PS Audio aspen FR10 Loudspeaker

hfnoutstandingThe most compact of three floorstanding models in what will ultimately be a four-strong range, PS Audio's 'triple ABR' aspen FR10 packs a deceptively huge punch

For a 50-year-old company that released its first loudspeaker barely two years ago, PS Audio has not been resting on its laurels. Coming swiftly on the heels of the flagship £30,000 aspen FR30 [HFN Jun '22] are a raft of junior siblings. First up was the £20,000 FR20 [HFN Apr '23] and now we have the baby floorstander of the range, the £10,000 FR10. As an aside, I don't think we'd be letting the cat out of the bag by revealing a fourth model is in the pipeline – the two-way, ABR-loaded FR5 standmount. If it isn't priced at £5000, I'll eat my hat.

One glance at the FR10 will suggest that it's very closely related to its bigger brothers but, in detail, the only thing that the aspen FR10 shares with its pricier stablemates is the tweeter. This is a 64mm planar magnetic design using a Teonex diaphragm with etched-on 'voice-coil' and driven in a push-pull configuration by a pair of rare-earth magnets. The midrange driver operates in exactly the same way and has a similar construction but is both smaller than the units used in the FR20 and FR30 and now sits below the tweeter in the FR10. With a length of 200mm rather than 255mm, it is driven by an array of 35 magnets, compared to 56 in the larger driver.

Crossover Rethink
The FR10's shorter midrange driver operates over a narrower 550Hz-1.75kHz bandwidth than the 400Hz-2.5kHz achieved by the bigger version in the FR20 and FR30, which also means the 64mm tweeter has to reach down that bit lower here. Deployed near the bottom of the cabinet, the FR10's twin 165mm bass drivers are also smaller than the 200mm units used on the larger designs. The cones are a non-woven carbon fibre foam 'sandwich' while the motor unit has a split magnetic gap and multiple Faraday rings to improve field uniformity and reduce distortion.

The FR10's woofers also have a simpler, single corrugated rear suspension, rather than the twin setup of the 200mm units, but they still have an impressively long throw, with maximum travel of around 19mm in each direction from rest. The suspension is made from Nomex with the voice coil lead-out wires woven in. This is not uncommon on long-throw drivers, as conventionally looped braided voice-coil leads can become a source of unwanted vibration, or even failure, at high excursion.

All the drivers on the FR10 are directly mounted onto the rear of its thermoset fibreglass resin baffle panel which, in turn, is bolted onto the open front of the main enclosure with a damping gasket between. The baffle includes reinforcing brass inserts and is held in place by long bolts that are fitted and secured through the rear of the cabinet. These full-depth bolts screw into the inserts and are tensioned on assembly to pull everything together very tightly.


Planar magnetic 200mm mid and 64mm tweeter both feature PEN (Teonex) diaphragms, and are mounted behind the compression-moulded fibre glass/resin composite baffle. Satin white and satin black finishes [pictured here] are offered with matching grilles

Ready To Race
While we're looking at the rear panel – a blank canvas except for cable terminals on the FR20 and FR30 – this is where the FR10's three 230x150mm 'racetrack' shaped ABRs are to be found. These passive drivers employ the same light and stiff sandwich cone material used for the bass drivers, except here they are flat rather than concave in profile. The relocation of these ABRs from the side (in the FR20 and FR30) to the rear of the FR10 is for cost-saving reasons, as the units no longer need to be lacquered to match the cabinets' gloss finish. Moreover, the 'biscuit tin clunk' that we observed from the hard top surface of the FR20/30's ABRs is absent from the significantly more inert, if more industrial-looking, FR10 ABRs.

All the drive units are united by a bespoke crossover that employs metallised polyester capacitors, wire-wound resistors and air-cored inductors. The DC resistance of the crossover inductors can adversely affect the bass section, but PS Audio's main 2.4mH component is wound using 15-gauge wire – nearly 1.5mm in diameter – so that a low series resistance and high power handling is ensured.

The FR10's cabinets are available in black/dark grey and white colourways, but the finish is satin rather than the gloss of the larger models. The built-in bases are in naturally anodised aluminium on the white speakers and black anodised on the black finish. Four feet are included and these are fully adjustable from the top for levelling. Conical spikes are pre-fitted as standard but these can be unscrewed and removed, leaving behind rubber feet for use on hard floors. Twin magnetically-attached, light frame grilles are also provided.

Finally, the speaker's packaging is as secure as it is simple to pop open and deliver the FR10s into your room. Even the top foam packing piece has been designed to be the perfect height for the speaker to be tipped sideways onto and then tipped off again to stand upright. It's thoughtful, and makes unpacking these 35kg designs an absolute doddle.

Less of a doddle is optimising the position of the FR10s. PS Audio's literature goes into good detail about this and I would strongly recommend heeding its advice. Connected to my usual Yamaha C/M-5000 amplifiers [HFN Aug '20] and moved into a 33x14ft room, I spent most of an afternoon fine-tuning their positioning to get them just so.

sqnote All The Right Moves
PS Audio's tweeters have excellent lateral dispersion but, like some conventional ribbon tweeter designs, have a relatively narrow vertical 'sweet spot'. Stray too far – sit too high or too low – and top-end output starts to drop off. Also, those three rear-facing ABRs work hard and if the FR10s are too near to a rear wall then its bass output can swamp everything. Ultimately I ended up with them around 3ft feet (1m)from the rear wall and 18in from the sides.

PS Audio
Boulder, Colorado
Supplied by: Signature Audio Systems, UK
07738 007776