Feastrex and Fostex Compared at Lone Star Audio Fest - diyAudio
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Old 5th May 2008, 02:28 AM   #1
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Default Feastrex and Fostex Compared at Lone Star Audio Fest

Hi folks, I went to the Lone Star Audio Fest http://www.lonestaraudiofest.com/ and had the chance to compare a whole lot of speakers, including the Maxxhorn Lumination with the Feastrex Monster Alnico 5" driver. I also got to meet the illustrious Mr. Bob Brines and found his speakers to sound quite amazing.

The Lumination does sound very nice. It's about 5.5 feet tall, and the horn mouth exits the bottom, where the sound meets a pyramid-shaped deflector, which is on a base that sits on pointy adjustable feet. The end result is that given the speakers' toe-in and mounting height, and the feet etc., the drivers end up aimed over (and possibly behind) one's head. That meant I was sitting off-axis "under" a nice ambience of room-filling reflections.

The speakers are definitely smooth and likeable -- no boom or sizzle here, but lots of nice detail. Tom-toms on Steely Dan's "Aja" had a nice bouncy quality.

The bass was good but not thunderous nor room-shaking at the volume we listened at, which was moderate. On the other hand, it seemed very pleasing and the other listeners were captivated. I confess I found myself wondering if a BiB wouldn't have more thunder at that volume. I should note that the hotel rooms were on the small side (maybe 10' x 12' or thereabouts -- five people could barely squeeze in.)

The enclosure is solidly built and partially sand-filled, and the baffle was said to be 1.5" thick with a contrained layer. The people were friendly, and the speaker certainly is a beauty (though that's not a factor for me personally). The speaker's list price is something like $19k and someone said the drivers alone retail for more than $7k.

I asked the very kind and affable company president Bob Spence (or Spencer?) what software they used to sim it (thinking he was the designer). He said the designer (Johan something) spent 12 years developing his own tractrix horn ideas, rather than having simmed it up in an existing software app.

Bob Brines' room was jumping and his speakers sounded fantastic. Unlike the Maxxhorn, the speakers' drivers were all at ear height. I heard his LT-2000 MLTL with the Lowther DX2 playing Brubeck's "Take 5" and the saxophone was astonishing -- it seemed palpably there. Then we listened to his FB-20 BR's with the Fostex FE207E and the guy next to me thought there was a sub (there wasn't). They sounded very nice but not in the league as the Lowthers.

Bob switched to the FT-1600 with the FE167E with Planet10 phase plugs -- compared to the FE207E's, they sounded pleasingly cleaner though leaner in the bass, a matter of quality vs. quantity (I preferred the quality!) Bob mentioned that the FE167E's have a smoother top end than the FE207E's, and the Planet10 phase plugs eliminate female vocal sibilance at 6kHz.

Elsewhere, I also heard a lot of nice two-ways by boutique builders, including Pi Speakers (deep and bright, 15" pro woofer with horn tweeter) and Audio Kinesis Dream Makers, which are fully bipolar 12" pro woofers with conical horn tweeters (thunderous and smooth but the room couldn't do the bipolar thing, and they are something like $9k). I also heard the Audio Note 2-ways, Hawthorne Audio Silver Iris, and one audiophile's Altecs on OB (the ones with the little cellular tweeters).

But nothing in my opinion was as fun as the single driver speakers. Bob, it was fun to chat with you in the real world, and thanks for a very fun time. It was evident your speakers were (rightfully) extremely well received, so based on popular opinion and first-hand experience, I hereby declare your room "best in show."
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Old 5th May 2008, 02:37 AM   #2
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Old 5th May 2008, 09:04 AM   #3
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Interesting review. Can't say I'm surprised your speakers went down well Bob.

AFAIK, the Maxxhorn is based on Johan van Zyl's Bassmaxx ideas. I confess I know next to nothing about it, nor found anything, other than that it's tractrix based (which I've never really liked much for LF duties), and apparantly chamberless. YMMV. Personally, I'd rather use a quasi-conical horn with the driver tapped into it like the BIB than a tractrix expansion, but to each their own.
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Old 5th May 2008, 09:21 PM   #4
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Scott,

Bob Spence holds the internals of the Maxxhorn as proprietary, which is appropriate, but I believe your are correct. Perhaps, I am a bit hard on the Maxxhorn because the demo room was wildly too small for them. Of course the demo room was ideal for my stuff. No wonder my speakers sounded so good in comparison. Still, I sense that in ideal circumstances, the Maxxhorns will sound big and warm. That is undoubtedly a design goal.

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