The Fostex PM0.5d Active Loudspeakers costing around £250 a pair are intended for small studio, nearfield monitoring, but Stuart Smith has had them on his desk as his daily desktop listen for a few months now…what does he think of these for home use?

I do a lot of my day to day listening sat at my desk with the laptop as the source running JRiver and using a little Schiit DAC. It’s not massively high-end of course but then I’m not listening critically at all. Basically what I require in a desktop system is something that sounds good enough not to offend and to be mostly out of the way as my desk is in a corner of the open plan living daytime living area. The only bit of kit that is actually on show at any point is the speakers with all the electronics and wires being hidden (mostly) by the desks cable management system (read a small shelf underneath the desk hidden by a drawer). Previously I’d been using a pair of KEF X300A which were very good and had an inbuilt DAC, but a move around to accommodate the newly appointed listening space, racks and speakers has meant that the desk has had to be downsized (and accordingly the speakers) with Linette commandeering the KEFs for her own daily use in her work space elsewhere in the house. So, I needed a new pair of desktops that would allow me to listen to tunes whilst I worked and through which to review promos and the like. fx_pm05db_pair_9415932024_oS

Enter the Fostex PM0.5d loudspeakers from SCV Distribution. The speakers are clearly aimed at desktop users and are really meant to be studio monitors aimed at those with smaller project studios. They are available in white or black (I went for black to match the desk) and cost just shy of £125 each…so £250 a pair. Round the back you’ve got TS phone and RCA input, a volume control, the power switch and the figure of eight power inlet. There’s also a small oval port. The speakers are Chinese made but feel solid and well made, weighing in at 4.5kg each.PM05D-2s

Importantly for me they are 181w x 280h x 260d (mm) which fit pretty much perfectly where I need them to. OK, for an audiophile audience this may not seem a huge consideration and many will make room for bigger speakers, but this is not an option on this occasion I’m afraid. The speakers I have on my desk need to fit the space and sound good…end of!

So what do you get for your dosh? You get a two way bass-reflex arrangement with a 20mm soft domed tweeter and a 130mm “Aromatic Polyamide” bass unit. The online bumph tells me that the cone uses a mixture of cut and milled fibres that are made from aromatic polyamide that is then impregnated with resins for damping and rigidity. On top of this the driver also has an “olefin” film thermally adhered to the surface which is there to control frequency response. The tweeter uses Fostex’s UFLC technology (Poly Urethane Film Laminated Cloth). Driving the bass is a 35W class D amp whilst the tweeter uses a 23W amp with quoted frequency response being 55Hz – 30kHz. The amps are magnetically shielded should this be of importance to you. PM05D-3s

The speakers are good looking little things with a rounded off baffle, no visible screws or fixings on the front, a Fostex logo and a blue LED to indicate they are switched on and receiving the source, they switch off and the LED turns red when they aren’t receiving a signal which is a useful feature. Set up is as simple as plugging them into the mains with the supplied leads, attaching your source (I used RCAs) and putting them on the desktop…all very easy and a matter of a couple of minutes effort.

SOUND

I’ve bought these for desktop use and I imagine domestic users who buy them are likely to be doing likewise. For nearfield listening they go plenty loud enough and only start to break up and distort at levels that would be uncomfortable for long periods. As you’d expect for a speaker that is primarily aimed at the home studio market the speaker is pretty flat with nothing jumping out of the frequency range to leap forward and take over. Bass can get a teeny bit woolly at higher volumes but that’s to be expected really given their positioning and rear port, but what I really did enjoy about these speakers was the soundstage they present; everything is separated very nicely in the mix and whilst position dictates the tweeters aren’t at ear level, you get the impression of looking down on the stage with everything well positioned…given that I spend a lot of time typing with my head down I found this sensation rather pleasing (sort of being like at the front of the balcony at a concert). SCV sell a product called the IsoAperta which I have here at the moment that will raise the speakers to a more normal height and damp them but more on these at a later date. Mids are nice with female vocals being really well produced for a speaker at this price point and on jazz (Miles Davies “Kind Of Blue”) you get to hear good detail in the instruments. Techno is relatively tight and full of detail with no complaints at all from this technohead. fozdesks

CONCLUSION

I don’t think there’s a great deal of need to go into a load of detail and bang on about these speakers at great length as there’s little to whine about at the pricepoint. The little Fostex’s are not fussy about your source material and play everything I throw at them perfectly well. Of course they are not perfect with my main minor gripe being the bass at high volume being a bit rounded off or woolly at the edges, but then at close quarters you’re not going to want to push them I’d suggest. They don’t plumb the absolute depths with regards bass but what desktop speaker system is going to?

In a big room they are going to get a bit lost to be fair, but that’s not what these are designed for. They are nearfield monitors and so the desktop environment is ideal for them. You would get away with using them in a smaller room such as bedroom for non-critical listening too i’d guess and I am tempted to get a second pair just for this purpose.

For the asking price and used as I am using them, they are well made and represent really good value for money. They look good on the desktop and pop them on the end of a decent little DAC like the Schiit Modi and you’ll have very little to moan about for an every day, desktop listen that is packed with detail and with great soundstaging and imaging.

Pros:RECOMMENDED LOGO NEW

Good price given you don’t need external amps

Compact and attractive

Communicative and detailed 

Cons:

Bass overhang at loud volumes

 

Stuart Smith

 

 

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