New review of FR30 in Hi-Fi News - June 2022

Yes, we will be publishing some measurements from a 3rd party lab showing the off axis behavior.

I would encourage you to take a look at other loudspeaker measurements on the Hifi News website, as I wouldn’t describe the response as “lots of peaks and valleys”. We do have a small well-damped peak in our mid around 1.4 kHz but the response is essentially flat . This is related to a small diaphragm edge termination thing as well.

The KEF speakers objectively measure very well and there’s a lot to be admired there from an engineering perspective. Their tweeter is designed with a constant directivity to 20 kHz (with the tweeter working like a front firing compression driver). Our tweeter narrows in coverage a lot about 13 kHz and so it boosted directly on-axis to give a flat listening window and power response.

I have spent some time with the original blade speakers (not the meta) and, while the bass was outstanding (and absolutely reference), subjectively, I felt the mid and highs sounded slightly harsh, colored and metallic (though this isn’t in the frequency response measurements).

Also, even KEF, who has textbook type measurements and fantastic engineering resources has some artifacts form their design decisions. For instance, the side firing woofers cause some response issues at 45+ degrees horizontally.


Good point and this underscores the importance of a demo, as problems such as these can be detected at the dealer rather quickly without the headache of an in home audition. I am rather sensitive to hash or a harshness overriding on top of the mids and highs, as well as a forward presence region. It is nice to learn that the PS Audio design has addressed those tendencies.

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Maybe…maybe not…

I tend to think you need to match your equipment and room to a set of speakers to ensure there are no such issues.

Just my opinion…


If the speaker has a tendency to harshness, as Chris suggested, it would be readily apparent on an initial audition with some electronics, and cables exacerbating, the condition in my experience. As I said, I am very sensitive to it (to the point of it being painful) and even if it is minimal I tend to pick up on it rather quickly. When at Axpona I heard it in more exhibits than I expected resulting in a hasty exit. I am most happy to learn they addressed this in the design.

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No offense or argument sought…I have no reason to doubt your experiences and sensitivities.

I could have been more clear in my response and should have simply noted that I do not agree with the general nature of your assertion.


No argument, just stating based on experience, 50 years MOL. If a speaker has a tendency towards harshness it is a distortion or coloration. For me it is easily detected in the upper midrange and upper frequencies. Amplification, cables and room acoustics can exacerbate it. They can also reduce it to a degree, but it has a filtering effect overall, and while modified the distortion or coloration is still there.


Anecdotally, in the case of the Blades, the fellow that I know replaced the amplifier and DAC, which had a significant effect on this issue (though it was still present, but to a lesser degree). I would tend to agree that your own room and equipment are nearly always the best place to audition components.


I do agree your own equipment and room will be the deciding factor, but with so many components out there a dealer demonstration offers a large taste of what a component has to offer. I feel it is best to start with a strong foundation and build from there, with speakers offering the most variability in sound and performance. Having the time, resources and convenient access is a consideration when planning for dealer demos when trying to narrow the field. I’d say the attendance at Axpona underscores the field demo point to a degree, warts and all. Ultimately the in home demo provides for the best opportunity for understanding of a component’s capabilities, my thought is it may not be the optimal starting point when attempting to narrow the field.

As you added upstream components can exacerbate the problem, and selecting components that address the problem can reduce its impact.


So I agree with you whole heartedly. Why on earth we continue to have this discussion that somehow hearing a speaker prior to purchase is not advantageous is completely bizarre.

If I go to a dealer and they have a mediocre room of decent size with Wilson’s , sonus Faber ,b&w 802, Maggie 20.7, or Martin Logan setup… I’m going to be able to tell you which house sound I prefer. And I’m going to be able to order it first to last. If I need to go to multiple dealers so be it.

Maybe I get them home and there is too much bass - well I either 1 return them 2 adjust my room …. My guess is the latter because something I heard made me buy and I know what they are capable of.


Are the measurements reported by HFN close to what you experienced in your pre-release testing?

True that. But not too hard to figure out why.

This is the only forum where you’d get arguments to contrary (well maybe ASR would be another)

Back to the review, which I haven’t seen, but it must be good to get a score of 90, which on surface doesn’t sound great but for HFN is very good.

To put it in context, PSA DS Sr dac got a score of 85, which is probably lower than average for good dacs. Strata got 82, which is quite low ( scores below 82 aren’t common). I’d suspect PS Audio has never sniffed 90 previously with a HFN review but that’s only a guess (only because DS Sr got 85 which for HFN is pretty far away from 90).

I don’t have a subscription but I order issues or back issues when I’m interested in a review and I probably have 20-25 issues.

Sure several speakers have gotten scores above 90 (Wilson Alexandria XLF got 94, the highest I’ve seen for a speaker but wouldn’t be surprised if some higher) and a bunch have gotten 90 (Magico A1, at under $10k, is a fairly recent example for a speaker that costs one-third of FR30) but many good speakers (a good majority of speakers that get reviewed, I’d say - 80%?just a guess, maybe more) score in the 80s. Point is, 90 is a good score for sure for HFN.

I like the magazine. Congratulations on a good result

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I understand that Paul Miller is actually a bit of a measurement expert and created a high performance jitter analyzer that is used by Stereophile and others in their DAC reviews.

Yes, his measurements are accurate, though some other speaker models have some measurement artifacts from the 1M measurement distance (being in the acoustic nearfield on panel speakers or having integration on large speakers with wide driver spacing, like some of the big Wilson models). It is nice that he includes some basic distortion measurements, spectral decay, and accurately rates bass extension.

My only complaint would be that a single on-axis measurement doesn’t characterize the behavior of a speakers tonality and overall sound field that completely and it would be nice to see some polar measurements too. The reviews are already pretty “techy” and I’m sure that this is a bit of a balancing act for what they feel like is a value to their readers.

Still, it’s very useful that they do measurements at all and I tend to read publications like this (stereophile, soundstage and others) that include some measurement data along with the listening and other review tests.


I appreciate the comment on their rating scale and past reviews. I do like their magazine and review style, from a loudspeaker perspective, a lot.

This may be the best review that PS Audio has gotten and as an electronics company entering the loudspeaker market with it’s first product (and as the designer), it’s exciting to see the positive reaction thus far. I believe that they have among the highest magazine circulation for a hifi magazine of this type as well, as a loyal readership.


I agree. I like it best of all the magazines.

There are many examples, but some highly regarded speakers that scored lower are Focal Sopra No. 2 at score of 88 and Vivid Kaya 90 at 89 score. I probably could have included that in the earlier post.

The highest amp score I’ve seen was D’Ag Relentless at 95, but I think I’ve seen some source component get a 97 (can’t find it now though), but anything over 90 doesn’t happen too often from what I’ve seen.

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Yah. Goes to show you. I’m not a fan of the XLF. Heard it at a dealer under pristine conditions. Listened on two different occasions. It’s that speaker personal preference thing

I also saw the pass labs x350.8 got an 85 and many reviewers absolutely love it. Go figure.

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Ha, yep. At end of day it’s just one person’s opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. No substitute for listening and comparing yourself, as always.

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At a time when every new high-end product seems to come with an extensive backstory, the legend behind the ‘aspen’ FR30, the first speakers from Colorado-based PS Audio, still takes some beating. The £28,000-apair floorstanders have, we’re told, been ‘50 years in the making.


Having used a single component including streamer, DAC, preamp, phono, amplifiers and DSP since 2016, were I to change to a component system I honestly don’t know where I would start. I could list a system, but I would have to win the lottery first. Even with 3 good local dealers with a good range of stock available on loan, the thought of doing it would be more stress than fun.

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