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RSL CG4,CG24 and Speedwoofer 10 Loudspeaker System Review

by August 11, 2015
RSL CG4 2.1 Stereo System

RSL CG4 2.1 Stereo System

  • Product Name: CG4, CG24, and Speedwoofer 10
  • Manufacturer: RSL
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: August 11, 2015 10:00
  • MSRP: $ 1,250 for 2.1 setup; $2,075 for 5.1; and other price points for different configurations
  • Buy Now

CG4

  • Woofer: 4″ with Ferrite Magnet, Polypropylene Cone, and Cast aluminum frame
  • Tweeter: 1″ Silk Dome, Ferrite Magnet
  • Frequency Response: 100-25,000 Hz ± 3db
  • Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 88 db SPL @ 1 watt, 1 meter distance
  • Recommended Power: 25-125 watts (Please note the following: this rating is for use above 100 HZ. Amplifiers of higher power can be used if care is taken not to operate them at maximum volume)
  • Crossover Frequency: 2,500 Hz
  • Crossover Slope: 12 db/octave
  • Crossover Parts: Air core coil, Polypropylene capacitors, Gold Plated binding posts
  • Tuning Method: Compression Guide™
  • System Resonance: 72 Hz
  • Weight: 9 lbs.
  • Dimensions: H: 10 1/2″ W: 6″ D: 6 3/8″ (Without grill 6 1/8?)

CG24

  • Woofer: 2 x 4″ with Ferrite Magnet, Polypropylene Cone, and Cast aluminum frame
  • Tweeter: 1″ Silk Dome, Ferrite Magnet
  • Frequency Response: 85-25,000 Hz ± 3db
  • Nominal Impedance: 4 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 90 db SPL @ 1 watt, 1 meter distance
  • Recommended Power: 25-125 watts (Please note the following: this rating is for use above 100 HZ. Amplifiers of higher power can be used if care is taken not to operate them at maximum volume)
  • Crossover Frequency: 2,500 Hz
  • Crossover Slope: 6 db/octave
  • Crossover Parts: Air core coil, Polypropylene capacitors, Gold Plated binding posts
  • Tuning Method: Compression Guide™
  • System Resonance: 68 Hz
  • Weight: 13 lbs.
  • Dimensions: H: 10 1/2″ W: 6″ D: 6 3/8″ (Without grill 6 1/8?)

Speedwoofer 10

  • Frequency Response: 24-180 Hz ± 3db
  • Woofer: 10” Cast Aluminum Frame, Massive Ferrite Magnet Structure, rubber surround
  • Nominal Impedance: 4 ohms
  • System Resonance: 18 Hz
  • Weight:  64lbs
  • Dimensions: H: 16 1/2” W: 16 1/2” D: 17 1/4” (Not including spikes)
    Feet and Spikes: 4 spikes for carpeted floors and 4 plastic feet for hard floors supplied.

Pros

  • Exceptional, engaging overall sound
  • Outstanding build quality
  • Small footprint
  • Patented Compression Guide Technology really works
  • Ridiculous value for the price point

Cons

  • No auto subwoofer EQ

 


RSL Story
In the 1970s, Howard Rodgers started Rogersound Labs in a small shop on Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood.  In the store, Howard carried not only the name brand speakers of the day but also built his own in the back of the store.  Since Howard didn’t have to worry about middleman markup, he used high-caliber parts and built the speakers his way with the quality and construction he thought speakers should be built with.  He then sold RSL (Rogersound Labs) Speakers alongside all the other brands.

One day, RSL got their so-called big break.  A record producer from Warner Bros. came into the studio from his office down the street.  He listened to Howard's speakers, bought them and over time, many other Warner Bros. employees did the same.  As the story goes, word of RSL speakers spread across various Hollywood studios and the fledgling company grew to several locations.  Because RSL speakers started popping up in record studios in Southern California, studio monitors were a specific focus for the company from early on.

RSL apparently created a bit of a cult following in those early years with their casual style and customer-first focus.  RSL employees never worked on commission and were encouraged to “make customers feel happy and comfortable.”  If you were just a kid looking to check out cool gear or on a budget, that was OK.  RSL would have midnight sales events where customers lined up around the block and the RSL employees served cookies and coffee while they waited.  In a nutshell, Howard saw his employees and his customers as part of his family.  According to Howard’s son, Joe, customers still write about how well they were treated and how great their salesperson was.

Howard sold RSL in 1989 and retired.  The new owners changed many of the things that made RSL successful and four years later, the company went out of business.  Howard was able to buy the name back and, at the insistence of his eldest son, Howard came out of retirement to launch a new line of speakers that are based on a design he had been working on during his retirement.  After three years of work, Howard and his son, Joe, felt that the speakers were ready for prime time and re-launched RSL in 2010. 

