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RBH Sound Limited Edition SVTRS Active Speaker System Review

by August 09, 2021
RBH Sound SVTRS Active Speaker System

RBH Sound SVTRS Active Speaker System

  • Product Name: SVTRS Limited Edition Tower Speaker
  • Manufacturer: RBH Sound
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: August 09, 2021 12:00
  • MSRP: $ 50k/pair (includes amplification & set up)
  • Buy Now

Model Name:  SVTRS Limited Edition Active Speaker System

  • Frequency Response: 17Hz-35kHz (±3dB)
  • Sensitivity: 94dB (2.83V @ 1 Meter)
  • Woofers: (4) 12" (305mm) Reference Aluminum Cone Subwoofers
  • Midrange: (3) 8" (203mm) Aluminum Cone
  • Tweeter: (1) 4.72" X 1" (120mm x 25mm) Air Motion Transformer
  • DSP Active Crossover Frequencies: 100Hz, 2000 Hz
  • Crossover Filters: FIR Linear Phase 12dB/Octave 108dB/Octave
  • Amplifier Power Model Unrivled UA-6:
    • 1500W x 2 (Woofer)
    • 500W x 2 (Midrange)
    • 250W x 2 (Tweeter)
  • Model UNRIVALED UA-8:
    •  (includes 2 additional amplifiers for center channel)
    • 500W x 2 (Woofer)
    • 250W x 2 (Tweeter)
  • Cabinet/Color: Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)/Standard High-gloss Black
  • Grille: Black Fabric
  • Dimensions: 15-3/16" W x 92" H x 22-3/16" D
  • (386mm W x 1981mm H x 564mm D)
  • Weight: 310 lbs. (140 kg)  up to 410 lbs when mass loaded
  • Warranty: 5 Years

Pros

  • Transformative Audio Experience
  • Unlimited Dynamic Range
  • Customized Sound Tailored to Your Room
  • Limited Production = Exclusivity

Cons

  • Very large, heavy speakers
  • Complex Set Up

 

RBH Sound SVTRS Introduction

RBH bothEight years ago I made a declaration that the Status Acoustics 8T would be my final speakers, the ones I'd take to the grave with me. I've always been in awe of RBH Sound flagship speaker systems and the 8T was what I felt to be the absolute pinnacle of performance for commercial passive speaker design. Well, the folks at RBH Sound made me break that promise when they unveiled the Limited Edition Signature SVTRS Active speaker system. It all occurred one early Monday afternoon when I got a call from Shane Rich, Technical Director of RBH Sound, where he declared a breakthrough he made in the next flagship speaker he was designing. "Gene, you've got to hear this.... you just may want to upgrade again." I nervously laughed as I had it in my mind that the 8Ts would be my speakers for life and there was no way Shane was going to convince me otherwise. But deep down, I just had to know if there was something "better" and if the active route of loudspeakers was truly the future of audio much like electric cars are the to the automotive industry, then I’d better listen to what Shane was saying. I reluctantly agreed to have Shane bring their new Signature SVTRS Limited Edition speakers to my place after they hosted a demo at the 2020 Florida Expo Show in Tampa (just one month prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that changed our world forever). Would this new 7.5ft 310lbs monstrosity beat out my beloved Status Acoustics 8T speakers? Read on to find out.

RBH Sound SVTRS Active Speaker System Product of Year Review!

Design Overview

RBH Sound utilizes their FAST (Focal-point Active Speaker Technology) for this system with trickle-down technology for their complete line including the new UNRIVALED line. The RBH Sound Limited Edition Active SVTRS system is only offered in very limited production, just 20 pairs. It represents the accumulation of the best driver components in the 45+ year history of the brand merged with SOTA DSP processing from Marani to handle all of the active filters, FIR correction and bass management and Class D amplification to provide the necessary clean power to allow this system to reach its full potential at beyond reference levels in even the largest upscale home theater installations.

Marani DSP & Active Crossovers

MaraniThese speakers have no passive crossovers. This means the drivers are directly coupled to the amplifier for less losses and superior transient response and driver integration thanks to active crossovers. RBH Sound takes the active approach to the next level by employing Finite Impulse Response (FIR) filters instead of IIR filters like most active speakers currently use. FIR advantages are two-fold. Unlike IIR filters whose phase response is inherently linked with the magnitude response, FIR offers the ability to manipulate magnitude and phase independently. The end result is not only perfect driver integration, but also a time and phase aligned speaker without the trade offs of power handling or off-axis aberrations when attempted in the analog domain with complex first-order crossovers or angled baffles to align drivers on the same plane. The reason why you don't see many active speakers employing FIR filters is the amount of processing power needed to accomplish this effectively. It's not cheap and hence that’s why RBH Sound is using the Marani LPP-480F flagship DSP speaker management processor, typically used for commercial applications, at the heart of this system. The Marani does it's processing at 96kHz/24 bit and has a whopping 8 x 1024 taps up to 2 x 4096 taps if combining 4 channels for each FIR. It takes a lot of taps to do proper FIR filtering and this type of processing power wasn't available a few decades ago. So before some buckaroo jumps on the forum boasting of a vintage active speaker system they used in the 80s that supposedly did the same thing, realize the 8-bit 1 MHZ Commodore 64 processor back in the day just couldn't cut it.

