HFN Review, May 15, 2023: FR20


Very good review, and though HFN never include the numerical score in the free electronic versions of the review (it’s in the print version and the pay copies of digital versions), the speakers earned a 90% score as well, same as FR30 did, which is very good.

I love my FR20


Yikes what is happening here @Chris_Brunhaver ?

Can you share your spinoramas

Huge hole in a pretty critical region . Some could argue in 2 important regions


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Oh no, a dreaded-but-routine measurement that half the poll in another recent thread insist they don’t care about

Nevertheless, such measurements deserve scrutiny by audiophiles

Unless such significant performance cannot be heard

But I suspect all could hear the effects that these curves reveal

It is known that the tweeters on that review pair were damaged in shipping. There is a discussion about this on ASR. I would hear it if the response was like this on my pair. My FR20’s sound fantastic.

And I’m pretty sure he knows that as part of their crew.

If true, this would invalidate the review. The ‘broken’ speaker should have been returned to PSA promptly for repair and quality assurance prior to review publication.

And, any professional reviewer must be able to hear crucial frequencies; otherwise, the reviewer is invalidated as a professional reviewer impacting purchase decisions, especially for a $20,000 speaker pair. (eg, I think I do not hear frequencies above 12,000 well based on listening to test tones on my speakers. If not a problem with my speakers by instead my ears, I am certainly not qualified to professionally evaluate tweeters and then publish a review in a respected magazine whose readers rightfully rely on my ears)

For these reasons, the review should be disregarded, retracted, and readers notified with apology. Unless, of course, reviewing known-damaged speakers is an acceptable proxy for a positive-sounding May 15, 2023 FR20 review.

If your report is true, I will be glad to write a serious letter to the publisher of Hi-Fi News and request publication in the magazine.

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The drop in that chart affects the midrange, the greater part of the audible tweeter zone is higher than the bass and lower midrange. This is the report. There is no suggestion anything was broken.

The DSD DAC Mk2 was reviewed this month and the measurements were also poor. In the April 2023 edition along with FR20 they measured the dCS Bartok Apex, which I thing @vkennedy61 bought, and the Lumin T3, that I bought. They both measure much better the dCS extraordinarily well.

Some people ignore this stuff, others live by it. My view is that equipment should first measure well and then be enjoyable to listen to.

The conclusion on the FR20 was a bit over the top. Frankly it’s a very competitive market with a lot of superb speakers, and it probably more a matter of taste than there being any standard setter. SabrinaX, Focal Sopra 2, Magico A3 come to mind.

In recent years PS Audio or their UK distributor appear to have bought more advertising space in HiFiNews than any other brand. There was often 5 pages, although it seems to have died down recently. HFN review everything PSA do, including just about every Octave release (like there isn’t enough music out there to review). They even had some kind words to say about the Don Grusin one. We all know advertising buys reviews, usually good ones, it’s talked about openly by manufacturers. It’s just a marketing choice, and there are some reviews that are not linked to advertising.

It does make you wonder that they can publish these measurements and call the product a standard-setter, without looking into it further. Many good reviewers would have called up PSA and asked them to explain.

(copyrighted materials removed)


My bad perhaps

I consider damaged to be broken

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That’s a 10db swing smack dab in the middle of the “presence” region. The area where the ear is most sensitive. I would think anyone would be able to hear that. Just what PS Audio needs right now- another measurement controversy. Nothing negative in the written review however. When I first saw this I knew we would eventually get a explanation from Chris.

The bizarre thing is there does not seem to be any “relief” that the tweeters were simply damaged in shipping and that the speakers are actually ok. Instead, just more negativity.

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garbage in, garbage out

I’m not sure this makes any difference in the UK. We have lots of audio dealers and if anyone is thinking about spending $20,000 on speakers they will almost certainly go and listen themselves, or get a home loan if practical.

My dealer has just sent me an invite for a vinyl demo next week - I feel like Tevye again. If only I had a spare $1m.

just give us your bank routing number

I’ll give you my dealer’s number.

Dealers here also work closely with certain distributors and this entire system using 4 or 5 different brands all come from the same distributor. Includes the Reed 5A tonearm in the picture.

This dealer does of course carry other brands, I’m informed sometimes from personal choice. The commercial methods used to persuade us to spend our hard earned on what we buy are many and varied. It’s easy to criticise reviews. It’s just as easy to criticise dealers for the products they choose to offer their clients, and whether they choose those brands for commercial reasons or because they actually like the product.

My dealer knows I changed from Devialet (which he sold me) to Luxman. I know he’s not entirely happy because Luxman are part of IAG and he fell out with IAG, I think because IAG wanted them to carry the whole expanding range of Quad products, some of which aren’t that great. Luxman also offer far better value for some premium brands they sell. Us poor consumers get stuck in the middle of all this marketing and promotion, from dealers, manufacturers, magazines, websites and more, and have to find our way through.

ah yes, the invisible hands behind dealer recommendations

I’m with the dealer on this. Central London retail costs are astronomic. This dealer had carried Quad for over 50 years. Just because they decide to bring out a range of budget speakers, why should the dealer sell them? The people who do sell then do so from far inferior premises without demo facilities. A dealer may well decide that only certain products from a manufacturer suit their client profile.

I like this dealer because they are very selective and with a certain brand they only carry one product. Another dealer I liked now seems to sell too any brands. My favourite, he’s been in business over 50 years, mainly sold just 3 brands.

Because rent is the main issue, we have lots of new dealers set up in really nice out-of-town premises, usually within 30-45 minutes of the suburbs, where it is viable to stock larger product ranges.

Huh? Known by whom? There is zero mention anywhere in the review of any damage. What is your source for this statement?

Chris already discussed this on another forum. I mentioned the other forum. It’s not hard to find.

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