BEST REFRESHINGLY AFFORDABLE SYSTEMS
Sure, hi-fi shows routinely feature $50,000 speakers, $20,000 amplifiers and other gear that almost no one can really afford, but they also tend to include a few manufacturers committed to delivering high-end sound at mass-market prices.
Dr. Poh Hsu of Hsu Research demoed a system comprising a $258 pair of HB-1 MkII speakers and an $879 VTF-15H subwoofer. The deep bass of this $1,137 system at least equaled anything else I heard at the show, and the tonal balance and stereo imaging were pretty darned awesome, too.
RSL Speaker Systems — otherwise known as Rogersound Labs — was a name revered by budget-minded audiophiles back in the 1970s and ’80s. Founder Howard Rodgers has resurrected the brand with new, compact sub/sat systems that impressed the hell out of me. The CG Stereo System (pictured above), a $1,250 rig with two small satellite speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer that delivered a colossal soundstage even in RSL’s small demo room.
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