I am glad the pictures helped to give a good comparison to the size difference between the Energy speakers. The CB-20 has a more attractive shape, and honestly is the more handsome speaker. The RC-10 has a better finish, higher quality material in the box, veneer, posts, grill attachment, and the driver. To me, the CB-20 looks better in the room. The grill is cheaper and pressed in place (vs the magnet w/ the RC-10); however, the final look is much more attractive, contemporary, masculine and sleek.
A friend and I did a blind demo, where the listener was blind-folded and various speakers were swapped in/out. The person blind-folded would call out thoughts/comments, and the other person would write them down.
Background on us. I typically like a more forward speaker and primarily listen to HT material with my speakers. Interspy24 listens to a lot more music. He is a big fan of AV123 Rockets (owns the bad boy Rockets 850s, which is his main speaker), and enjoys an older pair of Energy bookshelf speakers he owns (two AC-300 center channels).
I was the first one blind-folded. My mistake is that I was trying to guess what speaker I was listening to. That caused me to focus on guessing what speaker I was listening to vs listening without preconceived notions. When I imagined I was listening to a specific speaker, I applied prior known characteristics I had of that speaker. This distracted me from being honest with my ears and thoughts. Interspy24 decided not to guess what speaker was being played. He simply listened and commented. His strategy was much better. I guess that marketing and research major paid off.
My comments on the RC-10: Highs not detailed and not mature, vocals sound a little more forward. This was the 2nd speaker played, and I thought it was the HSU!
My comments with the CB-20: Instantly liked the sound, detailed, forward, confident, vocal sounds good, they seem more efficient (b/c of noticeable increase in sound).
My comments with the HB-1: Balanced, good detail, vocals sound warm, sounds good. This was the first speaker played. I actually guessed that the HB-1 was the RC-10. I totally reversed the RC-10 and the HB1. Lol!
InterSpy24 was than blind-folded and the various speakers were swapped out. I will post his blind data that I recorded.
InterSpy24 and the RC-10: neutral, balanced, smooth, powerful low end, one possible weakness is that they sound a little "easy". He also said this is a speaker he like and would buy. This was the first speaker I played and he made that comment. I actually tried to trick him and put the RC-10 back in the mix as speaker #4 in the demo. I played the CB-20 before this, so a lot of his thoughts are in comparison. He said the RC-10 sounds more balanced, not as bright, cleaner, "it works", volume seems low, bass more clean/accurate, again he said he likes the speaker and would buy it. The RC-10 is the only speaker that he commented he would buy. He said that both times they were played.
Interspy24 and the CB-20: louder, more forward than last (Pioneer A. Jones), he likes it more than the last but not more so than the first speaker (the RC-10), not harsh, bass more accurate than last (Pioneer A. Jones), louder volume.
Interspy24 and the HSU HB1: sounds funny, bass was prominent, highs seem funny, sound is full, powerful, louder than previous (RC-10), bass seems boomy maybe even muddy (not clean), a lot of sound but not balanced.
It was very interesting seeing the results. I guess everyone has different tastes. Interspy24's thoughts on the RC-10 seemed spot on to many AVS members. I had different conclusions, and obviously different preferences with the sound I like, just like we all do. I prefer a brighter more forward speaker, vs a straight neutral speaker.
It is amazing how many variables come into play when we look at a speaker and listen. We may think about the cost, the look, the size, the material, and even think about what EVERYONE else has said about the speaker. I didn't recognize how much pre-conceived bias I had with speakers. Being blind-folded flipped the script.
We both agreed that the CB-20 would be the better speaker for HT. Interspy24 would easily choose the RC-10 as the one he would buy. I would probably buy the CB-20 for my taste and listening material (90% ht, 10% music). I felt a little odd that my opinions were different than many AVS members; however, I am OK with that and glad that I can be honest with myself.