Infinity R263 Floorstanding Speaker Reviewed

By |

Infinity R263 Floorstanding Speaker Reviewed

Page 1 Page 2

iiiiii.jpgAsk some old audiophile (like me) about Infinity, and he'll probably tell you about the Infinity Reference Series speaker, which broke the $40,000/pair price barrier way back in the 1980s. Or he might talk about the Servo Statik 1, which was the first subwoofer/satellite speaker system when it launched even further back, in the 1960s.

So what's Infinity done since, you ask? Good question. Since 1983, the brand's been owned by Harman International, currently parent company of JBLMark LevinsonRevel, and bunch of professional audio brands. Harman's interest in the Infinity brand seems to wax and wane. We've seen the brand on a lot of very nice products, especially the high-efficiency Compositions Series of the mid-1990s and the rectangular-woofered Cascade Series of the mid-2000s. But there hasn't been a real "Infinity sound" or "Infinity philosophy" since the days when MTV played music videos.

Additional Resources

The new Reference Series speakers represent something of a rebirth of the Infinity line, a colossal step up from the low-priced Primus speakers that the company's been pushing lately. The philosophy seems to be to take some of the awesome engineering that Harman has put into its Revel speaker line and bring it out at much more affordable prices. Who could argue with that?

The R263 I'm reviewing here has a driver complement similar to what's in the Revel Performa3 F206 speakers I own: two 6.5-inch woofers, a 5.25-inch midrange, and a 1-inch tweeter. The tweeter and midrange employ CMMDs, or ceramic/metal matrix diaphragms, which first found their way into Infinity speakers about 15 years ago. Combining the two materials stiffens the drivers' cones and domes, and also damps resonances. The waveguide in front of tweeter evolved from the one that's been used on other Harman speakers, including my F206s. Just as with my Revels, the goals are broad, consistent dispersion and a near-total lack of sonic coloration.

But very much unlike my $3,500/pair Revels, the R263 lists for just $1,099/pair. With an angular black woodgrain cabinet replacing the curvaceous, glossy enclosure of the Revels, the R263 certainly doesn't look as nice as the Revels. Of course, most serious audio enthusiasts would happily sacrifice looks if it meant the cost of their speakers was two-thirds less and the sound quality wasn't sacrificed.

The R263 sits at the top of the Reference Series, which also includes a smaller tower, the $899/pair R253; two bookshelf speakers; two center speakers; two subwoofers; and a surround speaker. For home theater enthusiasts, a tower speaker is no good unless there's a great center speaker to match. So, in addition to the pair of R263s I borrowed, I also snagged the $499 C253 center speaker so that I could hear how well it matched the sound of the R263.

The Hookup
speaker2-thumb-autox549-12530.pngThere didn't seem to be anything unusual about the R263, so I moved my Revels away and put the R263s in the same places. The front baffles were about 36 inches from the wall behind them, and I put the speakers about eight feet apart, with my listening chair about 10 feet away from them.

After connecting the pair of R263s to my Krell S-300i integrated amp, fed by a Cambridge DAC Magic XS digital-to-analog converter connected to a Toshiba laptop, I gave the system a listen so that I could fine-tune the speakers' positions. It's then that I noticed something really weird about the R263: the sound didn't substantially change as I adjusted the toe-in of the speakers. Whether I pointed them straight out or angled them in to point straight at me, there was practically no difference in the sound. That should be a good thing because it makes the speaker less sensitive to placement and, typically, less sensitive to the acoustics of the room it's in. I ended up splitting the difference between straight out and full toe-in.

I later disconnected the Krell and set up the C253 center speaker, using my Revels as surrounds because I figured they'd be reasonably close to the sound of the Infinity speakers. For this setup, I used my Outlaw Model 975 surround sound processor, my AudioControl Savoy seven-channel amplifier, and my Panasonic DMP-BDT350 Blu-ray player.

 

Click on over to Page 2 for the Brent's Full Measurements of the R263, plus the Performance, the Downside, Comparison and Competition, and Conclusion . . .


  • Comment on this article

Post a Comment
comments powered by Disqus

HTR Product Rating for Infinity R263 Floorstanding Speaker

Criteria Rating

Performance

4.5

Value

5

Overall

4.5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


Latest Floorstanding Speaker Reviews

Jul 17
Polk Signature S55 Floorstanding Speakers Reviewed The name Polk invokes a certain brand promise--one of quality and value built over a long history of fine products...
Polk Signature S55 Floorstanding Speakers Reviewed

Jul 03
Emotiva Airmotiv T1 Tower Speaker Reviewed Bob Barrett reviews Emotiva's Airmotiv speakers--including the three-way T1 tower ($699/pair), the C1 center channel ($249), and the B1 bookshelf speaker ($299/pair).
Emotiva Airmotiv T1 Tower Speaker Reviewed

May 08
Ohm Acoustics Walsh Tall 5000 Floorstanding Speaker Reviewed Greg Handy auditions the Walsh Tall 5000 tower speaker from Ohm Acoustics, which uses a Coherent Line Source (CLS) full-range driver developed by Lincoln Walsh.
Ohm Acoustics Walsh Tall 5000 Floorstanding Speaker Reviewed

Apr 17
Monitor Audio PL200 II Floorstanding Speaker Reviewed Brent Butterworth reviews the PL200 II tower speaker from Monitor Audio's Platinum II Series, which incorporates a new Micro Pleated Diaphragm tweeter, among other improvements. Find out what he thought of the PL200 II's performance in this week's featured review.
Monitor Audio PL200 II Floorstanding Speaker Reviewed

Apr 03
Paradigm Persona 3F Floorstanding Speaker Reviewed Dennis Burger auditions models from Paradigm's new Persona Series, including the Persona 3F floorstanding speaker, Persona C center channel, and Persona B bookshelf speaker.
Paradigm Persona 3F Floorstanding Speaker Reviewed