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RSL’s Affordable Home Theater Speaker System: T.H.E. Show 2023

Looking for value and high-end performance? RSL loudspeakers and Speedwoofers delivered both at T.H.E. Show with music and movies.

RSL Speakers 7.2 Home Theater System at T.H.E. Show 2023

Hi-Fi shows are often a huge disappointment for audiophiles looking for the opportunity to enjoy entry-level components and systems; EIC Ian White has been railing about this topic for years and he’s not wrong. CanJam events are a better option for those who are deeply committed to headphone listening, but even those shows are starting to cater to audiophiles willing to spend $10,000 or more on a headphone rig.

Quality comes with a larger sticker price and I am not going to pretend otherwise; my reference headphone system runs closer to $15,000 USD so I would be a huge hypocrite if I complained and moaned any further.

But when it comes to high-end audio playback for the home, manufacturers rarely bring their least expensive equipment to a show because it represents an opportunity to show off what they can do. Some brands don’t offer entry-level or affordable high-end components and they are appealing to a different type of customer.

So when a company like RSL (Rogersound Labs) brings an assortment of loudspeakers to T.H.E. Show that can be assembled into a high-end stereo or home theater system for under $2,200 depending on the configuration — that makes for a more interesting conversation and listening experience.

RSL sells direct to consumers and that is becoming a trend for a number of manufacturers; SVS, Emotiva, and Schiit Audio have done extremely well with that model and continue to offer excellent products that people can afford.

Affordable RSL Speakers at T.H.E. Show 2023
Left to right: CG5, CG23M, CG3M

The RSL lineup begins with the CG3M bookshelf loudspeaker ($105/each) and it’s possible to assemble a 5.1 home theater system with their products for $999 USD.

The CG5 starts at $350 USD (per speaker) and one can assemble a 5.1 system with this range for $2,224 USD; that’s not a huge number in the context of a high-end home theater system.

The California-based manufacturer had two rooms at T.H.E. Show; their 7.2-channel home theater system consisted of seven of their flagship CG25 ($425 each) stand-mounted loudspeakers placed around the room and a pair of 12S Speedwoofer ($799 each) subwoofers placed in opposite corners of the room.

RSL CG25 stand-mount speakers with Speedwoofer 12S subwoofer
RSL CG25 stand-mount loudspeaker with Speedwoofer 12S subwoofer.

RSL also sells Denon through their website and used a AVR-X4800H ($2,399 USD) to drive this potent system. The total system costs about $7,000, but RSL will discount 10% if purchased all together. The discounted priced should show up in your cart automatically upon checkout.

The demonstration included a number of action sequences from Deadpool and the system proved to be rather effective at not letting the bass-heavy soundtrack overwhelm the hotel demonstration space; the system delivered very good clarity, detail, and was effective in the surround channels at recreating the spatial information present in the mix.

The volume levels were a tad high for my liking but it still didn’t take away from the clarity and crisp nature of the dialog.

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The RSL Speedwoofers were very effective and the bass felt very even throughout the room; it was surprisingly difficult to pinpoint the source of the bass whilst watching the movie content.

This was a rather competent 5.1 system for a den or smaller home theater space; anything under 20′ x 15′ x 9′ would be a really good match for this collection of loudspeakers and AVR.

System Two

RSL Speakers at T.H.E. Show 2023
The CG3M is the smallest speaker, the CG23 is in the middle, and the CG5 has tweeter on bottom closest to TV.

The second RSL room at the show featured a mix of CG3M ($105 USD each), CG23M ($149 each) and CG5 ($350 each) stand-mounted loudspeakers and a single 10S MKII Speedwoofer subwoofer ($449 each) driven by the by the company’s new mini stereo amplifier, model ia255.1, which is only $110.

The CG3M uses a 4-inch aramid fiber woofer and 1-inch dome tweeter in a ported cabinet that extends down to around 90Hz; hence the need for the RSL Speedwoofer subwoofer in the system.

RSL ia255.1 mini stereo amplifier
The RSL ia255.1 mini stereo amplifier is only $110.

The CG23M uses a pair of the 4-inch woofers in an MTM design with ports at either end of the cabinet; this configuration allows users to turn it horizontally where it can be used as the center channel speaker in the 5.1 system.

One can also use it vertically for any 2.0, 2.1, or 5.1 system; it still only extends down to 80Hz and really benefitted from the addition of the RSL Speedwoofer subwoofer.

RSL ia255.1 mini stereo amplifier rear open
RSL ia255.1

This system would be my preference in a smaller den or bedroom system for the clarity and tonal accuracy; RSL has also introduced a new internal baffle system with this loudspeaker that was very effective at minimizing standing waves and one could hear that the mid-bass and lower midrange were very clean and detailed for such an affordable loudspeaker.

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