The first delivery of the FR30

March 9, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

This past week found senior loudspeaker designer, Chris Brunhaver, and me dealing with all the fun present day air travel has to offer as we two masked men winged our way across the United States installing the first of the Aspen FR30 loudspeakers.

Stop number one was in Chicago where we met lucky owner, Greg, aka. Straightwire (on the PS Audio forums). Greg lives outside the city in one of Chicago's many suburbs.

This was going to be our first challenge. How do the FR30s work in a smaller room? Greg's room measured 10' x 14' with the back of the room open into another area of his basement. Tight to be sure, but because the FR30s are so easily adaptable to just about any room type, we were pretty confident it would be fine.

The proof would be in the listening.

If you're curious as to how it all worked out and wish to watch the setup process, we put together a 30-or-so'ish-minute video documentary.

You can watch the video here.

Later that evening, Chris and I boarded another plane for a second setup at a reviewer's home. No cameras or details permitted. 🙂

Then, it was on to Missouri for installation number three.

I'll detail that and post a second video tomorrow.

Stay tuned.

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33 comments on “The first delivery of the FR30”

  1. I thought that we were gonna see the FR30's being unboxed & put together...
    maybe in the next video.
    My listening room is 18' x 14' x 9' with a 16' hallway running from one end & 2 bedrooms running from the other end in a 'Y' configuration, so extra air volume for longer
    wavelengths, & I consider it to be way too small for a pair of FR30's...each to their own.
    As long as Greg is happy with the sound, that's all that matters ✌

    "Tight to be sure,"
    I can only imagine that once you've heard the FR30's in a listening room the size of MR2, then listening to them again in a room nearly a third of that size must be a bit sonically 'squeezy'.

    1. You can imagine. What I would love to hear is an analysis from Paul or better yet from Chris on what they heard in comparison to MR2. I suppose stating that analysis could be like walking a tight rope…..

      I’m glad Greg is happy and after seeing the video and room gives me hope, and at the same time some validation and ideas.

      1. I'd like to revisit Greg, his current enthusiasm & his 14' x 10'
        listening room in about 10 months...just to be sure 😉

        Also, I wonder how many reviewers are going to say
        something like, "These FR30's sound fantastic but they
        need a big room so that they can really open-up & breath."

        (A free industrial sized shoe-horn & bucket of axle grease with every pair)

    2. Right? Even the mid size Maggies were a stretch for the room. The client spoke of his desire for a more focused soundstage. Perhaps a pair of Harbeth or slim profile, floor standing Spendors. Doesn’t really matter, he’s happy so god bless!

      The alcove needs quieting. Placing the homemade tube traps in there at the very least. I’m thinking a tuneable two-piece sliding closet door or some type of a motorized shade that could be remote operated with more diffusive than absorptive properties. The client spoke of closing off the alcove all together. Is there a music server and i-Pad in this gentleman’s future?

      Ps -> being a mid-bass and low frequency junkie, perhaps Paul could play some music on the next audio recording of the speakers with some booty! I’m thinking full range electric jazz, Holly Cole Temptation perhaps? It’s understood speakers need 500 hours to completely relax. The single voice, single instrument recordings so far have sounded a tad on the white side of the tonal color spectrum.

      Just sayin...

      1. After a brief listen to yesterday’s video, i kept thinking a pair of network speaker cables would definitely warm up the spectral balance of that gentleman’s system. So i returned to youtube and watched the video from beginning to end and discovered he is bi-wiring with two different speaker cables.

        Traditionally, all speaker cables in a bi-wired application should be the same type and length. While certain different cables may on occasion work well together, they will change the spectral balance of the music system. Identical cables on both inputs insures perfect blending.

        My humble advice would be to experiment and try a couple things, hopefully the cables are long enough. First, reverse the two cables and connect the Belden silver shield cable to the high frequency section, the Belden copper shield cable to the low frequency section and listen. Next, follow the speaker designers suggestion and install the jumper cables connecting just the Belden copper shield cable to the low frequency module input and listen. Finally, with jumpers in place, connect just the Belden copper shield cable to the high frequency module input and listen.

        I think you’ll be surprised at the sonic differences opening your ears and mind to the possibilities of tuning the system.

  2. Thanks to Greg for allowing the video

    It was interesting to watch, and a couple room ideas were had.

    The overall set-up didn’t look like it changed much. Room changes were more prominent.

  3. Really nice job on the recording.. I actually could tell the micro differences in sound through my I pad. I KNOW , THATS BS.. to some.. Trust me nothing irritates me more than someone putting a ,listen to my system video on you tube.. When one really listens to this , the room is the factor and small tiny changes make big differences in the presentation. Is the room smallish. Yes! Does that mean that you can’t work around that ? Sure, as long as you have your expectations in check.. I congratulate both Chris and Paul on this and wish you good luck with these .. I only wish there were dealers to demo ..

