I heard a complete FM Acoustics system at the Stereophile show in San Francisco a few years back. Some of the best sound I've ever heard.
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Tom Choy of Audio Lab in Honolulu has FM Acoustics equipment. It is truly SOTA. I heard the Resolution 411 poweramp hooked up to a BAT preamp and VK-D5 CDP and it was some of the best-sounding equipment I've ever heard on very difficult music--massed voices of large choirs. No problem--separation, detail, extension, air, and great sweetness. I think the FM poweramp I heard goes for $8.5K used!
I listen music with FM Acoustics preamps and amps through Urei813C loudspeakers. Increadibly accurate and smooth, deep bass response, silky highs and a stage image which makes you believe to be next to the musicans. Especially good for wind and strings and voices, FM Acoustics is for live. you better invest in this than middle class car. much more satisfaction
I am quite familiar with their gear. If you are of the school of very expensive equals very good and if you are not very familiar with the sound of live music you will indeed find their gear exceptional and indeed it is in a sort of hi-fi-ish way. It is all what chrbernhard above has said. Compared with the real thing however, to these here ears you'll find more satisfying gear at very much less cost. But then of course, all listening is always subjective.........
"Compared with the real thing however, to these here ears you'll find more satisfying gear at very much less cost."
Could you give us some examples? I'm just asking for you opinion because I like the way your post recognizes that some high end equipment falls short of total satisfaction even though all the usual audiophile quantifiers add up to greatness.
You state my point much better and more concise as I could have done. What spontaneously comes to mind is the old Jadis gear or the AR preamps, the Sp 8 to 12 and their 78 and 150 amps from the seventies or was it the eighties, the Stax monoblocks, all the Spectrals, the ML 20 monos, the early Krell 100 and 200 and yes most of Tim Paravicinis designs and all the Atmas, just to mention a few. That gear has tons of PRAT, is immensely musical, when set up right.
I have a humble Jolida, which is a bit modded and tube rolled which to my ears sounds more musical than Manuel Hubers gear ever will and if you want to get close to his costs, still quite a bit less though, there is the Zanden chain, which sometimes comes uncannily close to what I know of live music.
The FM Accoustics, like the Goldmund stuff by the way, have sheer perfect specs, perform at a level which seems to have all the attributes we crave for, but somehow they don't involve me in the music. To put it simply, they somehow seem to leave me cold, even bore me. Maybe I need the "distortion of tubes", although please there is also SS gear in my little list.
I have friends who have sold pretty expensive gear in favor of modded Jolidas. I'm happy you mentioned Paravicinis designs because I've wanted to audition them for a while now. Also, don't let the SS crowd make light of your passion for the "distortion of tubes". An X-Ray of Halle Berry might provide a more accurate, detailed representation but it's not what I would choose to fill a picture frame.
I have heard recently a FM acoustic system (amp and also their new loudspeakers)at a dealer. Was nice, but overpriced. Heard on the same day a Spectral+Magico Mini2 combination at the same dealer: I found the sound much more involving. FM sound was a little bit cold to me (heard also the Magico Minio with Spectral and with a FM acoustic amp on different day, the SPectral sounded better in my memories... but difficult to compare systems 3 months apart).
At the end, I bought a Dartzeel amp: I am feeling much more involved by the music than with Spectral or FM Acoustics, and I don't lose anything on transient speed.
As my hearing matures and got tired of playing around with equipments (28yrs--made many costly mistakes along the way), I came to realize that the FM 611 is definitely a keeper! Have been serving my home 15yrs of hassle-free musical bliss now..
Would love to hear and share with other FM owners their findings. Also from anyone who had experiences with their latest offerings (FM 115 and FM 1811)? Hearsay even more 'refined' than previous line-ups ie. 411mkII, 611x and 811mkII.
17yrs from their first introduction (in '91 if I'm not mistaken), Resolution Series were the benchmark for many designers to aspire to. Having learnt a trick or two, yes I heard few 'makes' managed to come up with really great sounding products too.
But problem is, as others were just about approaching this (almost) two decades old design's performance, FM Acoustics again took off with yet other breakthroughs in their 1811 (amp) & 268 (pre).
As I'm thinking of an upgrade, and this is a substantial outlay, would really appreciate if someone who had a 'genuine' first hand experience with the above products to share their thoughts. Just as I've been faithful enough to live with the 611 for more than 15yrs, this next amp purchase might also well be my last..
