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Infinity R162 Bookshelf Speaker Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Infinity R162 bookshelf speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $270 from Amazon including Prime shipping.

Despite its budget price, the R162 looks good and weighs a good bit:

Inifinity R162 Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker Review.jpg

The back side shows the typical, too close together binding posts:

Inifinity R162 Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker Back Panel Binding Posts Review.jpg

If you care about country of manufacture and can't read it above, it is China.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

All measurements are reference to tweeter axis with the woofer grill left on as indicated Frequency resolution is 2.7 Hz.

Spinorama Audio Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker can be used. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Inifinity R162 Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama Audio Measurements.png


Gosh, other than elevated level above 3 kHz, this is pretty good looking! Yes, there is a resonance at 700 Hz or so but you can dial that down with EQ.

The higher energy in treble region spells a bright sound which we see in our simulated room:

Inifinity R162 Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama Predicted In-Roon Frequency R...png


Directivity is good though so we should be able to apply a better target curve and tame that.

Blended early reflections (bold green) shows good response so no need to turn your room into a padded cell with absorbers:

Inifinity R162 Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama Off-axis early window frequen...png


Distortion graph shows some nastiness around (likely) crossover point:

Inifinity R162 Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker distortion Audio Measurements.png


Combination of that and tiled up response will probably give some "zing" to music.

Impedance graph is typical of these 2-way speakers with dip into 4 ohm category:

Inifinity R162 Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker Impedance and Phase Audio Measurements.png


Both horizontal and vertical directivity is wide meaning you don't have to get your protractor out to set speaker angle:
Inifinity R162 Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker Horizontal directivity Audio Measurements.png


Inifinity R162 Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker vertical directivity Audio Measurements.png


CSD/waterfall graph shows the resonance we saw at 700 Hz:

Inifinity R162 Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker CSD waterfall Audio Measurements.png


As noted, this is at a both below tweeter. When measuring at tweeter axis, there was a pronounced dip around 1.7 to 2 kHz. This did not show up however in the spinorama. Not sure what explains it.

Grill or no Grill -- that is the question
Members have been asking about effect of grill on frequency response. Not a in mood to run the full spinorama so here is the in-room measurement difference:

Inifinity R162 Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker with and without frequency response Audio Measur...png


The effect is simple: as wavelength get smaller (i.e. frequencies go higher), the grill is no longer transparent and reflects the sound back at the tweeter causing summation and subtraction (depending on phase). That causes the variation in frequency response.

There is some attenuation of high frequencies so maybe the overall effect is positive for this speaker.

For those of you who say to do this test all the time, it was a pain to re-align the speaker while installing the grill. The speaker shifts easily under the pressure, rotating and moving out of position.

Speaker Listening Tests
First impressions were very positive. Good bass performance and nice detail. Alas, it doesn't take long until that extra treble energy gets to you. I played with a few EQ settings and the one that worked best was aimed at reducing the distortion shown earlier:

Inifinity R162 Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker Equalization in Roon.png


I can't help but think how good this speaker would be with a simple in-line resistor with the tweeter to kill off some of that excess energy.

For comparison, I put in the Revel M20 in the same spot and it was a relief to hear a less elevated highs. However, the M20 could not remotely play as loud as the R162! Its woofer would break up at much lower levels than the Infinity. Indeed, no matter how much power I pumped into the R162, it handled it without bottoming out!

Overall, the woofer and bass performance is the start of the show.

Conclusions
The Infinity R162 definitely seems to have benefited from good design. Whether on purpose (to sell better in showroom) or not, the elevated highs are a bit of an issue but fortunately that cam be tamed with equalization. The rest of the performance both objectively and subjective is very good and not at all that of a cheap junk speaker.

So overall, if you like slight zing to your music or can EQ to remove that, then I am happy to recommend the Infinity R162. You can have a very enjoyable system with it despite the low cost.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

My wife has started to make masks so that we can wear them when we have to go out (e.g. shipping back audio gear). They are not expensive to make but you know me, any cent out of my pocket makes me depressed. Please help me stay happy by donated using : https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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MZKM

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#3
costs US $270 from Amazon including Prime shipping.

Despite its budget price, the R162 looks good and weighs a good bit:
Original MSRP seems to be $500. It looks like it dropped in price 1-2 years ago. It‘s $250 shipped from their website if you don’t mind refurb. A very good deal.
 
