Sound Dynamics RTS-3 Floorstanding Speakers

RTS-3

A high performance near field monitor that fits any build-in or bookshelf application. The sound produced by the RTS-3 is balanced and natural, with a very large sound stage.

User Reviews (37)

Showing 1-10 of 37  
tvr2500m   AudioPhile [Dec 30, 2002]
Strength:

- Convincing, easy presentation - Large, even layered soundstage image - Warm, satisfying mid-range - Disappear well

Weakness:

- Poor bass performance - Slightly grainy top end - So so detail resolution - Cheap construction quality

I think these speakers are a steal at $150/pr. They're hardly perfect, but they are very listenable. When I find myself simply getting involved in the music and not analyzing what I'm listening to anymore, I've found something I can live with. This is what happened for me with the RTS-3. Their signature, regardless of what they're hooked up to is a warm, recessed mid-range, slightly grainy high end that's not particularly extended, loose, poorly controlled bass from at least the mid-bass down, convincing tonality and timbre, they disappear well enough, they lack some detail resolution, and they produce a convincing, even layered, soundstage image. With the slightly recessed mid range I can easily see how someone could call them dark. The two biggest flaws I feel are first, and by far, the bass performance. There's quite a lot of thump, but no control and timbre. A bit like a bad computer audio system sub woofer. Any room, any placement didn't yield good bass performance. Next, they are not the last word in detail revelation at this price range. I came across them looking for speakers for my girlfriend. In my home, we compared the RTS-3s with a number of other small speakers: the Athena B1 and B2, the Mission 780 and 781, the Polk RT-25i, the Spica TC-50, Green Mountain Europa. As well many bigger speakers: Snell C/V and Ci, Magnepan MG-1.6QR, Audio Physic Virgo III, and NHT ST-4. For equipment we used: Amps: CJ Prem 11A and Bill Thalmann modified CJ MV-75 monoblocks Preamps: CJ PV-12 Digital: Pioneer PD-65 Elite with various front ends - Channel Islands VDA DAC/VAC powersupply, Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0/DTI Pro 32 all with Channel Islands mods/Monolithic MPS, Sonic Frontiers SFD1 MkII/Sonic Frontiers Ultra Jitterbug, Camelot Arthur 3 MkII/Camelot Dragon Pro 2 MkII Cables: Kimber 4 and 8TC, Monster 2.4s, Monster Reference 1000i MkII interconnects, Monster ILS Reference Toslink, Canare L5-CFB and LV-77S digital coax Receiver: Marantz SR 4200 For the small speakers, we found the Athenas cold and clinical not excelling in any area. (The AS-F2 floor standers were well reviewed by Stereophile and I'm told by different folks they're very different than the monitor speakers. I might give them a try). The Missions were extraoridinarily detailed, disappeared well, had great bass as far as it went, but were just cold. The Polks are good - clean, musical, good pacing - but aren't as expansive or layered in their soundstage presentation as the RTS-3, but they are (or were since they're no longer being made). Compared to the Spica TC-50, well, this is an interesting speaker, a cult speaker and I can understand why - it's incredibly neutral, subtle and creates a huge sound stage. In the limited range of what it does well it does it very well. It's just that you've got to find a pair somewhere that's in good condition. The Green Mountain Europe is a lot more expensive at around $800 retail and there's not a lot of distibution for them. But they're a remarkable speaker. The detail is unbelievable and they're very fast and controlled. They're not as warm or even natural in some regards as the RTS-3, and they are a little harder to get to disappear. Comparing them to the bigger speakers I listed above, the RTS-3 reminded me in character of the Audio Physic Virgo III, which I think is an excellent speaker. Though not in nearly the same league of refinement but the little RTS-3 had that subtle and sophisticated quality I bookmarked in my own mind for the Virgos. The RTS-3 is a great little speaker. There're many monitor speakers I haven't heard in the sub-$1K/pr/new price range, but given that I have heard many of the monitors people call contenders in this range, I'd also have to put the RTS-3 in there as a contender, too. At $150/pr., I bought a pair just to have around. It would be a neat trick to pair them with a good subwoofer, one with full control for high and low pass, and variable phase.

Similar Products Used: - Athena B1 and B2 - Mission 780 and 781 - Polk RT-25i - Green Mountain Audio Europa
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
J p   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 12, 2002]
Strength:

Pure audio bliss with tubes!

Weakness:

Very revealing of bad equipment/cabling. If they sound bad, your system is bad!

