Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Supro Releases All-new Delta King Collection and Upgrades Product Lineup.

Supro Releases All-new Delta King Collection and Upgrades Product Lineup.

In the first year since being acquired by Bond Audio, Supro is entering 2021 with a host of new offerings and upgrades. Launching for the first time are the Delta King 8, 10, and 12—accessibly-priced, vintage-inspired combos in two stunning colorways. High-quality upgrades come to the ‘64 Super, ‘64 Reverb, and Black Magick combos, and the all-new Keeley Custom 12 combo joins the line as successor to the best-selling Keeley 10. Lastly, adding to its line of vintage-inspired, all-analog effects, the new Chorus pedal offers full stereo modulation and some of the most remarkably rich chorus tone to ever exist in pedal form.

Learn more at

64 Super

About Supro USA

Supro is one of the original rock & roll music brands. Manufactured in Chicago from 1935 to 1968, Supro amplifiers and guitars can be heard on landmark recordings by iconic artists such as Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and David Bowie. Revived in 2014, Supro now offers a curated range of vintage-inspired tube amps and pedals that capture the legendary Supro sound.





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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

ASUS Presents Be Ahead Launch Event at CES 2021

ASUS Presents Be Ahead Launch Event at CES 2021

Complete lineup debuts with new laptops from the ZenBook, VivoBook, ExpertBook, Chromebook and TUF Gaming series along with a new projector and portable monitor
Fremont, CA (January 13, 2021) — ASUS co-CEO Samson Hu today announced the latest lineup of laptops, displays and entertainment solutions at the Be Ahead virtual launch event during CES 2021.

Recognized as the best laptop brand of 2020 by Laptop Mag, ASUS is introducing a wide variety of new laptops at CES, including ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED (UX582), ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482), VivoBook S14 (S435), ExpertBook B9450CEA (vPro), Chromebook Flip CX5/C536 (CX5500), Chromebook CX9 (CX9400), ASUS BR1100 for education, and the TUF Dash F15 gaming laptop. The new lineup pushes the boundaries of design and innovation to deliver ultimate mobile computing experiences.

“As a leader in the global PC industry, ASUS has decades of experience in creating remarkable innovations,” Mr. Hu explains. “This year’s lineup continues that legacy by elevating productivity and entertainment to new heights across a range of products, empowering users to achieve the incredible — to Be Ahead in an ever-changing world.”

“Intel’s 11th Gen Core processors and our joint platform efforts with ASUS across Intel Evo and vPro platforms offer the uncompromising performance, connectivity and foundations for innovation powering the latest PC experiences,” said Chris Walker, Corporate Vice President, Mobile Computing Platforms, Intel.

In addition to top-notch laptops, the portable ProArt Display PA148CTV and ZenBeam Latte projector also debuted at the launch event, highlighting the latest ASUS solutions for incredible entertainment. The full catalog of new ASUS innovations released during CES 2021 can be accessed here. The latest releases include laptops, desktops, displays, networking and IoT solutions — all showcasing the upward trajectory of ASUS innovation and empowering consumers to achieve the incredible and to Be Ahead.
Onstage Innovations Announced at the Be Ahead Launch Event
ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED (UX582)
The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED is the next-generation, ultra-powerful 15.6-inch laptop that is equipped with the new tilting ASUS ScreenPad Plus, a full-width 4K secondary touchscreen that works seamlessly with the main 4K OLED HDR display for effortless multitasking. ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED offers groundbreaking performance that is backed by up to the latest generation Intel® Core™ i9 processor and NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3070 laptop GPU graphics. It is also validated as an NVIDIA Studio laptop — the ultimate laptops for content creators.

Expanding upon the original innovative design, ScreenPad Plus incorporates an auto-tilt mechanism that automatically raises the rear of the secondary display by 9.5° for improved readability and to reduce potential glare. ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED with the Intel Core i9 processor has the power and performance to drive cross-screen workflows using ScreenPad Plus and the main display. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPU is powered by the NVIDIA Ampere architecture, delivering silky-smooth graphics and supercharging video-editing and 3D animation applications with the power of real-time ray tracing.

The full set of I/O ports features two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C® ports, and the latest Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) takes wireless speeds to the next level for ultra-smooth connections. Additionally, with a 1 TB PCIe® 3.0 X 4 SSD and 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED accelerates workflows and optimizes productivity.

