Aesthetics and Build Quality:
The R-51M are not your typical black box that sits in a corner, take the grills off and you will find their signature spun-copper mid-bass cone along with their Tractrix horn waveguide for the tweeter. All this is housed in an MDF cabinet with wood grain vinyl wrap for a modern yet classy finish, these will definitely attract some attention in your system.
These are well built, the MDF cabinets feel sturdy and on the back you have proper binding plugs which support 4mm banana plugs. The vinyl wrap is applied well without any obvious flaws and they feel and look great for the price. There are no fancy materials here, just well-designed drivers in a rigid cabinet, no complaints from me though.
The R-51M are rear ported so do sound best when pulled a little away from the rear wall, however with their horn waveguide the sweet spot is a little wider than normal. They still sound best when toed in, as the sound becomes more detailed and focussed. These are relatively small, which means they will fit on a cabinet or bookshelf well, however as with most speakers of this size they sound best when placed on dedicated stands.
With a Sensitivity of 93dB @ 2.83V/1M these are pretty easy to drive, with your typical 50wpc integrated amp doing a fine job of powering these, alternatively you could use one of the cheaper class-d amps to good effect.
From their size, you would expect the R-51M to sound small and a little lean, but you’ll be in for a surprise. They don’t have bottomless extension of larger floorstanders or subs, but they can sure pump out a hefty low end with bundles of energy. Providing they are well placed, the lows will be full without bloat, the lows are punchy and dynamic with stated low frequency extension of 62Hz +/-3dB which in room will sound a bit lower. Perfect for most music genres, however they do favour more energetic music.
The midrange comes across well separated from the lows and with a good amount of clarity on show. They don’t become overwhelming or shouty, however they cut through with a snappy response that wants you to pay attention. The presentation isn’t laid back or warm, these are not a speaker for playing at low levels in the background. This snappy response helps with layering within the midrange, keeping everything well focussed and separated.
The top end is very open, detailed and quite up front. They are not up-front to the point of being harsh, but they are always present in the mix. Snares are particularly prominent, adding great attack to the sound. That horn waveguide really helps focus the upper frequencies and extension is never an issue up top. The R-51M have a liveliness that is similar to how you would hear a live recording rather than a studio one, which will appeal to quite a few people.
Overall they have a good balanced between the frequencies with a full yet punchy low end, open and detailed midrange and energetic treble. These are a pair of speakers that demand your attention when listening to them, and like to be enjoyed at slightly higher volume levels. Match them with the right equipment and you have a very enjoyable system if you favour energy over a smoother sound.
The R-51M are an excellent speaker for the price, with a highly addictive and energetic sound that is sure to get your feet tapping. This does come at the expense of a little refinement, but this slightly rough around the edges sound is more akin to a live performance than a studio one.
Build Quality: 4/5