The FR20's Are Here

I was worried the FR20 speaker might cost $20,000 - But actually less - Only $18,999 with excellent trade-in program. Looks like a great speaker.

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Very nice!! So with some creative trade purchase this is basically a $15k speakers. Looking forward to hearing comparison to the FR30s and other speakers. I wonder if FR20 + 2 Rel subs will best the FR30… Hmm… Curiouser and curiouser.

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Very cool! Now to get my finances in order …

As a very happy FR30 owner, it looks like PS Audio has created another amazing speaker. To get FR30 components in a FR20 sized speaker, with that Aspen design, for well under $20k should be a home run. I am a bit jealous of the reduced size, but then I will just crank up my FR30’s and feel better. Congrats Paul, Chris and team!

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Thanks. These are both amazing speakers and you’re luck to have the edge with the 30s.

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So, Paul . . .

If the FR-30’s are, for the sake of argument, 100% awesome - what % of their awesomeness do the FR-20’s represent?

Inquiring minds want to know.

And how would the recommendations for one over the other be affected by room considerations, if at all?

Thanks.

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Noticed this in the listed specs:

FR20: 23Hz-20kHz (-6dB) half space, 20 Hz (-6dB) in-room

FR30: 28Hz-20kHz (-6dB)

How is it that the FR20 is measuring lower on low end with fewer woofers? Am I missing something here?

I guess it’s about frequency linearity, the 30’s will be better. E.g, the 20s may go lower, but say 30hz may be much higher and more prominant, or may be less than the 20hz value

If I still had to live with non adjustable speakers, I’d place bigger ones in my room, check the critical room nodes (typicallly between 20-50 Hz) at their optimal position and then choose the speakers which roll off above the main node, maybe even above the upmost node (mostly that’s the smaller speaker I’d say) to then support it with an EQ’able sub. Everything else would just be possible for me if I had all options of room measures to flatten bass response in the room.

Hello,

Good catch! We have a mistake on the website that I’ve mentioned a couple of times. The 28 Hz number was a preliminary number done before I did final measurements and they both have the same bass extension at around 23-.24 Hz at 6 dB. Below is a ground plane measurements of the FR20 showing the bass extension and this is essentially identical to the FR30. The slight ripple is a measurement artifact because I measured these outside and am only about 25 ft away from a wall.

The FR30 has twice the number of woofers and so is capable of 6 dB greater output in the deep bass and has lower distortion and power compression at high output. The FR30 is also about 1 dB more sensitive, though both of them are best, dynamically, with somewhat higher power amplification.

Overall, according to me at least, the speakers sound quite similar, though the FR30 is a little “bigger” sounding in it’s image and you have the rear tweeter, which can add additional air/spaciousness (though this is room/install dependent).

Being that the array of woofers is smaller, the minimum listening distance (for best driver to driver integration) is smaller on the FR20. With the FR30, you want to be about a 8 ft away at a minimum seating distance.

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Also, keep in mind that that above measurement is an anechoic 2pi measurement so, in-room, the low bass will be boosted by the “room gain” and nearby boundaries. Being that a 20 Hz wave is ~55 ft long lots of boundaries are acoustically “near” and so you can get a good deal of lift in the deep bass in a lot of rooms.

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Chris, really appreciate your chiming in and I apologize that you’d addressed this somewhere along the line that I’d missed. Good to know!

Chris, how did you conceptually define the room you voiced your speakers for to achieve a reasonable FR?

By squarefeet and distance of speaker to front and side walls? Or just the latter two? Or is there a kind of rough standard for speaker developers in terms of distances leading to a certain bass support for the FR?

Well, there are a actually ton of academic papers written on this subject of reference rooms sizes and speaker placement. Both in standards for example domestic listening rooms (for example IEC 268-13, European Broadcasting union / ITU-R, and others) and characterization of the modal behavior and optimizing low frequency behavior.

However, this primarily meaningful below a couple hundred Hz where the rooms modal region dominates the sound. Above a few hundred hertz, the soundfield in the room is dominated by the speakers response and not so much the room.

From a low frequency alignment standpoint, we make the speaker flat (full 6 dB baffle step), so it will sound correct when pulled out from the wall a couple of feet (which you want to do to minimize combing and for the best imaging). We also target a slow, smooth roll-off in the bass, so as to take advantage of the increased room gain and boundary reinforcement in the low bass. Classically “flat” reflex alignments can tend to get peakier/boomy than these more gradual / sloped “extended bass shelf” tunings.

Generally, this is all just a good practice and northing proprietary or special but companies definitely have their own bass “voicings” and signature sounds.

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Thanks Chris, yes, the more one thinks about that, the more it gets obvious that the bass behavior of a speaker in a foreign room (e.g. at a customer) has little chance to sound “right” compared to where it was voiced.

Is it just a budget aspect for you not to design a bass DSP’able speaker or are there sound quality disadvantages in your opinion, which have relevance compared to the obvious benefits?

Well, I guess the better way to put it is that the bass response isn’t really “voiced” exactly. You just want it smooth and extended so it will work well in a variety of rooms.

You are welcome to DSP your/our speakers. Generally, in a hifi system where you may have analog source components you try to take it as far as you can with placement of the speaker and room acoustics and then only apply any EQ as as last step or last resort. EQ/DSP works particularly well at low frequency as far as taming peaks because you are simultaneously improving both the frequency response and time/decay performance of the system (where that isn’t the case at higher frequencies.

However, DSP kind of has a fixed “cost” (negative impact) to sound quality, depending on if you’re adding and additional AD/DA conversion and what the quality of the system/DSP hardware you’re using is, so I would try to get the maximum benefit from it, if you are employing it, to maximally overcome any negative effects.

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I have no personal experience with pure bass DSP (I’d certainly avoid complete DSP and therefore ADA conversion in a speaker, negative effects in mids/highs/imaging/timing would be obvious).

I was not sure if the digital conversion in the pure bass section is something to avoid or doesn’t matter due to the benefits. Did I understand you right that even pure bass DSP at a high standard has nameable negative effects in an all analog setup? Can you say what happens to the bass? This would be interesting finally.

I personally just use active analog controls in main speakers and sub.

Well, I’m not saying to specifically avoid DSP but (and there are a lot of forms and implementations of signal processing and so I would hate to generalize). DSP can be very powerful and it’s an area where there will be continued innovation.

I was speaker more in the context of using with a full-range speaker like the FR20/FR30. With subwoofers, there’s generally not much to be concerned about beyond the normal potential gain structure and delay issues .

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I have decades of experience with DSP and bass DSP, and have no idea why someone who has not heard a speaker would be interested in DSP’ing it in advance.

I was listening to the FR20’s in a roughly 12’x14’ room Sunday, and I had no desire to change it. FWIW.

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