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PMC Fenestria Install, Not The Most Straightforward!

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Dealer

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Hi Everyone,

I was hoping to do a blog a week or so before Christmas about a successful install of a pair of the PMC Fenestria’s Speakers, the first pair sold into the UK in fact, but unfortunately it wasn’t the smoothest installation which after a 2nd visit yesterday proved 100% that it is the room that is the issue, I have always said that your room is the most important part of your HiFi which really does get overlooked by a lot of HiFi Enthusiasts and this really did prove it so I thought it would be worth writing a few words on the issue encountered as I definitely learnt a thing or 2.

So the customer, Hi Steve, like me is a big PMC enthusiast, he has a PMC Cinema room + in other rooms he has a pair of 24′s, 26′s and Fact.8′s so as soon as he heard we had the Fenestria’s on demo he was straight in here and was suitably impressed and ordered a pair. Keen to get them in before Christmas PMC were very helpful and with just a few days to spare we went to the customers house to install them, before we get stuck into the issue we were having I should state they were going into a nice size room and were to be driven by a Naim NAC 252/NAP 300 and ND555 Streamer so they should have just slotted in nice and easy and worked a treat as they had some great kit behind them the reality was quite different.

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So I arrived at the customer’s and with some help from PMC we started to assembling the Fenestria’s which really is a 2 man job and before you knew it we had everything connected up and was ready to enjoy some music so the customer queued up a few tracks and then the issue materialised, basically the mid range and treble sounded gorgeous but the bass was all over the place, I have never heard anything like it before, it just overpowered everything, so not to be beaten we spent the next few hours moving them around the room to several different locations, not the easiest job at 80KG’s each, but wherever they ended up we still had the uncontrolled bass, even the experienced guys from PMC had never heard such a bad room before, so in the end we had no choice but to admit defeat and leave it that we would revisit it in the New Year, which we did yesterday.

Now I must admit I was 100% expecting that we would try a few things but in the end I would have to pull the speakers out, I was even thinking I may take them home which wouldn’t have been the end of the world :) So thinking of different options I took my demo pair of Wilson Sabrina’s with me to see if a different speaker would help but we encountered exactly the same issue, so then we tried the PMC Fact.8′s and again the bass was uncontrolled, so that proved to us that it wasn’t the Fenestria’s that were the problem but it was 100% the room, but we did find that in a couple of areas of the room the bass boom was significantly less and using my demo track of choice, the classic ‘Teardrop’ by Massive Attack we actually found 2 small areas in the room where the sound was pretty much as good as in my demo room but you really had to be in that small sweet spot, in the rest of the room is was still quite poor, luckily the sweet spot was exactly where the customer was thinking of sitting so we set up the listening position here and left much more hopeful that a solution could be found.

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I still think a little room treatment and maybe even some small DSP applied could really help so we are looking into this now, but I can hostly say I have never heard a speaker behave like this before but in life you will always get faced with certain challenges and as long as you give it your best shot and hopefully learn something along the way then it is actually good experience whatever the outcome and one thing is for sure the Fenestria’s sound so damn good it is definitely worth a little effort to really get the best from them and I am sure by the time we are finished we will have them really singing :)

To Be Continued ……..

Cheers,

Paul.

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Super Wammer

The corner of a room is the very worst place to put a full range speaker for exciting the main room modes.

I usually start with the bass unit about 1/7 of the room length from the wall behind it and 1/9 of the room width from the side walls. These fractions reduce the excitation of the fundamental modes though the can’t eliminate the excitation altogether. Moving the speakers about an inch or so at a time, listening and measuring to get the least bass peakiness 

My current speakers ended up about 2 meters from the wall behind them and 0.9 meters from the side walls in order to minimise their excitation of the room (by ear and measurement).

Where these are located may help to flesh out the bass of a small stand mount but is completely wrong for full range speaker.

Anybody forced to have a room layout like that should not use full range speakers in it.

Edited by f1eng
  • Upvote 1

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Super Dealer

REW and a microphone, to the tune of Beck, and then EQ .

Keith

Edited by PuritéAudio

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I think the Fenestria's may need an amp with a bit more power, current, and higher damping factor than the Naim can provide.

A more suitable amp might control the bass far more effectively.

If you are spending this sort of money on a pair of speakers then room acoustic treatment is an absolute must or they are money wasted imo,  they need to be pulled well clear of those corners to stand a chance of sounding more balanced.

Lovely speakers though, I am quite jealous in a nice way . :love:.

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Moderator

I appreciate you are trying to be helpful guys but I suspect Paul knows what he is doing as he has a little bit of experience of installing audio. ;)

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6 minutes ago, George 47 said:

I appreciate you are trying to be helpful guys but I suspect Paul knows what he is doing as he has a little bit of experience of installing audio. ;)

Very true !

But the customer may limit what he can actually do with the room and speaker positioning.

Given a free rein with the system and room I am sure he could set things up perfectly .:)

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Super Dealer

A full range loudspeaker in a domestic room is always going to be difficult, unless you employ massive passive treatment or EQ, moving them around will never be enough.

I am sure the issues will be solved.

Keith

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Super Wammer
21 hours ago, George 47 said:

I appreciate you are trying to be helpful guys but I suspect Paul knows what he is doing as he has a little bit of experience of installing audio. ;)

He hides it very well.

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I know nothing about measurements or Hi-Fi unlike many on here. But I definitely wouldn't have a printer in the same room as very expensive speakers, surely moving this is priority and moving the speakers out from the corners is surely on the agenda too?

FFS... :doh:

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I agree that the (very lucky) new owner needs to find a new home for the printer and whatever lives in the cupboards. Get a decent rack, move the speakers away from the walls. Add some Gik Acoustics if desired. Job done. Obviously digital room correction is a no-no. 

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Super Dealer

Sadly low bass issues are very difficult, if not  impossible to cure with GIK stuff, unless the customer is happy with literally metres of foam, EQ is much easier and completly transparent.

Keith

Edited by PuritéAudio

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On 12/01/2019 at 09:26, HiFi Lounge said:

I still think a little room treatment and maybe even some small DSP applied could really help so we are looking into this now, but I can hostly say I have never heard a speaker behave like this before but in life you will always get faced with certain challenges and as long as you give it your best shot and hopefully learn something along the way then it is actually good experience whatever the outcome and one thing is for sure the Fenestria’s sound so damn good it is definitely worth a little effort to really get the best from them and I am sure by the time we are finished we will have them really singing :)

To Be Continued ……..

Bit premature for April 1st even if there are Creme eggs in the shops?

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Dealer

Thanks for all the responses guys, it was always going to be a challenge as the customer only wants them to go where they are at the moment and he isn't keen on room treatment to ruin his decor and he love Naim so we can't add anymore power easily so we are going to try a couple of PSi Audio Active Bass Traps as below and I have contacted Minidsp about trying one of their Dirac boxes but I'm hopeful that the bass traps will work as I'd rather not add anymore electronics into the system, the good news is that this needs to work just for the customer in his listening position, he doesn't care how the rest of the room sounds.

https://www.psiaudio.swiss/avaa-c20-active-bass-trap/

We won't be beat :)

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Super Dealer

Coincidentally just arrived, and setting them up now.

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If you need a hand, let me know, Mini DSP/Dirac works, I would just let it ‘correct’ the lower frequencies, once you know the problem frequencies (REW /microphone )you could use the EQ facility in Roon/JRiver, some DACs (RME)  also have it now , then there are specialised guys like Christoph Faller at  Illusonic, there are many options.

Keith

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