Review: Perlisten R7t Tower Speakers

The midrange and treble DPC-Array (Directivity Pattern Control) lies at the heart of the speaker in the Perlisten line.

The stunning Perlisten S7t (review), my Favorite Speaker of  2021, outfit the Array with a Berrylium tweeter and a pair of Textreme TPCD (thin-ply carbon fiber) midrange drivers mounted in a wavy-shaped waveguide. A similar waveguide is employed in the R7t, but here a trio of 26mm silk dome drivers are used for tweeter and mid-range duties. The R7t also have pairs of bass drivers flanking the Array, over and under, but here we are looking at 4 165mm mixed long fiber hardwood, Bamboo, and wool 165mm woofers, as opposed to the TPCD woofers found in the S7t.

The company reports frequency response down to 27 Hz in bass reflex mode, which is 5Hz shy of the S7t. The down-firing ports on the R7t can be plugged to operate the speaker in acoustic suspension mode, which may come in handy for smaller rooms. The Barn dictates as much reflex as possible. The R7t cabinet shares its larger sibling’s curvy front baffle which is made from High Density Fiberboard along with the cabinet proper, which sits on thick steel plate bases with footers on each corner. The R7t also inherit dual speaker binding posts allowing for bi-wiring or bi-amping.

Perlisten S7t (left) and R7t

The R7t is slightly smaller than the S7t and all of these differences help account for their difference in price — the R7t coming in at $9,990/pair and the S7t at $17,990.

If we can get beyond comparative thoughts, better / not better, there’s much to learn from comparing these two speakers from Perlisten. Of course the S7ts deliver more in terms of overall weight, bottom end reach, resolution, and dynamic speed compared to R7t, which is what you’re paying for, i.e. more. That being said, the R7t shine very brightly on their own terms. But let’s cut to the chase — if the price difference between these two Perlisten speakers is easy for you to swing, I say go big and take the S7t home. But let’s talk about the R7t now that accounting is taken care of.

The music of Scott Walker was supernaturally odd. I dare anyone to listen through three albums, any three, and conclude otherwise. My favorite for some time is his collaboration with Sunn O))) called Soused. When asked what it was like recording with Sunn O))), Walker replied, “…but when you first go into the room it’s like entering a furnace… a furnace of sound.” I let Soused rip through the R7t, driven by the pure-sounding Constellation Inspiration Integrated 1.0 (review) at near furnace of sound levels and was treated with the entire smorgasbord of crushing guitars, bullwhip, menacing pulse and Walker’s creamy clean vocals, so over the top it filled my head with wonder at how these disparate musical souls ever born such a lovely beast.

Soused, with all its guts and glory sound, has its delicate moments mixed in, and the R7t did a wonderful job of conveying the gaping gap between hard and soft. The sound image was Barn-big, extending well beyond the confines of each speaker, something that owes a lot to proper speaker setup, coupled with the generous proportions of the Barn. Walker and Sunn O))) turned that space into a carnival of psychosexual disorder (hey, I’m just reporting).

Very much like their bigger brethren the Perlisten S7t, the R7t breathe energy into the room with an effortless easy sense of release, sounding as fast and dextrous as the music they’re serving, but I will say the S7t sound that much more effortless, that much more whip-snap quick. Sometimes, you get what you pay for. That said, the R7t delight on their own terms and only comparative listening reveals this difference.

“Atmosphere” from Lonely Guest’s self-titled debut album features the late, great Lee “Scratch” Perry and vocalist Marta living among Tricky’s complex sound world, filled with heavy beats and layers of processed enticements. The R7t kept perfect pace with the lovely slow burn, churning out the dub-infested atmosphere with an even hand and firm grip from bottom to glitchy top. The R7t, in Barn and in this system with the totaldac d1-tube DAC/Streamer sending its output to the Constellation Integrated, sound fat, rich, and full, never approaching an overly sharp or excessively edgy sound. Compared to the S7t, they sound somewhat forgiving.

