Fritz: Far More Than You'd Expect

As someone who reviews speakers infrequently, and usually listens to floorstanders, I find the world of mini-monitors and bookshelf speakers confusing. There are so many different price points for the latter, with a pair of monitors listing for under $300 somehow meriting the same adjectives (at least from some reviewers) as those that cost 10, 20, and 30 times more.

With FritzSpeakers, however, I have no question about quality. At what is at least my third show demo of these pups, the Fritz Carbons 7s, REV5s, and REV 7s ($2100–$3200/pair) have consistently blown my mind with their fine sound and wide frequency extension. (The 7 ILLLBe, $3200/pair, goes down to 37Hz ±3dB.) Here paired with Electra-Fidelity A3 Unity Inverted SE amps ($6995/pair), which use EL-34s and output 10W in a proprietary class-A3 circuit, Resolution Audio Cantata Music Center ($6500), WyWires Blue Series cables (speaker $449/pair, interconnects $369/pair, digital $199, power cords $199 each), the excellent Zesto Audio Andros PS1 tube phono stage ($3900), EAR 868 preamplifier, also with phono stage ($7995), Spiritual Audio transformer-less VX-9 power-line filter with source tuning ($2995), George-Warren turntable ($4250–$4850), Gini systems racks and GIK Acoustics room treatments—try saying all that in one breath—the 7ILLBe monitors did a surprisingly good job in the bass department.

On CD, this system did a wonderful job conveying the timbre of bossa nova queen Rosa Passos' voice. Detail, too, was conveyed beautifully, and the low pitches of Ron Carter's bass came through with spades. There were some resonances in the midrange, but I had no way of telling, in a brief visit, if they were cabinet or room-induced.

The same George-Warren turntable which I had encountered on another floor, in a system that failed to move me, here lifted the voice of Patricia Barber out of the groove and into the room. Boy, did her performance of "Ode to Billy Joel" remind me of everything wonderful about vinyl.