Either Way You Win Big

How and When to Take the Plunge

Knowing when the time is right to step forward and purchase your own REL is a personal choice, and, especially in our more affordable models, it helps to have some gentle guidance. After all, we make two different ranges that lean heavily in one direction or the other, and understanding even this essential difference isn’t always obvious to those just starting in converting their systems from limited bandwidth to Full Range systems.

Fundamental to making a sound decision for yourself is understanding what is driving this move to improve your system.

  1. You’ve changed: Some event, perhaps a great demo allowed you to hear what a REL does. Maybe a friend who owns one played something for you, or a good dealer sensed that your listening tastes having matured and you were ready to take the plunge.
  2. Your environment changed:  You moved from an apartment to a small house, allowing for the use of a great subwoofer without worrying about bothering your neighbors. Or maybe you are doing home renovations or decorations. We call this an “At last!” moment. For younger clients, this can be almost a rite of passage, as in “At last, I can own better audio gear and use it pretty much any way I want.”
  3. Your usage has changed: Covid arrived at a perfect moment in time.  The quality of streaming and access to gig-speed internet converging just as many were forced to take shelter in their homes. It was the perfect storm, as I write this Netflix’s stock price (which is linked directly to how many viewers signed up for their service) is now approaching their pandemic high numbers again. Premium content drives the desire to have a better, more immersive experience. This brings us back to #1 above, you watched a streaming show at a friend’s and said “Whoa, why does your system crush in the bass, mine doesn’t sound anything like this?”

Let’s start by outlining the primary differences between our Serie T/x range, designed for all-around goodness, and our HT (short for Home Theatre) range which delivers a bigger, louder LFE effect for theatre-centric systems. Read on, it’s not all quite as simple as that makes it sound.

First up is Serie T/x; three models that range from affordable to aspirational. These models are slotted to match up with around 60-70% of the more popular speakers you’re likely to find in the market. From smaller to larger room drive capabilities and from smaller to larger cabinet sizes (but even the big T/9x would be described as being medium-sized) this range covers the broadest range. While it’s very much true that this range can also be described as being the best choice for those who value music production as their first choice, both T/7x and T/9x can deliver the goods in a simple 2.1 or a quality 5.1 context. All these models include a separate .1/LFE channel for home theatre bass with its own volume control, a best-of-both-worlds approach at a slight premium in pricing to our HT range.

RelTip™: For best performance in simple music and 2.1 systems (some apartments, condos, and small homes don’t have the capacity to install 5 or more speakers without severely impeding traffic flow)

  1. use REL’s High-Level cables connected to your audio video receiver’s Left and Right Speaker outputs, ground connected to chassis ground (often a knurled screw on the rear of the chassis).
  2. Now, here’s the tip, enter the receiver’s setup menu and select Large for the Speaker setting, select 40 Hz (the lowest crossover most AVRs will allow) in the crossover setting. Select 120 Hz or higher for the subwoofer range.
  3. Then follow our setup instructions.  The hot tip is to select “No” under subwoofer settings. This will direct all sound, including LFE out to one’s L-R speakers and the REL High-Level cable. By doing this, your system will deliver a big, rich, full-throated sound and your REL’s crossover will determine where your subwoofer rolls off, just as it always does for 2-channel music when the High-Level cable is used. It means seamless integration and you can then move back and forth with no changes between music and streaming video services.

Let’s turn to Serie HT. These theatre-centric subs deliver prodigiously deep bass designed to maximize the drama of special effects in movies and streaming videos. All three models deliver strong, powerful bass with a visceral quality due to REL’s ceaseless efforts to bring speed of transients to the subwoofer world. For theatre bass to shock you, these subs must be faster than the average run-of-the-mill subwoofer. Our special materials and techniques deliver quality, textures, and a layering of effects that many experienced users describe as unique, along with stonking loud and deep bass.

While HTs are designed to optimize theatre performance, these same abilities pay dividends in music reproduction. Fast is good. RELs are fast. Ergo they work better for both music and film.

REL offers two different choices in their more affordable ranges. One (T/x) is perhaps the finest all-around subwoofer range available. Equally comfortable in quality 2-channel (stereo) systems listening to records, CDs, or streaming audio (do check out Qobuz, it really is audibly better playback). While not inexpensive, these deliver a world of immersive, richly textured, and nuanced performance through the use of their High-Level Inputs and also include a dedicated channel with its own volume control just for LFE (movie/streaming) bass.

For the serious movie bass lover, our newest range Serie HT (Home Theatre) delivers massive dynamics by featuring larger drivers, much more powerful amplifiers, (mostly) larger cabinets, and special circuitry designed to emphasize the Bang! in theatre sound. Fast, open, and with a guttural ferociousness, HTs deliver very loud, deep special effects. Somewhat surprisingly, these also sound musical when pressed into service playing tunes.

Whether you place a premium on great all-around performance with remarkable qualities in music reproduction, or you want the utmost in loud, deep bass for movie (streaming) effects, REL has the ideal solution for almost everyone. It really comes down to knowing your own priorities and spending a little fun time auditioning these in a quality dealer showroom.

Thank you for reading our latest blog. We strive to provide content that’s both entertaining and educational.

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February 26, 2024 - Posted in: Deep Dive Setup