For the fact.12, PMC did not rely entirely on its own R&D facilities, but took advantage of one of the country’s most remarkable research institutes. The National Physical Laboratory in Teddington is probably visible from space; it’s certainly pretty obvious from most heights on Google maps. Several hanger-sized buildings with white roofs take up half the national debt’s worth of prime real estate in south west London. The place was established over a hundred years ago so that it could measure things. Quite why you need so much manpower and space to do the job of a tape measure is not clear, but they do take the job seriously. One of the things they measure is sound – the acoustics division has some remarkable facilities, including a room with a 30 second reverberation time that is unsettling to converse in, and more than one substantial anechoic chamber. Plenty of speaker researchers have access to such chambers, but few (if any) have harnessed the know how of a research department on this scale.
It was here that PMC founder Pete Thomas, his son Ollie and the rest of the engineering team went to try and measure what sound waves do when they leave a loudspeaker. Essentially we are talking dispersion, which is the pattern of sound as it is sent out into the room and the way that this effects our perception of a speaker’s character. Using laser interferometry of the air itself, PMC and the NPL team managed to reveal how sound disperses at different frequencies and how the nature of the crossover and the shape of the front baffle effect that dispersion. The benefits of this research can be seen in the precise shape of the flange around the midrange dome of the fact.12 loudspeaker, and heard, if you can spot such things, in the crossover slopes that PMC used for this model.
If the fact.12 looks familiar it could be because it has the same proportions as the fact.8 that was launched a couple of years ago. Put the two side by side however and it’s obvious that the 12 is more substantial. They share an attractive narrow but deep footprint and have chrome plated outriggers that provide stability and a solid anchor for stainless steel spikes. Those not wishing to puncture the parquet can invert these for a rounded ball end. The review pair that PMC supplied came in a white finish that made the 12 look particularly elegant and modern, the contrast with black drivers being far more appealing than with the magnetically attached grille. For a big speaker the fact.12 is surprisingly room friendly, especially if you like a bit of contemporary styling, which as a tasteful Hi-Fi+ reader you undoubtedly do.