Speakers Ferguson Hill FH009

9/27/2012 3:21:45 PM

Ferguson Hill makes loudspeakers like no other specialist brand. Its first product was the FH001, a high-end speaker standing 1.65m tall. The size makes the system more efficient, and thereby louder at a given amp setting, plus it extends the lower bass.

In the case of the FH009, the horns have been scaled down to one-tenth size - just 17cm high -and are joined by a separate box that reproduces the bass.

Description: Speakers Ferguson Hill FH009

Available with a white or black glossy finish, this system includes two 32W amplifiers for woofers, and a 32W stereo amp for the satellites. These amps are full-blooded Class AB designs.

A USB port lets you plug in a flash drive. Also at the front is a tiny LCD that reveals the input source and volume level.

Up to four sources can be connected via two line ins at the back, a 3.5mm mini-jack and the aforementioned USB port. Another pair of Phonos at the rear can connect to a subwoofer if required.

The horns are crafted from clear acrylic, and finished with machined metal components that support the tiny drive units within. These are mounted on metal poles with heavy bases. You can hide wires by running them through the poles.

A credit-card-size remote control operates the system, with clicky membrane buttons that don't reflect the FH009's high-end feel. With no controls on the cabinet, you must be careful not to lose the remote.

You can step up or down the bass by four steps using the volume keys. We found -4 returned an even sound.

Whereas modern speakers use a two-way woofer/tweeter arrangement, this semi-full-range setup gives a more natural sound. A single drive unit reproduces the important band, from around 500Hz to 18kHz. An active crossover diverts the lower frequencies to the bass box.

The FH009 has a compelling, open sound, bereft of high-frequency tizz. It is a quality that laps up the sound of the singing voice.

The top end is as smooth as butter. Some horns can be a little Quacky, but that wasn't evident here - just some mild thickening of sound in the lower mid-range, which could be tuned out by moving the bass box. Thanks to the foundation-setting bass cabinet, the system can sound even visceral when required.

Lana Del Ray's second album relies on plenty of deep-down bass instrumentation, layered with wet reverb as a backwash to her schizoid voice. The FH009 captured the little-girl voice well, hanging vocals ethereally in the air; Ray's darker, vamp voice was as captivating, if a little coloured by the low-mid opacity mentioned earlier.

Some upbeat Pink Floyd confirmed the system's credentials for rock, the driving echoed bass guitars of 'One Of These Days' showing this system could play loud, clean and tight.

We tried some sparser acoustic material, including extracts from Purcell's 'The Fairy Queen'. It served to highlight the wide open sound field and unforced sound you can expect from these horns.


Description: Speakers Ferguson Hill FH009

Craftsman engineering and beguilingly smooth and natural sound made us peg this system at more than $1561, not $1,241. If you want to hear the magic of old-school horns mashed with modern-day materials and production techniques, we'd urge you to hear the Ferguson Hill FH009.


Price: $1,241


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2.1 stereo speaker system: 2 x 130 mm bass drivers; 45 Hz – 20 kHz frequency; 2 x analogue. 1 x digital USB, 3.5 mm jack inputs; remote; 560 x 170 x 360 mm

PC Advisor Gold

Build: 8/10

Features: 6/10

Performance: 10/10

Value: 8/10


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