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Status Acoustics Voce Fina Bookshelf Speaker Review

by June 09, 2014
  • Product Name: Voce Fina Bookshelf Speaker
  • Manufacturer: RBH Sound
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStar
  • Review Date: June 09, 2014 00:00
  • MSRP: $ 12,000/pr ($15k/pr with matching granite stands)


Frequency Response:


50Hz - 20kHz ±3dB



87db (2.83V/1Meter)

Recommended Power:


50-200 Watts



6-1/2" (165mm) Beryllium Alloy Cone



1" (25mm) Scan-Speak Soft Dome

Enclosure Type:

Rear Ported

Crossover Frequency:





8 Ohms

Speaker Dimensions:


14-1/2" H x 9-1/8" W x 11-1/4" D
(368mm H x 232mm W x 286mm D)

Speaker Weight:


53 lbs (24.04 kg)

Stand Dimensions:


30-1/2" H x 17" W x 13" D
(775mm H x 432mm W x 330 D)

Stand Weight:


67 lbs (30.39 kg)
Made in the U.S.A.


  • Best sounding bookshelf speaker ever!?!
  • Beautiful aesthetics
  • Impressive bass response


  • Ridiculously expensive
  • Heavy


Status Acoustics Voce Fina Bookshelf Speaker Introduction

Weside.JPG’ve been reviewing RBH Sound speakers almost since the inception of Audioholics.com over 15 years ago.  I’ve always been particularly fond of their top-of-the-line bookshelf speakers, namely their Status Acoustics Decimos which still remain our reference bookshelf speaker to this day.  When RBH decided to resurrect the Status lineup, first with the flagship 8T Tower and now with the Voce Fina bookshelf speaker, I was definitely excited.  The Status Acoustics Voce Fina bookshelf speaker is very similar in design to the Decimo but with a new cabinet and new 6.5” Beryllium-Aluminum bass-midrange driver. 

When I first saw these speakers at CEDIA last year, they were being called the Element but that name didn’t stick because a competitor already was using it. Thus I suggested the name Stonehenge in tribute to Spinal Tap lovers around the world but RBH Sound decided on something with more elegance by going Italian with Voce Fina which means “fine voice.” While I still find the Stonehenge name more appealing, I believe RBH chose the right name for the product based on my listening experiences when I heard them at CEDIA last year.

I was eager to get these speakers in my own acoustical environment to engage in a more critical listen.  Will the Voce Fina live up to the reputation of the Decimos?  Read the review to find out.

Status Acoustics Voce Fina 2013 CEDIA Preview

Product Overview

The Status Voce Fina speakercrate-open.jpg showed up in a giant thick hard plastic case that looked like it was suitable to hold a nuclear weapon. All that was missing were the launch codes.  This thing came with rollers for easy maneuverabside.JPGility because it certainly wasn’t manageable for lifting.  Unfortunately since I received a prototype pair for review, not all of the details were carefully worked out on the packaging.  The speakers didn’t have quite enough padding on the inside of the casing and were mishandled during transit.  One of the speakers slapped hard against the other causing the cabinet to crack down the backside.  I didn’t want to wait for Status to make up a new set for review so I sealed the crack with duct tape and ran a leakage test to ensure everything was airtight before proceeding with the review.

Build Quality

The build quality xover4.JPGof the Status bookshelf speaker is second to none.  Their cabinets are made of 2 cm solid granite and are extremely well-insulated with four separate layers of sound absorbing and wave blocking elastomeric-butyl material.  Rapping on the cabinet will not only make your knuckles sore very quickly but will produce a consistent deadened thud sound no matter where you rap on it.  You literally can’t feel any vibrations in the cabinet while playing back music.  This is definitely the most inert speaker cabinet I’ve ever seen or heard.

