Wednesday, July 15, 2015

RBH Sound I-12 and I-12/e Subwoofer Preview

RBH Sound, has long been on our Audioholics short list of high performance, high value subwoofers.  RBH's years of experience in the home theater space places it in prime position to deliver low cost and high value solutions to the entry-level home theater enthusiast. RBH's Impression Series subwoofers are the company's answer to that high performance, high value tradition.  RBH has positioned the Impression Series to compete directly with entry-level subwoofers from all the big name brands.  

RBH's Impression Series consists of two models, the $499 I-12 and $699 I-12/e.  The I-12 is powered by a 350 Watt RMS Class D amplifier while the I-12/e features a 500 Watt RMS Class D amplifier.  These are continuous rating power figures, not peak like some subwoofer companies often specify. 

RBH 12

RBH 12" Aluminum Subwoofer Driver


As their model numbers suggest, both the I-12 and I-12/e both feature 12" drivers. Unlike some of the competition, RBH Sound's drivers are aluminum, not paper, and stem from RBH's proprietary aluminum cone driver technology, which helps use the aluminum cone's natural heat sink properties to keep heat generated away from critical components; namely the voice coil.  We should also note that aluminum drivers are normally found in subwoofers costing many times the price of the Impression Series.  In fact, according to RBH, using aluminum for the driver allows for higher performance and more accurate frequency response than the materials typically see at this price point.  This stamped basket aluminum cone driver shares a common heritage with other RBH products and it's quite a capable performer.

Both models have line level inputs, balanced and unbalanced inputs, phase control and a continuously variable lowpass crossover from 40Hz-150Hz. There are no speaker level inputs or outputs available on either model.  

At $499 for the I-12, you get a frequency response that is rated for 23Hz-200Hz ±3dB.  At the $699 price point, the RBH Sound I-12e's frequency response is rated at a jaw-dropping 20Hz - 200Hz ±3dB.  These subs are nothing to snicker at, weighing in at a hefty 65lbs each.  

The Impression Series subs don't feature automated, on-board room correction.  They do, however, give you the flexibility to tailor them to your specific environment.  These subs are a tri-ported design with three, rear-firing, 3-1/2 inch ports.  Users can fine-tune the sub to suit their tastes and their rooms with the included port plugs.  

Port Plug Options

Port Plug Options on the Impression Series subs and the corresponding Frequency Responses

Maximum output for 25Hz and above can be achieved by leaving the subwoofer's ports unplugged.  Maximum extension below 25Hz can be achieved by plugging a single port and leaving the remaining two unplugged.  Maximum damping, which is the least amount of output below 30Hz, can be achieved by plugging all three ports. This driver is actually designed to work well in a ported or sealed enclosure so if you prefer the performance of a sealed sub, you'd want to plug all three ports.

RBH sent us some preliminary measurements (viewable below) for the subs and the measurements are very impressive for subs at this price point.  Typically, you would need to spend many times the price of the Impression Series to get SPL level measurements like this in the 20Hz - 40Hz range.   One important item to note is that these preliminary measurements provided by RBH Sound are ground plane measurements at 2m and do NOT represent maximum output.  Using the subs' vented alignment, you'd realize considerable gain below 40Hz if the sub were to be placed close to a rear wall.   

RBH I-12/e preliminary measurements

Preliminary Measurements of the RBH I-12/e Subwoofer courtesy of RBH/RBH

For those needing to balance aesthetics along with performance, you have two choices for the cabinet finishes.  Finishing options include either a high gloss red burl or a high gloss black ash.  From what we've seen the photos that RBH supplied us with, both finishes appear to be of high quality.

RBH I-12 Sub Measurements

Preliminary Measurements of the RBH I-12 Subwoofer courtesy of RBH/RBH

Give it a Try

Like all of RBH Sound's products, the Impression Series subwoofers come with the company's 100% satisfaction guarantee.  You can try the subwoofers for up to 30 days in your home and if you're not completely satisfied you can return the units back to RBH Sound in like-new condition for a full refund, minus return shipping.  

All in all, the specs and initial measurements of these subwoofers continue to show that this is a great time to be a home theater enthusiast.   With high performance, high value options like the RBH Sound's impression Series available, there's no reason why the average consumer cannot build a high performance home theater and multichannel audio system without needing to take out a second mortgage on their home.  Imagine pairing this sub with their R55ti towers for a fullrange 2.1 offering the level of performance one would normally spend considerably more to achieve.

We're certainly excited by the specs and feature of the Impression Series subwoofers and we're hopeful that we'll be able to take these models for a spin first hand.

AcuDefTechGuy posts on July 15, 2015 05:59

agarwalro, post: 1089947, member: 8004

All the speakers in that room... ADTG is like... DROOL! Flashback! DROOL! .I don't really miss all that. Actually it makes me feel guilty of being frivolous.

agarwalro posts on July 14, 2015 23:16

All the speakers in that room... ADTG is like... DROOL! Flashback! DROOL! .

gene posts on July 14, 2015 18:08


rojo posts on July 14, 2015 13:30

gene posts on July 14, 2015 13:11

RBH Sound has long been on our Audioholics short list of high performance, high value speakers and now they are revamping their subwoofer to target the very competitive ID marketplace. These new Impression Series of subwoofers leverages some of the core technology, design, and materials from other RBH products.

These subs look like they've got the right hardware to promise, everyday home theater mortals real-world, high-impact, low frequency performance at affordable prices.

Read: RBH Sound I-12 and I-12/e Subwoofer Preview

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