Unlike the old days when RSL was a brick and mortar operation with eight stores, since 2010 RSL has operated exclusively online.  In addition to their new line of speakers and subwoofer, RSL sells Denon multichannel receivers, speaker mounts, and stands so that you can get everything you need for a complete setup in one place. 

Even though we all order so much online, some audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts are still wary of ordering speakers online.  To alleviate any concerns, RSL offers a five-year warranty and a 30 day no-risk money back guarantee.  It costs you absolutely nothing to audition RSL speakers in your home with your gear.  You get free shipping when you order the speakers and if you don’t like them then RSL will pay return shipping and give you a full refund (The only exception to return shipping is orders from Alaska, Hawaii or Canada).  There is truly no risk and no reason why you can’t audition an RSL setup in your home.

Joe and Howard sure are confident about their speakers; and they certainly are not shy about touting what they feel is the superior value of their speakers compared to other brands.  They have a dedicated section on their web site called, “Product Comparison” where they list home theater solutions from 18 other reputable and well-known speaker manufacturers with links to product reviews and pricing.  RSL’s simple point is that they want to showcase that their speakers get the same high marks at far less consumer cost. 

Like many of those other speakers, RSL’s current product line is made in China, which helps keep the production costs down and the value proposition high.

 RSL CG4 Speaker YouTube Review

An Unexpected Shipment

When Gene DellaSala, Audioholics President, asked me if I would be interested in reviewing an RSL loudspeaker setup, I was certainly open to the idea. In my initial correspondence with Howard’s son, Joe, he said he’d be shipping me a set of CG24 and CG4 monitors and the Speedwoofer 10 sub.  Because I had just received my review set of the superb-sounding Classé Sigma SSP processor and AMP5 five-channel amplifier, my focus was on Classé as opposed to RSL.  I confess that I was not at all familiar with RSL’s product lineup other than quickly looking at photos and specs.  Photos sometimes don’t do justice to a product’s size. I only knew I was getting monitors. 

When UPS dropped off the RSL shipment, there were only two boxes—not three—and one of the boxes was the subwoofer.  “Oh no” I thought to  myself, “One of the speaker sets is missing.”  I went back to my correspondence with Joe and I saw that the shipment was indeed for only two boxes, not three.  I opened the box figuring that Joe had decided to send only one speaker model with the subwoofer.  When I opened the box and saw that both the CG24s and CG4s were in there and saw their small size, I said to myself, “Gene, you’re kidding, right?  You seriously want me to review these little guys?”  I don’t consider myself an audiophile snob, but I wasn’t looking forward to subjecting myself to a sub-par audio experience for the next month or two.

Confused about what AV Gear to buy or how to set it up? Join our Exclusive Audioholics E-Book Membership Program!

 

About the author:

Theo is a serious audiophile and home theater enthusiast—a passion he's enjoyed for over 20 years. He heads up many of our speaker system and receiver reviews as well as covering the latest in streaming technologies and Ultra HD video.

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Recent Forum Posts:

JPyman325 posts on January 01, 2016 09:52
An update on this amazing systems sub woofer. Last night while watching fireworks with our neighbors we were making sure that neither of could hear our outdoor speakers. He says the only thing he can hear is the neighbor on our other side son playing his new bass. Well its actually my sub watching movies. My HT is upstairs over the garage and there is probably 50 feet between our house and theres -
JPyman325 posts on December 31, 2015 08:20
I would suggest giving RSL a call and talk to either Joe or his dad Roger who designed the speakers. These are one the best speakers I have heard in a long time even off-axis listening as in my bedroom with bookshelf. One of the most impressive is how good these speakers sound at each volume level. My old Def Tech's (1990's) needed power and volume to really come a live. My Mirage's also had their sweet spot. I have not found a volume that these don't sound good but loud is always better.

The speed woofer is amazing a good tight bass for music and with enough power to feel the movie throughout my house. My HT is upstairs above the garage and my wife feels the vibration in our bedroom - other side of the house downstairs and our house is not small (nor large unless you live in New York).
TLS Guy posts on December 31, 2015 08:05
ski2xblack, post: 1111009, member: 9107
That impedance curve looks a bit like that of a speaker with an aperiodic port that needs a bit more stuffing. Those rsl cabs are interesting. They remind me somewhat of Atlantic Technology's HPAS cabs. Although AT's goal was extension, both have unconventional enclosures that feature some sort of novel hybrid/truncated/reverse taper transmission lines with side chamber, and from the looks of it they must damp the active driver a bit differently than by-the-numbers bass reflex. I would actually have been surprised to see the classic symmetric impedance peaks Gene expected.

