Surround speakers for the system I reviewed were the small LRS Surrounds. Like other Artison speakers, these two contain a clever piece of technology. Below 3,000 Hz, the LRS speakers act as a monopole, giving slightly directional sound, along with decent bass for a small speaker. Above that point, they work as a dipole, making high frequencies more open and diffuse. This design works surprisingly well, making the speakers sound significantly bigger than their small size would suggest, yet allowing you to locate surround effects. They’re great surround speakers, though personally I’d love a slightly larger version, as they were slightly underwhelming when listening to music on 5-channel stereo going full blast. In all other situations, they were fantastic.
With the Portraits and LRS Surrounds, Artison shipped its RCC 600 FS subwoofer. There’s a word for this sub: awesome. It looks nothing like other subwoofers, and as you inspect further, it gets even weirder. At full chat, you can feel the bass in your chest. You cannot, however, feel it in the subwoofer: Put your hand on the sub while it’s going, and remarkably, there is absolutely no vibration. This is possible thanks to its "Reactance Canceling" design. Four 5 x 8-inch woofers oppose each other in two pairs. As one driver moves up, its opposite moves down to cancel out any vibration. This is especially useful in Artison’s in-wall version of the design so you don’t rattle the paint of your walls. In the freestanding version, it helps keep floor rattle to a minimum. BG Radia has a sub based on a similar concept, though its design uses smaller drivers.
The RCC 600 FS, which uses an external 600-watt (1,000-watt peak) amplifier, played both deep and loud, easily filling my house with bass. I say house because one wall of my theater is open to the living room, which opens to the hall and kitchen. Most subs would struggle to fill that space, but not the RCC 600 FS. It was one of the best subs I’ve heard in a long time, notable more for its ability to blend with the overall sound and effortlessly create deep bass. Further enhancing its performance is a built-in room EQ that ensures the flattest possible frequency response.
For some, “regular” speakers just aren’t an option. With that in mind, Artison has created speakers that offer more than just a viable alternative to in-wall/on-wall speakers. With their clever design and high-quality parts, the Portrait DualMono Speakers actually outperform most in-wall/on-walls. For me, the biggest take away from this review is that it’s possible to get great home theater sound without using “regular” speakers. Also, that Artison’s RCC 600 FS sub is one mean piece of kit.
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