RSL CG3, CG23, Speedwoofer 10S 5.1 Home Theater System Review

gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
We took the new CG3, CG23, and Speedwoofer 10S system for an extended spin and came away with our jaws ajar. RSL has done it again. Anchored by the patented Compression Guide technology and for almost half the cost, RSL's CG3 5.1 Home Theater System comes darn close to the performance and refinement of their acclaimed CG4 system. If you thought that a small-sized system couldn't pump out big, dynamic, and engaging sound then think again. You'll be disabused of any previous conceptions you might have. If you're an audiophile or cinemaphile on a budget, Christmas just arrived early for 2017.



Read: RSL CG3, CG23, Speedwoofer 10S 5.1 Home Theater System Review
 
RekeHavoc

RekeHavoc

Audiophyte
Great review! How would you guys compare these, especially the CG4/CG24, to the Ultra bookshelves or the ELAC UB5? Are the Ultras/ELACs a definite step up?
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Hopefully those who need small speakers give systems like this one a chance instead of 'lifestyle' systems that have a single driver in a small cube, and I am not even picking on Bose specifically because there are many such systems. In the pros and cons list, I don't think that being unable to play down to 20 Hz is much of a con for a system of this size, since that would be nearly impossible due to the laws of physics, at least without badly compromising some other aspect of performance. If you want 20 Hz, you are going to need a large subwoofer, period, and I don't think most people realize what a deep tone 20 Hz is. Unless it is very loud, 20 Hz is a rather subtle sound. For a system like this RSL setup, I would be perfectly happy if it can do 30 Hz well.
 
J

John Sully

Enthusiast
Having grown up in the LA area in those days, there was an RSL store near where I lived when I first went shopping for speakers in the early 70's. There speakers were really good sounding and tended more towards the JBL sound -- one of their best speakers was very similar to the JBL L100 and represented a very good deal. I ended up finding a great deal on Dynaco A-35's (about $75 for a pair) so I got those instead. RSL offered a very good product in those days, though.
 
TheoN

TheoN

Audioholics Contributing Writer
@shadyJ that's a very fair point you make about the frequency response.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
@shadyJ that's a very fair point you make about the frequency response.
Agreed, but I still think it is a good idea to have that as a "con". Not every reader will be so conversant with the relation between driver/cabinet size and low frequency response, as to understand that the subwoofer does not hit 20Hz.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Agreed, but I still think it is a good idea to have that as a "con". Not every reader will be so conversant with the relation between driver/cabinet size and low frequency response, as to understand that the subwoofer does not hit 20Hz.
Yeah, but then how many readers will understand what 20 Hz really means, as in the personal experience of it? Most subwoofers do not play down to 20 Hz, and no $400 subwoofer that I know of can do 20 Hz nor can any sub of the size of the 10s do 20 Hz. Asking 20 Hz at this price and size is setting the bar too high.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Yeah, but then how many readers will understand what 20 Hz really means, as in the personal experience of it? Most subwoofers do not play down to 20 Hz, and no $400 subwoofer that I know of can do 20 Hz nor can any sub of the size of the 10s do 20 Hz. Asking 20 Hz at this price and size is setting the bar too high.
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on philosophy of presenting information.

However, if I take your approach, would it not be unreasonable to expect the ULS-15 mk2 to have unlimited headroom in EQ1 mode?
As a con, you listed "Limited headroom in EQ1 mode" but I would surmise that anyone who was familiar with this sub and understood the nature of the EQ1 mode would understand headroom would be limited.

It is customary if there is not an obvious con to "reach" for one. I don't know how many sub reviews I have read where "heavy" is one of the "cons", but I think almost everyone realizes it takes weight to make a potent sub
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
However, if I take your approach, would it not be unreasonable to expect the ULS-15 mk2 to have unlimited headroom in EQ1 mode?
As a con, you listed "Limited headroom in EQ1 mode" but I would surmise that anyone who was familiar with this sub and understood the nature of the EQ1 mode would understand headroom would be limited.
Well, I do explain that critique a bit more in the review, so that 'con' listed there is a simplification. More fully explained, EQ1 runs the sub flat to 20 Hz, and that sort of frequency response can be very hard on the sub at the low end. To maintain the same SPL for a drop of one octave, a sealed sub has to have four times the excursion. So for content played back at 100 dB, the ULS will be breezing by in passages with 40 Hz frequencies but struggling with 20 Hz frequencies. For this reason, EQ2 should almost always be used, unless you are only playing back at modest loudness levels.
It is customary if there is not an obvious con to "reach" for one. I don't know how many sub reviews I have read where "heavy" is one of the "cons", but I think almost everyone realizes it takes weight to make a potent sub
Agreed, this is a mostly fair statement to make. The exception to weighty potent subs are cylinder subs, at least for low frequencies. And also 'heavy' can really be a con when, as a reviewer, you want to emphasize to the reader that 176 lbs is no joke, as with the PB16-Ultra. You have to take that kind of weight seriously, and I am sure there will be those who buy it and find out they simply can not manage that kind of weight. To move it up and down stairs and to transport it outdoors for testing, I had to get a two-man lifting harness, and even then it was not easy.
 
C

Chris B

Audiophyte
Hi there, I know I'm late to the party, and not sure if any one will read this, but the RSL CG23 5.2 system
(https://rslspeakers.com/products/cg23-5-2-home-theater-speaker-system/) does seem like the best solution for my budget.

Question 1: Is this, being end of August 2017, still my best option? (Larger speakers is not an option..)

Question 2: Which amp should I pair it with? TV from a 4k enabled Roku, and perhaps a 4k player at some point + occasional streaming from iPhone. I don't do normal bluray, dvd or cd. Perhaps I'd get a phono player down the line, but that's a big maybe.
As such, film, docs and series is what the amp will be used for 95% of the time. Budget around $600.

Thanks

Chris
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
Hi there, I know I'm late to the party, and not sure if any one will read this, but the RSL CG23 5.2 system
(https://rslspeakers.com/products/cg23-5-2-home-theater-speaker-system/) does seem like the best solution for my budget.

Question 1: Is this, being end of August 2017, still my best option? (Larger speakers is not an option..)

Question 2: Which amp should I pair it with? TV from a 4k enabled Roku, and perhaps a 4k player at some point + occasional streaming from iPhone. I don't do normal bluray, dvd or cd. Perhaps I'd get a phono player down the line, but that's a big maybe.
As such, film, docs and series is what the amp will be used for 95% of the time. Budget around $600.

Thanks

Chris
Denon AVR X3300W. Very solid receiver and a great price. Plus it has a full set of preouts if you decide you might want a separate amp.
 
H

Hetfield

Audioholic General
Hi there, I know I'm late to the party, and not sure if any one will read this, but the RSL CG23 5.2 system
(https://rslspeakers.com/products/cg23-5-2-home-theater-speaker-system/) does seem like the best solution for my budget.

Question 1: Is this, being end of August 2017, still my best option? (Larger speakers is not an option..)

Question 2: Which amp should I pair it with? TV from a 4k enabled Roku, and perhaps a 4k player at some point + occasional streaming from iPhone. I don't do normal bluray, dvd or cd. Perhaps I'd get a phono player down the line, but that's a big maybe.
As such, film, docs and series is what the amp will be used for 95% of the time. Budget around $600.

Thanks

Chris
You can't go wrong with RSL, and that particular system I will bet sound ridiculous. That is a nice looking system for $1,638, 1,738 making the subs wireless. Email Joe Rogers and he will give the most detailed and honest answers you will ever want.
 

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