A superbly engineered and sonically satisfying package

Perlisten Audio's R5t towers and D15s subwoofer offer stunning performance and good looks, but in this case the great sound and build quality will cost you.

A superbly engineered and sonically satisfying package

Review

By Thomas J. Norton, Sound & Vision

The R5t excelled with all music I threw at them, from female vocals both famous (Holly Cole, Loreena McKennitt) and not so well-known (Sinne Eeg, Josefine Cronholm), to male vocals (Elvis Presley, Toto), and instrumentals of all descriptions. They offered impressive soundstaging, solid dynamics, and low coloration, permitting good recordings to fully shine.

Thomas J. Norton, Sound & vision

Even the most veteran A/V enthusiast is unlikely to have heard of Perlisten (short for Perceptual Listening) Audio, but that situation should soon change. Founded by a group of audio industry veterans, the company was formally launched in 2021. For a new speaker outfit, the number of Perlisten models is astonishingly long and encompasses towers, standmounts, center and surround speakers, in-walls, and subwoofers, all of them engineered in the U.S. and manufactured in China. 

Perlisten Audio’s offerings comprise two major ranges, the S-series and the R-series, with the flagship tower of the higher-end S-series, the S7t, currently topping out at $20,000/pair. The R-series isn’t quite that hypoxia- inducing but still hits a maximum of $10,000/pair for the R7t. Perlisten’s standmounts in both ranges (plus surrounds and two in-wall models) are a bit less pricey but still hardly impulse buys. There’s also a full range of subwoofers, capped by the massive, dual 15-inch, 202-pound (!) D215s ($9,000). 

For this review we requested the smallest R-series tower, the R5t ($7,000/ pair), and a single D15s subwoofer ($5,000). The R5c center ($3,000) and dedicated surrounds were not available at the time of our request and so aren’t tested here. As a side note, the R5c employs a driver complement similar to that on the R5t, but with the woofers horizontally flanking the tweeter in a typical center-channel configuration. Since those woofers operate up to 1.1kHz, I’d audition the R5c prior to making a purchase decision to ensure that the horizontally configured woofers don’t result in audible anomalies (comb- filtering) for listeners seated off-center. (Editor’s note: Perlisten Audio provides detailed measurements of the R5c on its website that indicate even energy +/- 20 degrees off-axis, along with similarly impressive power response.)