Infinity RS1B ? Buy or runaway


I have an opportunity to buy a set of RS1B in excellent condition. They have been well taken care of and are very close to home. Years ago at a Stereophile show, I heard them, wow! The sound and their presence were fantastic! My fear is that like a lot of other things I look back on and lust after look ALOT greater in my memory than they actually perform. Given my current set up and room, I wanted to get some opinions about buying. Or will I be disappointed, maybe due to equipment or the room limitations? I don't think I would get rid of the Apogees unless the RS1B's surpass them in sound quality. Very nervous laying out over 4k for something that won't move quickly if I end up not enjoying them.
My room dimensions are 13' 9" X 25' (Converted garage)
All equipment is located on the front (13' 9") wall with an entry door at the front right corner. Listening position is approximately 13' from the front wall
Current equipment
VPI HW 19 MKIII
Rotel RSX1067 ( for HT)
Audio Research SP4 (lightly modded)
Audire Forte amps x 2 (bi-amp)
Apogee Caliper Signatures
McIntosh MVP891


drf24
This is a tough call. I had an RS1-B system for years until Infinity replaced it with the IRS Beta, which is a much better system. Still, the RS-1B is no slouch. $4k seems like a steep price, though, even if it's in very good shape. Is the x-over/servo included in the price and does it work properly? If not, I'd walk away.

You might also want to consider that if you get the RS-1B, you'll need to upgrade some of your other gear to get the best out of it, especially your preamp. If you need parts in the future - other than refoaming the woofers - you should know they are rather rare and pricey.
If all the EMIM are working.. The big problem with the EMIM are broken off connectors. The inner diaphragm is no longer available. And a used EMIM costs $200 to $250 each
If you consider the actual value of the EMIM alone, they add up to 14 x $200 is $2,800/ 14 x $250 is $3,500 in current sale value for those parts alone.IMO $4000 is not overly high a price if it is working and complete (ie including the EQ box)
The value of the used EMIM are the price drivers on that speaker.
$4000 is too much. I bought a mint pair from Brooks Berdan in the late-90's for $2000.
Pass , so many great, repeat great used speakers for 4k
I had the RS1-B(s) for a number of years. They were interesting with respect to their sonic and visual impact in a room. I used both solid state and/or tube electronics. I did some tweaking which made a positive difference. Since then I have had a few other speakers and currently have found my final set in the Dunlavy SC-5(s). The difference between the older RS1-B(s) and the Dunlavy(s), is at least an order of magnitude.

There are many really fine speakers out there in this price range which are much better in virtually every way. My advice is to take the time to get acquainted with newer high end speakers and buy used. There's lots of good guidance found on this website.
I feel that Infinity is generally higher quality than most of Polk's stuff of recent decades, at least to my ears.  But, spend more, even on used higher quality gear.  In the end you will be happier, while having spent a little more once or twice, instead of much more over several purchases.  I wish I had been given that advice many years ago.  Save up.  Don't settle too easily, even though we all balance quality with budget, unless we are rich.  In the end, settling to easily is a waste of money, and enjoyment.  My hearing is not that good, especially in one ear.  I was actually prescribed hearing aids, and I really need them in some situations.  Too much loud construction work, and a terrible ear infection when I was a kid.  I can't express how much quality sound means to me.  I would not waste another minute listening to a low-quality system, and you will regret doing so if you settle too easily.  I read books for the quality of the writing, not just the story, and I listen to music for the quality of the sound, not just the melody.
Realize that when you first heard the RS1B’s they were in new condition and likely demo’ed under optimal conditions by Stereophile, ie. room and equipment.

The RS1B’s were introduced in 1982 so even if all the drivers are in perfect condition, the internal capacitor components and servo internals are now over 35 years old. Infinity used LOTS of electrolytic capacitors in ALL their speakers which after 35 years need replacing. Do you know if someone has already refurbished the speakers? If so, I would view that as a NEGATIVE not a positive because you never know what exactly was done, right or wrong.

You don’t just buy Infinity vintage speakers like these, you marry or adopt them. Are you up to that?

