Simplicity with Flare
electricbeach is a cottage industry which wishes to remain as such, created by one Steve Jay and his passion for the Frugal Horn design and its capabilities for natural sounding music reproduction based on simplicity.
With frugal being the overriding brief for the project, Steve has created a system based around the well known Frugal Horn Mk3 design and added an amplifier from Chinese company Dared (a tube based triode preamplifier married to a class D power amplifier) plus his own high purity copper configuration of speaker cables. Simply add a source such as an OPPO universal player or music streamer and you have a minimalist system which can be tailored style-wise to suit your own personal decor and colour schemes.
After being made aware of this speaker/amp combo becoming available for review I quickly showed interest in them and was put in contact with Steve Jay from electricbeach. We had a lengthy chat on the telephone about his aspirations and enthusiasm for the system with him stating that “The system is capable of great musical appeal and that the amplifier is equipped with 6 channels, so has the potential to be built upon with matching rears and a centre speaker”. This however is not the basis for a review for Hifi Pig as we tend to focus on two channel reproduction; although it’s a very interesting addition should the buyer wish to expand the system to cover movies and TV.
I was initially dubious as I, like others, don’t really associate Hifi with Home Cinema, but Steve suggested “It’s an added benefit, not a compromise. The amplifier has no processing and is purely pre amp plus 5 channel power amp, a source would have to do all the processing, it is not anything like a AV based receiver amp, yet can accommodate 5 speakers and a sub (passive or powered)”.
The Frugel3 speakers themselves can be finished in any gloss painted finishes you like, satin or matt, with a combination of a large range of leather and or wood finishes.
Horns by their very nature and design have some wonderful attributes and some areas which can be a partial compromise. Like a lot of other speakers there are always pros and cons and we often audition and buy speakers and relevant components to suit our musical tastes and listening rooms. Horn speakers or single driver speakers tend to have a gorgeous midrange, the top end can be a little rolled off and the bass can be a little loose and lumpy.
The Frugel3 is a hybrid, adopting a part horn and part transmission line design. I’ve never been a great fan of transmission line speakers due to an over blown bass and a long slow extended booming character to their bottom end. The Frugel3 has the first part of its internal chambers constructed to utilise the transmission design and the lower part is based on a horn speaker with a rear bottom mouth which allows the driver to breathe and recreate lower frequencies. More »