The Beryllium-Aluminum Driver

The newly developed RBH proprietary 6½” Beryllium/Aluminum phase plug driver is used on this speaker system and the flagship 8T Tower. The driver basket is a high quality cast aluminum.  Employing Beryllium improves on aluminum by offering a stiffer, lighter-weight cone with a less pronounced breakup mode that is shifted further beyond the bandwidth in which the driver is being used. Energy storage is reduced and stiffness is increased compared to the conventional aluminum cone, resulting in less cone flexing under stress. The Beryllium alloy cone also produces a more linear transition in the stopband for smoother integration between the drivers. The phase plug reduces moving mass and on-axis beaming and also serves as a heat sink and, to a smaller extent, offers venting for the voice coil. There is also a rubber stopper affixed to the cone to further reduce air turbulence through the gap. A lot of engineering went into this driver, which was thoroughly vetted originally on the Status 8T Tower and now on this speaker system too.


Status Acoustics 6.5" Beryllium-Aluminum Phase Plug Driver


The Tweeter ScanSpeak 9500

Scan Speak 9500 TweeterWhile the flagship Status 8T tower employs the new Scan-Speak Illuminator Model 6640 tweeter, RBH instead chose to stick with the classic 9500 as they felt it was a better match for the design goals of this two-way bookshelf speaker.

I simply love the ScanSpeak 9500 tweeter that most upper echelon RBH products have been using for well over a decade now.  It has high power handling, a low resonant frequency (550Hz) and superb off axis response.  This yields a smoother, more open and airy sound quality with less compression compared to lesser design dome tweeters.  Because of a longer rear chamber, the ScanSpeak driver can play much lower than pretty much any 1” dome tweeter on the market.  This takes the stress off of a midrange driver to produce frequencies it really can’t do effectively.

Higxover2.JPGh Quality Crossovers

Status uses nothing but the best inductors, high tolerance resistors and film caps in their crossovers. Their crossovers are designed to ensure optimal performance of each driver within its audible bandwidth, guaranteeing proper phase and frequency response of the speaker system. This is the same crossover design from their legendary Decimo speaker that this system now replaces. (Note the custom-built air core Inductors, film caps, and ceramic resistors)

All of the cables are 14AWG twisted pair to minimize signal loss and reduce crosstalk.  Note the inductors are spaced apart to minimize magnetic coupling as per our Inductor Crosstalk Basics article.   

I was curious to know why RBH Sound continues to use a 2.7kHz crossover frequency on this speaker design considering the tweeter has a very low Fs of 550Hz meaning it could be crossed over as low as 2kHz without any issues.

Editorial Note About Tweeter Crossover Point by Shane Rich, Technical Director of RBH Sound

I generally don’t like crossing over a tweeter lower than 2,700Hz or a minimum of 2,500Hz for several reasons. First, is that power handling and output power (SPL) of the tweeter before onset of distortion is often limited to a less than ideal level at lower frequencies even if the Fs of the tweeter is more than an octave lower.   In the case of a smaller two-way speaker it may not be as critical, but personally don’t like crossing over in the 1-2kHz range because I think the ear is more sensitive to “picking up” crossovers in that region.  I also like to base the crossover frequency (at least with our metal cone drivers) on where the stop band begins with the midrange.  I find we get better integration that way with the tweeter.  Not every speaker system works best that way, but it seems to be ideal with our drivers.   Also, remember that our 6.5” driver has an effective radiating diameter of 5” so the frequency that corresponds to a 5” wavelength is about 2,700Hz . The polar response of the speaker will speak for itself as you saw in your measurements.


The Status Acoustics Voce Fina cabinet is so stunning it would make all but the most high-end kitchen countertops envious.  Seriously, these things are a work of art.  They demand attention and should be proudly displayed in even the most elegant of rooms.  I can’t imagine anyone not regarding them as a piece of furniture.  With that, I don’t believe you will find any furniture that offers this level of sound quality.