I have to follow up my original review of these speakers. I had been searching for a small, tube or hybrid amp to suplement my bedroom system. My old NAD 3150 sounded quite nice, but I was curious to hear what tubes could do with the speakers. So I found an Menthor 25w integrated hybrid amp on e-bay for a great price and away I went to tube land. Talk about a world of difference...WOW! I loved the speakers through the NAD, I lust after the music with tubes. Everything is cleaner, clearer, tighter. I feel like I swim with the music at night. And low volume is great (though I do like to crank it up sometimes) for those late night sessions! I could not be happier with these speakers. When I went back to the NAD, I had to turn it off at once, as the Menthor just sounded so much better. So in short my friends, get a small tube amp and try these babies and see what you get. Bad solid state electronics (and some good...like Adcom) don't do these speakers justice at all! Get some tubes and float away!!

Similar Products Used: Yamaha NS-100, Boston Acoustic A-60, Celestion 5, etc. amps Menthor 25w integrated hybrid amp NAD 3155
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Manus   AudioPhile [Aug 25, 2002]
Strength:

Big image and sound stage, superb bass for speaker this size, no boxy sound

Weakness:

limited treble, lacking of atmosphere sometime it sound dry

I overlook this speaker for 2 years. First I heard it at the Hifi show in Bangkok and I was very impressed. A few months later I bought it and took it home. But I never heard the sound that I expected.Back then I used Classe Cap 80, cap 151, electrocopaneint eci3 to drive it but the sound is far from good. The arrangement that time I put it in one corner of my living room. During two years I own more expensive speaker such as Sonus Faber Grand Pino and Magneplanar 1.6QR so I hardly listening to the RTS3. Until 3 days ago, I furnished my listening room with some acustic control stuff. So I took it to test the acustic in my new listening room. I hook it with my spare component CD NAD 522, C 160 pre and Thai 150 watt amplifier Magnet 300 F. Even the first easy set up, I heard the sound that fly and fill up over the room. Absolutely no boxy sound,the size of the image is close to realistic. If you are a big band jazz fan such as Henry Jame, this is a speaker for you. I'm not saying that this is the best speaker, I've ever heard. But this speaker and matching coponents can bring you Hifi heaven for such little money. Finally it depend on your taste if you want a micro detail or atmosphere this is not a speaker you're looking for. To get the most out of it you need a listening room I mean serious audiphile's room and good set up. Now I'm very happy with this system. Had I finished my listening room 2 years ago, I would not have messed up with more expensive stuffs.

Similar Products Used: Triangle Titus xs, Sonus Faber Concertino, NHT Super one, AE aegis one
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
bubbs   AudioPhile [Aug 24, 2002]
Strength:

Highs and lows are semi great.

Weakness:

Mid detail

Incredible little speaker for $150. I guess the guy who said the cabinets were crap wanted walnut or cabinets weighing 50lbs. a piece for $150. They are the hi fi bargin of the century. Mine are in cherry vinyl/vineer whatever. The sound out of these is nothing short of astounding when you consider the price and size. 4 of these will make great fronts and rears for an HT system. They need some power and some run in to really boogie. Thanks to the fella's on the AA board for turning me on to these. Great fun when high end hi fi gets too serious.

Similar Products Used: B&W 302's, Ascend CBM17, Linn Katan, Infintiy Ref. II's, Monitor Audio Silver and Gold book shelf models
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
jcebedo1   AudioPhile [Aug 20, 2002]
Strength:

The absolute best sound quality. The most musical and natural. (If you modified the box to eliminate box resonances and extended the bass response)

Weakness:

Original enclosure is very poor. Too much box resonance. Otherwise, No weaknesses for a bookshelf design.

I have owned these speakers for around 3 years and am still amazed by it. People who own these speakers already know its strenghts. That is natural and open sound. But its biggest weakness is the cabinet. Of all the speaker cabinets I have seen this is probably the worst of them all. It uses 5/8" particle board with no bracing. So my modification was to make entirely new cabinets to house the drivers. I braced the cabinet at critical points to eliminate box resonance. The resulting sound was so marvelous that I compared them to the B&W Nautilus 805 speakers ($2000/pair). I am not exaggerating but I actually liked the RTS-3 (modified) over the 805s. Why? Although the B&W's sounded detailed, it wasn't as natural sounding. Playing a well recorded solo piano is the hardest type of music for speakers to reproduce. I can't beleive it, but the RTS-3 sounded so realistic. Even my folks thought I was the one playing the piano! (I play piano at home occasionally) If you are interested, email me and If you live close by you can even listen to this spectacular system. I am thinking about making and selling RTS-3s with my new enclosure. Specs: 1" thick MDF (all sides) slightly larger box tuned at 45Hz double braced at critical points Each speaker weight is 25 lbs (before 10.5 lbs) Actual Frequency response 40Hz - 20 Khz

Similar Products Used: Compared it to many speakers costing up to $20,000 dollars. Including the B&W Nautilus Signature 800s!! There is no better value for the money.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
GEO   [Aug 19, 2002]
Strength:

Outstanding imaging and resolution. Clear and clean mids/highs. Powerful bass for their size.