The Drivers

We've covered the wonderful RBH aluminum cone drivers ad nauseam in prior reviews. Suffice it to say, imagine the incredible 10" bass driver from the Status 8T and make it 12". Now multiply that by 4 for each speaker. That's right, each SVTRS houses dual SV-1212 subwoofers for a total of eight 12" bass drivers to round out the bass of the system. One SV-1212 subwoofer easily exceeds our Extreme Bassaholic room size rating. Having four of these subs increases they system output +12dB while also helping to control vertical room modes by loading into the room in two locations (floor and ceiling) per speaker. These subs have the largest ports I've ever seen. The port diameter is a whopping 6 inches and the combined port volume for the system is 50 liters! What does this mean? Lots of low frequency output without chuffing or compression.

SVTR port  SVTR Mid/Tweet

RBH Sound SV-1212 sub + port (left pic) ; SV-831 Mid/Tweet Module (right pic)

The SVTRS system boasts three 8" mid-bass drivers. That's almost as much surface area as a single 15" driver! They are arranged in a modified MTM vertical arrangement, which RBH Sound calls a dispersion averaging array that keeps each mid-bass driver at a similar distance from the tweeter in order to reduce lobing effects in the vertical plane. This arrangement limits horizontal dispersion by focusing the energy more toward the listener. As a result, RBH Sound claims less side wall absorption is required than would ordinarily be used with conventional driver alignments.

The tweeter separates the men from the boys by employing a large 4.7”x1” Aurum Cantus AMT, which has a dynamic range equivalent to some of the best horns but with the smoothness known and revered by lovers of AMT / ribbon designs.

The Amplification

1.21 GigawattsThe RBH Sound SVTRS system is powered by RBH's own amplification, which utilizes a Pascal Class D design. Pascal is one of the best in Class D amplification and the company put forth extensive resources to design an incredibly robust and quiet switch-mode power supply to compliment the design. The advantage of Class D amplification when done correctly like this is both efficiency (> 90%) and load invariant response meaning the frequency response remains consistent regardless of the load impedance it is driving. The RBH UNRIVALED UA-8 offers eight channels of amplification for users that are also employing their matching center channel while the UNRIVALED UA-6 offers six channels of amplification for running just the stereo pair of these speakers.

The bass modules receive a whopping 1500 watts per stack, while the midrange array receive 500 watts/ea and the tweeter gets 250 watts/ea. These are continuous power ratings and you can see this amplifier means business via the Neutrik connector and 20A fuse rating. Each speaker effectively gets 2,250 watts! Doc Brown would be proud of this kind of power. 1.21 Gigawatts!?!

The Grille  Covers

RBH Grilles

RBH Sound SVTRS Speaker System with Grille Covers On

RBH Sound never spares expense with their grille covers and the SVTRS is just the latest example.  The grilles are constructed of chamfered HDF tightly covered with low-loss grille material and well-braced for rigidity. They don't normally come with magnetic grilles but I pleaded with RBH Sound to retrofit mine. RBH Sound employed very powerful neodymium magnets that hold the grille in place once set making it quite difficult to take them off. I've seen magnetic grille covers on many brands of speakers over the years and the RBH ones are the best in the business in my experience. No flimsy plastic frames or weak magnets here.

RBH Sound SVTRS Set Up

RBH SVRS No GrillesSetting up the RBH Sound SVTRS system is a daunting task that is greatly alleviated by the fact that they send the designer to your house to help you set them up!  No joke, as part of the exclusivity of this system, RBH Sound flies out their chief designer, Shane Rich, to help you set up the system and calibrate it.

The RBH Sound SVTRS system is modular meaning there are three boxes you stack per left and right speaker. This is a much better approach than trying to ship and move a 7.5 ft speaker weighing in excess of 300 lbs/ea. You first place the bottom bass modules on the included feet in the desired locations. Next you place the mid/tweeter module followed by the upper bass modules. There is rubber matte on each module that helps to better connect the modules together by increasing lateral friction. The last module is a bit tricky to place since you have to lift the heavy cabinet into position to stack it. This is definitely a two-man job so don't try to be Hercules and do it all yourself. After you have all three modules stacked for both speakers, you then install the connecting bracket that keeps them locked in place. The metal plaque with original owner insignia Roger B Hassing is a nice touch of class to add to the product in celebration of the company's 45th Anniversary of being in business. I put them on with pride humbled by the fact I have in my possession such a limited production, truly a one-of-a-kind loudspeaker system.

