CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 8.0
Pricing Unavailable

The Good Small but solid cast-aluminum cabinets; sophisticated metal woofer design; audiophile-grade silk dome tweeter; capable 8-inch subwoofer.

The Bad Hard-to-reach binding posts; bad match for bright- or harsh-sounding receivers.

The Bottom Line The Compact Theater MAX's vivid sound and unrestricted dynamic freedom click with home theater and music.

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Utah-based RBH Sound has been producing audiophile-grade speakers since 1976. From hulking floor-standing models to small, lifestyle-oriented surround arrays, the company is known for robust construction, advanced technology, and vivid sound quality. And despite the lofty expectations of its pedigree, the $1,495 CT-MAX (Compact Theater to the Max) 5.1 surround speaker system does not disappoint. The small but oh-so-sturdy satellites and capable subwoofer performed admirably with music and movies. When paired with a suitably high-end A/V receiver, the RBH CT-MAX will rock your home theater to its foundations. The RBH CT-MAX system comes with five C-4 Mini Monitor satellites and the MS-8.1 subwoofer. The MS-8.1 is more than adequate for small to midsize home theaters, but we opted up to the larger MS-10.1 sub, which boosted the retail price to $1,944, for our sizable room. The C-4 satellites are finished in tough black or white powder-coat paint and can be positioned horizontally or vertically. There's something about the way the aluminum drivers peek through the perforated metal grilles that adds a touch of mystery to the design. If you're running a 6.1- or 7.1-channel surround system, additional C-4s are available for $229 each.

The bulging cast-metal satellites are small--damned small: the chunky C-4 measures just 11.75 inches wide, 5 inches high, and 4.5 inches deep. It weighs 8 pounds, and the unyieldingly solid, cast-metal cabinet feels like it could survive a nuclear blast. RBH offers black or white wall-mount brackets and floor stands for the satellites (sold separately).

RBH's more affordable CT-series 5.1 system is similar but uses a C-4 only as a center speaker, with smaller front and rear left/right satellites, and a smaller subwoofer.

The C-4 satellite speaker features a pair of RBH's proprietary 4-inch aluminum woofers and a 1-inch silk dome tweeter. The drivers look similar to RBH's other dished aluminum woofers, but they're new designs, crafted specifically for these smaller models. RBH's aluminum woofers not only look pretty, they also combine high strength with low mass. Aluminum is a cool material that naturally pulls heat away from the woofer's voice coil, which improves sound quality and reliability.

The C-4's all-metal binding posts are recessed into a small cup, and we could barely get our fingers around the connectors to tighten them.

The RBH subs mirror the cast-metal sats' rounded aesthetic, but a knuckle rap revealed them to be solidly built medium-density fiberboard (MDF) boxes. The MS-8.1 boasts not one, but two 8-inch woofs--one forward firing, one downward firing--and there's a large port on the left side of the cabinet.

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Where to Buy


Part Number: RBH CT-MAX 5.1 Released: Sep 15, 2003

Call RBH for a list of authorized dealers in your area.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Sep 15, 2003
  • Connectivity Technology wired
  • Speaker System Configuration 5.1-channel
  • Nominal (RMS) Output Power 250 Watt
    250 Watt
  • Speaker System Type home theater speaker system