While in-wall speakers are nothing new, finding an in-wall speaker that performs like a reference grade audiophile loudspeaker is far more difficult. Off the top of my head I can only think of three, okay maybe four, manufacturers who truly build reference grade in-wall speakers that stand up and compete favorably with some of the best floorstanding speakers out there. RBH is one such company and their SI-6100/R Reference In-wall Speaker is the one that comes top of mind.
The SI-6100/R is RBH flagship in-wall speaker retailing for $3,150. The SI-6100/R is a two way in-wall loudspeaker featuring a total of seven drivers, three one inch silk dome tweeters and four six and a half inch aluminum woofers. The SI-6100/R has a reported frequency response of 45Hz-20kHz and has a sensitivity rating of 92dB into a four-Ohm load. RBH recommends anywhere between 15 and 500 watts of total power on tap for the SI-6100/R to sound their best, making them ideal candidates for high powered receiver based home theaters or separates. The SI-6100/R's cabinets are made from high density MDF and come in two grill colors, white or black. Unlike traditional in-walls, the SI-6100/R's grills are made of cloth so you cannot paint them to match your décor.
The SI-6100/Rs measure in at 56 inches high by 14 inches wide and 3 and a half inches deep allowing them to fit inside standard stud bays; however they're not an in-wall speaker you can simply cut and place. The SI-6100/R mounting bracket is designed to be mounted directly to studs for the most secure fit and then have drywall laid overtop, or to the SI-6100/R's baffle edge, effectively hiding its overall dimensions. When properly installed the SI-6100/R visual appearance is 44 inches high by eight inches wide. You can also install the SI-6100/R into RBH's own CinemaSITE system for a custom looking but non-permanent installation.
In terms of performance RBH has really hit a homerun with the SI-6100/R. It's a great speaker, possibly the perfect in-wall, for large venue home theaters, especially those with stadium like seating. Because of its vertically staggered driver array the SI-6100/R produces a large wall of sound that is nicely detailed and incredibly punchy and dynamic. The silk dome tweeters are smooth and composed under pressure with enough high end zing to bring the right amount of detail to the party without making everything seem etched or overly sharp. The aluminum bass/midrange drivers can really slam and have a slightly energetic soul; however I wouldn't go so far as to call them forward or bright. Together the SI-6100/R's tweeters and aluminum drivers really balance each other out making for a smooth, detailed, upfront, punchy sounding loudspeaker that is unflappable at any volume level, just what you need in a home theater loudspeaker.
Read about the high points and the low points of the SI-6100/R on Page 2.
• The SI-6100/Rs are truly reference grade loudspeakers, only they fit in your walls saving you valuable floor space.
• The SI-6100/R's sound is large and in charge and can fill even the biggest home theaters, especially those with stadium seating.
• The SI-6100/R's silk dome tweeters are smooth and very refined and help balance out the aluminum bass/midrange drivers, creating a very coherent and wholly enjoyable sound experience.
• Dynamically the SI-6100/R are lively and punchy - if you have the right power behind them, which is just what today's biggest Hollywood blockbusters call for.
• Installing the SI-6100/R is a job best left to your dealer or general contractor for these are not in-walls you install in an hour or two.
• The fact that RBH uses cloth grills on their in-walls means you're somewhat stuck with seeing either an off-white rectangle or a dark grey/black rectangle somewhere on your wall, unless you install the SI-6100/R behind a perforated projection screen or fabric wall.
For a little over three grand each the SI-6100/Rs are not inexpensive by any means and when you consider their installation needs, the cost of ownership does begin to add up. However, if you're looking for a balls-to-the-wall in-wall speaker for a truly reference grade home theater that will rival the biggest names in the business as well as your local Cineplex, then be sure to check out the SI-6100/R from RBH.