California-based RSL has been delivering monitor audio system that defy their dimension and value for 50 years. The corporate has manufactured audio system which can be the darlings of some Hollywood document producers. RSL’s latest flagship lineup, the CG5, is the successor to the extremely acclaimed CG4, and it consists of two fashions: A two-way monitor, the CG5 (reviewed right here) and an MTM monitor design known as the CG25.
The CG5’s sonic efficiency, construct high quality, and value level ($800 for the pair) left me awe-struck. Learn on why you simply may desire a pair of CG5 below your Christmas tree.
RSL’s Historical past
RSL (the acronym stands for Rogersound Labs) is a well known model in die-hard audio circles, but it surely’s removed from being a family identify. Founder Howard Rogers began promoting audio system manufacturing facility direct from his retailer in North Hollywood in 1970. This method allowed Rogers to make use of high-quality parts whereas retaining costs low by reducing out the intermediary.
RSL received a giant break when a Warner Brothers Data producer bought a set of RSL audio system and informed his buddies about them. Quickly, RSL audio system began popping up in document corporations all through Southern California.
Rogers developed and patented his Compression Information speaker know-how within the Nineteen Eighties, and it stays the hallmark of all trendy RSL audio system.
Quick ahead and Howard’s eldest son, Joe, now helms the corporate along with his dad, sustaining the identical give attention to bang for the buck and an emphasis on customized customer support. You’ll be able to audition any RSL speaker with a free, 30-day in-home trial. The corporate provides free delivery within the continental United States, and there’s no restocking or return delivery charges within the unlikely occasion you determine you don’t just like the audio system. Now that could be a true no-risk trial.
Construct high quality past their value level
That is my third evaluation of RSL audio system. My first was the CG4 series in 2015, adopted by the CG3 series in 2017. Every time, I’ve come away shaking my head in disbelief with the construct high quality and sound of the RSL setups. This time? It’s déjà vu yet again.
Unboxing the CG5, I used to be instantly struck by the CG5’s stable construct high quality. The 16-pound weight is your first clue. The CG5 is like a kind of parts on the periodic desk whose bodily mass is much better than its bodily dimension would suggest.
The speaker is bodily deeper than it’s huge, measuring 7.625 x 10.75 x 12.625 inches (WxDxH). When checked out face-on, these dimensions make the CG5 speaker look smaller than it really is. Partner-challenged audiophile households rejoice. The entrance baffle’s aspect edges are rounded, giving the speaker a refined, cool-looking aesthetic that methods your eye into pondering that speaker is smaller nonetheless.
The included steel grilles are magnetic, with velvet-like pads that stop the grilles from marring the CG5’s attractive end. Merely place the grilles within the normal neighborhood of the entrance baffle and so they snap immediately and firmly into place.
The speaker’s cupboard is fabricated from .75-inch thick panels on all sides. I gave the CG5’s cupboard a few good knuckle raps that solely reaffirmed a stable, sturdy, enclosure. That is no flimsy speaker.
On the subject of constructing a speaker, it’s not simply the drivers and cabinetry that contribute to a speaker’s sound. The crossover community is important. It handles that all-important division and hand off of frequencies between the drivers. The crossover community is the place some speaker producers select to chop prices. Not RSL. RSL’s crossover community is made up of high-quality elements, together with a polypropylene capacitor and an air-core coil for prime efficiency and energy dealing with.
The CG5’s construct high quality is matched by its aesthetics. My GC5 evaluation pair got here in a phenomenal white gloss end (they’re additionally accessible in a high-gloss piano black). Regardless of the gloss, all of RSL’s finishes are fingerprint resistant, and I didn’t detect any smudges regardless of what number of instances I dealt with these audio system.
Design, changes, and Compression Information
The CG5 are a two-way design consisting of a 1-inch, translucent, silk dome tweeter and 5.25-inch, aramid-fiber cone woofer. The tweeter is crossed to the woofer at 2,500Hz.
The CG5’s frequency response is rated at a good 54Hz-35kHz ± 3dB. In layman’s phrases, the CG5’s frequncy response resembles a real monitor speaker. I point out that as a result of the CG3 and CG4, against this, solely went right down to 100Hz and actually wanted a subwoofer’s assist even for music.
The CG5 comes with a Tweeter Regulate dial on the speaker’s rear panel simply above the binding posts that permits you to attenuate the tweeter. The Tweeter Regulate dial’s default place is about to “Low” once you first unbox the CG5. I instantly observed a hotter and barely unbalanced sound that put bass notes barely ahead with the Tweeter Regulate within the “Low” place.
Turning the dial to the “Reference” place evened out the tonal stability and gave the speaker a barely analytical high quality on the expense of some bass emphasis and heat. At no time did the CG5’s clean, non-fatiguing high quality undergo. You’ll be able to alter the dial to your desire.
As I’ll element extra under, the CG5 does a high quality job rendering its rated audio band cleanly and authoritatively. Certainly, the RSL CG5 does an excellent job with bass frequencies in its vary. If you happen to intend to make use of the CG5 with films or content material with deep bass, you’ll need to add a subwoofer to the combination. On tracks akin to James Blacke’s “Restrict to Your Love,” and Dido’s “Northern Skies” the speaker’s frequency limits got here by. I’d strongly advocate pairing the CG5 with RSL’s Speedwoofer 10S, whose excellent efficiency nonetheless says with me three years after I first reviewed it.
