Sneak Peek: FR-30

With these speakers, is there still a need to have subs in your system?

Each cabinet already has 2 - 10" subwoofers mounted in the lower half. These are active, with an AMP also included inside the lower half that powers just the subwoofer section.

So external subs could be a thing of the past with these speakers?

I reckon. Chris has spent heaps of time integrating the active woofer section with the top half. I haven’t heard these guys yet, but if they’re anything like the second design, there’s plenty of strong, controlled bass.

Thanks much!

I wouldn’t bank on it. My main speakers have 2-15" woofers, I still run a pair of subs.

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At least unless a certain frequency can’t be played back with woofers at the very position of those main speakers (which is not unusual, as there are only few positions without major dips and those positions won’t necessarily be those you’d choose for optimizing sound staging and tonality of your main speakers).

So there’s an advantage of being able to place subs at an optimal position, independent of the main speakers imo.

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An excellent point. While we all agree sound is paramount, as the price rises so do our expectations as to material and build quality, as well as an appealing design.

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Well, I met Peter from PBN at RMAF and, what a nice guy! I had met the eningeer for that image control waveguide, Charles Sprinkle, at CES about 10 years ago and the engineer for the D2 compression driver was a friend of a former colleague. It’s all great stuff but those JBL woofers are designed for high sensitivty and output but have around a 7 mm Xmax and aren’t really designed for deep bass output and extension.

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Hi Steven,

Thanks for the question. The perforated grilles shown are a grained and anodized aluminum.

The cabinets, apart from the sliding attachment mechanism are made from MDF with extensive bracing and finished in a water based lacquer. These are not molded parts and are CNC milled.

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I hope they work because I am unaware of Chris’s pedigree as a speaker designer. Full range speakers are really difficult to get right. Several very successful designers have attested to that. There was a chap posting here who had a pair of Magico M3 that cost about $100k and applied a high pass filter and got some good REL subs. Probably cost him another $20k. I heard those speakers at a demo and hated the bass so much I had to leave the room after half an hour. My idea of great thunderous bass is the PMC 15" radial driver in their BB5 and BB6 speakers, and I am probably in good company as it is a drive unit that has 30 years of proven success in both the pro and consumer markets, and which they have improved upon with their 10" carbon fibre/Nomex piston bass drivers (with a 6" version for consumer products). I seem to remember the 15" driver was originally designed for the BBC Maida Vale Studios 30 years ago, think The Peel Sessions, and a friend was telling me on Saturday about a recent visit for a recording of the Brahms and Schoenberg violin concertos. Until the AN3 are available to hear, it’s pointless speculating about how they perfrom. What is likely to be an important factor is the extent to which the bass response can be programmed with DSP, which is the advantage of an active system.

My personal viewpoint is that I am not a bass junkie, there are very few full range speakers that I think I could live with, and for a lot of people, me included, integrating a subwoofer is a much more practical solution. It is also a lot more cost effective.

That said, I’ve heard a few full range speakers that I thought were truly magnificent, like the Wilson Sasha DAW.

This may be a sore point, but I would have thought the best way to launch a speaker is in a top rate dealer listening room with an invited audience. I’ve been to a few. Difficult with no dealers. Audio shows usually have room issues. I went to the launch of the Dynaudio contour range in a truly magnificent hotel room at a show in London, must have cost them a fortune, but well worth it.

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Thanks, sounds like quite a time consuming process getting that finish, what with milling, sanding, sealing, umpteen coats and polishing.

Yes, the mid bass is really present and impactful, but, they need a bit of reinforcement below 40hz. They are a 2 way speaker, crossed at 900hz.

In addition, the sound waves already have a 13’ of travel before exiting the speakers…13’ extra feet back really offers a lower frequency response for most any given room…

Although I was also impressed by the bass of a large PMC speaker at the last show, the last thing to doubt about at the AN3 seems the bass.

I’m most interested how the positioning of the drivers in the chassis work with the room.

Active driven the sub woofers make a hack of a lot difference.

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Well, when considering how drivers integrate and their distance apart, you have to consider the wavelengths of sound they are reproducing. The actual crossover points are such that we are inside a quarter wavelength at the crossover and things integrate very well.

Take a look at KEF’s world-class Blade speakers. They use a similar approach with a similar crossover point between the midrange and woofer and similar distances involved and tout their integration and “single apparent source”.

Phase and and time alignment would be a good topic for a quite paper or youtube video. There is a lot misunderstood on this and also a lot of academic work regarding perception and our physiology. It is probably beyond the scope of a forum post but I can talk more about it, at some point.

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That’s for sure.

I went to a demo by Peter Thomas at which he played some files he’d recorded in the studio of uncompressed percussion. It was staggeringly real. He explained that some compression is usually applied simply because without many drivers could not cope with it and could be damaged.

This speaker looks F****** AWESOME!!!