View Full Version : RDL ACOUSTICS / RA LABS- By Roy Allison [Allison Acoustics] - w/PHOTOS


Bostown
07-01-2010, 07:06 PM
There seems to be little information about Roy Allison's RDL Acoustics Speakers. There is one site (The classic speaker pages) that has the old catalog up in PDF format and maybe one review. Does anyone else own any speakers from the RDL or RA Labs lines that were made back in the early 90's?

I've only ever seen one pair of RA Labs speakers ( they are probably still in the shop where I saw them too).

Earlier this week I came across a pair of RDL ACOUSTICS S-1 in very good condition. ( Prior to this, I'd only heard about them and/or seen any of these speakers in a Catalog I had back when the brand launched - same catalog that is on the classic speaker pages website). So today I went back and bought them. - I'm happy I did. They look and sound great. Anyone else have these or any of the other RDL or RA Labs Models? or are they all now in a landfill somewhere? or part of folks "I'll never part with.." collection?

I snapped a couple of photos and posted them up. If anyone else has any RDL Acoustics or RA Labs Speakers, please post up some photos and let me know what other information you might have about this line.

Bostown
07-01-2010, 10:38 PM
Added a few photos to the original post. - The cabinets have a few scratches on them but no deep gouges or chips. They may be fine with a good cleaning ( simple green or Murphy's oil soap ) and a coat of Old English Furniture polish or some kind of citrus based wood conditioner.

Now, back to listening. - again if anyone else has any photos of their RDLs or RA Labs, post them up. They seem to be lost gems that may have had limited distribution ( mail order only) when they came out. Maybe someone can share more History on these lines. Also, was this the last company and/or products that Roy Allison built before retiring?

Cheers

sealy
07-01-2010, 10:55 PM
Allison 6 reborn! Cabinets are nicer on yours, though. Best thing about them is the fact that they have the "it" tweeter (in the interest of good manners, I left of the first t).

Congratulations on getting a very nice pair of speakers. I bet they were quite costly when new.

Bostown
07-02-2010, 07:40 AM
I think I'm going to see if the RA Lab bookshelf speakers are still in that shop near my place ( they were either Reference 4a or The Mini Monitors). I'll start another thread to tackle my observations of Repair shop retail practices.

Allison had also designed a speaker called "micro monitor" under the RA Labs moniker that were made to replace the speakers that came with "all in one / minisystems" and I just picked up a JVC FS 7000 Micro system ( the one with the "cherry wood" speakers ) for a song and a dance that should power them nicely. If I could actually find them anywhere that is.

For once it would be nice to have a NORMAL addiction, like sports or excercise or something. An appreciation for older consumer electronics, motorcycles and audio
isn't conducive to a typical condo setting. I need a frickin man cave and a garage. :music:

deaner33
07-02-2010, 08:23 AM
Cool score!

Bostown
07-09-2010, 07:44 AM
So it looks as though RDL Acoustics / RA LABS are pretty rare species out in the audio wild. Either way, they sound really good, and look the part as well. Not the most efficient speaker out there so it's a good thing I'm also an amp junkie and will have a few different models to play around with.

I'll get some good use out of them, which in the end is what the point is. In fact Ive already spent quite a bit of time firing up some favorite tunes and giving these speakers a bit of Play time..

spkrdtr
07-09-2010, 09:20 AM
I've refoamed a number of Allison 8 inch woofers from speakers mounted facing up like on your RDL's and I have a question:

What was Roy thinking producing a woofer with a sticky finish on the cone and installing it facing up to collect dust, pet hair and God knows what else all over it??????

The first pair I did, I thought the cone had a fine coating of grey colored floc! What a job cleaning those things..... :sigh:

Bostown
07-16-2010, 11:00 PM
Cool score!

Thanks, and like everything else, as soon as you find one, you stumble upon another. I just came across a set of the big brother to the S-1 speakers. The RDL Acoustics F-1. I haven't committed to buying them yet but I'm certainly tempted. The F-1 seem to be a distant kin to the CD-7.

The F-1 had a Twin called the FS-1. essentially the same components but were designed with different placement in mind. The F-1 was designed to up against the wall. It's woofer is top mounted. The FS-1 has a forward facing woofer ( more traditional ) and was designed to be position out from the wall.

I'm going to sleep on it and see what I can do as far as finding space where they could be used. There aren't alot of options. I live in a loft space, and if I keep up this speaker and amp thing, I'm sure my girlfriend will escort me out to the street :nono: hahahah.

