FBT has been quite a popular brand of affordable audio products in Europe for more than 20 years. The company is now presenting its product line to the United States and I received its newest speaker, the Maxx4A, to review.
The FBT Maxx4A ($849) is a two-way, self-powered speaker system that weighs only 33 lb. The cabinet is injection-molded, constructed of a rugged polymer material that contains four rig points for hanging or wall-mounting and an integral 1 3/8″ stand-mount cup for use as a PA application. The cabinet is trapezoidal in shape, offering a nice angle for monitor use.
The components include a 12″ woofer with neodymium magnet structure, as well as a 1″ titanium high-frequency driver coupled to a horn with 90-degree horizontal dispersion and a 60-degree vertical dispersion. The internal power amplifiers include a 300 W at 8 ohms low-frequency amp and a 100 W at 8 ohms high-frequency amp; frequency separated by a 1.8 kHz, 24 dB/octave active crossover. The input section features both Neutrik 3-pin microphone and 1/4″ input jacks, in addition to a three-band fixed frequency EQ, input sensitivity and master volume control.
Accessories for the Maxx4A include a tripod speaker stand, steel wall and ceiling mounting plates and a nylon carry bag, all available from the manufacturer.
I was doing live sound production for a jazz festival that featured some of the legends of traditional jazz spanning the last 50 years. I figured this would be a good test of the fidelity of the FBT speakers, as well as their directional characteristics and overall qualities. There were about 500 attendees at the jazz event, which was held at a local resort ballroom.
The speakers had to throw about 100′ out and 60′ wide, so I placed them on 60″ tall, skirted AV carts. I set the onboard EQ totally flat and the master volume at full. The Maxx4As performed quite nicely, with even, smooth dispersion throughout the frequency spectrum and required very little EQ to achieve a natural, clear sound. They were friendly to listen to – both close and distant – with no harshness as close as 3′. I then decided to try them as monitors the next day at the same event. As monitors, they required a little more EQ (what speaker doesn’t?) but were still very friendly and could attain a decent working volume, making them highly usable as wedges.
Portability is a key issue for affordable speakers, so I decided to try the “how many speakers can you get in a car?” routine. Obviously it depends on your car, but I would say you could fit two for PA and four to six more for monitors quite easily in most cars. You don’t have to worry about cumbersome amplifier racks.
Many manufacturers have gone to the polymer speaker cabinet with integrated amplifiers, recognizing the need for lightweight, portable “plug and go” systems, and FBT has provided a nice version of that with the Maxx4A. The system provides plenty of SPL for any band or rental application.
Contact FBT, North America at 800-333-9383.