Smoothly built and finished, with the PMC's signature transmission line mouth adding visual intrigue, the FB1is don't so much scream ‘quality' as enunciate it very precisely.
February 2009's First Test of these PMCs yielded the full five stars and a suggestion that not being the flashiest-sounding speaker around would stand them in good stead.
The PMCs sound by no means matter-of-fact, but they're so composed and unflappable that, on a short listen, it's easy to confuse those traits with those of a speaker that doesn't engage.
Manu Chao's Proxima Estacion: Esperanza does a splendid job of revealing the FB1is' true colours.
Convincing tonality from top to bottomFrom the bottom of the frequency range to the top, they demonstrate fine manoeuvrability through the complex and rather ragged recording, offering convincing tonality and even-handedness.
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They hang on to the rollicking tempos doggedly, and the midrange delivers all the character in Chao's vocal. Details are seized upon, stereo focus is a match for anything else and timing is enjoyable.
Switch to the more aggressive sound of Mr Scruff and Roots Manuva's Nice Up The Function and the PMCs, while out of their comfort zone, are unfazed.
The sense of abandon the song pivots on isn't communicated all that well, but in other respects the speakers do what they have to without fuss.
Self-possessed or straight-laced?Low-frequency punch is implacable, and the FB1is handle the volatile melange of grubby analogue sounds, gimpy rhythm and hectoring vocal without breaking sweat.
If the test could be won by effortlessness alone, the PMCs would be home and dry.
But we must sound a note of caution. If you want your speakers to stroke your head metaphorically once you've sat down and started listening, put these PMCs at the top of list.
If you want a speaker that's also capable of grabbing you and demanding you get up and cut a rug, though, they may not be for you. Being self-possessed is one thing, being straight-laced quite another.