  4. I am a little bit confused?
    Paul an Chris are flying across the country doing personal installations but not doing anything at Axpona?
    I mean it seems just about the same risk factors involved?”Airports lots of people”As I understand it you need proof of vaccination and or a negative Covid test to attend Axpona?
    Seems like a good Opportunity to Exhibit your new product ?

    1. Indeed, it's a risk but not what Axpona requires. Before we went to the homes to film the installs we made sure each had been fully vaccinated and did not have CoViD. When we fly we sit together and wear N95 masks. So, yes, a risk, but rather low compared to meeting literally a few thousand people at a tradeshow. Some will have been vaccinated, many will not have been.

      We're still losing 2500 Americans per day. It may seem like it's over but.....

      1. Very well said, Paul. Thank you for your measured reply and for keeping your eyes on the science.

        We've never been here before, Covid is only a bit more than 2 years old, and I need all the (smart) help that I can get regarding how do we go forward from here. . . .

        So many people want the next steps to be easy (as, hell, yes, do I), but really it ain't easy.

        Much appreciated!

      2. More important than being fully vaccinated is that one does not have covid. You can be vaccinated and have covid and unvaccinated and not have covid. You can also be unvaccinated and have the antibodies and not need a shot. Anytime I'm told I cannot enter somewhere unless I'm vaccinated they lost my business. It's nobodies business but mine whether I'm vaccinated or not since being vaccinated doesn't stop the transmission. A negative test is what is important. Having the antibodies protects me and nobody else so that's personal. I understand why someone would want proof of a negative test though and I'm OK with that but just showing I took the vaccine doesn't assure I cannot transmit it to someone. Pretending that my vaccine protects you doesn't protect you.

        1. Joe, You are correct. The vaccines do not prevent you from getting covid and spreading it. Vaccines do really reduce your chances of getting really sick and dying. I am pro-vaccine and I wish they did prevent people from spreading covid, but they do not. That is why I am also pro mask wearing ( and I mean real N95 masks that fit properly ) and testing. The problem is businesses and politicians are fed up with covid restrictions and so now we are going to pretend covid is not a thread and hope that it does not get worse. Stay healthy and stay safe.

          1. If you got covid and survived it you have antibodies against covid the same or better then if you took the vaccine. It's even said that those with natural immunity are less likely to transmit the virus then those who took the vaccine.

            The mRNA vaccines have a higher incidents of myocarditis then they are saying. At first these drug companies were allowed to hold back the data for 75 years which was overturned in a court.

            Big pharma was given immunity from lawsuits and insurance companies did not have to pay for the healthcare of any negative health effects caused by the vaccine since it was experimental.

            There should be full disclosure of the pros and cons of the vaccine and free choice of each person whether they want to take the jab or not, just as there are pros and cons of having surgery or treating without surgery. There should never be mandates unless the vaccine stopped the spread and there were long term studies on it's safety and who is and isn't a good candidate to take it.

            One size does not fit all. These vaccines have no long term data on safety and have maimed and killed tens of thousands of people. My body my choice. An experimental vaccine should never be mandated on any virus with a 99.5% survival rate.

            Having said that I'm not anti vaccine. I'm pro choice on individual healthcare decisions. And you are correct, only the N95 masks worn properly work. After a study we now know the blue surgery masks are only 10% effective and the cloth type masks are basically useless.

            It's disgusting how politicians were making our healthcare decisions on a new virus they new little about based on political science.

            1. Hi Joe,
              You say, "If you got covid & survived it you have antibodies against covid..."
              Antibodies against ALL strains of covid?

              Every year we have to get a flu-shot because it's a different strain of the flu from the one that was going around the year before.
              I've had 3 Pfizer shots & I feel ill effects.
              I just can't understand all of this whining about the damn vaccine...take it; don't take it...& if you die I'm not going to give a rat's arse (ass) anyway because I'll still be here & you wont...if you didn't survive it.
              American's & their 'freedoms''s hilarious.
              Wait another 10 years when China comes knockin' with their military hardware & bends you guys over...THEN you'll know what losing your freedoms is all about 😉

            2. There is a lot of medical misinformation and "freedom party" disinformation here, though this is not the place to argue. (Do you get your "facts" from Dr. Oz?) Just that I'm seconding Fat Rat in speaking up to that effect.

              That political party, BTW, has a thoroughly deplorable record dealing with COVID. Mainstream politics (the traditional party) and medical science are not perfect (is anything?), but you can stay safe if you follow their guidelines. They are at least science-based.

              Also to be clear, vaccines still offer some protection from infection, but less than they originally did because of ongoing virus mutations since they were developed. Of course the freedom party does not "believe in" evolution either, so they are further confused about such nuance.

