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RSL Raises the Bar with CG5 and CG25 Audiophile Bookshelf Speakers

By
RSL CG5 & CG25 Speakers

RSL CG5 & CG25 Speakers

Summary

  • Product Name: CG5 Bookshelf and CG25 Monitor / Center Channel Speakers
  • Manufacturer: RSL
  • Review Date: December 21, 2018 00:10
  • MSRP: $400/ea CG5 Bookshelf, $500/ea - CG25 Monitor/Center Channel
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now

CG5:

  • Woofer: 5.25” cast frame, aramid-fiber cone
  • Tweeter: 1” translucent silk dome, neodymium rare earth magnet
  • Frequency Response: 54-35,000 Hz ± 3dB
  • Recommended Impedance setting for amplifiers: 6 or 8 ohms (whichever is higher)
  • Sensitivity: 86 dB SPL @ 2.83 V, 1 meter distance
  • Recommended Power: 25-150 watts
  • Crossover Frequency:         2,500 Hz
  • Crossover Slope: 12 dB/octave
  • Crossover Parts: Air core coils, polypropylene capacitors, gold-plated binding posts
  • Tuning Method: Compression Guide™
  • Weight: 16 lbs.
  • Dimensions: H: 12 5/8” W: 7 5/8” D: 11 1/2″ (without grille 10 3/4”)

CG25:

  • Woofer: 5.25” cast frame, aramid-fiber cone
  • Tweeter: 1” translucent silk dome, neodymium rare earth magnet
  • Frequency Response: 51-35,000 Hz ± 3dB
  • Recommended Impedance setting for amplifiers: 6 or 8 ohms (whichever is higher)
  • Sensitivity: 88 dB SPL @ 2.83 V, 1 meter distance
  • Recommended Power: 25-150 watts
  • Crossover Frequency:         2,500 Hz
  • Crossover Slope: 12 dB/octave
  • Crossover Parts: Air core coils, polypropylene capacitors, gold-plated binding posts
  • Tuning Method: Compression Guide™
  • Weight: 23 lbs.
  • Dimensions: H: 19” W: 8 1/2” D: 9 3/4″ (without grille 9”)

Executive Overview

Every time Audioholics comes across an RSL SpeakerCG5 black.jpg we have been greatly impressed by the quality and sound of their products. From our reviews of the CG3 series, the CG4 series, and the Speedwoofer subwoofers, we can see that they clearly care about getting the best possible sound from modestly priced and modest sized speakers. When RSL Speakers launches a major new product it is well worth the time of audio enthusiasts to give it some attention. That certainly appears to be the case here as RSL recently announced the CG5 Bookshelf Speaker and CG25 Monitor / Center Channel Speaker which pushes RSL Speaker’s products into higher price points and higher levels of performance.

Previously, the CG4 series was the top of RSL's product line but the success of the CG3 series left the similar but pricier CG4 series without enough of a reason to exist. RSL Speakers, however, felt that there was enough of a market demand for a more upscale and higher performing speaker in their lineup; hence the new CG5 series. After a year and a half of R&D, they cooked up the CG5 bookshelf and CG25 monitor. These are larger speakers that boast greater dynamic range and deeper bass extension over the CG3 or CG4 series, and they also have a much prettier finish than the CG3 series. Of course, they are much more expensive, but those who want the best possible RSL Speaker sound now have a new flagship system to look at.

CG25 white.jpg 

For those who aren’t acquainted with the RSL Speaker sound, a lot of it has to do with their patented ‘Compression Guide Technology’ which is a system of bracing that compresses and expands lower frequency sound waves in order to reduce cabinet resonances. These resonances can add delayed energy to the bass that can smear the sound and cause an overhang. But that is only one ingredient in capturing their signature sound. RSL maintains a high-quality sound by staying away from lesser performing components such as electrolytic capacitors and iron-core inductors in the crossover.  They also use more robust driver components as well. The silk-dome tweeter has an ultra-high-frequency extension out to 40 kHz (which in theory would ensure very linear response to the limits of human hearing at 20 kHz), and the woofer uses a cast aluminum frame, aramid-fiber woofer, and a large motor structure. With some good engineering, those ingredients should add up to a very good speaker. And as we have seen in past reviews of RSL products, they definitely have the engineering chops to pull together decent ingredients into a terrific end product.

CG5 white.jpg  CG25 black.jpg

A great loudspeaker cannot be designed overnight, however, and one reason that it took so long to design the new CG5 and CG25 is that it is much easier to reduce resonance in smaller cabinets such as the CG3 and CG4 series speaker, but the CG5/CG25 have much larger cabinets. Larger cabinets mean larger panels which are easier to vibrate and flex. RSL wanted the same tight sound as their smaller speakers, so they spent time optimizing the enclosure design so the larger cabinets would remain as inert as their smaller cabinets.

One of the major advantages of the new CG5 and CG25 is their lower bass extension over the CG3 and CG4 lines. One of the keys to RSL Speaker’s tight bass is that they didn’t try to push their speakers to frequencies that would overload the ports or drive the 4” woofers to distortion. As a result, these speakers didn’t extend very low with a +/-3 dB point of 100 Hz. While that helps to ensure tight and linear performance in its frequency band, it does force a higher crossover frequency than the traditional 80 Hz. That risks localizing the subwoofer (where the sub draws attention to its location as an aural cue) if it is not set up with care. The 5.25” woofers and much larger cabinet of the CG5 and CG25 allow them to extend their -3 dB point into the mid 50 Hz range. That will make it a lot easier to integrate these speakers with the subwoofer. The larger woofers should also give the bass a bit more punch for those seeking higher SPLs.   

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Get Em While They're HOT!

RSL Speakers can only be acquired by ordering them from RSL directly. But RSL makes it very easy to demo their speakers before you lock in their order. RSL offers a 30 day trial with free shipping both ways. You can return the speaker for a full refund for any reason so long as the speaker is in the same condition as it was received. Potential buyers can audition the speaker in their home (which is where all speakers should be auditioned anyway since that is the acoustic conditions they will be used in) and have nothing to lose but their time. If you're interested in purchasing the new CG5 and CG25 speakers you will have to preorder them for January however since their December inventory is completely sold out! RSL Speakers’ success streak of great sounding products looks to have continuation with the CG5s, and we at Audioholics intend to confirm that as we have a full review scheduled in the near future for the CG5 and CG25. 

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