Review: B&W FPM 6 Monitor
Hi-Fi audio speakers have always been a goal of mine, and recently, my wife and I decided to take the dive and get a nice set of speakers. My wife wanted Bose-sized speakers, and I wanted great sounding speakers. Let me say right now that I do not feel compromised in getting the FPM6's! They are fantastic speakers, and are not intrusive in terms of space. They are fairly tall, but are only 5 inches deep, and abou 6.5 inches wide. Now onto the discussion of sound. I'm going to do this a bit differently, and break this review up into musical genres.
Vocal Music: This category is a main reason why I love B&W speakers in general, and particualarly the FPM6's (with 2 kevlar midrange/bass 5 inch cones). I auditioned these against Klipsh and have listened to Martin Logan's, both of whom have flat moniter models - and am thoroughly happy with the vocal clarity and warmth of the FPM's. While listening to Orlando di Lasso's "Tristis est anima mea" (a sorrowful song done by an accapella boys/mens choir) I was able to experience the FULL spectrum of the vocal range. The human voice goes, at it's lowest, around 80hz, which is not a problem for the dual functioning drivers. The depth of the cathedral was apparent in the recording, as was the virtuosity of the chior members, who cleanly articulated all harsh consonants (t's, d's, s's, etc). These speakers are VERY at home with any vocal recordings.
Instrumental: What way is better to test the range and diversity of a speaker, than using a grand scale pipe organ recording? With the largest frequency range of any instrument, and a huge number of tonal selections (reed werkes, trumpet werkes, etc. - oh yes - werkes are the pipes that form the sound quality of different organ sounds). I decided to use J.S. Bach's Preludium et Fuga in Am (BWV 543 for those who care) in my audition. From the soft flute like sounds, to the sharp trumpet werkes, the tonal clarity of the numerous werkes used was fantastic! I could distingush the sounds of the organist's feet clicking on the foot pedals, and fingers tapping on the keyboards - which gave it a very live feel! The bass extention offered by the FPM 6's is very astounding considering their size, but for any bass enthusiasts - they may fall short. The low extention of the organ was realized more fully as I turned the volume up on my receiver, but to get the full feel of this piece, the speakers should be paired with a nice sub (B&W reccomends the PV1 - but I didnt have the money or desire to purchase a sub). Overall, the speakers performed exceedingly well, but again - do not have the low end extention of a full floor standing speaker.
Rock: I listened to Switchfoot's "This is your life," since it distplays many electronica sounds and also has a lot of edgy distortion and fuzz. You'll hear distortion in a whole new way with these drivers. I'm a guitarist and play guitar with distortion all the time, and the only other times I've heard it so crip was when I was recording in the studio. Needless to say the guitar reproduction was more than satisfactory. The drums brought out the analytical side of the speakers. B&W speakers in general, being used as studio moniters becuase of this quality, do have the ability to distinguish many 'voices' and have them all come across very cleanly. I could listen to the track over and over, focusing on one aspect (the ride cymbal for example) and learn something new each time. This may be a good or bad quality depending on your opinion. They don't 'tear apart the music,' but they are a warm speaker which can distinguish between many different sound qualityies.
Jazz: For all the cool cat's out there, you cant have a musical genre review without Jazz! Albeit - some may not see my choice of Nora Jones 'shoot the moon' as true jazz, but I chose it largely because she uses a VERY acoustic and earthy band - which is hard to reproduce accuratly (especially the acoustic bass). The FPM 6's DID reproduce it accuratly. From the nuaces of Nora's sublte piano playing, the harmonics on the acoutis guitar, to the hollow sound of the acoustic bass, the details were captured. Nora's voice came thru cleanly and evenly - again - vocal music is part of the reason I chose these speakers.
Conclusion: I never realized how much I truely liked these speakers until I sat down to review them. I gave them about a month to break in and open up (which they did) and fell in love with the sound all over again! These speakers are very solid - and you get what you expect - a great sounding system. I'm no audiophile, but I am a musician with a critial ear who loves to listen! I should mention that these speakers are mounted on the optional floor stands - which helps the imaging tremendously. Hope this review helped.
Rotel RSX 1052 Receiver (stereo 100 W.P.C)
Toshiba CD player
Monster HTS2000 A/C Filter
Monster MK100 RCA interconnects
Klipsh - Flat monitor range
Martin Logan Fresco