Boulder, USA | 2023 – Aspen FR20, the perfect size loudspeaker for any room.
The ground-breaking aspen series of loudspeakers sets new standards for what is possible in home audio reproduction. Now, with the introduction of the smaller FR20, it is finally possible to bring the magic of aspens into more people’s homes.
The aspen loudspeaker series 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, both the FR30 and FR20 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, and compatible with any room size, the aspen FR20 is a dream come true.
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 FR20 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 FR20. 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 FR20, 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. While the FR20, like all high-performance speakers, appreciates some breathing room between them and the front wall, placement in the room for best performance is a snap. 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 and we would follow it up with a smaller model, the FR20. Both would have unquestioned dynamics. They would be full range and capable of being driven by just about any amplifier. Their high-frequency drivers would have lower mass than the air they were driving and the speed and clarity of the best electrostats. Their midrange driver would be so transparent and uncolored as to be unnoticeable. And our speakers would never be shy when it came to the low end. With the FR20’s 4 woofers per pair of speakers supported by 4 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 FR20, 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 FR20. 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 FR20 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 single progressive Nomex spider with stitched-in lead wires. The woofer cones are a low-mass PMI foam core with non-woven carbon fiber skins on each side. 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 FR20 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 FR20 stands as a proud sculpture comfortable in almost every decor. Internally, the FR20 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. 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). A masterpiece of design and love, crafted by those of us that care deeply about music and its reproduction in the home.
|Pearl White, Sable Black
|Passive radiator (two, 10” side-firing passive radiators)
|High Frequency Transducer
|2.5” planar magnetic with Teonex diaphragm
|Mid Frequency Transducer
|10” planar magnetic with Teonex diaphragm
|Low Frequency Transducer
|2 x 8” woofers, cast frame, carbon fiber Rohacell sandwich cone, 12lb advanced magnet structure
|400 Hz, 2500 Hz – Linkwitz-Riley 4th order acoustic
|Sensitivity (2.83V @ 1M)
|4 ohm (3.5 ohm minimum impedance)
|Recommended Amplifier Power
|23Hz-20kHz (-6dB) half space, 20 Hz (-6dB) in-room
|50.5” x 16” x 18.75″
|133 lbs (60.3 kg)