Article by WL Low
As a former PMC Fact 8 owner, I can give you 8 facts why the speakers are so good and worth your consideration for your music and hifi ambitions.
1) They are decor friendly attractive slim towers.
2) The PMCs are very nicely finished, especially at the corners and veneer joints.
3) They sound honest to goodness.
4) They give bass response much more than their slim cabinet size would suggest.
5) The PMC Fact 8 are tonally neutral loudspeakers.
6) The sound is fast and super detailed.
7) They are easy to place for very decent Hi-Fi qualities and musical results.
8) They sound best in small to medium size rooms.
And now comes the new flagship of the Fact range, the Fact 12. The Fact 12 is an overall, larger, more ambitious design, but still based on the proven slim tower dimensions of the Fact series speakers. The Fact 12 is a proper 3-way speaker design, employing an extra 3 inch dome driver between the SEAS sourced tweeter and that dual 5 inch mid bass/bass driver. Like all Fact series speakers, fit finsh and build quality are first rate. Just be careful not to topple the slim towers, as those perfectly formed corners will be easily dented as a result. Another differentiating point for the Fact 12 from the smaller boy is the twin ATL ports, which means both the 5 inch SEAS made mid bass drivers, have their own port tuning. The back panel features 3 pairs of speaker binding post for that tri-amping or tri wiring capability. Also featured in the back panel, only available in the Fact series loudspeakers are HF and LF level boost/cut toggle switches, which are used to compensate for speaker to room compatibility. That HF toggle is particularly useful, for those reflective rooms that results in very HOT highs! I found the LF toggle useful for those trying to integrate the Fact 12 with boomy sounding rooms too. One should best try not to use the toggle switches as a shortcut to fixing the room acoustic issues, except if used temporarily to provide respite and instant music gratification. Point is “Don’t be a lazy audiophile!”
I tried various positions but finalized the Fact 12 speakers placing exactly 32 inches from my rear stage wall and about 22 inches away from the side walls. This is to allow a wider soundstage yet get some wall reinforcement for improved bass response, without resorting to boosting the LF toggle switch. A small 2 degree toe in was used to get a more focus centre imaging, as with most PMC speakers that passed by this little man cave. That small degree of toe in away from side walls makes it less reflective in it’s 1st reflection point. With the placing finalised, the sound description you’re about to read will be based on the above observations.
I used my pair of Magnet Hyperion Reference One power amps to bi-amp the pair of Fact 12 speakers. I found the results somewhat wanting, despite the easy on amp 88db sensitivity rating of the speakers. Firstly, when playing at low volumes the sound did not really leave the drivers, resulting in what some people call the “sound sticking around the speakers” syndrome, which is not good at all in hifi terms, as it means there’s no sound stage what so ever to speak off. Push the volume louder till I get satisfactory SPL, then I have both the 5 inch SEAS made mid bass drivers bottoming out, which is bad for the speakers in longer term usage. I also found that a stereo unit Magnet Hyperion Reference One amp just could not open up the sound-stage and overall sonic level of the Fact 12 speakers satisfactory. Though rated at amp easy 88db sensitivity rating, I some how suspect the PMC Fact 12, with it’s twin ATL(Advance Transmission Line) ports may represent some pretty demanding impedance curve for the amplifier to drive. The Magnet Hyperion Reference One and the Fact 12 are I suspect, NOT mutual partners in the hifi synergy game, because the Thai made Magnets are perfectly capable of driving my resident PMC IB2i speakers, rated at a mean 86db sensitivity, to a high in room 104dbs SPL without straining or distorting. Time to call in for some re-inforcements. AV Designs very gladly helped out by sending in a pair of Bryston 28B SST2 mono blocks putting out 1KW! I asked James Tan, “boss, is that somewhat overkill?”, he just smiled and said, “you try la!”
The pair of Bryston 28b SST2 are 60kg behemoth each, of aluminium panels and heat sink. It sort of looks gentlemanly brutish too, if that’s such a term. Ohh…. hang on, we’re talking about the PMC Fact 12 now, so the Bryston would have to wait for it’s turn in the spot light later(separate review to come soon).
I swapped amps to the Bryston mono blocks and things were a whole lot more like what it should be. The highs took on an air of velvety, hot melting butter smoothness. The mids are neutral and very well focused. The mid range had the chest cavity and ” kopi kau kau” heft that was just missing on the Fact 8 which was my former long term reference. Bass had guts, with well defined and timely notes. The only thing that left me wanting was if perhaps, the bass could only extend another octave below or so, and things would’ve been perfect! Don’t get me wrong, the Fact 12 absolutely nails the bass, which had enough volume to make the Fact 8’s bass sounding thin by comparison. The Bryston powered the Fact 12 with an air of confidence and calm. This pairing was excellent in a way that noise floor was totally zero, with no white hash, of any kind what so ever. One of the well and trully noise free pairing I’ve ever experienced.
The Brsyton extended total and iron fisted control over PMC Fact 12, to the point where not a hair in the music is left out of place! The sound stage busted out of and beyond room boundaries, with life like scale images forming around a walk the sound stage, each layered with elbow room to spare. Sound staging properties after all, are a strong point for narrow front baffle designed speakers, just like in all PMC Fact series. All that perfection, left me without much to critic about this pairing except that like in a Ms Universe parallel, whose is ever looking so flawless, could only let her hair down and have some dirty, naughty fun every now and then? Pool side party where the bikins come down? Sa, Sa, Sam, Samantha Fox, “I wanna have some fun!”
Now I am still waiting for an invite to that kind of party, where I last heard is president Berlusconi’s weekend indulgence, ex-president I mean. Listening to the Bryston/PMC pairing is like attending a grand charity ball, where each musical track is Waltzed to prime proper perfection. The Fact 12, like all in it’s series is capable of frightening transperancy and transient response. These PMCs will ruthlessly show up any poor system synergy, front end equipment design flaw or recording quality. It’s a speaker that will make one question and perhaps, lose faith in many things, should your front end not live up to their promised sound quality. It could be any thing, like that poor Thai made power amp, or pre amp, source, cable to power supply PLCs. Even tweaks like a cone out of place will trouble a Fact 12 speaker owner, because he will certain hear it and the problem be made known. Like most truth sayers, the bad gets ugly and the good becomes pretty with pureness. Can you live with the truth? The absolute truth?
To end my review of the Fact 12 speakers, let me add another 4 facts to make it a worthy up grade from the smaller Fact 8.
9) They maintain their handsome good looks with high WAF and up scaled sonic performance.
10) The bass quality definitely hits harder, and dives lower, for a more solid musical foundation.
11) The mid range is richer in density and tone texture(more “kau”).
12) Definitely one of the most honest and probably best speaker, options on the right side of RM$60k or so.
PMC is sold by AV Designs, contact James or Tony at 03-21712828.
Article by WL Low