Review: RBH 8300 SE/R Loudspeaker
Forgiving sound, sensitivity and near full range reproduction are attractive selling points.
I’ve admired RBH Sound and how it always seems to maximize its resources to provide its dealers with in-wall and in-room products that provide value and performance.
A good example is its 8300 SE/R loudspeaker ($8,500/pair), which was developed after requests from dealers to produce a mid-sized speaker with broad dynamics and high sound pressure levels (SPL).
The nearly 5-foot tall cabinet is about 11 inches wide and 17 inches deep. It’s a 115-pound, three-way speaker that includes a third-order crossover network and a multiple driver array that features two 6.5-inch aluminum dome midrange drivers flanking a 1.1-inch silk dome tweeter.
Low frequencies are handled by three 8-inch aluminum cone woofers and all these drivers are loaded into a ported enclosure that is heavily damped to reduce resonances.
RBH says the 91dB sensitive, 4-ohm speaker is rated to handle 100 watts to 400 watts of power and that its frequency response is 22Hz to 20kHz.
Credit: RBH Sound
Other features installers will find helpful include a choice of 30 veneers, dual five-way binding posts and a five-year warranty.
The speakers arrived to my house in crates and, with the help of my friend Bruce, we uncrated the speakers, installed the floor spikes and carried them into my listening room.
I connected the speakers to my Bryston amp via a set of Transparent cables and tweaked the speakers’ room placement.
RBH bi-amps the speakers during trade events, but I found my Bryston to have plenty of current to effectively drive the speakers.
Even though these are relatively small speakers in the RBH line, the 8300 SE/R is still heavy and awkward and it’s not a speaker an installer should risk handling without help.
I didn’t run these through a break-in because the company shipped them directly from its 2009 CEDIA exhibit. It’s my experience that RBH speakers take about 100 hours to break-in.
I started my listening with Steve Vai’s “Passion and Warfare” album and found the speakers produced a deep and wide soundstage with upper midrange, high-end detail like the reverb on Vai’s guitar.
I listened to Steve Morse’s cover of “LaVilla Strangiato.” This is a well-recorded track and the speakers impressed me with their ability to keep up with Billy Sheehan’s bass line, which filled the soundstage with firm and punchy upper bass. The speakers produced this content with impressive SPLs even though it wasn’t the tightest representation of the bass line that I’ve heard.
Transitioning to movies like “Cars,” I thought the soundtrack played back with well-defined richness and clarity. The speakers also perfectly matched the performance characteristics of my RBH 12-SE powered subwoofer to create a well integrated experience that didn’t seem to strain to achieve peak levels.
The step-up speaker category is really competitive and the 8300 SE/Rs more than hold their own. The speaker’s forgiving sound, sensitivity and near full range reproduction capabilities are attractive selling points.
My biggest complaint is that even though these speakers are smaller than some of the other products in the company’s line, they are still large.
Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at [email protected]
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