RBH T-30LSE Set-Up
Moving around nearly 200lbs of 5-foot tall speaker isn’t exactly child’s play. I suggest NOT inserting the spikes or any accessory feet until you know exactly where you want them placed. Speaker placement depends a lot on room dynamics and listening preferences. If you want a speaker to have pinpoint imaging you typically place the speakers closer together. If you prefer a larger soundstage with broader imaging across the whole listening area spreading the speakers further apart usually does the trick. Since my goal with home theater is to try to make every seat a good seat I chose the latter with a slight toe in. Though these speakers normally require little or no toe-in because the tweeter array is located on the inside edge of the baffle, I found in my room a slight toe-in did help increase midrange focus and overall improved imaging. I have found, in acoustically treated rooms such as mine, that you typically need a slightly higher degree of speaker toe-in than would normally be required in untreated rooms. Experimentation is always recommended in this regard.
I personally don’t subscribe to the “Golden Triangle rule” that dictates the speakers should be placed equidistantly apart from the diagonal distance of each speaker to the listening area. I find this usually positions the speakers too far apart, requiring drastic toe in which can cause the speakers to sound overly bright or can greatly compromise the imaging. It’s always a good idea to check with the manufacturer for speaker setup recommendations as a starting point.
After consulting with Shane Rich, Technical Director of RBH Sound, I was informed that because of the broad dispersion capability of the T-30LSE system the speakers can be placed a little further apart than a typical speaker system. For instance, if you place the speakers 10 feet apart you want the primary listening position to be about 11 feet from the plane of the speakers (not the diagonal distance of each speaker to the listening area). Of course the room will somewhat dictate what the optimal distance between the speakers will be. A good balance between the speaker’s proximity to the side walls of the listening room and the distance to the listening position should be maintained if possible. The bottom line is this - if you spend some time setting these speakers up they can disappear into the soundstage much the same way a smaller speaker will.
When I placed the speakers too closely together the imaging became pin-point at the center of the first row, but was a bit lacking and just didn’t come together well in the back row. If I placed them too far apart the soundstage lacked focus in the front row and sounded too broad in the back row. Applying too much toe-in made the speakers too lively. I found the best positioning for each speaker to be 4feet from the back wall and about 1 ½-feet from the left side wall for the left speaker. The speakers are about 12-feet apart, and the first row of seating is 15-feet from the plane of the speakers with about ½ “ of toe-in for each speaker. I used a laser pointer to help me guide the degree of toe-in for great precision. I settled on the point where each speaker’s tweeter baffle shined a point just on the outer edge of its respected seat in the back row. This allowed for a well focused and immensely large soundstage for both rows of seating.
After you have achieved the proper speaker placement for optimized sound in your seating area it’s time to apply the floor spikes or outriggers to better couple them to the flooring and increase bass impact and detail. I used the supplied spikes from RBH, which do the job nicely. If you have hardwood flooring I’d suggest inserting a coin below each spike to avoid damaging the floor’s finish. Remember from basic physics that Pressure = Force / Area, thus each spike presents about 500 psi to the flooring, which will easily puncture and ruin any hardwood flooring.
I listened to this speaker in various configurations including:
- Full range towers single amped and bi-amped
- Top portion of towers run full range with bass sections powered and connected via LFE channel along with 2 Velodyne DD-15’s with bass equalized via Audyssey Pro MultEQ processor.
Most of my critical two-channel listening tests were conducted with the T-30LSE as a full range tower, which I suspect would be the typical installation. My multi channel listening tests were conducted via the bass portions of the T-30LSE system and 2 Velodyne subs connected in mono via the LFE channel and EQ’ed with Audyssey. I used various amplifiers to power these speakers including the internal amps of my Denon AVR-5805 receiver (which also served as the processor), the Thule PA-350B 5CH amplifier, the Panasonic SA-XR50 digital receiver and the Marantz PM-11S1 integrated amplifier. The Denon DVD-5910CI was used as the source component and all cables were furnished by Bluejeans Cable, Impact Acoustics and DVI Gear.
When choosing the other speakers of a multi channel system one must be careful to pick tonally matched products (particularly for the center channel) while also choosing speakers that can dynamically keep up with the main speakers. Luckily RBH offers a matching center channel (T-1 SE/R) which has the identical driver topology of the T-30LSE system without the bass drivers. Please note the center channel speaker is about 4-5dB more efficient than the T-30LSE’s, since the latter designs mid/tweeter array is purposely padded down to match the sensitivity of the bass drivers. This can easily be compensated during the calibration of your processor. For side channels, I chose the 66-SE/R dipole/bipole speakers. For the back channels, I selected SI-740/R in-wall speakers, but later wished I would have opted for the SI-760/R for greater dynamic range capabilities. Luckily my processor has extremely comprehensive bass management and allowed me to cross over my back channels at a higher frequency than the other speakers to take the strain of bass duties off of the single 6 ½” driver. I rounded the system off with the addition of two Velodyne DD-15 servo controlled subwoofers and the Audyssey MultEQ Pro processor to handle bass correction for all of the subwoofers. While the T-30LSE system was more than capable of filling my room with high SPL extended bass response, due to the asymmetrical layout of my theater room I found it necessary to add the two Velodyne subs for better room modal and nodal control throughout the entire seating area. I placed the Velodyne subs relatively close to the listening area, which helped to pressurize that area and provide uniform bass response for every seat. The Audyssey eliminated major room modes and significantly smoothed out broad room nodes across the whole seated area.
RBH speakers are amazing IMO and I doubt I'll ever switch unless someone can do better at the same price point.
I was very impressed with the speakers and only wish I could afford them. Alas I'll have to settle for their MC line most likely.