Compression Information know-how
RSL’s patented Compression Information outwardly manifests itself as a horizontal, rectangular opening alongside the speaker’s entrance baffle. It’s contained in the speaker cupboard the place the magic actually occurs.
RSL’s Compression Information design divides the inside of the speaker cupboard into excessive and low strain zones. Resonances are decreased as sound waves journey by these strain zones, resulting in tighter bass. Compression Information know-how works astoundingly properly, delivering a clean, distortion-free sound that you will need to hear to understand.
Silky clean sound
All of the aforementioned is properly and good, however how do these $800-per-pair audio system sound? I arrange the CG5 on stable wooden 30-inch speaker stands in my Dolby Atmos/DTS:X/Audo-3D house theater setup, the place I sometimes have RBH Sound SVTR Tower Reference Speakers and SVS Extremely audio system powered by my Denon X8500H receiver, Monoprice Monolith 7-Channel amplifier, and Oppo UDP-203 common disk participant.
For this evaluation, I made a decision to make use of the excellent Naim Uniti Atom that I’ve had on mortgage and used with my latest JBL L82 Classic and Focal Chora 806 speaker opinions. It’s not that Denon’s flagship X8500H wasn’t as much as the duty—quite the opposite—however on condition that RSL solely shipped a stereo pair, I wished to show you possibly can have a superlative two-channel music setup with a minimal bodily footprint.
I fed the Roon-ready Naim Uniti Atom from my Roon Nucleus with content material comprised of high-res music information, ripped CDs, and content material streamed from Tidal.
Easy is the phrase that struck me once I fired up the CG5—and that impression by no means modified. The CG5 ship an especially clean, non-fatiguing sound that can allow you to get misplaced in music or films for hours. The CG5 reveled in Lisa Gerrard’s haunting vocals in “Elegy” from Immortal Reminiscence. Synthesizer notes have been clean and freed from compression or distortion. Certainly, it didn’t matter if I cranked up the amount, the CG5 simply purred alongside.
As is typical with high-quality displays, imaging was stable, with vocals useless middle and devices positioned firmly in area and time. Recalling classics from Patricia Barber was living proof. In contrast to higher-end audio system, the CG5 couldn’t fairly conjure the uncanny dimensionality round a sonic picture.
RSL’s CG5 audio system excelled at revealing musical layers. For instance, on Sarah McLachlan’s “Elsewhere,” you’ll discover that some audio system smear the harmonies within the chorus. You’ll be able to inform there are a number of vocals, however you possibly can’t fairly give attention to particular person voice. Not right here. Via the CG5, I might distinguish every vocal observe in distinct area and time.
In my setup, the CG5 created a splendidly giant, deep, and huge soundstage. The CG5 additionally exhibited a noticeably relaxed presentation, recessing the picture properly behind the audio system’ baffle. Depanding on whether or not or not you favor a ahead or relaxed presentation will probably be key to figuring out whether or not or not you want these audio system.
Bass traces have been respectable, although I need to emphasize that the high quality of the bass traces inside that frequency vary was excellent. The CG5 gushed chest-thumping bass on Natasha Bedingfield’s “King of the World.” On Sade’s “Soldier of Love,” the CG5 delivered bass traces with , tight, clear, detailed assault. The identical was true on Katie Melua’s “Love is a Silent Thief” and Dido’s “Northern Skies:” Clear and managed.
I wasn’t fairly positive how the CG5s would deal with the extraordinary, pulsating bass punch on James Blake’s “Restrict to Your Love.” For sure the CG5 was an unbelievably cool buyer, thwacking me with chest-punching bass whereas sustaining exact, detailed management. In fact the CG5s couldn’t reproduce the foundation-rattling, subterranean bass Blake’s basic is able to. Total, the CG5 was excellent, although not excellent with dynamics.
However don’t you dare interpret the CG5 as a well mannered speaker. Pulling out some Van Halen—in tribute to Eddie Van Halen—proved these infants can rock—onerous. The CG5 introduced forth all one of the best qualities of Eddie’s immortal, “Eruption,” revealing nuances of the grand grasp at his craft. The CG5 unrelentingly pumped out the uncooked rock grit and fringe of “Tattoo.” And the CG5 reveled within the inceased energy once I turned up the amount to immerse myself to Van Halen’s rock anthem basic, “Desires.”
Deal with your self to a pair for Christmas
Each RSL speaker I’ve auditioned has left me impressed, and the CG5 are not any exception: Impeccable construct high quality; an intoxicatingly alluring, clean sound; and excellent top-to-bottom efficiency are simply the opening act. The extra time I spent listening to the CG5, the extra I cherished them.
For $800 a pair, the CG5 will provide you with pure sonic bliss far exceeding their value. Pair them with RSL’s Speedwoofer 10S subwoofer and also you’ll have a excessive octane, sonic setup that can excel at each a two-channel and full-on house theater assault. You’ll be the envy of the neighborhood.
Whereas there are many speaker choices priced lower than $1,000, the CG5 rank amongst my favourite. Whether or not it’s an improve to your present setup or a dive proper into sonic bliss, take RSL up on their free in-home trial in time for Christmas. You gained’t be disillusioned. Enthusiastically advisable.