Someone must have been telling lies about Russell K. Or so I thought when I picked up some of the more swivel-eyed comments about the Red 50 from some of its dealers and owners. Having reviewed the Red 100 (an excellent standmount in its own right), there were more than a few febrile comments expressed to me about the smaller Red 50 being the real hot button product. So, I got a pair, and either I’ve joined the swivel-eyed set, or they are right. I think they are right!
How the Red 50 came about is interesting, in and of itself. Russell K’s loudspeakers are designed in the UK and built in Poland. The Polish loudspeaker engineers tasked with building these bigger standmounts turned out to be quite hardcore audio enthusiasts, firmly in the Flat Earth school. “You need to design a modern Linn Kan!” said the product manager. Every single time designer Russell Kauffman got in touch with the factory. Eventually, Russell caved, and this formed the initial development project that led to the Red 50.
Russell K (the man, and ultimately the brand) was not entirely comfortable with the concept of reintroducing the boundary loudspeaker. This isn’t a particularly refined way to get good bass, so the compromise was moving a loudspeaker less than a metre from the rear wall, and giving the loudspeaker a mild bass boost in the upper bass.
A lot of the rest of the loudspeaker design is pulled from the Red 100; same drivers, same absence of internal damping, same specially made enclosed field ferrite core inductors, even the same PCB for the crossover, although the Red 50’s crossover is even simpler than its bigger brother, with two less components per side. It still retains the 12dB/octave slope, too. The cabinet has a smaller volume, of course, but principally the concept works by not buying in extra components for a new loudspeaker when you already have components for the existing loudspeaker ready to roll.