I often harass showgoers for their opinions. It was Saturday afternoon, nearing the close of the show and I petitioned two elderly gentlemen to offer up some of their favourite rooms from the show. Outwardly one of the two men proclaimed he had only one, the IMC Audio room. I offered a few of my own, hoping he hadn’t been to them yet. He told me, “I’ve been to those rooms, and they just don’t hold up to the IMC room.” Intrigued and a little ego-hurt, I listened further as he told me why the rooms I liked were garbage, and why the IMC room was better at holding the torch for all of the audiophile virtues we seek.
Sunday morning I make my way to the IMC room, and upon entering I look for either of the two elderly gentlemen, mostly to make sure I hadn’t been hoodwinked, bamboozled, or flim-flammed into taking the bait from two hired salesmen. While in the room, speaking with designer Paul W. Paddock (of previous Linaeum fame), he told me about their driver and array design, and also about their manufacturing in North Wales, Pennsylvania USA.
It was at this brief point where the music played softly and I was given a tour of the speakers with many hand gestures and words. Enter the FORTY-10 loudspeaker(projected $21,000 pr USD); each channel being a one-hundred and thirty pound, dual enclosure, dual passive, ten driver “bending wave” array and open-baffle bi-pole subwoofer. This requires, at a minimum, two stereo amplifiers as given for the exhibit here at Capital Audiofest. Despite all this seeming complication the Forty-10 is still just a two-way loudspeaker. However, each enclosure is passive and without internal crossovers.
The IMC dedicated hybrid crossover used is an external network that is inserted between the preamplifier and amplifiers. Because this loudspeaker design employs four total enclosures, and requires four channels of amplification, it should be noted that the woofer section of the loudspeaker system is rated at only 90db (1w/1m) sensitivity, while the upper frequency array is rated at 95db (1w/1m) sensitivity. Both upper and lower systems operate with an impedance of 4-ohms. Each bass section contains two eighteen inch subwoofers, in bi-pole configuration, which convincingly present everything bass from 100hz downward to 20hz, and while the upper array exposes everything detail above those parameters within the musical signal.
Powering the affair were two Pass Labs amplifiers: the upper array were powered by a Pass Labs XA-30.8, which at only 30 watts per channel was more than ample for the 95db rated upper section. The subwoofer section was powered by an older Pass Labs design, of which the name escapes me, but from the pictures you might be able to guess which model. Guess it right in the comment section and maybe you’ll win something.
by Eric Shook