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RSL C34E MKII In-Ceiling Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 9 7.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 39 32.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 62 50.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 12 9.8%

  • Total voters
    122

jhaider

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I'm a little less excited by this one than some others. Yes, it's cheap and has some angle to it, and there are clearly more expensive alternatives that are worse. However, the directivity isn't where I think it needs to be for the use case I care about (height speakers in an immersive system with an emphasis on multichannel audio). I guess the problem is, when is somebody going to release a good ceiling speaker (angled baffles, smooth horizontal and vertical directivity; I'll give it a pass on axial FR if directivity is good, because EQ is expected in such systems) for "normal people" money instead of kilobucks?

I wish Monolith would take this one but use the coax from their new little mini-speaker set in a closed chamber, and add a decent black-coned woofer. The format is how a ceiling speaker should be designed, but it's very odd the midrange is not enclosed and the yellow woofer looks like it shows through the grille in pictures.
 

Blumlein 88

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Yes, seems like the ceiling speaker cries out for a decent coaxial speaker if you want a good result. KEF does make a few 6.5 inch and 8 inch coaxial ceiling speakers at prices around or less than what the last Revel cost.



They also make them in round mount versions.
 
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TNT

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Test report comment on directivity seem to be the standard one. Reading up on Dolby ATMOS, their recommendation is a wide dispersion speaker - I suppose for a more diffuse character, like for the back channels.

"Dolby Atmos audio is mixed using discrete, full-range audio objects that may move around anywhere in three-dimensional space. With this in mind, overhead speakers should complement the frequency response, output, and power-handling capabilities of the listener-level speakers. Choose overhead speakers that are timbre matched as closely as possible to the primary listener-level speakers. Overhead speakers with a wide dispersion pattern are desirable for use in a Dolby Atmos system. This will ensure the closest replication of the cinematic environment, where overhead speakers are placed high above the listeners."


//
 

Vini darko

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Thanks for the review it seems a good enough speaker for purpose.
I have a quick question about the step response. Why dose it look flipped? Is the speaker wired reverse polarity or somthing else going on?
 

dananski

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Yes, seems like the ceiling speaker cries out for a decent coaxial speaker if you want a good result. KEF does make a few 6.5 inch and 8 inch coaxial ceiling speakers at prices around or less than what the last Revel cost.



They also make them in round mount versions.
Yeah, KEF's coaxial approach seems to be the way to go, especially if you want it to sound the same at all angles, e.g. off-centre of your HT or just other rooms where you want some music through the ceiling. Amir reviewed the ci200rr-thx and it's the best ceiling speaker I've seen so far.
But I'd really love to see their other coaxials tested, as £620 a speaker rather limits the extent to which I'd employ it.
 

Blumlein 88

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Yeah, KEF's coaxial approach seems to be the way to go, especially if you want it to sound the same at all angles, e.g. off-centre of your HT or just other rooms where you want some music through the ceiling. Amir reviewed the ci200rr-thx and it's the best ceiling speaker I've seen so far.
But I'd really love to see their other coaxials tested, as £620 a speaker rather limits the extent to which I'd employ it.
I forgot that one had been tested. Good reason to think the less expensive versions would be better than most of these non-coaxial ceiling speakers.
 

DSJR

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The AV trend fizzled out a good bit in the UK after a peak in th early to mid noughties but obviously hasn't elsewhere in the world. Custom multi-room 'stereo' install for well off clients seems to be where this trend led eventually I think.

What I wanted to ask is, do any of you home theatre lovers actually use the surround speakers for dialogue and proper 'timbre' rather than effects? I appreciate the aim is to get the sound and phase relationships 'tracking' over all the speakers as best as possible, but could having a slightly 'safer' balance as these two recently tested models exhibit may well make for a more 'universal' use case with other make fronts and main? rears? Not my interest or scene, but I wanted to ask as many here have quite advanced home theatre setups..
 