Zilch
07-16-2010, 11:20 PM
The "It" tweeter was Allison's unique attempt at achieving hemispheric constant directivity through the high frequencies, wide dispersion being deemed essential to reproduction of concert hall realism by classical music enthusiasts. That's also why the woofer is mounted horizontally.... :yes:

HepcatWilly
07-16-2010, 11:23 PM
Yep, I agree with what Sealy said, it's an Allison Six reborn, but nicer.

The tweeter is where the money is, it's arguably the best out there. Later Allisons (Kentucky) use a generic tweeter and they just don't sound the same.

I have the Sixes, no matter how hard I try, nothing beats them out for a small two-way speaker. Yours are far, far prettier than the Sixes.

Yahoo groups has an Allison forum and some serious heavyweights hang there. Roy Allison posts occasionally as well.

Grab those other speakers and figure out what to do with the weaker species. Many of us in Boston (hey Soundweasel, how you doin'?) are drooling for this stuff. All of Roy Allison's stuff is really, really good. Grab it, figure out what you like, and flip the rest.

Congratulations!

RadShak1251
07-17-2010, 12:28 PM
The following site includes a page that contains a detailed Allison brochure, and page 4 of that brochure includes a decription & diagram of that special tweeter:

http://www.classicspeakerpages.net/library/allison/allison_one_series/allison_one_series_brochure_2/allison_one_series_brochure_2/

sealy
07-17-2010, 01:00 PM
I've refoamed a number of Allison 8 inch woofers from speakers mounted facing up like on your RDL's and I have a question:

What was Roy thinking producing a woofer with a sticky finish on the cone and installing it facing up to collect dust, pet hair and God knows what else all over it??????

The first pair I did, I thought the cone had a fine coating of grey colored floc! What a job cleaning those things..... :sigh:
Heh, heh! You too, eh? I gave up trying to get all the accumulated stuff off mine and left them a bit hairy. At least you can't notice it through the grilles.

Bostown
07-17-2010, 02:56 PM
Grab it, figure out what you like, and flip the rest.

Congratulations!

This place is such a bad influence. It's like going to an AA meeting that's hosted at a local Tavern. "while I'm here might well knock back a few" and that's exactly what happened. The F-1's will touch down here in week or so.

The capture the Unicorn factor was just too much for me. - I bet now, I'll start seeing RDL / RA Labs speakers listed everywhere. I pointed my browser towards that Allison yahoo group that was mentioned and searched for discussions related to RDL Acoustics and only came across a few mentions of RA Labs.

Seems that No additional Photos were added to this thread either so who knows. I've always been interested these speakers from back when I first saw the catalog in the early 90's. Now, With the acquisition of the S-1 bookshelf speakers, I've definitely become a fan of the RDL line and may just turn this into the pokemon experience of "Gotta Catch 'Em All" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVp-zIONsrs.

People will be like "hey check out that homeless guy with all the speakers" :)

I'll post some better pics when they arrive.

HepcatWilly
07-17-2010, 09:50 PM
Holy crap, those are awesome! Have another one, here, it's on me...
If you see RDL everywhere, I'll pay you to be my friend.
No additional photos have been added because RDLs are so rare. You have the best of the best: classic Roy Allison engineering with modern styling.

Lucky, lucky you. No kidding.
-Hep
Allison fan with Allison models 2, 6, LC something (black Kentucky, not great) and Allison LC 110s.

Bostown
07-18-2010, 08:08 PM
Holy crap, those are awesome! Have another one, here, it's on me...
If you see RDL everywhere, I'll pay you to be my friend.
No additional photos have been added because RDLs are so rare. You have the best of the best: classic Roy Allison engineering with modern styling.

Lucky, lucky you. No kidding.
-Hep
Allison fan with Allison models 2, 6, LC something (black Kentucky, not great) and Allison LC 110s.

Apparently not so lucky, after selling off another piece of gear to raise the money for the F-1 speaker purchase and After a long discussion with the seller I felt confident that we could handle a craigslist transaction outside of my local area. ( He's in IL I'm in MA. ) I went ahead , sold my gear, raised the cash, then posted the funds via paypal for the speaker purchase

Tonight I received a 'refund' notification and a note telling me that they were sold to someone else by his roommate. I could get bent out of shape but that's not going to do anything. Some people really have no honor. Not sure if it was a better offer scenario, or what, but yeah, not so lucky. Then again maybe I am. There's something to be said about being thankful for what you've already got. Thankfully, I found and own a pair of S-1's and they are pretty awesome. and as for the Seller, Karma will do it's thing. To the Buyer, Enjoy. If they are anything like the S-1s you'll enjoy them. :)

Moving on...