The frameless screen design features a 93% screen-to-body ratio for more immersive visuals. The brilliant 4K OLED HDR touchscreen delivers ultra-vivid colors and deep blacks with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, which is reflected by the VESA DisplayHDR™ True Black 500 certification. Also, the touchscreen is PANTONE® Validated, ensuring superb color accuracy for graphics professionals.
ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482)
The ASUS ZenBook Duo 14 is a 14-inch Intel Evo-verified laptop that features ASUS ScreenPad Plus, the secondary touchscreen that works seamlessly with the main FHD NanoEdge display for effortless multitasking. ZenBook Duo 14 packs heavyweight performance into its slim, 16.9-mm profile with a powerful combination of 11th Generation Intel Core processors and Intel Iris® Xe graphics or the option of NVIDIA GeForce® MX450 discrete graphics. ZenBook Duo 14 also features ASUS Intelligent Performance Technology, which works with the 11th Generation Intel processors to optimize performance: using Performance mode, users can enjoy a performance boost of up to 40%[1] compared to a similar standard laptop.

With the same auto-tilt mechanism as UX582, the secondary display on ZenBook Duo 14 is tilted by 7° for improved readability and to reduce potential glare. The laptop provides a superbly immersive viewing experience, offering ultraslim bezels, an expansive 93% screen-to-body ratio and a four-sided frameless NanoEdge display that is super-bright at up to 400 cd/m2. ZenBook Duo 14 is PANTONE Validated for professional-grade color accuracy and offers a wide 100% sRGB color gamut. It is also TÜV Rheinland-certified for low blue light, so it is comfortable to use for long productivity sessions. Battery life has been boosted to an exceptional 17 hours for all-day productivity, and a USB-C Easy Charge feature offers versatile charging from either a USB-C Power Delivery-certified charger or any standard USB-C charger.

For easy connections to peripherals, ZenBook Duo 14 has comprehensive high-performance I/O connectivity, including a pair of the latest Thunderbolt™ 4 USB-C ports. These support Power Delivery and DisplayPort, and the 40 Gbps bandwidth enables users to connect an external 8K display or two 4K UHD displays. ZenBook Duo 14 also features Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) that is enhanced with ASUS WiFi Master Premium technology.

Evolved User Experiences on the New ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED (UX582) and ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482)

Both ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED and ZenBook Duo 14 feature upgraded ScreenXpert 2 software, which introduces powerful and intuitive new features to streamline workflows.

Both models also premiere ASUS Control Panel, a fully customizable app on ScreenPad Plus that revolutionizes creative workflows. ASUS Control Panel gives users precise and intuitive control of creative apps, including brush-size adjustment, saturation, layer opacity and more. Control Panel currently works with Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, Premiere Pro and After Effects, and compatibility will be expanded in the near future.

The stylus included with ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED and ZenBook Duo 14[2] enables yet another layer of interactivity for users, and ScreenPad Plus provides high-precision 4096 pressure-level stylus support for an ideal writing or drawing platform.

To ensure exceptional performance, ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED and ZenBook Duo 14 are engineered with the new Active Aerodynamic System Plus (AAS Plus), which uses the ErgoLift hinge and auto-tilting ScreenPad Plus to increase overall cooling airflow by up to 49%[3].
[1] The 40% performance increase is compared to the 3D Mark Time Spy score of an 11th Generation Intel CPU fixed at 15 W TDP. The data is from ASUS internal laboratories.
[2] While both laptops offer stylus support, only UX582 comes with a bundled stylus.
[3] Compared to airflow without Active Aerodynamic System Plus.
VivoBook S14 (S435)
The all-new VivoBook S14 is a stylish, ultralight 14-inch laptop that is Intel Evo™-verified. The lightest 14-inch VivoBook model, it is a powerful companion for discovering, exploring and creating. With the latest 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processor with Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16 GB memory, and Intel Optane™ Memory H10, VivoBook S14 can handle any workload. Productivity is further enhanced by up to a 1 TB PCIe SSD that provides superfast storage for fast boot times and near-instant data access. VivoBook S14 also incorporates the new ASUS Intelligent Performance Technology, which delivers up to a 40% performance boost[1] while conserving battery life, enhancing cooling efficiency and ensuring quiet operations.

The exterior of the VivoBook S14 features classy diamond-cut edges, a sleek Deep Green all-metal chassis and the unique VivoBook lid logo. When the lid is opened, the bright yellow color-blocked Enter key takes center stage. Its frameless four-sided NanoEdge display and a 90% screen-to-body ratio provide incredibly immersive visuals. The display is certified by TÜV Rheinland for low blue-light emissions, so it is easy on the eyes during extended use.

