This week we tested the Ferguson Hill FH007 audio system, an unusual amplifier-speaker bundle, designed with both esthetics and technology in mind.
Ferguson Hill FH007: presentation
The Ferguson Hill FH007 (Double-O-Seven’) system is composed of five elements: a stereo amplifier with bi-amplification terminals for each channel, two spherical subwoofers and two horn-loaded medium-high drivers. The Ferguson Hill FH007 system was designed to be paired up with portable sources (audiophile players, smartphones) or HDTVs. Moreover, the use of transparent acrylic is ideal for discreet integration into your interior decor.
Ferguson Hill FH007: amplification
The 14 x 14 cm amplifier is fitted with two stereo line inputs, one is in RCA format and the other in 3.5 mm mini-jack format. The terminals are in 3.5 mm mini-jack format and all the cables needed to set up the system are included. The amplifier also features a subwoofer line out, again in mini-jack format. In addition to the volume potentiometer (and on/off switch), bass level can be adjusted on the back of the amplifier. Although the manufacturer announces 4 x 16 Watts of power, the frequency range is not indicated and neither is the distortion rate.
In any event, this amount of power only allows for an up-close listening experience and would not be sufficient if you were more than a short distance away.
One advantage is the class AB amplification, as this technology has already proven its worth and often offers a warmer sound than class D amplification, which is commonly used for small amplifiers.
Ferguson Hill FH007: subwoofers
Each ?subwoofer? is a spherical, sealed enclosure speaker fitted with a 4? (10 cm) driver. In theory, this sealed enclosure allows for a frequency response as low as 75 Hz with a – 5 dB difference compared to the mid and high register, which suggests a moderate restitution of the lower end of the sound spectrum.
Ferguson Hill FH007: speakers
The use of acoustic horns as a way to mechanically amplify the medium frequencies is a pleasant surprise. The 1.5? (4 cm) driver placed in the horn’s throat is actually not a tweeter but a wideband driver composed of a paper cone with a half-roll rubber surround (a tweeter would use lighter, more rigid and thinner materials). The back of the driver?s basket is open, which results in a bilateral sound delivery (front and back). The fact that the manufacturer chose this driver is rather surprising but could be explained by a desire to benefit from mechanical amplification over a larger part of the sound spectrum, down to the low-mediums. With a tweeter, frequencies would be cut off much higher. Yet, the size of the acoustic horn seems incompatible with this possibility.
Ferguson Hill FH007: test conditions
We tested the Ferguson Hill FH007 system with the Encore mDSD DAC paired up with our Raspberry Pi2 (Volumio OS) and a Samsung smartphone. We sat about two meters away from the speakers.
Ferguson Hill FH007: impressions
The Ferguson Hill FH007 system has a lot of potential, which it seems to have lived up to only as far as esthetics are concerned. Although the listening experience benefits from a nice amount of energy, the overall balance lacks consistency. The mids dominate the other frequencies and the sound is noticeably projected, which while capable of working well with TV soundtracks, does not allow a wide and deep soundstage and results in a frontal delivery. High frequencies lack smoothness and fall short (which can partly be blamed on the wideband driver), while the lows are discreet yet tight, although the use of an additional subwoofer is a must if you want to add character to the listening experience.
Ferguson Hill FH007: conclusion
The Ferguson Hill FH007 system is undeniably elegant and this is its main quality. Ideally paired up with a computer or an HDTV as an improvement over their integrated audio systems, it can also be used for hi-fi listening, provided that you enjoy a sharper sound which can be a bit rough at times.This post is also available in: French