FAB audio 1 speakers, how good are they?

Been hearing a lot of good things about them. Fascinated by the prospect of a part electrostatic speaker. Was dissatisfied with my Avantgarde duo's (poor bass, poor soundstaging a little too lean for my liking) Audio physic avanti's (not exciting enough)Hyperions 938, ( better than the duo's, but very refined and needs careful matching with the front end to ensure a lively sound).
About to try Audio note ANe/sp because I was so shocked by the musical involvement obtained from one of their DAC's that I just have to start trying their other products. For the first time i stopped analysing the system and started listening to the intricacies of the musical score.

rest of system

Canary Audio 339 monos with TJ 300's

Bent audio passive and the amazing space tech lab pre 113

Audio Note DAC 2.1 Teac vrds transport (await CDT 2 to arrive), apl and modwright high definition digital players.

Stax electrostatic earphones.

Platine verdier, ET2, Graham arm, ZYX and dynavector cartridges. Bent audio mc transformer.

Hoping to have in shortly P4 audio note power amps, ANe/sp speakers and M4 preamplifier.
I am not familiar with the Model 1, but I do own and enjoy the Stonehenge, which utilizes the same tweeter and woofer (only 1 in the Stonehenge) as the Model 1 in a simpler cabinet.

I find the Stonehenge speakers bring a power and scale to the music not attainable with most other speakers (and certainly not on a handful of watts/channel). They present a very vivid sonic picture, but do not err on the clinical or bright side because of the balance in the bottom end.

If you like a relaxed, laid-back soundstage, then the Stonehenge might not be your cup of tea, but if you like realistic dynamics and presence, then check out the Fab line.
My system is posted here. It's similar in many ways to yours, with an Audio Note front end and SET amp. I've been using the Model 1 for about 4 months. They replaced my previous Coincident Total Victories, which were driven by the CA-339, coincidentally.

The Fabs are remarkable speakers. The have very high resolution, excellent dynamics, a real sense of life, and are faster than a Ferrari. As Tasos1 says, they're not laid back - they are very lively and involving, with a third-row presentation rather than mid-hall. They will let everything upstream through, and you'll hear a big difference between the Canaries and a SET amp - in comparison to the SETs I've tried with them, the big Canaries sound a bit unrefined. The speakers themselves are incisive without being bright. There is no honk, and no boxiness that I can hear. They have a very clean, clear sound that is reminiscent of electrostatics. They can let you hear right back into the original recording venues, which is what I like.

Because of their capabilities they are sensitive to room placement. When they are pulled well out from the front wall the resolution improves at the expense of the bass. Pushed back the tonality gets fuller but the resolution and imaging don't develop as much as they can. As a result I've added a pair of subs to fill out the bottom end, and have the speakers pulled out for best detail. The front face of the speaker is about 5 feet from the wall, and with the subs filling in the upper bass it's the best of both worlds.
I heard them at length with Audio Upgrades modified equipment and MuRata super tweeters.

To my ears, they were the most lifelike speakers I have heard in terms of dynamics and bite. Total lack of boxiness as well. Fantastic speakers. The one issue was that they sounded slightly hot to me, but I'm treble sensitive and actually don't mind a slightly rolled-off top-end...

I think it was the MuRatas that weren't doing too well with me (despite the rave reviews) and not an issue with the Model 1s.

thank you for your generous response. Yes we do have a similarity in our systems.

Of particular interest I note from your threads your move from active to passive to active preamplifier exactly like me. Myself I moved from a Hovland Hp100 to a Bent audio then realizing a slight weakness in the bass and delineation of the musicians I discovered (like you again) a super bargain, which improved in all area in the shape of the incredibly cheap Space tech lab at an incredible $700 !!!

Now I know audio note is not that well distributed in North America, but the fact that you discovered a magic in the Audio note as I have makes me question one thing.

Without a shadow of a doubt the audio notes provide that all important ingredient MUSICALITY. That is you can feel and see how the musicians interact with one another to make the musical piece a whole. This gets you emotionally connected and stops me from searching for faults in individual areas such as soundstaging, micro and macro dynamics, etc etc. Although the sum of all those factors no doubt end up giving you the magic I mention. Have you also noticed how few reviews concentarte on the all important emotional impact of the sound of individual units. Well for the first time in my life I can say Audio Note have reminded me that this is what its all about. I do not mean to be opinionated, just so happy I have discovered audio nirvana. Your goals may be different to mine.

