Hair standing on end

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Hair standing on end
The 1980s were considered by many to be the golden age of loudspeakers—the decade where all hell broke loose, size constraints went out the window, and hair stood on end. It was the beginning of that decade that Infinity launched the world's largest home speaker, the original Reference Standard known as the IRS: four 7.5 tall speaker columns weighing in excess of a ton. Then, in 1985, Dave Wilson—not to be outdone by Infinity—launched the world's most expensive speaker, the WAMM. Squeezed in between these two titans was another Infinity product—my first—the Infinity RS-1. Launched in 1982 as a wanna-be IRS, the RS-1 prompted Stereophile reviewer Anthony Cordesman to write:
"I won't say the Premier Fives transformed the RS-1Bs into a WAMM or into Infinity's own IRS system, but for the first time I began to understand why people have been willing to spend $5295 on this system. These are among the few speakers I've heard in ages that can stand my hair on end!"
The RS-1s were a continuation of the quasi-line source we discussed in yesterday's post by virtue of their progressive tweeter arrangement. As you can see by this picture everything about the speaker cries "line source" except the tweeters. The separate servo-controlled bass tower featured a line source of six 8" woofers while the midrange panels had their seven EMIM in a line array. Only the three tweeters, using Infinity's progressive crossover we discussed yesterday, and the relatively short height were compromises to a true line source. (A true line source has to basically be as close to floor-to-ceiling as possible). Arnie's argument justifying the quasi-line source compromise was that when seated, the speaker produced the requisite cylindrical wave launch through the all-important bass and midrange frequencies. Thus, he argued, it was a line source. While good it wasn't the IRS I had first heard at TAS reviewer Harry Pearson's house. We'll cover a true line source, the IRS, tomorrow.
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Paul McGowan

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