PMC FB1 Floor standing speakers

PMC has built itself a fine reputation in the professional monitoring sector over the past 10 years, its larger models widely used by Hollywood film studios.

Fashion is not a priority down at PMC, which explains why this new design is actually the company's first domestic floorstanding model. The designers didn't exactly rush things either, as its first show appearance in Spring 1999 was several months before production actually started.

Now finalised, the £1,275 FB1 is an attractively slim and rather tall floorstander with nicely rounded baffle edges, finished (in the finest Castle tradition) in a choice of five high-quality real wood veneers. A curvaceous black MDF plinth extends the footprint, providing secure accommodation for chunky floor spikes, and greatly improving appearance and overall stability.

Transmission lines are PMC's favorite method of loading a bass driver, and a metre tall floor-standing enclosure makes a natural partner. Although a transmission line shows some similar characteristics to reflex loading, the idea is to use the long tapered and damped conduit - three metres effective length in the case of the FB1 - to absorb the midrange output from the back of the cone, so that only the low bass gets right down through to the large port output down at floor level and reinforces the direct output from the main driver. Creating the folded, tapered line makes cabinet construction both complex and expensive, but a useful by-product is that the internal partitions provide considerable stiffening for the side panels.

It came as some surprise to find that the FB1 actually uses the same two-way driver line up as the company's TB1 models. That said, these Vifa units are quality items, the main driver using a 170mm cast alloy frame with a 125mm doped paper cone, while the tweeter has a 25mm metal dome with protective phase compensator.

Twin terminals permit bi-wire/-amp options, and PMC also offers powered versions, primarily for its Pro customers, using Bryston power amps fitted onto the back panel.

Far field in-room measurements show that the transmission line is very effective in generating full bass extension, and indicate the speaker will give the most even balance when clear of walls.


The listening tests gave mixed results, two panelists giving the FB1 their top marks for the day, whilst the other two were rather less impressed. I suspect the doubters were reacting to PMC's characteristically slightly laid-back balance, as extended subsequent hands-on listening left me quite convinced that this is an exceptionally fine loudspeaker in the group context, even if it could perhaps be smoother overall.

It's sonically very cultured and refined, with exceptional dynamic range throughout, excellent timing, and clean, lively dynamics. Stereo images have good ambience recovery and fine transparency, combining a freedom from boxiness with delicate detailing and plenty of weight.


A class act, no question. The FB1's real strength is the way it combines the lively coherence of a high quality two-way, with the sort of bass weight and extension normally only found with multi-way designs.

PMC FB1 Floor standing speakers photo