HepcatWilly
07-18-2010, 08:49 PM
Ouch. Sorry to hear that. That does suck.
Still, you got a refund and you do have a great, rare set of speaks to enjoy.
They sure are good looking speakers, and the sound is wonderful.

nancysid
11-15-2010, 12:20 PM
Wow, there are other RDL owners out there! I made a twin killing, buying a nice pair of Allison 4s, with original boxes, and a beautiful pair of RDLs (B1), I think. Now if I could just add a couple of rooms to my house. . . .

redcoates7
11-15-2010, 04:02 PM
I remember seeing a bunch of these back at a local surplus shop in the mid 90s. Drivers, cabinets, crossovers, and some limited number of complete systems. The shop was called ESS (Electronics Surplus?) in Manchester, NH...they somehow got a hold of a lot of RDL, ads, and AR gear as those companies either folded or left MA

Copa1934
11-15-2010, 04:51 PM
I have the CD-7's and have to agree with the tweeters, pretty amazing. I just re-orged my listening room and haven't hooked the 7's back up yet. I did notice they are quite sensitive to placement, but do sound nice when placed correctly.

Like others I hate those 8" dust bunny magnets. I follow the concept, but implementation just doesn't cut it when you have drivers coated with sticky substance. May be a brilliant "designer" but he bit the big one on that part.

Can't wait to test them again in their new location.

Bostown
11-26-2010, 01:16 AM
... Now if I could just add a couple of rooms to my house. . . .

That's exactly how I feel. My RDL's get some love in the system periodically. They are in the "speakers for my future man cave" collection which is a bit out of control when I really think about it.

I'd love to hear the other models in the series. Or some of the RA Labs models. then again that could be dangerous, given my history with buying speakers. I have way too many as it is. Not as many as some other folks I know but still far more pairs of speakers than ears to listen to them all with ( or rooms to play them in). :) which seems to be one of several common threads we share around here.

There are worse things folks could do with their time and money I suppose.

Post up some pics of your RDL/ RA Labs / Allison Acoustics.

bcarr112281
01-31-2011, 08:35 PM
Hi, everyone!

To my great dismay, I discovered that the woofers of my 1994 RA Labs Mini References (http://stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/494ra/index.html) are deteriorating. I use these speakers almost every day: They're part of my one--and only--stereo system, so their condition is extremely important to me. I can't fix the References myself, and I'm not sure I trust the speaker repair shop in my area. What do you all recommend?

Thanks,
Brian

Bostown
02-01-2011, 10:43 AM
Hi, everyone!

To my great dismay, I discovered that the woofers of my 1994 RA Labs Mini References (http://stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/494ra/index.html) are deteriorating. I use these speakers almost every day: They're part of my one--and only--stereo system, so their condition is extremely important to me. I can't fix the References myself, and I'm not sure I trust the speaker repair shop in my area. What do you all recommend?

Thanks,
Brian

If you are without physical limitations, it might not be too difficult to repair. Foam surround repairs are routine procedures for folks here. - even for those of us that are all thumbs, it's not too difficult to learn. re-coning? well that might be a different story , best tackled by a professional.

Do you have any photos you can post showing the damage? that might be a good starting point for folks to be able to properly advise you on what action(s) to take.
You may even want to start a new thread asking for HELP or opinions to open the question up to a larger pool of users. ( some may miss it, buried in this RDL thread).

kbott
02-23-2011, 08:53 PM
wow!!!!! I'm having a hard time not playing them because they need to be refoamed I think I've finally found a contender to the dqm-7's

http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/3544/pict1429large.jpg

Bostown
02-23-2011, 11:03 PM
wow!!!!! I'm having a hard time not playing them because they need to be refoamed I think I've finally found a contender to the dqm-7's


hahah, well those look plenty familiar. - I kind of owned a set of F-1's for a few hours , although I never actually had possession of them before they were re-assigned to a different person after I paid for them. hahah best craigslist purchase I never got to fully enjoy to date. - I wonder if those are the same pair?
In any case. Yes, the RDL F-1 and it's equally expensive yet shorter sibling the S-1 ( those I definitely own and have in my possession) . sound great.
Greedy little buggers by way of amplification but they really perform well. What kind of amp(s) will you be using to power your F-1s?

