dshorter, I understand your concerns and you are correct, Destination Audio is a sister company of RBH Sound. My goal with this post is to hopefully put to rest some of your concerns about Destination Audio.
We (members of RBH Sound and Destination Audio staff) started Destination Audio in 2005-06 to offer select A/V distributors and their dealers (your installer being one of these dealers) higher quality audio products than what was previously available to them. We succeeded in doing this with only five models. As time marched on, we introduced many new models along the way such as the ALW580
you're considering for your system. One of the products we introduced in 2007, the F300T tower speaker
, was awarded the Electronic House Product of The Year award that same year. The neat thing about this award was that we (RBH and Destination Audio) didn't submit the F300T to Electronic House for consideration; one of the magazine's editors who was impressed with the F300Ts at a trade show submitted them for the award on our behalf and they won. Something else to consider, the first generation F300T with poly graphite midrange drivers was awarded, but the second generation featured an upgrade to the 5.25-inch Aluminized Fiberglass Matrix (AFM) midrange drivers. This upgrade greatly improved the sound quality of the speaker in the passband of the 5.25-inch midrange, not to mention it made the speaker look better!
Both the ALW580 and AW680 feature Aluminized Fiberglass Matrix cone drivers and nano-silk tweeters. The AFM cone has significant advantages over the poly graphite woofer cones; most importantly, AFM woofer cones are stiffer and weigh less. Added stiffness minimizes distortion and provides more bass than poly graphite cones. The aluminization of the AFM comes as hand-me-down technology from RBH Sound and from our desire to provide an advantage over our competition's models at a similar price point. As for the nano-silk technology, this fabric was used by our engineers because the material had become available and because its performance was superior to the other tweeter dome materials we were considering.
It is unfortunate that there are a lack of reviews on these two products. In general, there aren't many professional product reviewers out there who regularly review in-wall speakers, and for good reason - it takes a lot of work to construct a typical wall/room just to listen to and review this type of product. In my tenure here, there have been a few good attempts, but only a few have succeeded. This leaves many product reviews of in-wall speakers to end-users like yourself. Of those who have had Destination Audio speakers installed in their homes, there are many who could write a review, but unfortunately haven't. I'm sure if you were to ask your installer to put you in touch with a few of his previous clients who have these speakers, you would find they are very pleased with them. If it were me, I would have already asked for a couple of the installer's referrals anyway to make sure the installer is as good as he claims to be.
I hope I have helped put to rest some of your concerns about Destination Audio. Please feel free to let me know if you have any other questions or concerns regarding any of our products or our companies.
DanLW, you are correct, the ALW580 and AW680 are an open-back design. As the article you mentioned describes, most in-wall and in-ceiling speakers are designed with an open-back like this. RBH Sound manufactures a lineup of enclosed in-wall speakers, the Signature In-wall
series, which provide superior performance when compared to open-back designs.
Sales and Marketing Director
RBH Sound / Destination Audio / EMP Tek