RBH Plaque 

RBH Sound 45th Anniversary Plaque with Insignia

 

RBH Connections

RBH Sound UNRIVALED UA-8 Amplifier & Marani DSP wired in Kimber Kables

I used Kimber 8TC speaker cables and Hero XLR to wire the system up. The Marani DSP takes two channel XLR inputs from your preamp/processor and breaks out the signal for tri-amplification into the RBH Sound UNRIVALED UA-8 amplifier. After you connect the three XLR cables for each channel between the Marani and the UNRIVALED UA-8 amplifier, you're ready to do the speaker cable connections. You start with an 8-ft long jumper cable that connects the top and bottom bass modules together followed by three additional speaker cables that connect the bass section to the 1500-watt amp, the mid section to the 500-watt amp and the tweeter section to the 250-watt amp.

RBH Connections  RBH Binding

RBH Sound SVTRS Backview & Speaker Connectors

Wiring up the RBH Sound SVTRS system is quite a chore. You need a total of four speaker cables per speaker or eight for the pair. An 8-ft jumper cable is required to connect the top bass and bottom bass modules putting them in parallel connection to the 1500-watt amplifier channel. The two other sets of cables connect to the center module to wire the midrange array to the 500-watt amplifier channel and the tweeter to the 250-watt amplifier channel. The nickel plated speaker connectors are very high quality 5-way binding posts and add a nice touch of class to the product.

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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Recent Forum Posts:

AcuDefTechGuy posts on August 14, 2021 13:30
Schrodinger23, post: 1498989, member: 81322
I agree. But his new mains are 30 times the cost of mine that have Raal ribbons tweeters. I guess if I throw in my subwoofers, they are only 10 times the cost. But still if his speakers are an order of magnitude more expensive, it is possible that his house is an order of magnitude larger than mine. He is an Audioholic though, so maybe it is just his gear that is significantly more expensive than even the average enthusiast.
His mains are about to be even more expensive in about 30 days since RBH is increasing the prices for the SV831R and SV1212R components of the SVTRS system.
Danzilla31 posts on August 14, 2021 11:47
gene, post: 1499088, member: 4348
That passage you mention is NOT my home. I gave a demo to a client that is building a 32,000 Ft^2 home in Tampa and they were so impressed that they ordered a full in-wall version. Another upscale client recently came to my new home to hear this speaker system and they are building an 85,000 ft^2 home. If they go with a version of this system, I'm going to try to record the install on our Youtube channel with their permission. Very cool that RBH is getting this well deserved attention.
That's awesome Gene I love my RBH system hands down no contest the best setup I've ever owned period.

But I also enjoyed the customer support and getting to know Shane Duane and everyone else at RBH even more. Like you I am very happy that RBH is getting the recognition they deserve.

Anytime I entertain the theater room always comes up and getting to advertise RBH to my friends and company is a cool part of the conversation. I already have some friends interested and I'm very happy to be able to spread the love for RBH on that level
gene posts on August 14, 2021 02:13
Schrodinger23, post: 1498981, member: 81322
In the review Gene says his new house is 32,000+ square feet. I hope this is a typo, otherwise his house is about 21 times the size of mine.
That passage you mention is NOT my home. I gave a demo to a client that is building a 32,000 Ft^2 home in Tampa and they were so impressed that they ordered a full in-wall version. Another upscale client recently came to my new home to hear this speaker system and they are building an 85,000 ft^2 home. If they go with a version of this system, I'm going to try to record the install on our Youtube channel with their permission. Very cool that RBH is getting this well deserved attention.
gene posts on August 14, 2021 02:07
Pogre, post: 1498462, member: 79914
They'd fit beautifully in my room. Also, I did contact a dealer and it's possible to get some big discounts on these speakers. Well, the passive versions that is. I'm 1/6 of the way there right now…

@gene where does this system stand compared to your Status Acoustics setup?
The Status 8T are a very special speaker. There are things I liked about that system that the SVTRS just doesn't quite recreate. The damped bass was just incredible for vinyl. The ease of setup couldn't be beat. They required virtually NO EQ and just sounded good all the time. SVTRS is a different animal. It plays louder, digs deeper, has more dynamics, and can be custom tuned to exactly how you like it. I miss my old 8Ts. I think RBH still has them at their place. But, I absolutely love the new SVTRS system. It's the current speaker to beat from everything I've ever heard.
Movie2099 posts on August 13, 2021 15:12
ryanosaur, post: 1498991, member: 86393
Don't forget… it's his JOB, too.

I wonder if professional Audio writers can write-off Audio gear as an R&D expense?


I know I can for Cookbooks, knives, pot & pans, and other expensive kitchen gadgets.
Hahaha right! I mean, Gene is bro hams with RBH so I'm guessing got a great deal on those speakers.
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