RBH Sound may not have the widespread name recognition of Sony, Bose, or Yamaha, but the Layton, Utah-based speaker manufacturer has been generating positive buzz among audiophiles for the better part of three decades. The company's designs, ranging from the lifestyle-oriented ensemble to the hulking floor-standing speakers, all share startlingly robust construction, advanced technology, and vivid sound quality.
The MS-10.1 subwoofer we're reviewing here features RBH's proprietary Tuned Aperiodic Vent. Originally developed for the company's flagship Signature Series subwoofers, the technology combines the advantages of vented and sealed designs on the MS-10.1 subwoofer. The 45-pound sub measures 14.75 inches high, 13 inches wide, and 17.5 inches deep. The MS-10.1 carries an MSRP of $799.
The MS-10.1 features front- and down-firing 10-inch dished aluminum woofers, and an internal 250-watt amplifier. The sub's aluminum plate rear panel, including the amplifier's massive finned heat sink, is finished in gunmetal gray. Connection and convenience features include a volume control, an adjustable low-pass filter, a line-level input and output, as well as speaker-level inputs and outputs (with a fixed 80-Hertz high-pass filter). The speaker-level connections may be useful in some situations where it's particularly difficult to achieve a smooth transition between the satellites and the subwoofer. One snag: the MS-10.1's RCA connectors are recessed into the rear panel, and our heavy-duty interconnect cable's male connector couldn't be fully inserted into the female jack. Male connectors with slender "collars" will be a better fit.
We paired the MS-10.1 with five RBH satellites, and the combined system's aural synergy was immediately apparent. Boom isn't in this sub's vocabulary, and that's a good thing. The MS-10.1's excellent control and speed easily delineated every note on a stand-up bass and provided the necessary oomph for unrestrained home-theater punch. The Hidalgo DVD's stampeding horses, steam-powered trains, and blasts of gunfire erupted with visceral authority. The MS-10.1's subwoofer's deep bass prowess is among the best we've ever heard (or felt) from a sub in its price class.