Newform Research R630 Floorstanding Speakers

R630

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.

User Reviews (22)

Showing 1-10 of 22  
Tran sister   AudioPhile [Jan 11, 2017]

After 8 month of critical listening i can confirm there is some serious flaws in the midrange and upper range as previously posted.Great look always been a fan of the ribbon style at first view they look like a speaker designed for jazz or acoustic type recordings being lower range is covered by a Scan Speak 7 inch midbass driver but not true as there is noticeable distortion in almost every jazz recording especially in vocals mid range horns as well sax piano so jazz speaker is out of the question probably best used as rock or fast playing music as distortion is less noticeable.
Great design i wish Newform would reconfigure the crossovers work out the kinks as these have great potintial

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
tomeh2   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 08, 2010]

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.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
ojg   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 29, 2005]
Strength:

fast treble, tight bass

Weakness:

treble distortion, ribbon-mid/bass integration

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.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Stliong   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 27, 2005]
Strength:

transparency, openness, imaging. Realism comes to mind. It's just so pristine clean to the ears.

Weakness:

Lower extension but unless you're a picky listener or have a large room you probably don't need one. That's for the R645 anyway. There is also only one cabinet finish to choose. Need more colors. Crossover can probably be improved to provide more linear response but I'm no engineer.

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.

Similar Products Used: Most of the highest most expensive brands out there. Though moving to digital everything.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jashu   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 09, 2002]
Strength:

horizontal dispersion is unbelievable

Weakness:

for someone might be shape, for me they just gain the respect

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

Similar Products Used: for this price - nothing to compare with
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Matt   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 27, 2000]
Strength:

wonderful sound

Weakness:

external wiring from cabinet to ribbon

I just wanted to support the other great reviews for this fine speaker. Nothing I have heard compares to the spacious, omni-directional sound of these ribbons. Great compnay, greta speaker, great service. You really can't lose with Newform Research.

Similar Products Used: various
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Darren Schmidt   Audiophile [Mar 16, 2000]
Strength:

Ribbon tweeter, great mid/bass driver.
Imaging/Soundstage/Clarity/Dynamics....

Weakness:

A wee bit ugly... OK different.
Could use a better finish on the base/main unit of the speaker.

I went through the stores and listened to quite a few speakers about 6 months ago. I was finding out that if you've got approximately $2.5K Canadian to spend you can't get a REALLY GOOD speaker with adequate bass. However, for this price, you can get a great stand-mounted speaker, ProAc and Focus make great sounding speakers in this area.

At this time I became aware of the Newforms through internet searching. I found a person in my area who had them and he offered a demo. From that moment on I was sold on the Newforms. I agree they might not be the best speakers for some music, ie. hard rock or techno/dance, but for the Jazz, Pop, Classical and Blues generas these guys shine. One of the first things that I noticed was on a cymbal crash. Most speakers really don't sound realistic, the Newforms portrayed this very well (try Patricia Barber's Cafe Blue, Cut 11 or so - great dynamic changes and cool cymbal crashes). Vocals are also a standout on this speaker. Bass is good enough not to require a sub if not listening to Pipe Organ music (who really does? sorry that was a jab). One thing that another reviewer noted was the speakers sounding a little thin. Try to toe out (Yes OUT!!!) the tweeters a tad. It makes a big difference to the soundstage.

If you looking for a really good speaker and don't have a load of bucks to spend AND can get past some of the appearance problems associated with the Newforms, talk to John Meyer, he is a great guy. He actually talked me out of buying a centre speaker from him. I now think I don't need one, the imaging is that good. It goes without saying that these are great home-theatre speakers as well.

Associated Equipment:
SimAudio PW-5000 integrated amp (60w x 2 - volume control bypassed for HT)
Audio Alchemy ACDPro HDCD CD Player
Kimber Silver Streak Interconnects
Kimber 8TC Speaker Wire
B&K AVP3090 Home Theatre Pre-processor
B&K ST1430 (105w x 3) - one channel not used right now.

Darren A. Schmidt

Similar Products Used: Mirage M5si, Martin Logan, ProAc 1sc, Focus Audio 68s, Totem Model Ones, etc...
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Pete   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 16, 2000]
Strength:

Smooth Highs, Great detail

Weakness:

Thin sound, Bottoms out

I owned these speakers for 6 months and had to sell them. They sounded wonderful with classical and jazz but with rock...forget it. You cannot crank them because they continously bottom out. They also have an irritatingly thin sound that ate at my nerves. The ribbons are exceptionally smooth and detailed and I miss that. I wish John Meyer would design a speaker that has some meat to it so that I can enjoy my Mahavishnu Orchestra bootlegs. If he could do it for $1500 I would try them again. Maybe that's the R830s...I don't know. Those ribbons sure were nice though. The Paradigms can't get to that level even though I like them better for all-round listening. The Newforms are not an all-round speaker unfortunatley, and I like to listen to anything depending on my mood.