Replying to Bvdiman's 10-31-08 post: I have had the opportunity to listen to the a pair of 1811s driving the Genesis 1.1 loudspeaker system and must say it is really good. After having in my system FM 255 pre and 811 power combo for the good part of 07 years I can only testify that Fms are the ultimate in it's class. The "Rolls Royce" of hi-fi , period.
Having heard recently two different set-ups of 'FM Inspiration System1s', one being driven by 266mkII and a pair of 1811s. The other a 268 with a pair of their Anniversary 2011s (total 4pcs).. Left me plain speechless! Made me took the plunge and bought their 268 to partner them with my 611 for the time being. Now, thinking of ways of how to afford those amp plus speakers and a cdp upgrade, hopefully soon when this crisis eases off.. ;) And thanks, your response sure put more weight into my decision. Cheers!
Hi Bvdiman, thanks for the reply on the other thread. I have read your threads and this is what has really peaked my interest because I'm also at the same stage you were at not too long ago.
The amps and other gear you mention, I have had a few of the same pieces and in 2004 I actually had the same AR 600 MKIII's you had in 2005 and yes paired up with the Ref3 which I still have currently. I also had at the same time a VTL 7.5 pre and Ref 750's paired up with Avalon Isis speakers, I was switching back and forth and trying different combo's. In the end I just could not get what I wanted out of the set-up as a whole. This is a separate system in a designated room and not where my MBL's are set-up which is in a living room atmosphere. I decided to sell the Isis and the person who wanted them wanted everything including cables so I sold everything and to date I have not yet replaced. I had actually bought the MBL's with the intention for them to go into this room but they first went into the living rm, they just sound so marvelous in this rm and are my favourite speakers and will be staying where they are.
Those AR amps were the biggest amps I have ever owned to date and the rest you already know.
I purchased a new pair of CAT JL3 Sig. MKII mono'ss aprox. a year ago specifically in mind to be paired up with the MBL's but unfortunately it just did not work out long term, lets just say the negative information you hear and read, well it's all so true so I decided I wanted no part of that and sold them. Currently I have not replaced them and have some 60 watt mono's in place to tie me over.
I have read what little I have found about FM products but have never personally heard any of the product, I have read where some individuals make reference saying they are over priced and too hyped up and aren't all that and you can spend allot less and get the same or even better. I even read one of your posts where you made reference to saying;
"they also tended to be rather bright, with high listener fatigue and a touch on the clinical side of things."
which I have to say makes me have a second thought especially at the high cost factor.
I find my self doing allot more research this time arround.
When I read some of your threads I have to it was like I was looking into a mirror saying to my self could this be true?
Bvdiman I have to admit I hear you load and clear when you said;
"I have tried the long, hard and winding ways to elude spending so much on insanely priced equipments myself. However, in the end just have to take my hat off and throw in the towel to the FMAs. Those lengthy trip not only left me very little time to enjoy music (more the equipments), they also ended up being 'costlier' too (factoring each amp trade-ins and cable swapping for the last 15yrs!)."
What is the rest of your set-up and size of room, I believe I read you live in S.E.Asia. right?
Anyone else reading this thread I would like your thoughts also. Recommendations of what you would think would be a good fit with my current pces, positive and negative welcome.
MBL 101E speakers, red book cd only, no phone so line stage only needed. Remote preferred
Sources; Oracle 2000 transport paired up with Accustic Arts Hybrid Tube Dac, cables Stealth, Indra Balanced two sets, Sextet digital, Dream power cords threw out, two sets of Dream speaker cables as my MBL's are true bi-wire.
Re my remarks of the FM266, in my full post I was implying that in comparison they were actually the more truthful to the source. You remember in late 80's early 90's back when digital were premature? FMAs seems to have their voicing on track even back then. Unlike the many other pre-amps which compensate digital's shortcomings by giving them nice warm beautiful cloaks to make them 'look' good, the 266 simply laid them bare. I had a friend brought over his '16yrs old' FM266 earlier this year to compare with my REF3 (with current digital rigs) it made me the more convinced that FMA were just ahead of time.
This prompts me to an FM266mkII, and finally last month the FM268. Since the 266mkII was still a loaner, I decided to make the jump now rather than too late after depreciated cost has been factored in by my dealer. It also freed me the thoughts of any pre-amp upgrading in a very very distant future. Beside an obvious step up in sound quality, into consideration also is the 268 excellent built-in linearizer plus remote convenience over the 266mkII.