I'm also curious to know how many RDL/RA Labs speaker are still floating around out there? - You just don't see or hear of too many people using them. Yours look great! if it's a recent acquisition , It's a Nice one!

kbott
02-24-2011, 03:52 AM
I just got them yesterday probably paid a little too much for them but so be it they are power hungy my dahlquists are a tad more efficient

Bostown
02-24-2011, 06:44 AM
I just got them yesterday probably paid a little too much for them but so be it they are power hungy my dahlquists are a tad more efficient

I ran my RDL s-1 with an NAD 2200PE and it sounded so good that the added a second and drive each speaker from its own 2200 ( bridged mono). Ill have to get the relay and recap work done on them but wow the NAD 2200 is certainly up to the task . 1 is more than sufficient and 2 well thats just Some "pimp my audio" fun factor that sounds amazing if not just a bit of overkill. I had them so i figured id use them.

What are you driving the F-1s with? (amp and pre? Receiver?)

kbott
02-24-2011, 03:52 PM
i'm just using a 100 watt sony es receiver it does fine but i can tell these will take pretty much what you throw at them

michiganpat
02-25-2011, 06:17 AM
Hi, everyone!

To my great dismay, I discovered that the woofers of my 1994 RA Labs Mini References (http://stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/494ra/index.html) are deteriorating. I use these speakers almost every day: They're part of my one--and only--stereo system, so their condition is extremely important to me. I can't fix the References myself, and I'm not sure I trust the speaker repair shop in my area. What do you all recommend?

Thanks,
Brian

it also helps if you put your LOCATION in your post, or better yet, your profile....

kbott
03-06-2011, 11:23 AM
last week I finally got the F-1's refoamed used typical 8" Boston foams and while every other posts talk about the PITA factor of the stickiness I found them to be a straightforward and fairly easy refoam (unlike one ADS L700 woofer I refoamed that day as well)

I still wish I could have paid less (doesn't everybody) but it seems I'm at the point in my system where if I want to do better than what I have I'm going to have to pay what things are really worth luckily buying/selling of lesser gear funded this purchase

As for the speakers themselves - simply amazing - they go low, have sweet highs, and image like crazy. My only complaint though minor is that now I probably have to be on the lookout for a beefier amp

Bostown
03-06-2011, 12:59 PM
last week I finally got the F-1's refoamed used typical 8" Boston foams and while every other posts talk about the PITA factor of the stickiness I found them to be a straightforward and fairly easy refoam (unlike one ADS L700 woofer I refoamed that day as well)

I still wish I could have paid less (doesn't everybody) but it seems I'm at the point in my system where if I want to do better than what I have I'm going to have to pay what things are really worth luckily buying/selling of lesser gear funded this purchase

As for the speakers themselves - simply amazing - they go low, have sweet highs, and image like crazy. My only complaint though minor is that now I probably have to be on the lookout for a beefier amp

I concur on the mini review. The RDL and RA Labs line are sleepers. There seems to be only a few of them out there. -Yet, the S1- F1 and B1 seem to illicit the same responses from the few folks who are using them.

Consider the NAD 2200PE as that "beefier amp" to power them when you get around to it. ( yeah you'll have to factor in some work on the solder joints , and possibly relays but what a kick in the BASS for the RDL's ).

I drove the S-1 with a pair of these amps (bridged mono) which is complete overkill, however the results were impressive no matter what genre the tracks were. Definitely good stuff.

Lancer_ajai
03-17-2012, 10:13 AM
Hi guys,

I've recently wanted to start doing my HT setup and since my budget is tight , I'll have to properly plan what AVR and speakers that i wanna buy. So to cut story short, I found a 2 floorstanding front speakers from RA LABS , model RA 5 MKII (at least thats what printed at the back) & a center speaker also from RA LABS, which was my dad's. Does anybody know anything bout these speakers? The info on the net is so scarce. I just need the info on the impedance ratings for those 2 speakers and the center speakers, so I can buy the right AVR to power em'.

HepcatWilly
03-17-2012, 10:38 AM
RA Labs was founded by Roy Allison, legendary speaker designer. He had several companies including Allison Acoustics, RA Labs, RDL (I think) and maybe another. The marketing wasn't very good on the speakers but the designs were outstanding. The brands were later purchased by a string of somewhat generic manufacturers.

What you'll need to do is figure out if these were the original RAs or the latter versions. One big giveaway is the unique tweeter design that Allison patented. Look at the pictures shown at the very beginning of this thread to see what they look like.

Yahoo groups has an Allison Acoustics group filled with very knowledgeable members. This page may help you further identify the model:
http://www.classicspeakerpages.net/library/allison/rdl_acoustics/rdl_acoustics_ra_labs_broch/

Lancer_ajai
03-17-2012, 01:01 PM
i think these came before RDL, the time when roy is still doing his stuffs under RA LABS. btw, attached are the photos of the speakers. btw, whats the impedance of the ra labs speakers that u guys are running at the moment?

