This is a review, listening tests and measurements of the RSL CG25 center home theater speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $425.
View attachment 268368
This is an unusual design in that the port goes through a path in the back which kind of resembles a very short/truncated transmission channel. Otherwise we have the usual MTM configuration of dual mid-woofers and tweeter. Not much to see on the back other than the useful threaded insert for mounting it to the wall:
View attachment 268369
Build quality seems good with nice finish and reasonable weight and solidity.
I was contacting the company regarding another product so while I was at it, I asked them to review the frequency response measurements. They are generally in agreement with the results you are about to see.
Speaker was tested in horizontal configuration as you see above. Reference axis was that of tweeter.
RSL CG25 Center Speaker Measurements
As usual we start with our anechoic frequency response measurements:
View attachment 268370
At first glance, the on-axis response looks quite bad. But stepping back, the bass/mid-range simply has too much output. And we have a single resonant peak around 4.6 kHz. We can see the reason for both in the near-field, non-anechoic response of the drivers and port:
View attachment 268371
The unusual port design is extending the output all the way up to 500 Hz. The are resonances after that but levels are rather low. Woofers nicely roll off.
Predicted in-room response and early window reflections are messy due to above factors:
View attachment 268372
View attachment 268373
MTM configurations cause the dual drivers to "beam" and as such, lose their side energy at certain frequencies and we see that here as well:
View attachment 268374
Some really get narrow and this one looks a bit wider than normal which is good:
View attachment 268375
Vertical directivity is wide so if you use the speaker vertically, you don't have this issue:
View attachment 268376
The dual drivers plus wideband port response helps a lot with distortion in bass:
View attachment 268377
View attachment 268378
We do have distortion where the resonance was. So to the extent we reduce that peak with EQ, we can also put a bandage on that.
Impedance is typical at 4.2 ohm:
View attachment 268379
Here are the waterfall and step responses:
View attachment 268380
View attachment 268381
RSL CG25 Speaker Listening Tests
Objective measurements do not prepare you well for what you first hear from this speaker. First impression is authoritative bass with good balance with highs! I know, how could that be? Well, my first track is always a female track where some bass adds warmth. But where is the high coming from? Well, it is the resonance we have seen in the measurements. I took that down first with EQ and now the tonality shifted to too much bass:
View attachment 268382
I then worked backwards and put in the shelving filter to lower the bass, and fill the hole in that region. I then performed and AB and you now much more clearly heard how much extra bass there was without EQ.
With EQ, the performance was superb! This one small speaker could pump out power no matter how loud I cranked my 500+ watt amplifier! The sound was clean, with nice impactful bass and super satisfying! I dare say it was one of the best sounding center speakers I have tested!!!
Mind you, there is not much support for sub-bass but what is there is just a tad distorted. Many small speakers produce highly distorted response there.
One of the benefits of a center speaker is that you almost know that it will be used in a home theater situation with EQ. So why not design it with extra bass response and have the EQ fix that as needed? That seems to be at play here with CG25. With over 90 dB sensitivity in bass and midrange region, you have plenty of dynamic range in reserve. Bring the level down and you reduce distortion. Sure, there is a resonant peak in treble but interestingly, that provided some balanced to extra bass in case someone uses it without EQ.
So what we have here is a design that on purpose (per company) deviates from neutral response, but in a beneficial way when equalized. I always wondered about such an approach: not wasting sensitivity in a speaker and letting it produce the most of what it can, and then fixing with EQ.
For a center speaker where so much energy is directed at in movies, the overall picture is quite positive, pun intended.
I am happy to recommend the RLS CG25 with equalization where it produces superb fidelity and ability to play incredibly loud.
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.
are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/