Dev, again I cannot warrant any recommendation other than to speak from personal experiences. There will be just too many variables - components synergy, room factors, not to mention tastes and differences in priorities. But I can swear by the brand and attest that they are the best 'I' have encountered thus far. As their cost is quite substantial, do find time to audition them yourself possibly in your own set-up. My guess is driving your MBLs, you might need one of their bigger amp - say the FM1811 which if not mistaken list is CHF125,000 (nett price policy, lucky if your kind dealer can give a 5% break on them). However, I strongly believe in our journey towards 'audio grail', this will be the one road worth traveling, to have an FM experience, whether or not you ending up with one.
Ps.this post is getting too long, I will save my room and equipment details for another time.
Bvdiman, I hear you. In the ideal world would be to find someone who has the same speakers as mine with FM product and already has them dialed in and have a listen.
My set-up would be pretty simple as it would only be a line source for CD playback.
Are you currently using Magico Mini II's.
Does this product run warm, hot ..... I read info. referring to having two fans inside to cool them. Do you hear the fans.
Ok, here's a suggestion, when you get in touch with your FMA dealer..
Amplifier - Ask to audition the FM115 mono config. (250W 8ohms, 450W 4ohms). They list around CHF85,000. If this is insufficient to drive your speakers/room then you will need the FM1811. Sound wise they are both fairly similar in characteristic and quality, and a refinement over the older Resolution series.
Pre-Amp - Partner them with either an FM255mkII, FM266mkII or the FM268 (depending on how far you want to stretch your budget). For pre-amps, unlike their amplifiers, I heard more significant improvements each time you climb up the ladder.
(I came to above conclusion as I'm doing this upgrade in stages (cost consideration), I was thinking to either buy the amp or pre first. I tested two combinations, one 1811/REF3 and the other being 611/268. I had much better result with the latter, therefore decided on the FM268 first and do the amp upgrade later).
Cables - Tie them all up with FM's cabling (a must!). Forceline3 spkr cable and PIT (Precision Interface Technology) ic's. This is where it gets a bit sweet, though not as expensive, they put to rest my Valhallas, Synergistic Designer's Reference2 and Siltech G6 ic's and speaker cables. You will save a bit here as you don't need tenths of thousands of dollar in cabling to make your system work!
I have now actually heard the above FMs amp/pre-amp combinations in 5 different speakers set-ups ranging from tiny MiniII to the giants - Wilson Wamm, Kharma Grand exquisite, Acapella Campanile and FM's own Inspiration System - where all sounded truly amazing! However as none featuring your MBLs, I did hesitate initially. Goodluck! But given the odds, with the superb combinations above I'm sure you will not need one.
Oops.. the previous tell tale post was for Chris re insane pricing.
Dev, my FM611 is the older gen, I've had it for more than 15yrs. They do not have cooling fans yet, the newer FM611X got them. Also the 115 and 1811. My amp runs warm but not hot, they have thermal protection circuit which shut off and stabilize amp once the maximum thermal temperature is reached, light blinks for 10 seconds and they are back ready for action! Btw.Their fans are whisper quiet, in the many friends set-ups, never once I notice their existence nor feel them to be intrusive.
This post was meant to be prior to the above >>
Chris, I fully agree with you re their insane pricing, their stingy discount policy gives me the irk too! However, here's a story I'd like to share which happen late last year. A friend with the Kharma Grand Exquisite speakers ($300K+), tried to compete with this other guy driving the full FM Inspiration System1. However out of pride and not wanting to be called a follower, he tried all means to avoid the FMA gears used by the other guy (certainly not cost consideration as this Kharma guy has in his garage 2 Ferrari Enzo!!).
He then seeks and even imported some of the best gears he knew ranging from Golmund Telos 2500, top line Burmester, biggest Boulders, Spectrals to Wavacs, after six months of trying and huge monetary loss, he gave up and only to end up with--you guessed it--exactly what his 'competing' friend has-the full FMA work. Well.. we just have a good laugh each time this story is brought up within the local audiophile circle. A good effort, but just ain't good enough I guess.. ;)
Bvdiman, Wow! you are very fortunate to be able to get to hear all of these set-ups. They sure do vary, are they in close proximity of one another. I find it be very educational hearing others systems, helps assisting in what I do and don't want.
I was recently over at someones place and heard a set-up that was so detailed that it fatigued me within a very short period, this is not the type of system I would personally want to live with.
