Industry veteran John Meyer of Canada's NewForm Research is once again redefining his approach to ribbon-based loudspeakers. He has been a forefront advocate for the virtues of narrow-baffle loudspeaker designs as well as D Class amplifiers. His credits stretch from the early 1970s with the now long defunct Soma loudspeakers and their innovative flat aluminium honeycomb diaphragms to his current NewForm Research ribbons. The company has concentrated on Internet direct sales and consolidated into a flexible customizable operation run out of a home workspace in Midland Ontario, Canada. Lured by the sonic potential of panel technology, he has attempted to attack their weaknesses by re-imagining the concept from the ground up. Keep the lighting-fast responsiveness, improve SPL limits and dispersion. Make them reliable and practical.

He eschews the full-range approach to pursue the hybrid model instead. Since NewForm’s inception in the 1980s, he has introduced a number of different products in a variety of shapes and sizes. His ribbon line-source tweeter is a monopole to minimize front-wall interaction whilst maintaining excellent vertical dispersion. The bass is handled by a more conventional woofer array, tweeter atop in earlier models, with a coaxial adaptation for the latest upper-tier Line Source Monitors. Now trickle-down technology combined with some fresh design parameters have resulted in a bold new model that intends a healthy portion of top performance in a more user and room-friendly package. It also ups the ante by directly addressing the inherent challenges of a floorstander configuration: getting the cabinet off the floor. Say hello to Mr. Meyer’s new Super Module.

I took a brief drive to his facilities to check out some of his lineup. The current situation of sales outstripping production has made a review or even guaranteed product listen a hit 'n' miss affair. With that in mind, I took a chance and made my way up into the picturesque green countryside of Ontario‘s "near northern". In direct parallel to his design approach, his home/factory is literally on the road less traveled.

Mr. Meyer himself describes the listening area as "crude technophile" and although it lacks the  "mystique" accoutrements that most audiophiles would expect, it proved quite serviceable in demonstrating some of the finer qualities of his flagship Triple Line Source Monitors combined with his quad subwoofer arrangement. As he predicted, they showed robust dynamics and high SPLs without distortion. No delicate shrinking violets here. The soundstage was incredibly wide and the line source maintained timbral integrity across the full frequency spectrum, side to side and seated or standing. My short exposure necessarily left open the questions of dynamic performance at low levels and also absolutes of imaging dimensionality and placement precision but that’s the purpose of any teaser: to whet the appetite.

Sitting in the corner was the newest addition to the line, the sleek black Super Module, looking ready to romp. Originally intended to replace the venerable R645 which has remained a popular mainstay in multiple incarnations, it may emerge now as a standalone alternative as opposed to outright successor. Credit that change of plans to the designer’s constant passion to improve the breed. The Super Module represents a  radical leap in evolution beyond prior designs by adopting the Line Source Monitor‘s coaxial ribbon and replacing the floorstander approach with an integrated stand monitor. The purpose? To reap the benefits of full monopole line source radiation for both ribbon and bass array whilst eliminating floor reflections and cabinet interaction. The integrated stand is a conceptual departure from any previous NewForm Research model, visually arresting and remarkably practical in execution. For those not fond of the aesthetic of tall naked ribbon speakers, Mr. Meyer also offers the option of frontal screens in various art prints to achieve a higher level of spousal acceptance. The Super Module promises strong sonic potential at an aggressive price point thanks to direct Internet sales. What were my first listening impressions? Were they stellar performers? Alas, no time to put them through their paces on this outing. Tantalizing questions for future exploration however.

Are the Super Modules his current last word? It would appear that Mr. Meyer never rests. His last correspondence states that "I just shipped out a pair of Ribbon Tower 30s. These were designed to be the thinnest speakers it is possible to make and they use 6 x 4" mid/woofers. Previously, we concentrated on the model with the 15" Ribbon but for the last 10 days I've spent a lot of time listening to the 30" version. This little killer really comes together. Maybe you can have a listen next time you are up."

So, call the Super Module his everyman statement piece - for now.
NewForm Research website