Finally, the Radius system offers a fine combination of mid-bass punch and clarity, particularly impressive on instruments such as acoustic basses or tympani. Listen to Dave Holland’s bass solo on “Country Roads” from Gary Burton’s Like Minds [Concord, SACD] and you’ll find the Radius system catches the almost human tones Holland pulls from the instrument. Many “lifestyle” speaker systems have significant gaps in their response smack-dab in the middle of the midbass region, but the Radius system does not. Credit goes in part to the R720 subwoofer, which for the most part walks the narrow path between bass power and clarity, but also to the R270 and R250 front-channel speakers, which offer quite surprising bass response in their own right. Though you wouldn’t think it to look at their almost pencil-slim enclosures, the R270s and R250 produce bass that reaches down to a claimed cutoff frequency of 50Hz (!). As my colleague Manoj Motwani has observed in several of his reviews, there is a world of difference between satellite speakers that don’t produce much real bass and those that do. The R270s and R250 belong in the latter group. On film scenes that depend upon potent bass for proper impact, such as the initial train arrival scene from Polar Express, where the low-pitched chuffing of the steam engine can be heard from far off and eventually builds to thunderous levels, the Radius system really delivers (loose objects in my family room began quaking long before the R720 sub showed signs of distress). The only drawback is that the R720 sounds progressively less clear and controlled as it descends below the mid-bass into the true low-bass region (output remains strong, but clarity and pitch definition fall off noticeably). Even so, I think the R720 is an unequivocal winner given its mid-bass strengths.
Overall, the Radius system is a highly satisfying “lifestyle” speaker system that strikes a great balance between price (the test system sells for just under $2500; a bit more with stands), polished aesthetics, convenience (this big-sounding system is compact), attention to detail, and convincing sound quality. It occupies an interesting mid-point in the surroundsound speaker marketplace. It is far more capable than most lifestyle systems in the $1000-$2000 price range, yet is far less expensive than sonic sophisticates such as KEF’s KHT 6000 ACE system. If you’re seeking that elusive point where looks, performance, and value converge, the Radius system might prove to be the “just right” solution.