattern to the outside of the speakers. The controlled dispersion pattern reduces reflections off of room boundaries at critical frequencies. It also allows for a very spacious soundstage with improved imaging across the width of the listening area. In affect, as you move from the center listening position to the left or right, the speaker furthest from you becomes louder and the speaker closest to you becomes softer within a critical range of frequencies. In a sense, this speaker is somewhat self-correcting relative to listening position, implying that it almost counteracts the Haas Effect .