Production: 1986 - 05/1992
Designer: David Lewis
The RL range of passive loudspeakers was radically different from anything else which had gone before it. In 1984, two new loudspeaker models - the RL45 and the RL60 - were introduced to Bang & Olufsen’s speaker range.
Looking totally different from their own and other manufacturers’ loudspeakers, the slightly ‘concave’ design allowed for greater flexibility of any other speakers in the range up to that time. In a cross between ‘normal’ speakers and ‘panel’ speakers, the RL range was produced in a variety of sizes and able to accommodate different power handling. For the RL45 this was 45 watts RMS and for the slightly larger RL60, a total of 60 watts RMS could be handled. An auxiliary bass radiator (ABR) or ‘drone cone’, was included to give the speakers that extra ‘punch’, especially at higher listening levels.
Looking directly at the speaker the viewer would see a proud ‘Bang & Olufsen’ stip embossed vertically on its upper front. Manufactured from resin injection moulding the speakers’ cabinets were mid-grey in appearance with similarly-shaded grey cloth fronts, wrapped around with thin translucent strips of plastic. What determined their ‘RL’ or ‘Redline’ labelling however, was the thin red line painted right around the speakers’ casing.
They looked very stylish and suggested modern electronics within. However, their technology was relatively orthodox. It was just their appearance which made them stand out and gave them flexibility unlike any other speakers in that they could be mounted on a wall, hung from a ceiling, or stood on the floor using their own specially-designed black metal floor stands. It was just the smallest in the range - the RL35 - which could not be affixed to a ceiling. The ceiling bracket was bought as an additional extra although the range all came fitted with an individual metal ‘prop’ to help support them at an angle on the floor which is where, so Bang & Olufsen said, that they performed their best. In practise this theory actually worked, although it was dependant on the type of floor on which they were placed as far as extra bass being brought about!
The bass-reflex design allowed the produced sound to ‘curve’ around their non-parallel interiors thus, as the theory went, “eliminating irritating resonance”. Whether it actually worked or not depended on who was doing the listening, but it’s safe to say that these modern-looking speakers were immensely popular over the years and remained on the company’s product list for several years, undergoing just subtle changes further down the line.
The bass reflex Beovox RL140 was the biggest in this range of loudspeakers and could handle 140 watts RMS. The Beomaster 8000 in its final days, was the only receiver which could drive this large passive loudspeaker. Once that model was withdrawn from the market, no other product in the Bang & Olufsen range was powerful enough. Inside its large cabinet was a tuned bass port, two 165mm woofers, a 125mm mid-range unit and a 25mm tweeter. It offered excellent sound, especially when perched on the floor when its bass frequencies were enhanced yet more.
The speaker was subsequently replaced by the Beovox RL7000 in 1992.
Type: Intro. year: Last sold:
6501 1986 05-92
6021 1986 02-94
Dimensions W x H x D 50 x 70 x 24 cm
Weight - 15 kg
Long-term max. input power - 200 watts
Maximum noise power - 140 watts
Speaker impedance - 8 ohms
Frequency range 40 - 20,000 Hz
Power at 96 dB SPL 2 watts
Sensitivity 1 W 93 dB
Distortion - < 0.5 %
Cabinet principle - Bass Reflex
Woofer 2 x 16.5 cm - 6½"
Tweeter 13 cm - 1"
Crossover frequency - 800/3000 Hz
Net volume - 38 litres
Connections - Spring Terminals