At only 2.87lbs light with a sleek 15.9-mm profile, the ultrathin VivoBook S14 is designed for premium portability. To provide effortless on-the-go connectivity, VivoBook S14 features ultrafast Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports that support fast charging, data transfers of up to 40 Gbps and connections with one external 8K or two 4K UHD monitors. There are also USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A and USB 2.0 ports as well as a microSD card reader, enabling users to easily connect peripherals, displays and projectors. Wi-Fi 6 connectivity on VivoBook S14 delivers fast wireless speeds and ultra-smooth connections.
[1] The 40% performance increase is compared to the 3D Mark Time Spy score of an 11th Generation Intel CPU fixed at 15 W TDP. The data is from ASUS internal laboratories.
ExpertBook B9 B9450CEA (vPro)
The ExpertBook B9450CEA (vPro) is the world’s lightest 14-inch business laptop[1], empowering business professionals to thrive in the modern world with leading-edge technology and features. Verified as an Intel Evo platform laptop, ExpertBook B9450CEA (vPro) delivers premium performance and responsiveness, efficient battery usage and stunning visuals. The 1.94lb model has a 33Wh battery, and the 2.2lb model has a 66 Wh battery with all-day battery life for continuous, portable productivity. ExpertBook B9450CEA (vPro) also meets the industry-leading MIL-STD 810H U.S. military standard, which is more rigorous and demanding than ever, ensuring that the laptop can withstand the strains of the daily grind and on-the-go use.

With the rise of remote work, modern business professionals have increasing telecommuting needs. For exceptional remote work experiences, the new generation of ExpertBook B9450CEA (vPro) provides the latest Intel vPro™ Platform, which enables seamless data security and easy remote management by IT administrators.

ExpertBook B9450CEA (vPro) is engineered with up to the latest 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processors with built-in Intel Iris Xe graphics for serious performance and visual excellence. Ample storage in the form of up to dual 2 TB SSDs with for support RAID 0 and RAID 1 technology provides improved data reliability and faster operation. For superfast, stable connections, ExpertBook B9450CEA (vPro) features Wi-Fi 6 and ASUS WiFi Master Premium technology. In terms of security, the laptop also offers a Kensington NanoSaver™ lock for keeping the laptop physically secure, and an optional Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 chip stores passwords and encryption keys for added security. Also, an infrared camera and smart proximity sensor enable fast biometric face logins.

Each ZenBook, VivoBook and ExpertBook in the 2021 lineup is equipped with ASUS Two-Way AI Noise-Canceling technology to enhance communication experiences. AI Noise-Canceling technology employs machine learning to isolate unwanted noise from human speech for crystal-clear voice communication. ExpertBook B9450CEA (vPro) also features quick keys that enable fast, convenient sound and noise-cancelation control, plus Harman Kardon-certified speakers for exceptional sound.
[1] As of Aug. 1, 2020. Based on an internal ASUS market analysis that compared the size of ExpertBook B9450CEA to competitor products from vendors including Acer, HP, Huawei, Lenovo, Microsoft and Samsung. Actual weight may vary by specs.
ASUS Chromebook CX9 (CX9400)
The ASUS Chromebook CX9 is built for empowering professionals with cloud-first operating systems and collaborative tools. Powered by up to an 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processor with Intel Iris Xe graphics, the Chromebook CX9 offers take-anywhere mobility that combines a lightweight chassis with nimble performance for exceptional remote work experiences. Ultrafast Wi-Fi 6, Harman Kardon-certified dual-speaker audio and an anti-glare FHD display offers an enhanced user experience to help optimize the workday, from anywhere. Additionally, the four-sided frameless 14-inch NanoEdge display on ASUS Chromebook CX9 provides an immersive, near edge-to-edge viewing experience for enhanced productivity.

ASUS Chromebook CX9 meets industry-leading MIL-STD 810H U.S. military test standards, and it features a durable, ultralight magnesium-alloy chassis that is 16 mm thin and around 2.2lbs light. Despite its thin profile, the laptop is loaded with I/O ports. These include cutting-edge Thunderbolt 4, as well as standard USB Type-A and HDMI outputs for comprehensive connectivity. 

