Last month you caught a glimpse of the new RBH MS-10.1 subwoofer as one of my personal Top Picks from the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show. Small enclosure, high output subwoofers are not new to home theater. The design principles of subwoofers work as a series of tradeoffs: using the same size woofer for both examples, a larger enclosure (often vented) requires less power to achieve higher output and thus is considered more efficient, while small enclosures often require two times or more the power in order to achieve the same volume output.
There are also, of course, inherent traits to smaller woofers' achievements in comparison to larger woofers--yes, this is the big guy versus the little guy. Smaller woofers (those under 12 inches) rarely dip below the 30Hz range without help from the room. This is where the RBH MS-10.1 steps in.
What is truly unique about the RBH MS-10.1 subwoofer is that it incorporates a proprietary Tuned Aperiodic Vent (TAV). The TAV uses the principles of Aperiodic material to act as a "choke" on the vent. The woofer (or woofers) in turn are fooled into thinking they are in a larger enclosure than they actually are. The idea is not new, but the application on the port for the home environment is brilliant.
With this design, RBH has created the ability to power two 10-inch aluminum woofers in a small enclosure with a mere 250 watts. Combine the power of the amplifier, the rigidity and transient response of the aluminum woofers, the TAV and a MDF enclosure, and the results are quite impressive.
Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
The MS-10.1 subwoofer is full featured with both high and low inputs and outputs, variable gain and crossover, auto on and an infinitely variable 0-180 degree phase adjustment. Its compact size does not equate to any weight loss--this bugger is a hefty 40 pounds.