I read all the info. on FMC site including owners thoughts, very interesting indeed.
Looking at this list there is a variety of different sounds, can you briefly describe the sound and what FM product did they have connected. What was your favourite and down and why.
You are currently using Magico Mini II's correct?
What size of room do you have them set-up in.
Thanks for the info. to date.
It's remote have only volume up-down, mute and linearizer in/out functions, so a total of four buttons only. Thus frequency adjustments are not remote controllable.
Average to well recorded CDs do not need them, unless for very critical listening where minute changes of frequency shifts are desired or when compiling your own recordings. I switched them in mostly only for correcting popular recordings and/or some vintage ones--ella, louis, miles etc where recordings are usually poor--teeny, flat and shrill. It does a really great job of correcting and injecting lives into those ones! I have few favorite settings which I used for treatment of differing deficiencies.. Practically it's very simple to use, almost the set and forget type once u get used to those few routines.
And icing on the cake is--even when set 'flat' with linearizer function out of the circuit, it's still a damn fine pre-amp. Imo, at least twice better than their own widely acclaimed FM266mkII in all respect (I had them for 6 mths prior to 268), which is by itself a long time benchmark and no slouch either.
Bvdiman, greeting here from another Tidalist . I went to audition FMA today in a dealer near me. Pre : 255, Phono: 222, Amp: 801A and 611. Speaker : JBL 66000. All FMA cables and wires.
Admitly, FMA is very special product sonically, every aspect of sound reachs certain level, (pretty high end), the combination make special charm to listener.
Yet I was totally surprised the difference between 801A and 611, and more surprisingly, I prefer 801A to more modern 611. Bvdiman, have you heard 801A?
Hi Quanmer, glad that you liked them and able to discover that they are at least something special upon first hearing. Spend more time, and I think you will like them even more later.. ;) Three of my most 'happening moments' in 30yrs of audio was first--with FMA, second--exposure to WE 300B SET amps, and third--Tidal speakers.
Yes, I did compare my 611 before purchase with 811, 600A and 800A. (I'm not sure of the model you mentioned however). It was in the early 90s, if memory serves me right, our group of friends all concluded that the resolution series were better, just much more refined overall. Of course the 811 was superior, but unfortunately it was way out of my budget then.
My wild guess is that what you are hearing are probably either :
1) The 611 you demoed is not in its prime condition/serviced recently (well, its a 20yrs old amp)
2) Synergy issue - The Pro series amp better suiting the monitor type speakers you heard them with?
Below is a link from the FMA web, scroll down to about middle, there is a brief summary of differences between their Pro and Resolution series of amps :
Bvdiman, thanks for the info, in fact, the 611 and 801A are both in pristine condition. I was there for 4 hours listening. In the middle of listening session, there is one FMA owner shown up and join my audition, he also compared 801A and 611 before purchasing.
He also choose 801A instead of 611, 801A has more solid bottom end, mid and high are "darker" than 611, sound satge is deeper than 611. 611 is more pleasing to listen in the beginning, But 801A generates more accurate soundstage and more "body" than 611.
The owner of 801A is considering to buy 611, too, he told me that bi-wire is another "dream combo" he could reach another level of music heaven base on his real world experience. He also auditioned 1811, but the price is too steep for his budget, 1811 easily give him both world he is looking for (801A + 611), but bi-wire option can give him both world (95% of 1811) at less than half price of 1811.
810A has fan in the back side, which is noisy when it starts to function, so he decide to place 801A a little bit far from listening position, now he can live with 801A without the annoying fan noise.
Quanmer, thanks for sharing, it could be so as I have not done those comparison myself. However, If you intend to go for a second listen, ask your dealer to possibly step up using 266mkII for next audition. It is more dynamic, fuller and analogue sounding. Overall, Ime, a more effortless, grand and refine presentation compared to the 255mkII, who knows it will alter your amp preference then. ;)
Btw, FMA synergises with Tidal speakers really well, you should at least try request for a home audition so just to know. On the topic of synergy, I am hoping to try out the new soon to be release Tidal Impact amps (that is if my local dealer ever bring one in). Heard they are superb and something quite special too, but most importantly.. would most likely be the perfect match for our speakers.
Bvdiman, you read my mind, I am actually waiting for importer to bring Tidal electronics in , especially Pre amp (Presencio), so I don't want to rush myself to home audition of FMA rigs, I am afraid they will stay and later when Tidal arrive.........
Have you tried Soulution stuff, what do you think?