For business-grade protection, ASUS Chromebook CX9 is secure by design, offering Titan C security for storing sensitive information such as passwords and encryption keys. Furthermore, Chromebook CX9 automatically receives software updates every six weeks to ensure data is safeguarded with the latest protections. With Chrome OS, users enjoy uninterrupted workdays and increased productivity while IT overhead is reduced. Also, ASUS Chromebook CX9 comes with a fingerprint sensor for password-free login and a webcam shield for added protection.
ASUS BR1100: Made for Education
The 11-inch ASUS BR1100 is the ultimate learning companion with an ultra-tough chassis, intelligent features and an easy-to-manage design that is ideal for distance learning. BR1100 is built ready for everyday knocks and drops with an ultra-tough design that features a rubber bumper surrounding all four exterior edges, military-grade durability and a spill-resistant keyboard. With two designs to choose from — convertible and clamshell — students can enjoy the laptop design that suits them the best. The convertible model features a garaged stylus to enhance taking notes and drawing, and multiple modes offer flexibility while learning. Additional designs to accommodate young learners include an antimicrobial keyboard frame and a TÜV Rheinland-certified display for eye protection.

BR1100 leverages the Intel Celeron N4500 or all-new Intel Pentium® Silver processor to deliver the performance for a smooth experience with apps and learning tools and the connectivity and graphics for distance learning. The BR1100 also delivers this with the ASUS Two-Way AI Noise-Canceling Microphone and a noise-reducing camera for enhanced remote lesson experiences. It also provides ultrafast, stable Wi-Fi 6 connections and includes a webcam shield and a microphone mute key for privacy. The 42Wh battery enables all-day battery life, and a 4G LTE option provides mobile internet connections for added portability.

A full array of I/O ports are packed into BR1100 for comprehensive connectivity, including USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 and USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, an HDMI slot and a microSD card reader. BR1100 offers up to 16 GB of RAM and the storage option of up to a 128 GB eMMC and a 1 TB M.2 SSD — perfect for large or growing collections of videos, music and school documents. 

For easy on-site servicing, ASUS BR1100 has a modular design that enables quick access to key components for enhancing the efficiency of IT maintenance and minimizing downtime.
Chromebook Flip CX5/C536 (CX5500)
ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5/C536 is a groundbreaking new laptop that expands the capabilities of Chromebooks for cloud entertainment. It is the first 15.6-inch Chromebook Flip to be powered by an 11th Generation Intel Core processor with Intel Iris Xe graphics, and the laptop features Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, ASUS WiFi Stabilizer technology and dual Harman Kardon-certified speakers. With support for Google Stadia and NVIDIA GeForce NOW on Chromebook Flip CX5/C536, users have access to a seemingly endless world of gaming.

The ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5/C536 is styled to appeal to users who enjoy a minimalist style on a laptop for personal or work use. It incorporates a metallic design on an elegant Immersive White exterior that has a ceramic-like feel. The Obsidian Velvet texture of the palm rest area is silky-smooth for added comfort during extended use. The 57 Wh battery in Chromebook Flip CX5/C536 provides battery life of up to 11 hours, and the laptop also delivers up to 16 GB of memory, storage of up to a 512 GB SSD and a microSD card slot for expandability.
ProArt Display PA148CTV
The ASUS ProArt Display PA148CTV is a 14-inch FHD IPS portable monitor designed to efficiently enhance the workflows of content creators. The display features ASUS Dial and Virtual Control Panel[1] for streamlining creative processes with shortcuts and programmable hotkeys, which enhance ease-of-use with Adobe creative tools such as Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere and Lightroom Classic[2].

PA148CTV delivers exceptional color with 100% sRGB and 100% Rec. 709 color spaces, and it is Calman Verified and factory pre-calibrated to provide Delta E < 2 color accuracy. The display also features a responsive 10-point multi-touch panel, which has an anti-glare film to reduce distractions.
Virtual Control Panel on ProArt Display PA148CTV provides an adjustment dials, sliders, buttons and wheels, delivering programmable hotkeys that enhance the precision and detail of creative work. ASUS Dial is a physical dial at the rear of the display that allows users to control compatible Adobe software and Microsoft Surface Dial features, enabling adjustments while staying focused on the task at hand. The integrated on-screen display (OSD) controller allows for performing further monitor adjustments quickly and easily. In addition, ProArt Preset software enables users to quickly adjust color gamut, and various display parameters can be set via ProArt Palette.