Granite-closeup001001.jpg       back.jpg
Status Voce Fina Front View (left pic) and back view (right pic)


The back of the Status Voce Fina speaker is almost as impressive as the front. I say almost because you don’t get to see the gorgeous drivers from the backside. Instead, you get a look at the machined aluminum port and speaker terminal cup, which I must say are the sexiest I’ve seen.  The Status Voce Fina come as single wired but you can special order them with two pairs of binding posts if you care to bi-wire or bi-amp.  Looking closer at the speaker terminal cup black background seems a bit pedestrian for such a posh product.  I really wish they would have embossed the word Status Acoustics on it for a bit more flare.


Status Acoustics Voce Fina Bookshelf Set Up and Sound Quality Tests

I tested the Status Voce Fina speaStatus_Stone_Bookshelf_03_01.pngker in my 6,000ft^3 Audioholics Showcase theater room utilizing our reference gear such as the Marantz PM-11S3 integrated amplifier, Pass Labs X350.5 two-channel amplifier, Marantz TT-15S1 turntable and Oppo BDP-105 Universal Blu-ray player.  Speaker cables were Kimber 8TC and Bluejeans 1694A interconnects.  The speakers were placed on my 30” sand filled Plateau stands though RBH offers matching granite stands for a $3k premium.  Personally if you’re going to shell out $12k/pair for speakers, you might as well just spend the extra cash and get the matching stands.  Look at how stunning they are and I think you will agree.   Whatever stands you chose, it’s important to properly mount these speakers on a sturdy stand that can accommodate the almost 53lbs heft of these speakers.  If you go with the matching granite stands be prepared for some heavy lifting as the speaker + stand combo weigh a whopping 120lbs. 

Unless otherwise stated, all listening tests were conducted without a subwoofer in two-channel configuration with the Status speakers running full range.
The Voce Fina threw off an unbelievably wide and expansive stereo effect.

FLAC:  Beatles - Various

I dumped a boatload of music onto my 4TB hard drive that I now have mated to my Oppo BDP-105.  This allows instant access to virtuously an unlimited selection of music.  What good would a speaker be if it didn’t sound great with Beatles music? Rubber Soul is one of my favorite Beatles albums so I cued up track #7 “Michele”.  The Voce Fina speakers threw off an almost unbelievably wide and expansive stereo effect.  The sound was pure and “out of the box” so to speak, meaning it didn’t sound like I was listening to a pair of speakers confined inside of a cabinet like so many lesser designs often do.  Paul’s voice was pinned towards the right and George’s guitars popped out at you to paint a very three-dimensional soundscape.  The projected imaging these speakers were producing belied their size.   I flipped around my Beatles collection and next settled on track #12 “When I’m Sixty Four” from Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Again the stereo effect was incredibly expansive.  I toed the speakers in just a tad more to provide a bit more focus and it was sounding great.  The crickets at the beginning of Track #10 “Sun King” from Abbey Road sounded so lifelike it had me reaching for a can of Raid.  The depth of the bass really surprised me on this track.  I didn’t expect this from such a small speaker sporting only a 6.5” driver.  I didn’t feel the need for a subwoofer on any of these tracks so far.

rubber soul.jpg  playing the angel.jpg

Beatles Rubber Soul (left pic) ; Depeche Mode Playing the angel (right pic)

FLAC: Depeche Mode – Playing the angel 

On track #4 “Sinner in Me” the bass output floored me.  I wasn’t expecting the Status Voce Fina speakers to output this level of tactile bass, especially since my Decimo’s don’t do it to this level using a very similar driver compliment and cabinet size.  What was truly impressive was the very deep soundstage and clarity in the vocals, despite the 6.5” Beryllium beauties getting quite a workout.  Track #10 “Damaged People” revealed the last ½ octave of bass would have really benefited from a subwoofer.  That being said it was still a very satisfying experience just listening to the speakers by themselves.  The keyboard effects seemed to radiate out and around the speakers and the ping pong effect towards the end of the song was quite hypnotic. 

I was having that “better than being there experience” that is only achieved with the very best audio equipment.

