aspen FR30 Loudspeaker
50 years in the making. There has never been a loudspeaker like the FR30.
Our goals for the FR30 were to design and build a state-of-the-art full-range loudspeaker with extraordinarily low distortion, effortless reproduction, seamless tonality, and exquisite beauty.
Our highest expectations have been exceeded.
The aspen FR30 represents the culmination of 50 years of industry experience; learning in intimate detail what works and what does not; what it takes for a loudspeaker to disappear and leave only the magic of the music; designing a no-compromise phase-correct crossover; constructing a cabinet that does not color the sound; crafting a near-flat impedance curve for driving the speakers with any power amplifier, and when not even the most advanced driver manufacturer’s products are good enough to meet our exacting standards, designing woofers, radiators, tweeters, and midranges from scratch. In all respects, the FR30 will transcend your expectations of what it means to be called a reference loudspeaker.
No longer do you have to compromise.
Breathtaking to listen to, beautiful to behold. The aspen FR30.
Designing and building a new loudspeaker is both the easiest and hardest engineering challenge in all of high-fidelity. On the one hand, anyone can go online and buy a few drivers and bang together a box to make decent sound. On the other hand, the most difficult task in all of high-performance audio is crafting a seamless phase-correct output from two or more driver technologies. Over nearly a century of loudspeaker designs, few models have ever achieved legendary status. The FR30 joins the ranks of a rare handful of true full-range speakers that can honestly cover the frequency range of 28Hz to beyond 20kHz with grace, dynamics, slam, and low distortion. What’s captured on the disc is exactly what you’ll hear with a greater resolution than most have ever experienced. Grace, beauty, PRaT, power, and a musicality that is rare amongst 6 figure offerings from other manufacturers await owners of the aspen FR30. That this speaker is financially within reach of many makes it a miracle.
Loudspeakers are part of the family. With their presence, they grace our homes and living areas by bringing the joy of music into our lives. Unlike the electronics that drive them, to perform their best most loudspeakers depend on proper placement and optimized room parameters. The aspen FR30, however, is designed to more easily fit into any living environment and perform at their best with a minimum of setup hassles and a maximum of options. Using the rear-panel adjustments, FR30 owners can place their speakers where they best fit into the decor with nothing more than the flick of the baffle-step switch, or the turn of the rear tweeter control. While the FR30, like all high-performance speakers, appreciates some breathing room between them and the front wall, these unique rear-panel controls offer users greater flexibility of placement without sonic compromise. Using the included step-by-step guide and CD, setup, from unboxing to playing music, happens easily in a few short hours.
By far the most important piece in the HiFi chain is the loudspeaker. If the speaker cannot reproduce what’s it is fed from the electronic chain, the missing musical information is forever lost. To achieve all that music demands, over the years loudspeaker designers have tried to leverage every trick in the book: electrostats for details, conventional drivers for dynamics, planars for transparency, ribbons, domes, horns, open baffles, bipoles, dipoles. The list is endless and the choices and their inevitable sonic compromises daunting. With close to 50 years under our collective belts, we at PS Audio determined to design the perfect loudspeaker. Our strategy would be to combine the best of all possible driver and crossover technologies in a single coherent design. We would call it the FR30. It would have unquestioned dynamics. It would be full range and capable of being driven by just about any amplifier. Its high-frequency drivers would have lower mass than the air they were driving and the speed and clarity of the best electrostats. Its midrange driver would be so transparent and uncolored as to be unnoticeable. And our FR30 would never be shy when it came to the low end. With 8 woofers supported by 8 high compliance passive radiators, in-room bass response would be nothing short of legendary.
The heart and soul of any loudspeaker are its drivers, the transducers that in response to the amplifier’s demands pressurize the air and generate the music. Each driver must be optimized for the task at hand. In the FR30, it quickly became apparent we could not source from even the most advanced driver manufacturers in the world the ultra low-distortion high-dynamic output drivers we would need to build the FR30. We started with our tweeter and midrange for here are the two most difficult drivers to perfect. Moving air at high frequencies without colorations or distortion is a daunting task. On the FR30 we chose to go with a technology that has the speed of an electrostat with the dynamics of a cone. Planar Magnetics. These ultra-low distortion drivers are equally driven with front and rear magnetic structures that offer inherent linearity through symmetrical “push-pull” neodymium motor structures and directly driven ultra-low mass diaphragms with none of the cone or dome breakup, inductance modulation, or hysteresis distortion that plagues traditional drivers. For the low end, we crafted long-throw high-excursion woofers with massive 12-pound motor structures that match the effortlessness and transparency of the planar magnetic drivers. To lower distortion, we employed a unique split magnetic gap and a double faraday ring for low, linear inductance and wide bandwidth, coupled with a symmetrical double spider. Lastly, to achieve maximum linearity and extended deep bass extension without the compression and distortion of ports, we designed our own high compliance passive radiators.