Bostown
03-17-2012, 03:01 PM
i think these came before RDL, the time when roy is still doing his stuffs under RA LABS. btw, attached are the photos of the speakers. btw, whats the impedance of the ra labs speakers that u guys are running at the moment?

Never seen nor heard of this model before.. hmmm....

To the best of my recollection ( which isn't that great) , RDL Acoustics and RA Labs co-existed. RDL being the premier line and RA Labs positioned as more cost effective line with some prices points crossing each other.

Is there a hi-res Download version of the old RDL/RA Labs Catalog anywhere?

Lancer_ajai
03-17-2012, 08:08 PM
im actually searching for pdfs myself :-) they are just so rare lol

Bostown
03-25-2012, 08:49 AM
im actually searching for pdfs myself :-) they are just so rare lol

Maybe that yahoo group? I'll have to see if anyone there has a PDF scan of the brochure that they wouldn't mind sharing.

kbott
03-25-2012, 10:12 AM
http://classicspeakerpages.net/

they can all be found here not great clarity but they are there

Bostown
03-25-2012, 10:21 AM
http://classicspeakerpages.net/

they can all be found here not great clarity but they are there

Yep, this seems to be the only material anywhere on the web. I'd be interested in something higher resolution that I could download. Also there is another product that doesn't appear in these brochures. There was a push/pull passive bass module that was sold as a stand alone add on for the AV-1 that I haven't seen in any literature.

Still very impressed with the S-1's and have been curious to hear other RDL/ RA Labs models.

Lancer_ajai
03-28-2012, 06:59 AM
Still cant find that particular model im looking for, i'll lookup on yahoo group

Lancer_ajai
04-02-2012, 02:09 PM
Btw guys, do these speakers sound warm, neutral or clinical? In ur honest opinion of course

Bostown
05-09-2012, 11:01 PM
Btw guys, do these speakers sound warm, neutral or clinical? In ur honest opinion of course


They sound GREAT! not sure where "clinical" fits into that description, actually I'm not sure I'd apply that term to anything audio related :)

They're a nice improvement on the Allison 6 and CD 6 - the sound is far bigger than their size.

Bostown
06-01-2013, 06:41 AM
Reviving a classic thread...

I've now added a pair of RDL FS-1's to what is apparently becoming an Allison speaker addiction. I'll have some pics up soon , just need to sort out the tinsel wire on one of the tweeters. I've been curious about the RDL line since I saw the catalog years ago , after acquiring the S-1 blocks , I became a fan. Addiction soon followed it seems.

Current hoard includes:

Allison One
Allison Four
Allison CD8
RDL S-1
RDL FS-1

Ohighway
06-01-2013, 08:17 AM
...... Allison .......

I became a fan. Addiction soon followed it seems.



Well, if you're gonna' suffer from addiction, Allison isn't a bad place to be.:thmbsp:

Most people I know who owned and later sold their Allison speakers regret it.

spkrdtr
06-01-2013, 08:32 AM
For all you Allison Junkies, there's a Yahoo group devoted to Allison speakers. Roy is still around and visits the group from time to time. There's another knowledgeable guy who posts there alot - Howard Ferstler.

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/allison-speakers/

Much info in the files area to feast on..:thmbsp:

Bostown
06-01-2013, 01:58 PM
and here they are... and they sound pretty damn good too. actually VERY GOOD. after a quick tweeter wire fix, i put an Adcom 555 to task , paired with an Anthem Pre1 tube preamp a and oppo dv981 masquerading as a CD player. ... Everything I liked about the RDL S-1, just more of it.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-w21NgcVSq7c/UaoVM-nH2oI/AAAAAAAAFXM/w51-VI4m-8M/s512/_DSC9480.JPG

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-acyhM0nljhs/UaoVNcUiG2I/AAAAAAAAFXQ/z3hYobER27o/s512/_DSC9481.JPG

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-ktZWeiPCkfo/UaoVOrTcmQI/AAAAAAAAFXc/XcDNQO1UaS8/s512/_DSC9483.JPG

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-4Nd5ZMQP_uc/UaoVKvW7fzI/AAAAAAAAFW4/_TJaVT897So/s512/_DSC9478.JPG

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-jQdI36Patl0/UaoVH-hEgEI/AAAAAAAAFWc/7zi7VFZXuyI/s512/_DSC9475.JPG