Switching things up with Eric Whitacre’s lovely Sainte-Chapelle written for and performed by the Tallis Scholars, builds layer upon layer of vocals revealing and reveling in light, space, and beauty. This music also revealed that the R7t do like, and need, power to drive them to live-like levels, especially with music that has real dynamic range. The Constellation’s 100 Watts did the job, but I wouldn’t want to pair the R7t with much less. And more (power) is rarely a bad thing when it comes to hifi.

Cate Le Bon’s “Pompeii,” from the album of the same name, is all fanciful and flowing tapestries of sound with a drum and bass steady beat holding things together, keeping things grounded. I love this record for all of its quirky awkward adornments and the R7t did a fine job of getting each part right while never loosing a grip on the momentum of the whole. I attribute this ability to a nicely balanced presentation, something the R7t delivers with a natural ease. These speakers arrived fresh from their journey to the US, brand spankin’ new, so I let them play for a few weeks, 24/7, before I sat in the Red Eames chair with my reviewer hat in place. I also spent real time, over time, getting the R7t perfectly placed in Barn because doing so allows them to disappear without a trace.

Wheeling in the EgglestonWorks Oso (review) in place of the R7t proved to be an interesting study in contrasts. The Oso are a 3-way design with a 1” fabric dome tweeter, 2x 6″ midrange drivers, and a side-firing 10″ woofer per side and they can sound big and bold when the music calls for it. Compared to the Perlisten R7t, the EgglestonWorks present a slightly more muscular version of music, with more bottom end oomph and a weightier sound overall. The R7t convey music’s finer points with more apparent resolution, sounding a bit lighter and nimbler. If you’re keeping score at home, you must be watching golf because the differences between these two fine speakers don’t add up to a winner and loser. Each speaker’s sonic strengths can make their respective owners revel in the riches music has to offer, and the right choice between the two can only be revealed through first-hand experience.

Sure, it would be great if reading a review could lead directly to the checkout cart, but that’s not how reviews work, in my experience. I see my job as being akin to a guide, describing as best I can what things sound like so you can decide if you should explore more.

Jumping head first into something layered, dense, and challenging, I let yeule’s Glitch Princess infest the Barn with its foreboding futurist feel. From the opening track “My Name is Nat Ćmiel,” Nat Ćmiel as yeule professes, I like pretty textures in sound / I like the way some music makes me feel which is great because the R7t floated those pretty textures in sound into the Barn so they danced and shimmered in space like fairies in a wind storm. Detail, delicacy, and the ability to drive home the beat are some of the R7t’s strengths, strengths that equate to moving music-inspired experiences for hours, days, and weeks on end.

If you have the impression I enjoyed the Perlisten R7t speakers, I have done my job. While the company’s larger and more expensive S7t speakers get you more from top to bottom and in between, the R7t stand firm on their own ground, offering a fertile foundation from which music emerges in captivating form. Color me impressed by Perlisten (again).


Perlisten R7t Tower Speakers
Price: $4995/each
Company Website: Perlisten
US Distributor’s Website: Fidelity Imports

Specifications

Enclosure alignment 4-way bass reflex / acoustic suspension
Driver compliment DPC-array:
26mm(3) Silk dome
Woofers:
165mm(4) HPF diaphragms
Sensitivity 90.0dB / 2.83v / 1.0m
Impedance 4Ω nominal / 3.1Ω min
Response Linearity 80 – 20kHz +/-1.5dB window
Frequency Response (-10dB) Bass reflex: 27 – 32kHz
Acoustic suspension: 38 – 32kHz
Typical In Room bass extension Bass reflex: 19Hz
Acoustic suspension: 30Hz
Dimensions (HxWxD) 1268 x 230 x 350mm
49.9 x 9.0 x 13.7″
Weight 48.0 kg (105.6 lbs.)
Recommended Amplifier Power 100 – 400W RMS
SPL capability @1m (100-20kHz) 116.0dB peak <3% – 2nd, 3rd Harmonics
Certification THX Dominus, THX Ultra
Available finishes Piano black