In this time of ever-rising costs, it seems strange to give an award to a pair of speakers that cost as much as a Porsche SUV. But bear with us. Over this year we've reviewed plenty of excellent high-end products from SME's range-topping Model 60 turntable to Goldmund's terrific 590 Nextgen MkII integrated amplifier and the Bowers & Wilkins 805 D4 speakers. But, brilliant as these products are, none left us with the yearning to have another listen in the way PMC's Fact Fenestria speakers managed. Admittedly, that £63,895/$75,000/AU$108,899 price tag will remain a hurdle for all but the luckiest of us, but this is the Temptation Award, after all – and we can all dream, can't we?
Despite looking markedly different to most of the brand's products, the Fenestria are very much a continuation of the engineering principles the company has always followed. One of their core technologies is transmission-line bass tuning, and here we have top and bottom bass modules that use the method. These two modules lock together to provide support for the central aluminium baffle that houses the dome midrange and soft-dome tweeter. Each element – the baffle, midrange and tweeter – are isolated from each other and the bass cabinets, helping the speakers to deliver a startling level of clarity.
A clever innovation, probably only really possible at these higher prices, is the large floating resonance-cancelling panels on the cabinet sides. They work on the same anti-vibration principles that allow skyscrapers to survive an earthquake and result in a really well-controlled cabinet structure.
This is not a speaker that sets out to impress regardless of the source material; it's ruthlessly revealing. Flaws in the recording are readily apparent but never overemphasized. However, if you feed these PMCs a suitably good signal the results are breathtaking: the sound is natural, unforced and nimble. Nimble isn't a word normally associated with monster speakers – they stand at 1.7 metres high – but the Fenestrias are as nuanced and agile as they come, even in the bass where they dig to subterranean levels.
Overall, we feel these floorstanders are a landmark product as far as speaker performance goes. We have massive admiration for PMC's ambition and the clarity of its engineering vision. The result is good enough to land the PMC Fact Fenestrias our Temptation Award for 2022.
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