Similar Products Used: Paradigm Studio 80's
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Don   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 21, 2000]
Strength:

Transparent, 3-D soundstage, excellent dynamics for a planar

Weakness:

WAP(wife acceptance factor)

I must state that I have always loved ribbons, from the first time I heard a pair of custom Gold Ribbon speakers back in the early 80's I've been hooked. While ribbons are not for everyone, the Newform type of ribbon driver is almost an ideal choice. With an informed buying decision most people will find it very hard to beat the value-performance combination the R30 presents.
My pair of "R30's" are custom built with an exotic 7" aluminum midbass driver but are very similar to John's factory version. I currently have them bi-amped with a Marchand x-over. A custom 12" powered subwoofer augments the bass below 60Hz.
The first thing a potential buyer should be aware of is that the ribbons need to breath. In order to get the maximum performance these should be placed well away from side walls, with a few feet behind and preferably no obstructions between(like a tv stand). While not as bad as large electrostatics or dipole ribbons, the more room you give them they will return to you in soundstage depth and width with excellent imaging. I think the room plays a very important role in the sound your ear receives (especially with planar types). Watch out for reflective surfaces and try to keep the surroundings symetrical.
As for dynamics, one reviewer stated that they "bottomed out" and had an "irritating thin sound". I have never heard the ribbon bottom out and I have pushed them hard with both a high-end 100w amplifier and biamped with a custom 50w class A amp. Maybe he was refering to the midbass, which I can't comment on since I use a different one. I do find that the midbass has a very hard time living up to the performance level set by the ribbon (as with most dynamic-planar combos). I also find the ribbons will not mask bad sound produced by inferior components in the audio chain, they are very true to the source. This might explain why some people think the ribbons can sound harsh and irritating. The bottom line is plan on using components of similar quality to the ribbons (and not based on cost but sound quality). Experiment with the types of components you use with the Newforms. Most high-end shops will let you check-out componets so it shouldn't be that hard to do.
In comparison to other similar speakers, the Newforms more than hold their own. They are much easier to place than ESLs or large dipole ribbons since the backwave is contained although as I stated earlier they still like room. Properly set-up, they can deliver the pinpoint imaging of small monitors while delivering the wide soundstage of large panel speakers.
The most important thing one should be aware of is the pure form follows function look of these speakers. Since most married men do not do the decorating, make sure the significant other understands how tall the R30 is. My wife says they look like goal posts. I think they look fine.
The Newforms are simply wonderful sounding speakers for the price. With the proper setup and associated components, I think most people would be very happy with these for years to come. I also find they work extremely well in surround mode with movies. All-in-all an excellent product!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Gary Huckabay   Audiophile [Dec 29, 2000]
Strength:

Breadth and Depth of imaging; customer service; build quality

Weakness:

If you're taller than 5'6", you'll need the 645s to critically listen while standing -- no biggie.

This is the best speaker I have ever heard. I've spent considerably more in the past, and tried a number of configurations, but I will never need to look for another set of speakers. (Well, I might get an additional set of 645s in the future, but that's it.)

The speakers simply sound like music. There's not really anything more to say. Location of musical instruments and voices is precise (often revealing some anomalies in recording), and in a medium (17' x 13') room, the bass is deadly accurate. There's music, not audio components filling the room.

The soundstage is tremendously deep and wide, and these speakers can indeed cause a ripple effect that will make you want to upgrade the rest of your system.

The customer service was excellent. John Meyer, the designer at Newform Research, worked with me to find the best location for the speakers in the room, and is much more concerned about you having a great musical experience than he is in pushing a particular product.

The speakers are top-heavy, with the 30" ribbon housing being pretty dense, and the appearance of the speakers is not for everyone. My wife expressed horror at the thought of them being in the living room, and was ecstatic when I told her they'd be in my office.

I have heard no speaker up to $7,500 from another manufacturer that can compete with the R630s. It is a leap of faith to buy a set of speakers you haven't heard, but the money back guarantee that NFR provides was a comfort. I can't imagine that anyone ever takes them up on it.

One caveat -- they do require a burn-in period, but your patience will pay off.

Wow. They're that good.

Similar Products Used: Monitor Audio Studio 20SEs, Sonus Faber, Wilsons, Apogee, Acoustat, Precise 10s, B&W
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 22  

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