Loudspeakers have an honored place in our homes. They often are the focal point of our living rooms and in that capacity must proudly make a statement of fitting elegance. The aspen FR30 enclosure design starts with the internal structure necessary for great sound and then lovingly sculpted into a work of art befitting our homes. With industrial design by famed Studio 63, the FR30 stands as a proud sculpture comfortable in almost every decor. Internally, the FR30 is an extensively braced enclosure designed to minimize external vibrations that have the potential of coloring the sound. Externally, the enclosures are lovingly finished with 20 coats of hand-rubbed high-grade “piano gloss” lacquer. While the main body and baffling structure are built with MDF, the sculpted front baffle is formed from a dense, rigid and well-damped high-tech thermoset fiberglass resin composite material with integrated high-frequency acoustic waveguides. Despite the FR30s cumulative weight of 230 pounds each, the speakers look to be almost floating as its curved bottom rests upon its sturdy aluminum base featuring large milled brass spikes with removable tips and integrated plastic feet for hard surfaces (and to aid in speaker placement). When delivered, the FR30 comes in two pieces: the upper midrange tweeter enclosure that easily couples onto the lower woofer enclosure through a custom machined sliding system. Together, the FR30 is stunning both visually and sonically. A masterpiece of design and love, crafted by those of us that care deeply about music and its reproduction in the home.
- FULL RANGE 3-WAY SYSTEM
- 87dB SENSITIVITY
- TWO 2.5″ PLANAR RIBBON TWEETERS
- 10″ PLANAR RIBBON MIDRANGE
- FOUR 8″ LOW DISTORTION HIGH EXCURSION WOOFERS
- FOUR 10″ LOW DISTORTION HIGH EXCURSION BASS RADIATORS
- REAR TWEETER LEVEL CONTROL
- BAFFLE STEP ADJUSTMENT FOR BEST SPEAKER PLACEMENT
- FLAT IMPEDANCE CURVE FOR EASY AMPLIFIER LOAD
- SMOOTH AND FULL OFF AXIS RESPONSE
- IN-ROOM BASS RESPONSE TO 20hz @ -6db
- TWO PIECE CABINET FOR EASY SETUP
- ADJUSTABLE FEET
- EASY TO POSITION FOR BEST PERFORMANCE
- HEAVY INTERNAL BRACING FOR LOW CABINET VIBRATION
- CUSTOM FILM CAPACITORS & PREMIUM AIR-CORE INDUCTORS
|Color Options||Pearl White, Sable Black|
|Enclosure Type||Two piece – Sealed upper cabinet mid-tweeter module, Passive radiator lower cabinet (4 10” side-firing passive radiators)|
|High Frequency Transducer||2 x 2.5” planar magnetic with Teonex diaphragm|
|Mid Frequency Transducer||10” planar magnetic with Teonex diaphragm|
|Low Frequency Transducer||4 x 8” woofers, cast frame, aluminum cone, 12lb advanced magnet structure|
|Crossover Frequency||400 Hz, 2500 Hz – LR4|
|Sensitivity (2.83V @ 1M)||87 dB|
|Nominal Impedance||4 ohm (3.2 ohm minimum impedance)|
|Recommended Amplifier Power||100-600W|
|Frequency Response||28Hz-20kHz (-6dB)|
|Dimensions (HxWxD)||60.5” x 16” x 25.75” with base (10” width not including base)|
|Net Weight||230 lbs (104.5 kg)|
The kind of effortlessness and scale that you get from big speakers
I consistently heard super-powerful bass, a really rich and robust midrange, smooth highs, and the kind of effortlessness and scale that you get from big speakers with large and/or lots of drivers….I heard no disparity between what the woofers and planar-magnetic drivers were playing……anyone looking for a pair of speakers that are this large and styled in such an unusual way should explore them. I could tell that there was at least the potential that amazing sound could emerge from them.
– Soundstage! Doug Schneider
Soaring highs and low-end heft
The Aspens projected an electrically charged soundfield that was big and dimensional, with notes that were bold and fully formed, supple and dynamic. Even the quieter moments seemed to emit an energetic presence, a kind of radiant musical assertiveness. The speakers sounded well balanced across the frequency range. They also balanced power and agility, machismo and finesse, soaring highs and low-end heft.
– Stereophile Magazine Robert Schryer
I haven’t heard much that can do what these do, even for 6 figures
the stories of the development, and all of the hyperbole that Paul seems to mention about them are absolutely deserved. These are truly world class speakers, capable of awesome dynamics, completely full range, detailed, and really disappear in the room. They were revealed delicate details in the middle of a mix while being powerful at the same time. I haven’t heard much that can do what these do, even for 6 figures. Very well done PS audio, congratulations on a great new product!
They look even better in real life
I listened to the FR30 for half an hour, playing different tracks, and I can tell you right away that this is an amazingly good sounding and balanced speaker. All instruments and voices sound very natural, there is nothing pointing out, and the sound is seamless from bottom to top. When I sat down in front of the speakers I immediately start listening to the music instead of listening to the gear or any defect in the sound. This tells me that the design of the speakers is very balanced and natural sounding. Not too much/less bass, midrange and top was airy and open with no edge. Speakers disappeared and the sound stage was wide and big, between and outside of the speakers. The system together with the FR30 sounded amazing, it was just like I had a band playing live in front of me .
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.
They look absolutely stunning and ‘OMG’ bass is something you PRAY to come out of a reviewer’s mouth!
congrats.. I imagine this product had a long, meticulous gestation period!
Music just explodes out of them
They are also remarkably unfazed by placement and room nodes. They just don’t seem to interact or excite a room at all, almost as if they exist in their own void. I’ve played around with a lot speakers around this price point and only the very best designs are able to achieve this.
The other thing that amazes me is the way they untangle complex strands of music, enabling the listener to focus in on individual lines, whilst still maintaining the overall coherency of a musical piece.
They are not in any way “boxy”. Music just explodes out of them way beyond the confines of the box and they are very “tuneful”.