PA148CTV offers a host of ports to cater to the needs of content creators. The two USB-C ports deliver audio, video and power input over a single cable, while the micro HDMI port provides connectivity to a wide variety of input sources. A tripod socket allows for mounting the display onto a tripod, and an adjustable metal kickstand props the display up to deliver ideal viewing and working positions, making it perfect for work on the go. PA148CTV also comes with a leather sleeve for elegant portability.
[1] ProArt Creator Hub is required and will be available in Q2 2021.
[2] Support for additional Adobe software will be available in the future.
ZenBeam Latte projector
ZenBeam Latte projector enables users to take their favorite movies or music on the go. The projector introduces a new cylindrical mug-shaped design, which enhances sound transmission while providing a compact footprint. It is also the first projector to offer a fabric exterior, which enhances audio with increased sound penetration and gives the design a comfortable, homey feel. The exceptional design of ZenBeam Latte has been recognized as a CES 2021 Innovation Award Honoree, a Good Design Award 2020 and a Taiwan Excellence Award 2021.

ZenBeam Latte features a user-friendly remote control, and a built-in battery offers up to three hours of battery life on a single charge[1] for portable use. It casts imagery with a 300-LED-lumens light and has a projection range of 40 to 120 inches — so it can also be used in rooms with limited space. With support for Aptoide TV, users can enjoy their favorite streaming apps on the expanded screen of a projector. Also, users can project their mobile phone screen via wireless mirroring with ZenBeam Latte for broader viewing options.

A Harman Kardon 10-watt speaker is included and connects via Bluetooth® to accompany projection visuals with incredible audio. The speaker can also serve as a portable Bluetooth speaker that delivers up to 12 hours of audio, and the projector features three audio modes — Movie, Music and Gaming. ZenBeam Latte is designed for relaxing at home and enjoying a great movie or excellent music — just like enjoying a latte.
[1] When ZenBeam Latte is set to Eco mode.
The all-new TUF Dash F15 gaming laptop is engineered to expand every gamer’s repertoire. Its super-slim design is lightweight and easy to carry, so it is ideal for on-the-go or around-the-house use. Up to an 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processor and a GeForce RTX 3070 laptop GPU blitz through games with power to spare for serious work. Also, the Dash F15 is topped off with a range of premium features that enhance its everyday user experience for gaming, entertainment and more.

A gaming panel with up to a 240 Hz refresh rate on the Dash F15 offers gamers the same edge as esports athletes, with a 3 ms response time that reduces motion blur to make fast-paced target tracking more precise. When gamers want to do more, a versatile Thunderbolt 4 port connects to everything from docks to external GPUs. An expansive battery offers up to 16.6 hours of video playback, so gamers can unplug and unwind anywhere and later reload with convenient USB-C charging.

Advanced cooling enables the Dash F15 to fit top-tier processors in a super-slim form factor. A substantial heat spreader and five copper heat pipes distribute thermal energy while dual fans channel air through four outlets that expel heat faster and with less noise than typical ultraslim designs. The N-Blade fans are specially sculpted to move more air, and these are made from a special liquid crystal polymer that makes enough space to fit 83 blades per fan and still ensure that each blade is strong enough to hold up at high rpms. The self-cleaning cooling module maintains long-term stability and performance by preventing build-up on critical components. Updated anti-dust tunnels are shorter to create more space for airflow around the fan while still redirecting particles away from crucial hardware.

Voice chat is crystal clear due to new Two-Way AI Noise-Cancelation technology. This advanced technology removes a broad range of unwanted background noise from both input and output audio, meaning that both the user’s voice and incoming communications are fuzz-free.

This fresh addition to the TUF Gaming portfolio takes military-grade durability to ultrathin new dimensions. Resilience against everything from everyday knocks and bumps to extreme temperatures lets users work and play wherever they want, worry-free. Whether charging to the frontlines of a favorite first-person shooter or adventuring in the great urban jungle, the Dash F15 is a reliable ally for gamers to have by their side.
ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED (UX582) will be available starting from April 2021 in North America.
ASUS ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482) will be available for pre-order starting on January 14, 2021 in North America at the following retailers: Amazon and ASUS US Store (UX482EA-DS71T), ASUS US Store (UX482EG-XS74T), ASUS US Store (UX482EG-XS77T), ASUS US Store (UX482EA-ES51T).
ASUS VivoBook S14 (S435) will be available starting from February 2021 in North America.
ASUS ExpertBook B9 B9450CEA (vPro) will be available starting from Q1 2021 in North America.
ASUS Chromebook CX9 (CX9400) will be available starting from Q2 2021 in North America.
ASUS BR1100 will be available starting from Q1 2021 in North America.
ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5/C536 (CX5500) will be available starting from Q1 2021 in North America.
ASUS ProArt Display PA148CTV will be available starting from Q2 2021 in North America.
ASUS ZenBeam Latte projector will be available starting from Q2 2021 in North America.
ASUS TUF Dash F15 will be available starting from Q1 2021 in North America.
Please contact your local ASUS representative for further information.