I have been looking at this. It is not a reverse taper TL. If it were the start of the pipe would be widest. It is more like a horn that is too short. There is an expansion box, throat, and another expansion, just like a horn would have. Then there is that port.

The impedance curve looks like a that of an incorrectly tuned QB4 box. The 3 db point is around 100 Hz and the roll off is fourth order like a ported box would.

I'm not at all convinced that internal contributes anything but bracing. I would like to see the comparison of the same drivers and crossover in a properly deigned QB4 box. My feeling is it would be superior.

The speaker sounds good because the crossover seems spot on and the drivers are perfectly integrated.

As for the bass loading, it seems a mish mash of a too short TL with expansion and taper of a horn and then an attempt as mass loading with a port. Pending further information and data from the company, I'm not impressed with this loading arrangement.

The Speedwoofer on the other hand at first glance looks more promising. Although F3 is fairly high, it is rolling off second order, like a TL would.

I would like to see more measurements of that, and details.

I have tried various configurations over the years to try and reduce the real estate of TLs, including mass loading them with ABRs. The only ones any good were labyrinths. I suspect if that GL4 where a labyrinth it would be much more promising as far as the low end is concerned.
The price would be higher as there would be a lot more internals. However I think the 3db point would be lower and roll off second order, with more low bass, and low Q to boot.
TLS Guy posts on December 31, 2015 07:56
ski2xblack, post: 1111009, member: 9107
That impedance curve looks a bit like that of a speaker with an aperiodic port that needs a bit more stuffing. Those rsl cabs are interesting. They remind me somewhat of Atlantic Technology's HPAS cabs. Although AT's goal was extension, both have unconventional enclosures that feature some sort of novel hybrid/truncated/reverse taper transmission lines with side chamber, and from the looks of it they must damp the active driver a bit differently than by-the-numbers bass reflex. I would actually have been surprised to see the classic symmetric impedance peaks Gene expected.

I have been looking at this. It is not a reverse taper TL. If it were the start of the pipe would be widest. It is more like a horn that is too short. There is an expansion box, throat, and another expansion, just like a horn would have. Then there is that port.

The impedance curve looks like a that of an incorrectly tuned QB4 box. The 3 db point is around 100 Hz and the roll off is fourth order like a ported box would.

I'm not at all convinced that internal contributes anything but bracing. I would like to see the comparison of the same drivers and crossover in a properly deigned QB4 box. My feeling is it would be superior.

The speaker sounds good because the crossover seems spot on and the drivers are perfectly integrated.

As for the bass loading, it seems a mish mash of a too short TL with expansion and taper of a horn and then an attempt as mass loading with a port. Pending further information and data from the company, I'm not impressed with this loading arrangement.

The Speedwoofer on the other hand at first glance looks more promising. Although F3 is fairly high, it is rolling off second order, like a TL would.

I would like to see more measurements of that, and details.

I have tried various configurations over the years to try and reduce the real estate of TLs, including mass loading them with ABRs. The only ones any good were labyrinths. I suspect if that GL4 where a labyrinth it would be much more promising as far as the low end is concerned.
The price would be higher as there would be a lot more internals. However I think the 3db point would be lower and roll off second order, with more low bass, and low Q to boot.
ski2xblack posts on December 31, 2015 01:17
KEW, post: 1108809, member: 41838
In the measurement section, Gene wrote:

The CG4 measured a nominal 8 ohms just like RSL states, never dropping below 7 ohms (6.4 ohm min per IEC requirement). However you can see the box is a little too small for the driver with the asymmetric peaks between the saddle point. To RSL's credit, didn't hear any ill effects in bass. However, in my opinion, a speaker this small should be sealed since a port can't do a whole lot in this scenario.


Did either of you try sealing the port to see if it affected the sound quality? That would be interesting to establish since the port is designed to reduce resonance rather than be a source of added sound (as I understand it).

That impedance curve looks a bit like that of a speaker with an aperiodic port that needs a bit more stuffing. Those rsl cabs are interesting. They remind me somewhat of Atlantic Technology's HPAS cabs. Although AT's goal was extension, both have unconventional enclosures that feature some sort of novel hybrid/truncated/reverse taper transmission lines with side chamber, and from the looks of it they must damp the active driver a bit differently than by-the-numbers bass reflex. I would actually have been surprised to see the classic symmetric impedance peaks Gene expected.
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