FLAC: Herbie Hancock – Possibilitiespossibilities.jpg

Track #3 “A Song for You” featured the vocal talents of Cristina Aguilera, who is arguably one of today’s best female vocalists.  I listened closely, as many speakers simply don’t do female vocals to my satisfaction.  Thankfully this was not the case with the Status Voce Fina.  This song exemplified the very best in this speaker, which was fluid and incredibly accurate, with a neutral and articulate midrange, along with the uncanny ability to clearly separate each of the instruments.  Christina’s voice was literally bringing tears of joy to my eyes.  The vibrato and the clarity in her voice were reproduced on this speaker system with pure Borg-like perfectionism.  Resistance to enjoying this sonic experience is futile!  The snap of the drum was impressively tight and lifelike.  It was obvious the incredibly inert cabinet was largely responsible.  The cymbals were so liquid they seemed to just pour off the baffle of the speakers while the triangles were just tickling my funny spots giving me the goosies.  Track #6 “Sister Moon” featured Sting on vocals.  You just can’t get a bad sounding recording when Sting in involved.  The percussion popped out of the speakers while the guitars radiated around the front soundstage.  The woodblocks sounded like they were right there in the room with me.  I was having that “better than being there experience” that is only achieved with the very best audio equipment properly setup and playing exceptional source material.  Sting’s voice exhibited no chestiness, which is often the case on lesser speakers not properly applying a low pass filter to the mid woofer or providing a cabinet with enough inertness.  Vocal clarity was tops on these speakers no matter who I was listening to.

LP: Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (180G)Miles.jpg

Kind of Blue is my go to LP not only because it’s a classic, but also because it’s a stellar recording despite it being from 1959.  Track #1 “So What” sets the tone for this album, which is just a feel-good laid back aura that is best accompanied by a nice brandy or good class of red. Jimmy Cobb’s cymbal brushes were delicate and airy while the back and forth between Miles on trumpet and Coltrane on sax was exhilarating. While the Status Voce Fina can’t quite match the dynamics of my reference 8T towers, the tonality was very similar. The Voce Fina sounded effortless and had no problems extracting the realism on this recording. Closing my eyes, I really felt like I was in a jazz cellar in NYC listening to this sextuplet grace me with their phenomenal performance. Track #2 “Freddie Freeloader” is my favorite song on the whole album. It just oozes coolness while Bill Evan tickles the ivories with a surgeon’s precision. When Miles’ trumpet kicked in things really started to heat up. I couldn’t get over how authentic and vivacious it sounded, especially when Coltrane answered back in his solo. It was clear to me now that the Status Voce Fina speakers were masters of all musical domains.  They excelled with techno/new age, rock, jazz and intense vocal music.  Best of all they brought a level of excitement and realism to the music that only the very best speaker systems are capable of doing.

A Final Note on Listening Tests

It was only when I played very bass intense music at high output levels like a few tracks from Muse’s 2nd Law album where I noticed a slight buzzing sound emanating from woofers.  This was not driver bottoming, but instead a noise caused by excessive air turbulence moving through the gap between the cone and phase plug.  Bass managing the speaker and mating with a powered subwoofer would resolve this issue and is recommended for those that listen to lots of bass heavy music at high output levels. This is the same caution I recommend when reviewing virtually any two-way speaker with or without a phase plug driver.

When I directly compared my Status Decimos ($2899/pr) to the Status Voce Fina, I was a bit surprised to hear differences since both utilize the exact same crossover components and very inert cabinets though the Decimos have the standard aluminum phase plug driver. I felt the Decimo’s were a bit more forward sounding in the upper registers while the Voce Fina had more pronounced and deeper bass and a slightly more laid back sound.  Both speakers sounded fantastic, but it’s interesting how much the cabinet density and shape played a role in the sonic results.  While the differences between these speakers weren’t night and day or even significant enough to warrant the 4X price increase, sadly the Decimos are no longer available.  You’re gonna have to step up to the Voce Fina to get to this level of performance and aesthetics. 

