Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref, AURALiC Vega, Jay's Audio CDT 2 MkII & DAC-2 SE
Preamplifier: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with WE 300B or Elrog ER50; Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1 monos, SIT-3, F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos; SAG AIO; Bakoon AMP-13R
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Kroma Audio Mimí; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence; Fram Midi 150; sound|kaos Vox 3f [on review]
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL3000 and Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: €2'200/pr
Fram in the frame. For the proper framing job of today's Fram picture, this lengthy Midi 150 review has the full genesis story and tech profile. At its end, designer Jarek Wasczczyszyn had announced a forthcoming desktop model. It was already christened Midi 120. It promised "a footprint of a CD jewel case with 10cm drivers". That 12 x 12 x 33.3cm size with 5kg weight is quite petite; seriously so once you'd gotten around to considering its 45Hz-22kHz bandwidth and power.
But such shrinkage still meant one active mid/woofer and two equivalent passives plus a soft dome tweeter all sourced from SB Acoustics. It meant the same extruded aluminium enclosure without any panel fasteners. It meant the same fully active drive and Jarek's proprietary sound processor loaded with compensation algorithms specific to this very model. Its code including volume control work as DSP so require first converting the analog inputs. Unconventionally, the actual crossover is a simple 1st-order analog filter. That's because the custom code considers the entirety of the design. It accounts for its enclosure volume, enclosure dimensions, material behavior, internal standing waves, driver response, driver matching, passive filter and undisclosed parameters including user-selectable EQ to apply global error-forward optimization.
Otherwise it's a classic master/slave job. The right box contains the 60wpc switching electronics to drive the other box via high-level signal over RCA-terminated umbilical. Whilst Jarek's prototype photo from March suggested a standard rectangular form factor, the upper two production photos looked like a mild parallelogram. That would build in a front-baffle rake without wedgy Oak plinth. To know for sure, I had to ask Jay Was. "The wooden accessory feet on one side of the speaker bottom create the angle."
Like the bigger Midi 150 monitor, USB again isn't in the picture except for 5V power to charge a smartphone or DAP source. For inputs there are 24/192 Toslink and S/PDIF coax plus, for analog, 2Vrms RCA and 1Vrms 3.5mm mini. Remote input switching and volume functions mirror as hard switches on the back. A bum battery or misplaced wand won't interrupt your listening pleasures. This assemblage of photos and drawings showed the bigger models and the driver arsenal of the two monitors. The upper front driver is active, the other two are auxiliary radiators in lieu of a conventional ringing port.
That optional metal pencil remote is truly ace. The engraved symbols of its wooden cradle remind you which switch does what.
In the nearfield of my work desk, the silver Midi 150 with gold accents had cut a lovely profile. Sonically, it'd killed it over a few times. Being perfectly able of filling even our large room and video system with stout sound sans subwoofer, the close proximity of the desktop hadn't needed anywhere near the same output potential.
Hello Midi 120. As there is for the Midi 150, it comes with an optional tripod, albeit in steel painted black rather than solid Oak. Silver and black remain available chassis finishes. The posh silver or gold trim choices migrate over as well. "Designing a full line of speakers, our intention was to share as many common parts and assemblies as possible. The goal was to have a versatile scalable platform that could flow into different models. Hence the Midi 120, Midi 150 and Maxi 150 use the same electronic PCB. Only the configuration and code of the P-3 MkIE digital speaker processor are different. The Maxi 150 also gets a second PCB with more power amplifiers for its active right channel to support the additional drivers."
When small stands tall, who ya gonna call?
The Polish quintet in Krakov who labor behind Fram would suggest their Midi 120. That I just had to hear for myself. Would I lose my head? To generate a coax output from my HP Z230 work station, I'd use our trusty battery-powered Audiobyte Hydra X+ USB bridge. USB goes in, coax comes out reclocked, filtered and isolated from the PC's ground noise. If the included wooden plinth footers created sufficient rake, I might even lose the riser boxes I'd used beneath the Midi 150 and park the Midi 120 directly on the desk top. Of course tripod action in free space would be on the menu as well. Plate up!
… to be continued in due time…
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