The PS Audio Room

(All prices are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise indicated.)

I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that every single audiophile, in that moment when they heard the news that PS Audio was coming out with a loudspeaker—not just any speaker, but a statement product—felt a combination of incredulity and curiosity, for a couple of reasons: PS Audio doesn't make speakers. It's an electronics company. In its almost 50-year history, PS Audio has never made a speaker. And suddenly it has, in the aspen FR30 ($40,000/pair).

However, those in the know know that the aspen isn't PS Audio's Paul McGowan's first foray into speaker design and sales. In the 1990s, he cofounded, with Arnie Nudell, speaker manufacturer Genesis, and stayed there for seven years before returning to PS Audio. In a candid moment in one of his videos, Paul reveals that although electronics was a more natural direction for him to take when he founded PS Audio, what he always wanted to do, most of all, was to build loudspeakers.

So, what kept him? What kept him was an ideal based on PS Audio's in-house reference speakers—the mighty infinity IRS V. Paul would bring a speaker to market only if he was convinced that it was capable of roundly beating the performance of the IRS Vs. Cue the aspen FR30.

And cue me, going into the PS Audio room to listen to the FR30, connected to a collection of PS Audio's latest products, including its BHK monoblocs ($11,000 each), a BHK preamp ($8400), a Directstream DAC ($8400), an SACD transport ($9000), and two P15 Power Regenerators ($10,600 each), attractively arranged on Quadraspire SVT and SVTL racks and shelves and connected with Kimber Kable Carbon interconnects and speaker wire and PK10 power cords.

From the batch of blues and contemporary tracks I heard, launched from a laptop, the aspens projected an electrically charged soundfield that was big and dimensional, with notes that were bold and fully formed, supple and dynamic. Even the quieter moments seemed to emit an energetic presence, a kind of radiant musical assertiveness. The speakers sounded well balanced across the frequency range. They also balanced power and agility, machismo and finesse, soaring highs and low-end heft.

Anton's picture

If I had the budget, these would be on my audition list, for sure.

Thanks for the impression!

remlab's picture

..speakers incorporate a reincarnation by a different company of the BG Radia Neo 10 midrange and the BG Radia Neo 3 tweeter planar magnetic drive units on top.

mdonohue's picture

Maybe also similar to VMPS Audio. Ribbon tweeter, ribbon midrange and passive radiator.

scottsol's picture

Before the FR30 designer started at PSA he was an engineer at BG and consulted with a former BG designer during the FR30 development process.

Mikk's picture

I’d have to believe that a review of the FR30’s would be of great interest! I’d love to hear if PS Audio have done a great job with their first speaker- hopefully it competes very well with other speakers in its class.

Anton's picture

I'm sure it will happen.

I'd love to compare a pair of these to the top Golden Ear Tritons.

remlab's picture

tonykaz's picture

PS is not new to loudspeaker design or Sound Quality evaluation .

I was a PS Audio Dealer ( our first authorised dealer assignment ) way back in the early 1980s.

As far as we knew, Paul and Stan were building the Servo Mechanisms for Infinity Loudspeakers.

These PS designers say that they are building to exceed the performance envelope of that Big rebuilt IRS v5 that the Company has in an adjoining sound room.

PS Audio has a vintage talent pool in that they presented the very first Digital Audio Converter ( unless we give that nod to Mr.Moffat of Schiit Fame ).

It's more accurate ( and probably fair ) to say that we all forgot Paul's extensive involvement in Loudspeaker Design and Manufacture because todays PS Audio is such a smash success.

Paul is a Vegan, I never held that against as I was once a chain smoking, alcoholic lover of cheese burgers. hmm

PS Audio and Schiit : Wonderful companies!

Tony in Florida

ps. if Paul is reading this, I still follow your YouTube reporting and am amazed at how healthy you appear, your health inspires me to abandon my cars to ride a bicycle for all my transport. I'm bumping 80 with no health issues. I see you looking as great as you did at CES , back in the day. I quit smoke & booze decades ago.

tonykaz's picture

Mr. HR
who'd I miss ? Them too !!!

Tony in Florida

ps. I'll probably own the smallest version of this device

Armando's picture

I once owned an all PS Audio rig. It was pretty good. Fortunately, I learned that I could get sound quality that exceeded that of my PSA gear at a fraction of the cost. If the FR-30s are like other PSA products, it is likely to be very good but worth no more than $20,000.