Adi777

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I'm really curious how important the measurements are for speakers like this. From what people write on forums, the sound reaching the listener from the ceiling is only a 'complement' to all the surround effects. The most important are the subwoofer/subwoofers and the center speaker - let's say also the left and right channels - in music for sure, but in movies or games are certainly also very important. So, I'm not sure if it makes sense to look at the measurements of Atmos loudspeakers. For example, we make a cinema based on the JBL Synthesis series, and what? We don't buy SCL-5 or SCL-8 because they are weak in the measurements - without placing them in the room, and instead of them we take, for example, KEF's? Well, I don't know...
 

GD Fan

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Agree with the previous comments about needing more headroom for Atmos and apparent advisability of coaxial designs. But compared to the much more expensive Revel review from yesterday this one seems a no brainer.

Clearly this class of speaker is driven (entirely?) by compromise though. If I had a dedicated theater room I wouldn't care about in-ceiling speakers, I'd just go for optimal sound with the attendant speakers it requires. After all, that's the entire point of such a room.
 

pseudoid

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Thank you for the review, @amirm :)
My first look at the top of the photo; got my curiosity and I whispered to myself "Now, this would make a great automotive speaker!"
Then, I realized that the components (below the drivers) would instantly rattle off at the first railroad crossing.:(
 

Dj7675

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@amirm I have trouble following the various angles. If not too much trouble, is it possible to highlight the 40 degree one? This one would be the most applicable for those with 4 or 6 height channels.
 
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amirm

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I'm really curious how important the measurements are for speakers like this. From what people write on forums, the sound reaching the listener from the ceiling is only a 'complement' to all the surround effects.
From whose perspective? The general market for these speakers is 5.1 with speakers mounted in the ceiling as to make them almost invisible. There, every main channel goes through these speakers.

The use for Atmos is new and likely a very small segment of the market. But yes, this is what we are focused on as far as desired application. To the extent something goes from front to top and back, you want the tonality to be as uniform as possible. As otherwise, it will grab your attention away from the movie as the sound travels overhead.

Power handling is also important. We have had high-end systems have overhead speakers that clip, etc. that is an issue.
 
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amirm

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@amirm I have trouble following the various angles. If not too much trouble, is it possible to highlight the 40 degree one? This one would be the most applicable for those with 4 or 6 height channels.
In which direction? I assume you mean "vertical?" If so, will do so when I get back to my desk. But from memory, it looked pretty bad. The tweeter is at different "height" relative to the dual mid-woofers so you can issues there as the two mix with larger angles.
 

Laika2

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I like mine, don't feel I am missing anything. Dispersion is tight but that just takes a bit of rotation once they are mounted in the right place, takes a few tries for each speaker.
 

Rottmannash

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@amirm I assume a portion of Madrona Digital's business is high end home theaters. What speakers do you routinely install for overhead Atmos in these cost-no-object theaters?
 

Dj7675

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In which direction? I assume you mean "vertical?" If so, will do so when I get back to my desk. But from memory, it looked pretty bad. The tweeter is at different "height" relative to the dual mid-woofers so you can issues there as the two mix with larger angles.
Yes, vertical.
 

Adi777

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From whose perspective? The general market for these speakers is 5.1 with speakers mounted in the ceiling as to make them almost invisible. There, every main channel goes through these speakers.

The use for Atmos is new and likely a very small segment of the market. But yes, this is what we are focused on as far as desired application. To the extent something goes from front to top and back, you want the tonality to be as uniform as possible. As otherwise, it will grab your attention away from the movie as the sound travels overhead.

Power handling is also important. We have had high-end systems have overhead speakers that clip, etc. that is an issue.
Okay, I understand what you mean. Hmm, what about my idea with KEF's Atmos ceiling mixed with the rest of speakers from JBL Synthesis? It's good idea or not exactly?
 

Ken Tajalli

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May I humbly suggest one extra test for such speakers.
Since in practice, they are fed by longish speaker wires, of possibly questionable quality, perhaps test them with a simulated long cabling, i.e. series resistances of up to few ohms, and some inductance.
I realize it might affect the amp, but if you choose a correct amp, and then an average amp.
Just an idea.
 

rynberg

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It would seem logical to test these types of speakers with the grill in place...no user is going to run in-ceiling speakers without the grills, so we might as well see what the real response is.
 
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