I live in NorCal, same general area as Fritz Heiler, long-time small scale high end speaker maker. Over time, I have always been curious about trying a set of his standmount speakers, with his overall good reputation, loyal following, and many reporting the outstanding musicality of his speakers. Finally had the opportunity few weeks back, we met up briefly and he passed me a set of his Carrera Be speakers to try. There are many positive reviews on this and other forums on Fritz’s speakers, but today allow me to add mine.
Details here -- http://www.fritzspeakers.com/CarreraBESpecifications.htm
I am a long time fan of BBC monitors and their descendants, from the Rogers LS3/5A, Spendor BC1 and SP1, and modern day Harbeths Proacs etc etc. I still have several sets of these, used with various tube and solid state amps ranging from Audio Research, Linear Tube Audio, Hegel, Pass/First Watt, Primare, Naim etc etc. Most recently I bought a set of Clayton Shaw’s open baffle Spatial M3 Sapphires as well as the Carver Crimson 275 tube amp.
I am not a professional reviewer, I buy equipment sometimes new, and usually used, from this as well as the other used gear sites. This has been one of my main passions/hobbies since the early 80’s. I have been more active here on A-gon since Covid shut us in last yeat, and Fritz saw my various posts and suggested I try a set of his speakers and then share my thoughts.
Regarding Fritz’s Carrera BE speakers, I would summarize with the following points:
-- lovely overall voicing, balance and coherence (especially integrating the tricky beryllium tweeter)... ever so slightly forward in presentation but without the typical Be tweeter touchiness/harshness typically seen in Focals Magicos etc etc
-- excellent bass amplitude and quality from a relatively small enclosure (rear ported of course) - these are smaller than Harbeth Compact 7’s, larger than the P3’s
-- tremendous midrange transparency, ‘honesty’ and a very natural presentation with a good degree of warmth and body
-- spectacular openness, imaging and depth - as smaller bookshelfs are apt to do, they disappear into the expanse of music
-- i really enjoyed his speakers, and while i need another set of standmounts like i need another hole in my head, i still bought them to have as part of the collection
To the above, I would add the following comments:
-- to my ear, these speakers are best with some tubes in the signal chain - an all solid state audio chain will require careful selection of ultra clean and smooth sounding componentry (think Pass, Hegel, Ayre...)... more mundane solid state amps will likely result in some edge heard through the Be tweeter, esp. with digital sources
-- the bass response and mid/bass driver selection makes for a tube amp friendly load -- in fact, the pairing of the Carver Crimson 275 or ARC Reference 75 KT120 amps to the Carreras were just perfect to my ear - quick, deep, controlled bass coupled with a magical tone, spectacularly wide and deep soundstage, silky yet clear treble, excellent dynamics and no smearing of transients
-- bass freaks will want subs such as Rels but for most, the overall balance and richness of bass and mids provided by the Carreras will work well as full range speakers - once again, credit Fritz for excellent voicing
-- comparatively, to my ear, Fritz’s clever voicing exactly splits the difference between the tonal richness, warmth and listenability of classic Spendors and Vandersteens, and the more upfront, more hifi, sparkling, ’live’ sound of ProAcs and Spatials (and far from the brighter leaner etched sound of B&W’s, Magicos etc etc)... in terms of tonal balance, they are very close to the latest XD versions of Harbeths C7/SHL5 but in my view, they are ever so slightly superior in dynamics -- (of course, at $3250-3500 for a set of the Fritz’s, they compare very well indeed to the Harbeths which, with recent price increases, have gotten, imo, somewhat too expensive for what they offer, at $5-6-7 grand a pair).