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Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 Annual Editor's Choice Awards Recipients

It’s been a very crazy 2020, and I think most people are glad to see it end.  Along with it is a hope that 2021 will be better.  Because of the pandemic and so many having to quarantine, we focused most of our reviews on home theater products.  With it being the end of the year, it is now time for our annual Editor’s Choice Awards.  Every year we get some great products that come across my desk.  But only the best get our Editor’s Choice Award.  This is to further recognize those products that are listed below, along with links to the reviews for each.

Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) Home Wi-Fi 6 Wireless System


Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper Over The Ear Headphones


Cobra 75 WX ST Remote Mount Full Featured CB Radio


Cobra Elite Road Scout 2 In 1 Radar Detector and HD Dashcam


Drop THX Panda Over The Ear Wireless Headphones


Kenwood Excelon Reference DNX997XR GPS Navigation System


Master and Dynamic MW07 Plus True Wireless In Ear Headphones




Master & Dynamic MW65 Over The Ear Wireless Headphones


Mophie Powerstation Go Portable Powerbank Review


Outlaw Audio Model 7000X 7 Channel Home Theater Amplifier


RBH Sound SI-615 Signature Series In-Ceiling Speaker


RBH Sound SI-663R Reference Series In-Wall Speaker


RBH Sound SI-760R Signature Reference Series In-Wall Home Theater Speaker


Westone B50 Universal Series In Ear Headphones


Westone ES70 Custom In Ear Headphones

While it’s been a crazy year, we have high hopes and cautiously optimistic for a better 2021.  Stay tuned in the coming year for more great reviews.  Thank you for reading.  And from our family at Stereowise Plus to yours, have a Happy Holidays!

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Sunday, December 20, 2020

RBH Sound SI-615 Signature Series In-Ceiling Speaker Review

If you’re a fan of home theater, in ceiling speakers are now more important than ever. For a long time, they have had an important role. In the past, depending on your room layout, in-ceiling may have been your only option for surround channels. But with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X and the introduction of height channels, in-ceiling speakers have become much more important. Up for review today is the RBH Sound SI-615 in-ceiling speakers.


Unfortunately, with COVID-19, and all of the quarantines, you may have been doing a lot of binge watching. And this may have made you re-experience your home theater gear. It may not be to the level that you would like it be. If you’re like most people, you could go several years between upgrades. Believe it or not, Dolby Atmos has been available for consumers for over 5 years now. It may be time for you. Time does fly, I know.


Both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X encompass height channels. This takes surround sound to a whole new level, fully enveloping you in sound. There are speakers available that have a speaker on top, facing the ceiling.  It fires up so the sound hits your ceiling, bouncing back down at you, giving the perception of the sound coming from the ceiling. But the best solution for the best experience is to install in-ceiling speakers. Once deciding that ceiling speakers are the way to go, go to RBH!


I like going with manufacturers that have a long history and a proven track record. I also like high quality products that not only sound amazing, but are also very well made to give years of service. RBH Sound has over four decades of experience making great sounding products. If you want to “Redefine the way you experience sound”TM which is their Trademark, go with RBH. And based on your budget, they have a couple of models to choose from for ceiling speakers. Up for review today is their top of the line SI-615.

Features and specs:

Model Name:
Signature In-wall
System Type:
In-ceiling 2-way Speaker
Frequency Response:
50Hz-20kHz (±3dB)
88dB (2.83V @ 1 Meter)
Recommended Power:
15-120 Watts
(1) 6-1/2" (165mm) Aluminum Cone
(1) 3/4” (19mm) Ring-Radiator
Tweeter Protection:
Swivel Tweeter(s):
Crossover Frequency:
3,000 Hz
Crossover Slope:
8 Ohms
Cabinet Material/Color:
Black Frame
Magnetic White Steel (Paintable)
Cutout Dimensions:
7-3/4" (197mm) Dia.
Finished Dimensions:
9" Dia. x 4-3/8" D
(229mm Dia. x 111mm D)
3.65 lbs. (1.66 kg)
25 Years


The RBH Sound SI-615 came in a nice-looking printed box with photos and specs of the speaker. Opening the box revealed a well protected speaker held in place with custom cut cardboard. The speaker was in a white cloth bag, a nice elegant touch. Pulling out the speaker revealed a very well made speaker. Materials used in the construction are both metal and plastic. Quality of materials used was excellent, as was the fit and finish. The crossover components appear to be custom made, as the capacitors had the RBH logo on them. Also included was the manual, and cutout template for installation.



