PMC FB1i review

These PMCs are great all-rounders. They have real long-term appeal Tested at £2275.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The PMCs have an awful lot to recommend them. With a little more abandon to go with the rationality, they’d be pushing the leaders even harder


  • +

    Fetching, well-finished speaker

  • +

    poised, articulate and amply punchy sound


  • -

    Unwilling or unable to throw caution to the wind when necessary

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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 bottom
From 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.

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.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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