Status Acoustics Voce Fina Bookshelf Speaker Measurements and Analysis

The measurements were conducted in conformance with Audioholics Loudspeaker Measurements Standard


  Status Voce Fina On-Axis Frequency Response

The on-axis frequency response was conducted with the measurement microphone at 1 meter with a 2.83V excitation signal. Audioholics measures sensitivity as the average sound pressure level (SPL) from 300 to 3kHz.  The Audioholics rated sensitivity for the Status loudspeaker is an average 87.6dB.  Given the close distance the measurements were taken at, the on-axis frequency response of this loudspeaker was highly dependent on microphone placement.  If the microphone was placed at the same height or above the tweeter a narrow but relatively deep null centered between 4kHz and 5kHz appeared.  Moving the microphone to between the tweeter and woofer reduced this issue in the response.  This measurement anomaly wasn’t as pronounced on the Status Decimo speaker since the woofer/tweeter were placed closer together.

The measurement technique used above involves removing all of the effects of a room.  The in-room bass response of the Status Granite loudspeaker with room gain should provide good bass response into the low 40Hz range.

Editorial Note About Measurement Dips by Steve Feinstein

The frequency response dips measured here are pretty typical. There is always an axis that produces the max SPL without interference. The dips are simply from off-axis phase cancellations between the drivers. This is the same thing that’s at work in a center-channel speaker with horizontally-arrayed drivers, except that the dips are now side-to-side, not up and down.

Most of this “problem” disappears in the far/reverberant field, where first-arrival is not as important as total radiated energy.


Status Voce Fina Listening Window

The listening window response for the Status Voce Fina loudspeaker was conducted with a 2.83V input signal at 1 meter from 7 locations.  The measurement provides a picture of how the loudspeaker performs from seating locations that are not directly on axis with the speaker.  The top curve is the average of the other positions and provides an average of how the speaker performs throughout the listening area.  The listening window measurement is pretty uniform on the horizontal axis.  When moving 15 degrees above or below the speaker, large nulls appear between 2kHz and 5kHz though they weren’t audible during listening tests with normal program material.


Status Voce Fina Polar Response

The dispersion characteristics of the Status Granite appear nearly perfectly matched.

The polar response graph shows how a loudspeaker performs at various seating positions in a room.  The polar response graph above is generated by measuring a loudspeaker at 7.5-degree intervals around a circle between the tweeter and woofer from 1 meter.  The Status Granite loudspeaker has the most uniform polar response I have ever measured.  This means as you move to different seating positions off axis, the characteristic of the sound does not drastically change.  Even at 30 degrees off-axis, the frequency response is relatively linear.  The polar response graph usually makes the mid-woofer to tweeter crossover point obvious as the dispersion characteristics of each driver is typically different.  The dispersion characteristics of the Status Granite appear nearly perfectly matched.  This pays huge dividends when the speaker is placed in a room that is less than perfect.


Status Voce Fina Impedance

The impedance of the Status Voce Fina loudspeaker dips just below the IEC 6.4 ohm minimum but not by very much.  At frequencies below 4kHz, the speaker is safely above 8 ohms and should not present a problematic load for most amplifiers.  I suspect anyone purchasing a loudspeaker of this caliber can find the means to properly drive this loudspeaker.  The impedance graph above indicates the port tuning frequency is at approximately 45Hz.


Status Voce Fina Harmonic Distortion

The harmonic distortion graph was generated using a 90dB stepped sinusoid sweep measured at 1 meter.  This test is the last test run on a loudspeaker since it really tortures loudspeakers.  Since this is a single 6.5” beryllium low frequency driver, the test was run from 45Hz to 20kHz.  From 45Hz to approximately 90Hz, substantial air turbulence was clearly audible from the leaky phase plug to cone interface.  While this may or may not be audible during normal playback, it is something that definitely is noticeable during testing.  The harmonic distortion measurement is average, even compared to some less expensive but well engineered loudspeakers.  The audibility of harmonic distortion is a topic of ongoing debate.

