Wow – I really, really wanted to like these speakers.

I’d owned and liked, and sometimes loved, ProAc speakers off & on for years.  It all started with a pair of the original Response 2 speakers.  I’d gone to a dealer dem’ to listen to some big floorstanders of another make that were getting good reviews … urk, dull as ditchwater and mind-numbingly dynamically slow.  So I got to chatting with the dealer (Dave from Progressive Audio), and saying what I wanted – dynamic speed, openness, low colouration ….. He looked at me kind of speculatively and said “wait a minute”.  He brought two small standmount speakers into the dem room – he saw my expression – “don’t pre-judge – just listen” he said “and don’t ask the price!”.

I was blown away, just awestruck by what these little speakers did, dynamics exploded from the small cabinets.  I bought those ProAc Response 2 speakers, quite possibly the first pair sold in the UK, and stayed with them a long time. I changed them for floorstander Response 3 when the 3 came out – that was a bit of a mistake, really, the 2 had more musical magic.

Anyway, where was I?  Ah yes, the Future series.  ProAc’s stab at the high-priced high end of the market.  Well, why shouldn’t they have their crack at the Big $$$?

From what I had heard and read, the Future series were the speakers that Stuart Tyler (ProAc founder & boss) had always wanted to make – I’d heard tales of ProAc working on an open baffle design a decade or so earlier, but that seemed to come to nought at the time.  The Future series were his dream come true, apparently. But for some reason they received very little publicity (apart from a Stereophile review for the Future One back in 2000 which came up with one significant criticism and otherwise a bit of a rave).

Mine were the babies of Pro-Ac Future range and they retailed at £3,500. The range consisted of three speakers – my Future Point 5, a Future Point 1 (6 inches taller) and the Point 2 (a lot bigger).

OK – so what have we got here? …..

They are quite an unusual design … from the front the impression is quite imposing, 42 inches high, and 18 inches wide (at the bottom rear where they are at their widest).

But look at them from the side and they look like just half a speaker!

A mere 9 inches deep at the base, tapering to about 1 inch at the top! They are kept from toppling over by a pair of metal brackets at the bottom rear.

The secret here is that the tweeter and the midrange are open baffle – there is no rear panel to the speaker behind those drivers.  Unusually for ProAc, a ribbon tweeter is used.

The bass unit is in a sealed enclosure (not open baffle) with a port on the bottom which directly faces the floor. The bass enclosure takes up something like the bottom 60% of the cabinet height. 4 cones are supplied to keep each speaker at the correct height above the floor for the port to work properly.

& On To The Sound ….

Initial impressions are of a more ‘sophisticated’ and natural sound than other Proacs, with a nicely 3D soundstage when they are pointing directly at you.

As I said, I had previously owned ProAc Response 2 & 3 speakers, and have heard more recent offerings in the Response series at Shows. The Response series are great speakers, no doubt of that. But this example of the Futures is even better, I think, in many ways.

Very detailed – that ribbon tweeter is excellent. Tonally gorgeous – naturally rich and fruity in the midrange. And the bass … hmm, the bass … it goes surprisingly deep for what is quite a small bass enclosure volume. The spec says 28Hz – maybe so, I suspect that’s a bit optimistic, but still it goes nicely deep. It’s taut, with real slam, but … there is a bit of weight missing. It’s not a real full range sound, in my opinion.  They don’t really ‘rock’, either on rock music or on large scale classical.

Actually, the bass was fine for me, it wasn’t really a problem with most music.

What I did have a problem with was the imaging.  It was very 3D and open.  But it was diffuse, imaging was not as precisely focussed as I like.  No matter what I did – and I did a LOT, I really wanted to like these speakers! – I couldn’t get the darn things to give a focussed image.  Valve amps, solid state … cable changes … a seemingly never ending waltz around the room.  Pointing inwards, straight ahead, even outwards!  Actually they probably gave the best focussed imaging when pointed outwards – I’ve not tried that before! – but the tweeter was way off axis by then and sounded a bit dull.

Some folks love a diffuse and enveloping sound, and consider sharply focussed imaging to be unnatural.  For folks of that ilk, these Future series ProAcs may well be a dream come true! Rarely seen on the used market, but worth snoofling out if their brand of imaging suits you.

Author – Jerry

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