So I am at the present time extremely intrigued by the Audio Note ANE speakers.

How musical would you rate the FAB's to be?

Sorry coming back to my question, in the uk and Japan(kondo) audionote are famous first and foremost for their 300b valve amplifiers. Their speakers are also often described as the most musical around. What i am saying is that if all other hifi criteria are of an excellent standard and on top of that you also get 'musicality'it seems to me to make sence to go forth with that trait above all others. e.g in my opinion The Jadis JA80's are more 'musical' than the Canary ca339, but lack its refinement. Any reason why you have so far not apparently been tempted towards an all audio note set up?

Musicality, that's the Grail, isn't it? And how do we get there without sacrificing all the audiophile shivers and twitches? In my experience there are two roads to nirvana. One involves saying, "To hell with the audiophile stuff - I want toe-tapping involvement, and I don't care about imaging and gnat's-whisker resolution." The other involves searching out all the audiophile stuff first, then moving through it (either through planning or luck) to where the musical intent of the artists appears within all the bells and whistles. The first is certainly cheaper, the latter gives you a system that does "Holy Cow!" on a few more levels, but at a much higher price.

The Fab Model 1's are firmly in that second camp. They have enough resolution, transparency and dynamics to easily turn into a standard "audiophile" system. All you need is a well-reviewed solid-state amp, an oversampling CD player and some Valhalla wire and hey presto, you're there. On the other hand, if you treat them nicely all the music that comes down the chain will make it out into the room.

One intrinsic advantage the Fabs have is that their efficiency will prompt most buyers to mate them with SET amps. This will automatically start them off on the right foot. Put a good turntable or a musically valid CD system in front of that, and you're pretty much there.

On the question about all Audio Note systems - the only reason I haven't gone that direction is circumstance. I started building this system about three years ago, and I didn't know about Qvortrup and company back then. I did know about Coincident, so when I was looking for a statement speaker to anchor the system, I bought Israel's Total Victories. Then I was smitten by a KR integrated amp, and then I started buying a lot of stuff off the net, based on web reviews. That approach doesn't lead you into a full AN system - for that you need a dealer who can demonstrate one to you.

While my dealer does sell AN and is very conscientious about helping his clients build good systems, he never had enough high end AN gear on hand to really show me the magic. I'm not that upset though, because the system (most of which came from his shop in the end) turned out all right anyway, and my experience with PX25 amps has been more positive than with 300Bs.

I do suspect that if he'd played me a system with a 3.1x Balanced DAC, an M5, Conqueror amps and a pair of high end AN-E speakers, I'd have been a dead duck...

thank you for your response, much appreciated and fascinating. I suppose i should not exclude from a review that musicality and the emotional impact of the music has not been taken into account simply becauase it has not been mentioned. I will experiment with some more audio note gear and look into triode operated non 300b set ups. I strongly suspect that you are absolutely right in having a better experience with the single ended non 300b's.
I too own the FAB Audio Model 1 speakers like Gliderguider above and share his sentiments about its characteristics. I first heard them at the Montreal audio show back in early April 2005 and they and one other room (WLM speakers + Audio Aero electronics) were the only 2 rooms out of about 50-80 rooms that had a special musical presence making it appear that the musicians were before you. The other rooms while sounding good lacked this elusive quality that until it's heard you don't know how much you're missing until it's been experienced. My system is a little bit different from yours or Gliderguiders but I would echo the praise about the Model 1 speaker. The only caveat I would warn you about is that they tend to have a low WAF due to their boxy appearance but maybe this isn't a factor for you. Jim, one of the two company owners, is very approachable, provides prompt post sales support, can be very helpful and will deliver and set them up if you live in the Toronto area like I do. What more can I say? For the record I plan on replacing my VTL amp (that's too powerful and not refined enough) with a SET amp so suggestions, 300B, PX25(Telefunken's version of a 300B), or otherwise, are all encouraged. If there is anything specific you'd like to know about that none of us has yet addressed, then please ask away . . .