2 way Ribbon with 30" wide dispersion, monopole Ribbon and ScanSpeak 7" carbon fibre pulp midbass. Dynamic and transparent new technology linesource loudspeaker with high impedance, high sensitivity for stereo or home theater applications. Heavy 1" MDF ported cabinet sold factory direct.
Go these second hand and what a deal. Great imaging, great dynamics. Very fast and another beautiful ribbon from Newform Research. I have been running them with a little HLLY90 integrated and using a simple Sony DVD player in a medium sized room. Last night I did an A-B comparison for my friend who thought her "little" system was good enough for her and now I don't think I'll get my these back. I read all of the previous reviews before posting here and I find it hard to believe the previous poster doesn't have something drastically wrong with his electronics side?? The only reason that the overall rating isn't 5 stars is that I am fortunately the owner of Newform Research Linesource reference and Linesource monitors. In this category of sub $3,000.00, floor-standers, I can't imagine a better value.
The reviews of the Newform Research speakers here are always glowing, and for good reason. They are, at first listening, very good speakers.
The need for a critical and objective evaluation is highly overdue. Because no speaker is perfect, and the NFRs are no exception, it’s necessary to clearly identify their plusses and minuses. I find myself terribly torn over these speakers. Their strong points are quite strong--—their weaknesses so very disappointing. They are not worth twice their price. I’ve heard speakers for less that are as good or better, and speakers for twice that beat them hands down.
The Newform ribbons are fast, detailed, and produce a large soundstage, both tall and wide. This alone will spoil anyone who has heard them or anything similar in character such as electrostatics, planar-magnetics, or Heil AMTs. The transients are very good as well as the dynamics. Spoken voices are distinct and easily understood. The wide dispersion of the ribbons provides a broad listening area. Imaging is good. The mid/bass is tight. The bass extension, though dropping off rapidly below 50hz, is well defined, but they do need a good subwoofer to complete the low end. In these areas the NFR 630s excel. Their strengths certainly deserve 4 stars.
The ribbons, however, have a serious Achilles’ Heel. Nowhere has this been mentioned except for one review I stumbled across doing a web search, http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_4_1/newform.html. There is a clearly audible distortion problem primarily in the 1000-1500 hz range. This is obviously heard with a sine wave (between 800 hz – 4000 hz) and with a 500-2K white noise signal starting at a sound pressure level as low as 70 db. It occurs in all the NFR ribbons I’ve listened to including 3 of the 8" and 3 of the 30", but is not consistent from one ribbon to the next. Some produce the distortion at lower levels, and some it’s more or less audible. It appears to be inherent in the design. (I’ve also heard a similar issue with Martin Logan electrostatics, but to a far lesser degree.) Pressing on the frame around the ribbons can increase or decrease the ‘ringing,’ but never eliminates it. With music, it’s less audible, yet that depends on other factors. Busy music with many instruments playing, such as full orchestra or large jazz ensemble, will often cover it. Exposed passages with few voices, acoustic music, or soloists, will allow it to be prominently audible. It’s particularly noticeable on solo piano and vibraphone, and other instruments that play in the 1-1.5k range, such as flute, clarinet, and soprano sax. It also seems to require somewhat higher SPLs to be audible with music, 80 db or better; however, it does not have to be loud for it to occur. I’ve even noticed it at relatively low volume.
Other problems I’ve noticed are in the mid/bass cabinet. One of my 630s will buzz in a narrow frequency range, around 300 hz. Squeezing the sides of the cabinet up by the mid/bass driver will stop the buzz. Again, this is only audible in exposed passages and indicates a lack of quality control in the cabinet. Another reviewer had alignment problems with the screws between the foot-board and the cabinet; so did I. These sloppy construction and manufacturing problems are inexcusable with speakers in this price range, and indicate a lack of attention to details. Also, at times, the transition between the mid/bass to the ribbons is audible as a musical line of an individual instrument runs from its lower register to the upper register going through the crossover and its sound likewise runs up from the mid/bass to the ribbon. It’s a weird effect. Imaging is somewhat unstable at times—which may be attributable to the integration between the mid/bass and ribbon.
After two years of listening to the R630s and several months auditioning other speakers, they still stand out from the crowd in their price range in many respects. I’ve auditioning Magnepan, Martin Logan, Thiel, and Piega in my search for a speaker that is fast, detailed, and above all, clean. In this search, I realize how well the overall design of the Newforms are. Newforms are energetic, if not overtly forward, but just when they are really showing their stuff, as with simple acoustic music, this is exactly when their flaws are most exposed and intolerable, especially the ‘ringing.’ The NFRs leave me very disappointed. NFRs could be great speakers and a great value. As they are, all things considered, they only deserve a 3 star rating. For anyone thinking of buying them, you should be well advised. I’m replacing mine because I can no longer tolerate the distortion.
Even after the recent major price change, these speakers are still what could be the very best things on the market. 5 out of 5 without reservation. I have not had a guest or an audiophile who doesnt fall in love with the sound. Heck, if I would have to relocate to another continent, I'd haul these over other belongings. For many people these would probably be the last set of speakers they own.
The most difficult part was the blind direct purchase. Thanks to the other review writers which eased my decision.
From that point forward it was just great.
After 3rd day 1. break in - Mids and Bass.
after 3 weeks 2. break in - deep Bass
These are without a doubt in the top range of speakers. There are thousands of speaker companies with so many diff. ways of producing sound that there's no way anyone can say this or that is the best speaker ever, but if you have a typical sized HT room, lots of air to put around these babies, and a solid sub (like SVS for a matching bargain/yet super high quality example), you'll have an excellent stereo or with two pair 4.1 set up that'll stand up against anything. Can I say they're the best I've ever heard. Not really. I could never afford $20K Revel's or B&W's to hear how they compare side by side with the Newforms, but neither have a dome tweeter that's as fast as this ribbon, and doubtfully more detailed since speed is so tied to detail. They both go lower than the Newforms (the 630 goes very low though!), but then again I, like most of us, use a sub in my set up, and both Revel and B&W make subs to match their top speaks so they clearly think you also need a sub for their speakers too. It's become a running joke here it seems to say "can't buy better for 2-3 times the price", but compared to almost every store bought, marked up, cheaper driver, speakers it's true. I can name a few companies that COULD be as good a deal as the Newforms (Norh, B-G radias, Monsoon planars, Diva Swans), but since they're all mostly only online available and I haven't bought 'em I can't say they're better or worse. Looking at the specs and details of these models I still choose the Newforms, and no regrets even after a year (and for electronics, that's a lifetime!!)