Weakness:

Kryptonite.l

I have only used the RTS-3s a short time and they have already convinced me that I stole them. ($115 USD/$175 CDN) I use them as rear-channels for home-theatre but all too often find myself hooking them up as my main fronts for stereo music listening. The resolution of these is amazing and the soundstage they create in stereo is so believable the speakers themselves become transparent, disappearing as the source of the performance - a rare phenomenon at this price and an act my RTS-7s are incapable of recreating. I have nothing but praise for this doomed box. If you can still find a pair - buy them without hesitation!u

Similar Products Used: Paradigm Infinity SD RTS-7
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
speednow   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 06, 2002]
Strength:

Great sound highs/mids/lows when turned up loud. Small size, low cost. Good Components but mediocre build quality

Weakness:

Muddy sound all around at low volumes. Construction, almost reminds me of my YAMAHA NSX's.

Typically I only like to make an audio purchase after auditioning the equipment, but after reading countless reviews. I decided to go ahead and placed the order. With the Frequency range of the speakers, I thought that the speakers would satisfy my listening needs. To my dissapointment, I feel that the highs are a bit harsh at times. And thats from someone that's use to horn tweeters Klipsch uses. Mids are covered fairly well with occasional muddiness. And the lows were mainly where my dissapointment comes from. With 6.5" woofers I expected a bit more oomph and less boominess. My KG1.5's, 2.5's, and Energy C-6's all exceed this speaker in every respect. But...With some fiddling around, it seems the RTS-3 enjoys more wattage/amperage, so turn up the dial. Placement is also rather important for this speaker since it has a rear firing port. In thier manual it suggest giving the speaker some 14" from the wall. All in all my complaints of the speaker can be easily resolved by turning up the volume, but at late night I don't thinke the neighbors would be too appreciative.

Similar Products Used: Energy C-6, Klipsch KG1.5/KG2.5, JBL 2500, Yamaha NSX's, Infinity SL-MICRO Sub/Sat
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
Rockdoc   Audio Enthusiast [May 21, 2002]
Strength:

Nice bottom-end for a small box Very laid-back, some may say dark...I like it. Very detailed and clean Sensitive...any AMP (within reason) can drive these things.

Weakness:

Construction/materials (cosmetically)

WOW....I'm stepping "up" from older Celeston 100's. I originally got these because of the LOW price to use in another room. But, WOW....these are my main speakers now. They are great for the money.

Similar Products Used: None (in this price range) Currently using Rec-Harmon_Kardon AVR55 CD-Harmon_Kardon 8375 DVD-Apex
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
sridhar   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 08, 2002]
Strength:

Price, value, you do not have to be an audiophile to appreciate the sound

Weakness:

a tighter bass would help

Amazing midrange, reasonable bass, excellent transparency, best with stands- all this for such a low price!!! The TAS review describe these speakers accurately.Just about any amplifier can run these speakers well

Similar Products Used: tannoy, monitor
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Ray Rauch   Audiophile [Jan 18, 2000]
Strength:

Excellent bass and image for small size. Excellent dispersion and dynamic range for home theater.Good overall
freq. responce.

Weakness:

Rear port limits wall mounting. A bit harsh in the upper frequencies with some electronics.Vinyl wrap cabinets easy to damage on edges and should be available in white.

I auditioned alot of small speakers before settling on these for mostly home theater and some background music applications. I have been impressed by their smooth x-over
and extended bass response. Mid to high frequencies are a bit edgy and harsh with music. Their slight hornloading on the high end helps disperse for home theater as well as excellent bass for impact on same material. For instance listening to the opening of the Fugitive thru the train wreck brought out the music,effects and dialog so well that I watched the whole movie. Bass was so deep that it can be used without a woofer or with a high end model sub for range to 20Hz or below.
At 280 a pair MSRP they are an excellent value,but mine
were 240 the pair in San Francisco.

Similar Products Used: Energy Exl:16,Boston Acoustics CR-6 and 7,Definitive Tech.
Pro 80 and 100
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 37  

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