FR 30 in da house

This past Thursday I had the opportunity to listen to the FR30 at PS Audio. Very impressive! They were extremely clean sounding with exceptional imaging/soundstaging. Instruments sounded truly like the real thing. There was a true to life relaxed quality to the sound rather than the tendency of hyper detailed speakers like Magico to sound a little sterile. They certainly sounded a lot better than my 20 year old Vandersteen 5s (it would be fun and more appropriate to compare the FR30 to 5A Carbon or Kento). We even cranked it very loud on one or two tracks, not something I normally do, and there was no compression or distortion. A good demonstration of the clarity and lack of distortion.

The only (slight) hesitation to my ears was the ability of the speaker to disappear. On the first few tracks I was aware of the sound source, but I think this was at least partially a psychological factor. There I am listening to these new speakers we’ve all been reading so much about and the anticipation was at a very high level. I just couldn’t ignore their physical presence. This will certainly subside over time. Also contributing was most of the music played I had not heard on my system, though this was Paul’s Picks so they all should have been exceptional recordings. To my point, though, the first song I got to pick was one by Norah Jones and the speakers did disappear just like in my system. Hmmm.

I can’t really compare the FR30 to any other marketplace contender since I haven’t heard any of them since the last audio show two years ago and I haven’t been in a brick and mortar store in years. And we all know how well audio shows give the best demonstrations! Not …. As such I will not say these are the best speakers ever, I can’t possibly make that claim, but my intent on listening to them was to see if Chris Brunhaver’s idea of world class sound aligned with my idea. It sure does!

Will I buy a pair? Actually, probably not, they are beyond my budget no matter how much I stretch it and I do have a small room. What I would buy is the FR30s little brother. Chris is working on a smaller version which could be out in the next year. It hopefully will use the same drivers, just less of them. I speculate two woofers in the front and one on each side, just not sure if that would be floor standing or a low stand mount. Assuming this smaller version shared the same “sound” as the FR30 they will be the one for me.