  5. UNO'S PIZZA a must

    don't forget Big Herm's that was on Dempster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Nevertheless, I definitely think the two laundry baskets were the key to the
    sonic experience!


  6. I watched the video and I was blown away buy how different Greg situation is to mine. My hat is off to Greg, Chris and Paul for getting good sound out of speakers that big in such a small space. I was amazed at how tall and skinny the FR30's are and how many adjustments there are on them. Greg's room is 10' x 14' x 8'. The FR30's are 60" x 10"

    By comparison my speakers are 55" x 18" and have two binding post and no knobs or switches. But, they are in a room that is 28' x 30' x 11'. They are spaced 9' apart and my listening spot is about 10' from each speaker. The speakers are completely sealed and I do not even think about side reflections. My total acoustic treatment of the room is a large area rug in front of the speakers to eliminate the ground bounce off of the hardwood floor.

    I could hear in the video the difference in the sound that the tweaks to the side walls made and I was amazed. I realize I am totally unqualified to comment about the effect of room treatments that some audiophiles say are so important. The video was a real eye opener for me.

    Paul, I do have one question. If I went to a B&M audio dealer and spent $30K ( including sales tax ) on a pair of speakers I would expect the dealer to come and tweak the setup of the speakers in my house. You have sold 30+ FR30's so far and I expect you well sell more. Are you promising all these buyers that someone from PS Audio is going to visit them to tweak the speaker setup?

    1. Hey, Tony, thanks and glad the video was a help. Tomorrow's video of the next one will be an eye/ear opener as well.

      We've actually sold closer to 100 pair.

      Each speaker will be hand delivered by professional movers and placed exactly where you wish them to be placed. PS Audio people do not come out and set them up. Chris and I were a great for a few lucky customers.

      One thing you might notice is how little Chris and I actually do. These are bonehead easy to set up and sound great right out of the box.

      There will be included a comprehensive setup guide and CD to walk you through the process.

  7. Paul,

    Great video of you and Chris's visit with Greg and his new FR30s. Really appreciate Greg's (Straightwire) sharing his experience with us other passionate audio nuts!

    I took extra notice to Greg's dedicated music room's setup and to scale, it's just 50sf larger than my quasi-near-field dedicated listening room. From the initial setup, it sounded to me to be a little acoustically over-damped, needing less absorption properties. I also found each "fine tuning step" opened up the soundstage, allowing the FR30's to better disappear! I understand Extreme Diversity of comparisons but FWIW, since Greg's final room set-up ended up having similar room acoustic treatments proportionate to what I have, the final song playback (Flying [email protected] 28:28) really put a Big Smile on My Face!!

    Greg's new-found home audio reproduction is top-end....Congrats to Greg whom I'm sure appreciates the Personal Touch from You and Chris...Well Done!!!


  8. What I like is the FR30 though they are big and full range they also fit nicely in a small room and don't overpower the room. You can have mini monitors on stands in the same spot and there would be little or no difference in usable floor space.

  9. Based on the FR30s having a width of 16 inches, it would appear that in this 10 foot wide room the two speakers are less than 60 inches apart from centerline to centerline of the drivers. Talk about a challenge to get good imaging.

    I feel most high end speakers can be made to sound good in a large room. Being able to work well in a room this small in size is a great testament to the FR30’s design.

    1. The speaker stands are 16" wide. The front face of the speaker is 10" wide. You can have the center to center distance be 8' and that would mean there is one foot from the center line of each speaker to the walls that are 10' apart. The outer side of each speaker would be 7" from the wall and the outer part of the speaker stand is 4" from the wall.

      The actual room is not a perfect rectangle. There is an alcove to the right hand side as you look at the speakers. My guess is the right speakers is a little more to the right than it would be if there was a wall there and perhaps the speakers are a little shy of being 8' center line to center line.

      You are right that big speakers in big rooms is much easier than big speakers in small rooms.

    2. AA,

      My 2-way stand monitors (RAAL ribbon tweeters) on the front 9ft wall are 60" apart and 24" out into the room. They easily yield a HUGE soundstage that extends Well Beyond all three room boundaries, allowing the speakers to totally disappear on all music genre, with precise and airy performer placements (instrumental or vocal) in a 3D space!

      I've no doubt that the FR30, set up properly in any room size and matched with synergistic components, will yield the same results!! 😉

      1. Thank you both Tony and Theo,

        My media room is 15’ by 15’, and opens into a 20’ X 25’ room. However my home’s architecture limits the speaker’s spacing to 67”. My biggest worry has been achieving a good sound stage with such a close spacing. My worries are now much less. 🙂

  10. Nice video Paul ! The soundstage sounded best to my ears when the bass trap was removed
    I think that a demo video posted from the PS audio room 1st would have set the bar
    I do like seeing real world conditions with installs dealt with since I am an A/V installer
    Congratulations PS audio !!!

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