We have had the latest speakers from Russell K, the RED 120 for some months now and have proven such a hit that they have become our best selling model at any price at present.
So what makes them so successful? The answer is a combination of many things.
Firstly, in walnut in particular, they are visually striking but at the same time exceptionally compact. Indeed the pre-mounted plinth is smaller than that of a speaker stand for a bookshelf speaker, this and the fact they are absolutely not fussy about room placement and general set-up make they extremely room friendly.
Secondly, and most important really is their sound. What shocked us and floors all those that hear them is their sense of scale and amazing depth for such a small cabinet. These speakers throw a huge image in front of you with an uncanny sense of coherence top to bottom. Due to the compact nature of the enclosure and 6’’ drivers mean they are incredibly fast and time on point.
So what, one may ask is so new? Well, it’s a combination of both new and old design principles that are at work here. Although the cabinet measures just 20cm wide and 19 cm deep the sides are thin walled a la BBC monitor compared to the front baffle which means the ‘play’ along with music rather than damped. Indeed, there is also no damping material inside either but there’s not a trace of boxiness. The secret is the internal bracing which controls the resonances so they remain in time with the music rather than smear it, thus the cabinet is acting much like a musical instrument hence the large-scale presentation.
The other key design feature is the port tuning. Russell has not been tempted to implement the commonly used 40/80hz which is designed to excite the resonances of the average UK room with an 8’ ceiling. Instead the port is tuned to a low 24hz. Although there is little output at this frequency, the speakers in-room response is nothing short of remarkable and not a trace of that 80hz bloom.
But what sets this model apart for us is that they work exceptionally well within more modest systems but at the same time can deliver awesome results with better partnering equipment. Indeed they work wonders with a Naim Uniti Atom or even a Rega Elex-R.
Ultimately we feel there is nothing not to like about the RED 120 so we're not surprised by its immediate success.