Did some casual listening last night on the new R253's, and left them running this morning while I went to work to help with some break-in time. In direct comparison to the R162's, first initial thoughts were hints
- Clearer sound at slightly lesser volume
- Clearer / more vibrant mids
Today I went home at lunch for a first deeper exploratory session, at louder volumes. I did multiple songs back to back with both speakers, and I actually disabled my subwoofer all together from my amp speaker configuration. Versus the R162's, the R253's had:
- Without a doubt, a deeper and fuller bass. This was the most noticeable difference, so far.
- I thought imaging was even slightly better than the R162's. I'll toy around and tinker with placement more in the next few days.
- A slightly nicer / richer / clearer overall sound
So far, I think the R253's are a slightly noticeable difference and a small step forward in overall sound quality. Even when I would go back to the R162's, both speakers can really sing and shine, and sounded extremely similar.
I'm actually glad I have a sub that I can throw the low frequencies to and dial out more bass, as I live in a townhome and have to be somewhat respectful of my neighbor. If I didn't have a sub, I'd be likely getting in trouble because at the higher volumes I like to listen to for vocals, the bass became too much for me to leave as is with the R253. I'd say if you are not going to be running a sub and also cannot get too crazy with your bass volumes, you should be conscious that the R253 might put out a tad too much compared to the R162. It's a double edged sword though, because at least on back to back listening, you'll absolutely notice the bass tones you're losing on the R162 vs R253.
Another thought now running through my mind after the initial comparison is that for the size and price, the R162's are really fantastic. I'm not certain how different any of the speaker hardware truly is of the Infinity R162 versus the Revel M15 bookshelfs, but it seems like we're probably getting a steal on these speakers when they go on sale.
I'll continue to get as much listening time in and more back to back testing this week, and will report back again. Hopefully I can get a better sense and be able to further articulate the difference.
EDIT: More testing, day two