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RSL CG4, CG24, and Speedwoofer 10 Conclusion

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CG4I guess at the end I’ve finally learned my lesson.  The RSL speakers are a David among Goliaths.  Don’t judge these RSL speakers by their small size.  Be amazed at their big sound.  I’ve conceded that these are just some of the best darn speakers I’ve heard in this price range. They are probably the best speakers for their footprint.  The overall performance you get for $1,250 in a 2.1 setup and $2,075 for a 5.1 with the CG4s is simply mind-blowing.

As I write these final words to the review, I’m sitting here just staring at the RSL CG4 and Speedwoofer at the front of my listening room.  I stop. I laugh to myself. I then laugh out loud shaking my head.  Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought that such a tiny, Smurf-sized set of speakers could be so engaging and thoroughly enjoyable.  These aren’t junky HTIB speakers.  The CG4/24 and Speedwoofer combo is serious gear for the discerning yet frugal audiophile.

Only those wanting visceral impact in subterranean bass depths will be left slightly disappointed by the overall performance of this system.  Regardless, at the end of this review period not only can I say highly recommended, I’m also going say that this setup is worthy of receiving our Audioholics Top Pick as the 2015 winner of the high performance compact 5.1 home theater system.

 RSL CG4 Speaker YouTube Review

Review Addendum

Following the review and my conclusions, Howard and Joe Rodgers wanted me to try out a second Speedwoofer 10 in my room to compare the difference.  I happily obliged.  If you can afford it, here at Audioholics we always recommend multiple subs, especially in larger spaces.  Simply put, more subs equal better bass; it’s proven science (see our article: Are two subwoofers better than one?

As you might imagine, adding the second Speedwoofer 10 gave the LFE channel the visceral gut-punch, depth, authority, and a more true-to-life cinematic experience in my larger room vs. the single Speedwoofer 10.  Any hesitancy I had about the Speedwoofer 10’s performance within its specified frequency range disappeared with the introduction of the second subwoofer.  If you have a medium or large room, then I’d say a second Speedwoofer 10 is a must to realize this system's best performance.

RSL Speakers Systems

a Division of Rogersound Labs, LLC

26500 West Agoura Road, Suite 571

Calabasas, California 91302

800-905-5485

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
MetricRating
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
AppearanceStarStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStar
ImagingStarStarStarStarStar
SoundstageStarStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStarStar
ValueStarStarStarStar
About the author:
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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 10:52
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 09:20
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 09:05
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 08:56
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 02:17
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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