 Editorial Note about Distortion Audibility by Steve Feinstein

THD tends to be relatively inaudible at higher levels in the bass, but easily audible at less than 1% in the midrange. There’s a big difference between distortion being “audible” and being “objectionable,” however. Much of that has to do with lower-order vs. higher-order spectral content. 2nd-order THD is rarely bothersome, but 5th-order THD or IM vs. THD is harsh.


Status Voce Fina Cumulative Spectral Decay

Cumulative spectral decay is derived from the impulse response measurement made with a 90dB excitation signal at 1 meter.  The cumulative spectral decay shows how sound at various frequencies dies out as a function of time.  It is important to note that the left most ridge is not valid and is a product of the measurement technique.  The CSD for the Status Granite is excellent.  The ridge protruding between 4kHz and 5kHz is oddly the same place that we have vertical off axis issues.  However, the ridge dies out very quickly and definitely will not contribute to any sort of ringing.


Status Voce Fina Group Delay

The group delay graph shows the rate of change of the slope of a loudspeaker’s phase.  As a rule of thumb, values below 1.6ms in the mid to high frequencies will likely not affect perception of sound quality.  Increasing group delay in the low frequencies is not as objectionable as it is in the mid to high frequency ranges. 

Status Acoustics Voce Fina Bookshelf Speaker Recommendations

The Status Acoustics Voceclose.JPG Fina speakers offer incredible fidelity if used within their limits.  They aren’t designed to fill huge listening spaces at reference levels.  Instead, I recommend them for small- to medium-sized rooms where they would excel as speakers in a cost no object two-channel audio system or even a nearfield monitor.  If you desire to extend their dynamic range, I’d highly recommend bass managing them with a crossover frequency of 60Hz-80Hz and pairing them with a very musical subwoofer (preferably two) like RBH’s own SX-10/R.  While it is recommended to mate these speakers with the very best amplification you could afford, they also work very well with modestly powered, well designed amplifiers like the Marantz PM-11S3 used in this review.

These are undoubtedly some of the finest sounding bookshelf loudspeakers I've ever had the fortune of listening to.

$12k/pair is A LOT of money to ask for a bookshelf speaker.  The Status Voce Fina speakers are certainly not in the value category.  For that I’d suggest SX-61/R, which cost roughly $1900/pr, feature an MDF cabinet and utilize the same tweeter but step down to the aluminum phase-plug woofer and standard crossovers.  This would likely get you about 85% of the performance of Status Granite for 1/6th the price.


DriversOnce again RBH Sound has upped the ante by releasing a speaker product that truly lives up to the Status Acoustics moniker. These are undoubtedly some of the finest sounding bookshelf loudspeakers I’ve ever had the fortune of hearing.  Listening to them was truly a magical experience.  The Voce Fina speakers disappeared into the room and sounded much larger than their diminutive size suggests.  They dressed up the aesthetics of my room like no other speaker I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. A prospective buyer should appreciate the high WAF these speakers have and how that will score big points with their significant other after she comes to terms with the price.  These speakers are fully engineered, built and assembled in the USA which means something these days.  If you’re looking for two-channel nirvana, the Status Acoustics Voce Fina will take you there.  It will redefine your listening experience and help you rediscover your music collection.  The only caution is you may have to upgrade your countertops in your kitchen after taking ownership of these beauties.

Status Acoustics Voce Fina 2013 CEDIA Preview

RBH Sound
382 Marshall Way,
Layton, Utah 84041

About RBH Sound

RBH Sound’s goal is to produce the finest products in each category we manufacture. Sonic and build quality are paramount at RBH Sound. We are constantly searching for new technologies and improvements that will keep us as an industry leader. For additional information, visit  www.rbhsound.com

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStar
About the author:
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Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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