And finally, in the research I did on vintage Infinities I noticed a lot of lukewarm comments on the RS1B’s because generally they were not held in very high regard compared to the other models in the upper end of the Infinity line.

If you want to go vintage Infinity that are not too old, have outstanding sound, with readily available parts and are easy to flip if/when you want to sell them I would start searching for Infinity Renaissance 90’s. They are probably the best Infinity bang for the buck. Want to go higher end and still have the Infinity sound? Then I would recommend jumping up into the Genesis Speaker line which Arnie Nudell formed after he sold Infinity so Genesis also has that big open Infinity Sound. Only downside is everyone knows this so prices are much higher.
Run away as these speakers are ancient history were great 20 yrs ago today  pass big time.
Unless you have a real technical ability to take care of these, run. If you feel comfortable working on these,  you need to be below $2000.  I'd rather see $1500
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There are a lot of people here with an opionion who have never heard these or have no idea the pedigree of these speakers.  I can assure you if these speakers are in good condition then these are not over priced.  I own the INFINITY RS IIIb I purchased new in 1986 for $1200/pr.  I've had the crossovers recapped  and refoamed.  I also own and the succession to Infinity,  the Genesis 2.2 Jr speakers purchased new in 2012 for $102,000 and the Genesis G300 I purchased new in 1999 for $25,000.  I'd love to have the Holy Grail-- Genesis 1.2's. They're $350,000+; depending on the finish.  Carbon fiber I believe are ~500,000.  You can call Gary Koh, the current owner of Genesis.  My speakers all sound excellent.  They all have they're faults.  My point---  you cannot go wrong with any of these.  You can find used G300's for ~$6,000.  There is a guy on EBay who refurbishes the RSIB & RSII's--- he's out of Bowling Green, KY.  They're in the 5,000 range- he will tell you he likes the infinity over Genesis.  I would agree to a degree; I guess that's why I can't & won't part with mine.  One thing-  you will want good gear with this stuff- no integrated here.  Annie Nudell's intent with his line of RS speakers-  the best realistic sound at an affordable price.  His intent with the IRS V and Genesis-  best sound regardless of cost.  It's all about your ear and budget.  I can assure you you can't go wrong.  You are on the right path.  Another source for information--- Paul McGowen of PS Audio--  he was co-founder of Infinity along with late Arnie Nudell.  
Have the rs1b's and rs2b's in house. Bought the 2bs new in the 80s and 1bs in 2004.  I have had many speakers over the years and auditioned many others in house but have yet to hear anything at anywhere near the price that can make my hair stand on end like either of the 2 pairs I own. 

Yes they are older and may require recaps...but I have found that even with that cost in mind, they are worth it to me. Bob S. at PS audio has a complete redo of the mid-tweeter xover that is on my agenda this month.

I will say that the 2bs are easier to position in most rooms.  But once properly positioned in the right room...the 1bs with the right ancillary equipment are breathtaking.


A quick update, I went ahead and bought the RS1B's, scared the heck out of me doing so. It is the most money I have ever put into a piece of equipment! I usually buy high-end audio gear in need of repair to keep it affordable, but I couldn't pass these up because they were so well taken care of. Now I just need to tear out that wall, move that door 6' and install some acoustic panels and I will be ready to listen to them! Well maybe not that drastic but I will need to move and situate some things to get them set up. Thanks for all of the opinions and advice, greatly appreciated!
Nice. Enjoy! Be careful with room treatments.  IMO rs1bs sound much better with no absorbing treatments directly behind the mid-tweeter panels. I highly recommend tubes to power the mid-high and SS for the woofers. 
Have no fear listening to big speakers in a small room!
Back in the 1980's I bought a pair of Infinity RSIIa and used them in my tiny efficiency apt. (10'x 11') and LOVED them every minute!
If I would have had any sense I would have actually bought the RS I.
Currently I just bought a pair of Magnepan 20.7 for use in a room only 11' 7" side. I have no fear of using big speakers in too small rooms!
It is true they may have some constraints, but it is not going to slow down my enjoyment.
(reminds me of buying a sport car and driving in normal traffic. You do not require to own a race track next door to enjoy a sport car! same difference)