Here’s the concern. There’s a lot of great sounding speakers. But they don’t sound the same, just like Celine Dion sounds different from Adele, for example. The difference is voicing. When you’re watching a movie, and a helicopter is flying, and you hear it fly from the front left to the rear right, you will hear the sound transfer from front left to center to ceiling to rear right speakers. So you want the front and rear and ceiling speakers to be the same, with the same drivers. That way they have the same voicing, so as objects like a helicopter moves across your sound field back and forth across the speakers, it sounds the same. This way it’s not distracting, and you stay caught up in your movie.


I had the chance to talk to Shane, the engineering guru at RBH Sound. I inquired into the design of the SI-615, and if they had a new model in the works with an AMT tweeter to go along with their Signature Reference series. He instantly understood my concern that it was about voicing. He advised that they currently don’t have an in-ceiling with an AMT tweeter. He further expounded that the ring radiator tweeter not only has a great sound and does not lose fidelity to the AMT. It also has a really wide dispersion, important in an in-ceiling design. The foot print of the ring radiator tweeter is small, working well with their design. And the sound signature is also similar. So, it incorporates well with the Signature Reference series. If you have an RBH Signature Reference series system, the SI-615 is the in-ceiling speaker to go with for height channels, to match the rest of your system.  I couldn’t wait to put it to the test.


I also really liked the rest of the design of the RBH SI-615. They use a nice aluminum driver with a fairly big rubber surround for good excursion, bumped back plate for extra excursion of the voice coil for better bass performance, and vented pole piece for cooling. On the front is the ring radiator tweeter that also pivots so you can angle it to the listening position. There’s even woofer attenuation to help, depending on your installation location. The internal wiring to the woofer is nice and beefy, and the gold-plated push terminals are of high quality, accepting up to 14 ga wire.  With the large magnet, I could tell they are designed to handle some power.  The magnet is at least twice the size of our previously reviewed Revel in-ceiling speaker.


I’m typically not a fan of the free-air design, but I understand why they do it. Speakers sound best in an enclosure. In-ceiling or in-wall speakers don’t always have a cabinet, hence the free-air design. You get the best sound when they sit in an enclosure, where two speakers can be designed for a specific amount of airspace. But you don’t always have room for an enclosure. If you do have room, RBH does offer a back can. In fact, they offer two, one is standard (7.84”)and one is short (3.58”). You’ll get better bass performance from the standard back-can, but if space is limited you can at least use the short back-can. And I’m even impressed with the back cans. They are well made of thick gauge steel, have a built-in foam gasket for a tight seal and the wire is soldered to the connection on the inside. The included poly fill helps performance with the small can size.  Having the can also greatly reduces sound leakage into rooms above.


RBH Sound takes great pride in their products. They are a premium manufacturer offering a range of speakers. The SI-615 is currently their top of the line in-ceiling speaker, using top of the line components and build quality. Use one of their back cans, and it’s even better. With SI-663R’s for the front and SI-760Rs for the surrounds and rears, these four SI-615’s seem to be a perfect fit as Shane had suggested. They look great and are built great, now let’s get them installed!


Installation proved very simple, and the manual was well written and easy to follow.  Although I hardly needed it, you may find it useful.  There are four feet on the speaker with a front facing screw.  Once you have the speaker wire connected at the back and the SI-615 held in place, you screw them in place.  Once you start with each screw, the foot will twist into place.  And with each turn of the screw, the foot is lowered into place until it is up firmly against the inside of your drywall holding the speaker firmly in place.  Now with them installed, lets see how they sound!


Listening tests- music


Rhapsody in Blue: Clarinet had very good resolution, sufficient to hear the woodiness of the reed, and tonguing technique. Piano sounded very dynamic and natural with nice low-level harmonics. The bassoon had nice texture and low-end extension. Brass was extremely dynamic and silky smooth and not too brassy. Tympani had nice dynamics, played with authority as well as good definition of the mallet on the pad.

Mayo Natono Piano Trio “Scabions”: as was stated in the review of the SI-663R and SI-760R, they performed extremely well with piano. I grew up around piano, and have been around it all my life, so I’m a bit of a snob with critical expectations with piano reproduction. And for a third time, I was floored with the piano performance. It was just a tad behind the performance of the SI-663R and SI-760R. But it was much better than I was expecting to hear from in-ceiling speakers. The ability of the SI-615’s to resolve the layers of harmonics have never been experienced by me with in-ceiling speakers to this level. The dynamics were also phenomenal, with excellent texture of the strings. The amount of resolution surprised me as well, being able to hear the slide across the bass. The pitch definition was very good and the low-end extension of the bass was about as expected with a short can, yet was still solid. I definitely did not miss anything from the AMT’s. The ring radiator tweeter performed in spades.

