The OLi RA1s use a 4-inch woven fibreglass hybrid driver and a 1-inch black diamond silk dome tweeter, while the C30’s dual 5.25in drivers sandwich the 1-inch tweeter. The centre is voice-matched to the RA1s and every other speaker in the OLi range.
The subwoofer boasts an 8-inch active woofer and a 200W amplifier. On the back is a generous amount of sockets and controls, including L/R RCA inputs, banana plug speaker terminals, volume and crossover dials and a phase reverse switch.
Despite its diminutive size, the OLi RA system delivers an assured home cinema performance. Its sound is more authoritative, detailed and cohesive than you might expect for the money.
We blasted out blockbuster movies at high volumes and OLi RA took it on the chin. Big action scenes are conveyed with decent scale and drive without neglecting subtle details, creating a soundstage that’s as thrilling as it is layered and intricate.
This is perfectly demonstrated by Snow White & The Huntsman on Blu-ray (DTS HD Master Audio). As Snow White and Eric slowly traverse the Troll’s bridge, the scene fizzles with fine detail like running water and footsteps tapping on stone.
It’s a wonderful showcase of high-frequency handling – OLi’s easy, natural tone accurately represents what’s on the disc and never threatens to pull you out of the moment. Meanwhile, eerie ambience drifts atmospherically between the rear speakers, wrapping you in sound and bringing a wonderful sense of tension to the scene.
But when the Troll wakes up, the dynamic shift is fast and fierce. As the beast roars and thumps the ground, the sub emits tight, thunderous bass while the RA1s bang and crash without sounding spitty or shrill.
The KH30 subwoofer integrates seamlessly, making low frequencies sound like a natural extension of the speakers, rather than a detached rumble coming from a specific part of the room. Its slam and agility are key to this system’s entertaining performance.
Dialogue presentation is also excellent. OLi RA picks out the slightly gruff edge to Chris Hemsworth’s voice during his opening narration, while the sub lends subtle but crucial bass depth.
Obviously the RA1’s cabinet volume is a limitation – larger and more expensive speakers like the Cambridge Audio Aero or the Monitor Audio R90HT1 give this scene even greater scale and potency. But for the money we really can’t get over how good it sounds.
These versatile speakers are equally at home with music. From hi-res FLAC files to Bluetooth streamed from an iPod, songs sound direct and punchy with sweet treble and smooth midrange. Their size makes them ideal for hi-fi or PC use too – is there no end to their talents?
With its superb build quality, smart looks and astonishing performance, OLi RA is outstanding value at just over £500, making it well worth a place on anyone’s shortlist.
The system’s impressive composure, clarity and slam – coupled with faultless tonal matching and watertight bass integration – put it right up there among the best systems at this price, and even challenges systems costing twice as much. And if £500 is still to rich for you, we recommend looking at the JBL Cinema 510 at around £229.
Roth’s bookshelf system punches above its price tag with stunning build quality and performance. That’s a no-brainer in our book.
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