I want to tell you about a very unique speaker in today’s extremely overcrowded speaker market. This speaker is not only unique by design in this field today, but by its expansive and highly palpable musical presence. The vast majority of speakers at, or even close, to its price and size, use very simple, almost primitive loading techniques (probably because they’re easy and inexpensive). It is extremely refreshing to see a company invest this much in the research and development end of their business, with which such amazing results such as this, are made possible.
The Phase Tech PC60 CA represents 30 years of speaker design and achievements. In fact, this very model commemorates the company’s original “Phase Tech” offering. The original model was also a small two-way design with the same basic characteristics. Back then it took the market by storm. There were very few companies offering discriminating listeners anything close to a level of musical accuracy. The venerable Acoustic Research (AR) (defunct for quite some time), being one of the very few capable competitors.
When the original Phase Tech speaker represented by this much more technologically advanced edition came out, it was a giant leap in engineering competence. Providing true “in phase” stereo listening, and a “level of accuracy” in a world of “vague representations” where more often than not, the competitors were known more for the volume levels achievable, than for any level of realism. This was the very product that put Phase Tech on the serious enthusiast’s map. Chief engineer, designer, savant – Bill Hecht at the helm then. Few “name brands” in the speaker industry today are helmed by such a person. Most are ran by a corporation of attorneys and investors resting on the notoriety of days gone by. The vast majority of these products now designed by CAD technicians. Oh, some have one of the many “wondering” designers, you know, they achieve recognition in one company, then are persuaded to jump to the next, and benefiting the company they are currently with. Not so here. Bill Hecht was the driving force behind Phase Tech for nearly six decades, in the last few working side by side with son Ken a immensely talented engineer in his own right, who has built upon the original designs with several patented improvements of his own.
More to the point for this review, it is as I have indicated above, a rare treat to hear such a large and rich soundstage emanating from such a small yet clearly competent speaker system. Without sacrificing accuracy, and at just over a foot tall and 8 by 8 inches wide/deep, these speakers are capable of filling the room with believable sound whether it’s a small Jazz ensemble, orchestral works, or bombastic rock and roll band. They produce a very impressive representation of the artists’ intentions. This is one of the few speakers which gives you such a unique window into the original recording session.
As mentioned above, one reason for this is that these speakers do their business much differently than most. Here, Ken has improved on Bill’s design by employing the same advanced low-frequency unit found not in the speakers of the ’80s, but in his current audiophile line. The same units found for instance in his $3100.00 9.2’s. The company’s flagship model. Additionally, he kept the original’s acoustic suspension loading. “Old school audio enthusiast’s favorite design”, letting the “drivers themselves” do the talking, rather than the “bass port”. Considering the amazing performance levels of these unique drive units, possibly the only bass drivers today capable of the speed and accuracy of their matched tweeters. The design is “as usual” with phase tech, a patented one, available description being – 6.5″ Glass fiber / RPF™ Composite Solid Piston w/ NBR Surround. Of course, they also employ their patented “soft dome tweeter”. Phase Tech invented the soft dome tweeter, used by almost every speaker designer on the planet.
Our showroom is 16 feet wide by about 25 feet long. The listening position I used for this test was about 12 feet from the speakers which were placed on a parallel plane, and in a rough unilateral triangle from the listening position, about three feet from rear and side walls, and ten feet apart. I found these speakers sound best with only a slight toe in. As there is no bass port, they’ll make easy placement options for virtually any setting, whether free-standing in the room on stands, or even in a bookshelf as the common name of the design suggests.
I used classical and jazz music on both CD & Vinyl by Reference Recordings, which included strings, timpani’s, and female vocals. The turntable was the Thornes 309 and TD240 (pictured), electronics were Rogue Sphinx hybrid amplifier, and Hegel H80 solid state amplifier and reference CD player.
The sound quality was so much better than it should be from such a small box, that at one point I imagined I could live with the following system (if something were to happen to my 20k reference rig at home). The Sphinx $1395 (contains wonderful phono stage + 100wpc), the TD240 $1199.00 and the PC50 CA’s $1400/pr. Total, a very modest (by comparison), $3994.00
I cannot recommend a better speaker for anyone who either wants the sound they used to remember in their college days, but which came from behemoths now likely relegated to the basement or garage. Or for those today who want to get a closer more accurate window into the original artists recording session.
These beautiful speakers are handmade in Kansas City and are available in either polished black oak, or natural hand rubbed oak.