Junior Wells- Why Are People Like That: Vocals sounded extremely natural with excellent texture of the timber. The bass played with authority and good low-end extension. Drums were also very dynamic and played with very good impact and authority. Harmonica was silky smooth with excellent dynamics, harmonics and extremely natural sounding. Cymbals were also really crisp and clean.

Disturbed- Sound of Silence: Vocals were pleasantly raw with excellent texture and timber. The piano came through really well and was very natural sounding. Strings were really smooth with great harmonics. The acoustic guitar was so crisp and clean, being able to actually hear the pick against the strings. The tympani also played with good impact, depth and authority.

For you gamers- Sugaan Essena- Jedi Fallen Order: Drums had really good dynamics, impact and played with a lot of authority. Vocals were nice and raw with a ton of resolution of the texture and timbre. The lute was also crisp and clean, with sufficient resolution to hear the bow slide across the strings.



And I must say, I was also very surprised with their performance. Although I’m not sure why, since I have experienced first-hand the stellar performance of the SI-663R and SI-760R. These are RBH speakers after all. I just wasn’t expecting this level of performance from in-ceiling speakers. During multiple of these music tracks, I was surprised with the soundstage. I was hearing not only a wide soundstage, but a very deep one as well. If you think you can find a better sounding in-ceiling speaker for the money, I wish you luck. The level of dynamic, resolution and size of soundstage make them perfect for height channels in a home theater. I must also say that I’m really picky about my music and sound. Unfortunately, some guys have to go in-walls or in-ceiling to make their wife happy (The wife Acceptance Factor).  Whereas I would always require either bookshelf or tower speakers. That was until now. Put a pair of these in each of your rooms for a whole house system, that would sound awesome!



Movie Listening


Ready Player One- Race Scene: The revving of all the different engines had excellent pitch definition of the midbass and bass, thanks in part to the stiff aluminum cones and excellent control of the motor structure thanks to the large magnet. And the firework going off to start the race showed nice dynamics. And all of the tires screeching, cars crashing showed even more impressive dynamics that were so life-like. Especially the King Kong part, it was so easy to get caught up in the movie, it was so enjoyable!

Spiderman: Far From Home- Ferris Wheel Scene: The roars of the fire monster had nice low end extension and real depth to them. Combined with all of the other explosions they provided the kind of dynamics and resolution I was used to paying a movie theater to get. Vocals were smooth, natural, with excellent texture. And the crackling of the flames was really crisp and clean, like a real camp fire.

Greatest Showman- Never Enough: Her vocals were so extremely silky smooth the resolution revealed the layers of texture of her timbre and dynamics she was able to portray. All of the emotion of her performance was portrayed so passionately it was almost magical. You feel like you were right in the audience. And as the song builds and builds the S1-615 handles it without a hint of strain.

I am turning into a believer of RBH Sound speakers. After reviewing the SI-663R and SI-760R, I expected good things form the SI-615’s. Yet I was still surprised, as they performed better than I expected. They are being used in a full 7.1.4 system as the height channels, and the voicing did prove to be similar to the SI-663R and SI-760R, with a fluid seamless soundstage among all the speakers. They are a perfect fit for height channels to be used with any of the Signature Reference series being used for fronts/surround/rear speakers.


Having said that, they sounded so well and performed so well, I could also see them being used in all channels of a surround system where only in-ceiling speakers can be used. They would sound great in a whole house system, or as a pair in a den, living room, or any room where you want quality sound hidden from view. I also highly recommend the use of one of their back cans as well. I recommend standard back-can if you have the depth for it, otherwise the will do great. You lose a little of the low-end extension with the short can, but I feel it’s worth it.


Whether you are looking for height speakers in a surround system or ceiling speakers for music in another room, the RBH SI-615 should be on your short list. Not only is it an excellent sounding speaker, it is also very well made for years of use and includes a 25 year warranty. And with a lengthy history of over 40 years, you can rely on the warranty. While not cheap, you do get what you pay for, and for their sound and performance they still provide a great bang for the buck and are worth every penny. Based on it’s design, features, quality and performance the RBH Sound SI-615 has earned our Editor’s Choice Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website and

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