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Koeitje

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#4
If I could get these in Europe I would probably buy them for at my computer.
 

gr-e

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#5
The effect is simple: as frequency get smaller, the grill is no longer transparent and reflects the sound back at the tweeter causing summation and subtraction (depending on phase). That causes the variation in frequency response.
It's caused by diffraction from the frame, not by the sound being trapped under the grille
 

napilopez

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#7
Good stuff! It seems the claims Infinity speakers are "a poor man's revel" may just hold true. Love that wide directivity and surprisingly good vertical control too.

I know Amir found this bright, and the predicted in-room curve tilts downward less we normally expect But in case anyone is thinking about writing it off for being too bright right away, one thing to keep in mind about the predicted in-room curve is that it in general, it seems wider directivity speakers may perform better with less of a tilt in the PIR. Per the olive paper:

"The degree of tilt varies among curves for Test One and the larger sample. Test One includes mostly 2-way designs whereas the larger sample includes several 3-way and 4-way designs that tend to have wider dispersion (hence smaller negative target slopes) at mid and high frequencies. This suggests that the ideal target slope may depend on the loudspeaker’s directivity."

That said, the on-axis is still tilted a little up. So off-axis listening is probably in order - as seems to be common for budget/more mainstream speakers.
 
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Midwest Blade

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#10
I remember the days when equalization was huge and then when it becam an audiophile no no. I am sure most of us at one time or another have had a preamp with no tone controls. I have grown to love my Quad 34 preamp as it has a most ingenious set of controls with filters, slope cut offs and of course the classic tilt.
 

ROOSKIE

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#11
Interesting. I do not find these bright per say. I do feel they certainly have a present top end, though still smooth enough for my tastes. I just spent several days using them again as a reference of sorts in a few small comparison tests. Every other speaker I used sounded as bright or brighter than these. What gives? I have no idea.
I can vouch for the power handling. The louder I play them the better. They excel at playing good live recordings loudly. They sound excellent for the price. I would buy them over all of the sub $500 commercial speakers I have owned so far. (Many)
 

spacevector

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#13
Original MSRP seems to be $500. It looks like it dropped in price 1-2 years ago. It‘s $250 shipped from their website if you don’t mind refurb. A very good deal.
They do regularly go on sale for $180/pr new if you are willing to wait around. Seems superb value.

I have a pair I'm using in my living room AV - my impressions are that they are bright but clear. I think they lack bass for standalone use - need subwoofer for medium and larger rooms for most music.

I am surprised to see Amir found they got louder than Revel. I haven't noticed lack of loudness in mine but I assumed the Revel woofer should put this guy to shame.

I find them kind of ugly though - specially the woofer and the silver "bow tie" in front of the tweeter look cheap. The vinyl wrap is also beginning to unglue in a couple places. I prefer to keep the grills on for looks but prefer the sound without :/

The effect is simple: as frequency get smaller, the grill is no longer transparent and reflects the sound back at the tweeter causing summation and subtraction (depending on phase).
Do you mean wavelength instead?

Thanks for yet another awesome review!
 
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#16
Thanks for another great review @amirm !

These look pretty similar to the KEF Q100. I'm not sure how much the subjective review of that one was affected by the room mode (and the buzzing). Maybe @BYRTT would be kind to do one of those overlay comparisons if you have the time?

Which one would be harder to drive? The min. impedance is higher on these (4.7Ohm vs 4 Ohm), but not sure about the phase shift.
 
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#17
Preference Rating
SCORE: 4.8
SCORE w/ sub: 6.9
Thank you for keeping that spreadsheet updated! I apologize if it's been asked before, but is there a way to make that main List sortable by the columns or that's the only way it can be?
 

MZKM

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Thank you for keeping that spreadsheet updated! I apologize if it's been asked before, but is there a way to make that main List sortable by the columns or that's the only way it can be?
It is a published Google Sheet and unfortunately it doesn’t have that feature. I can try sharing the actual sheet.
 

ROOSKIE

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#19
Thanks for another great review @amirm !

These look pretty similar to the KEF Q100. I'm not sure how much the subjective review of that one was affected by the room mode (and the buzzing). Maybe @BYRTT would be kind to do one of those overlay comparisons if you have the time?

Which one would be harder to drive? The min. impedance is higher on these (4.7Ohm vs 4 Ohm), but not sure about the phase shift.
These do not sound even remotely like the q100 or q150. At least in my room. & just an fyi they are not in the same league in terms of total output. The r162 can rock out.
 

kaka89

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#20
However, the M20 could not remotely play as loud as the R162! Its woofer would break up at much lower levels than the Infinity.
@amirm Thank you for the measurement. Did you mean Revel M22? The M20 hasn't been measured here (yet).

May I know which part of the measurement shoes that the other speaker cannot play as loud?

It seems we have a missing piece of information there causing objective and subjective impression not align.

Thank you again!
 

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