The three-strong fact range from PMC covers a lot of ground. Originally launched in the ‘teens’, the first fact-trio consisted of a fact.3 stand-mount, the fact.8 floorstander and the flagship fact.12 tower. Times have changed, though; the fact.3 is no more, the fact.8 and fact.12 are now both heavily revised in their Signature version and the fact.12 signature (tested here) relinquishes its top slot to the ‘built with awesome in mind’ Fenestria.
As ever with successive PMC generations; a quick visual inspection of old and new reveals little. And, with a name with the suffix ‘Signature’, one might be forgiven for thinking the fact.12 Signature was merely a slightly pimped up fact.12. Granted, the change to Signature status exists entirely in the crossover network design and construction, but the change is significant.
The truly ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ part of the fact.12 Signature’s product development is those drivers. The 19mm SONOMEX soft dome tweeter (co-engineered with SEAS), and both the 50mm soft-dome midrange and twin 140mm long-throw, coated-alloy mid-bass units were designed for the original fact.12 for its 2013 launch.
Six years later, and the 2019 Munich High End Show launch of the fact.12 Signature was a testament to the implications of ‘trickle down’ from the Fenestria project. One of the big take-away points from the Fenestria is the significance of vibration in a loudspeaker system. We’ve always known it’s important, but PMC’s Big Kahuna shows it’s even more vital than first imagined, and its impact reaches deeper than you might expect.
PMC’s research showed the impact of vibration on the components in the crossover is pivotal in creating a loudspeaker with greater musical transparency. In short, no matter how well damped or mass-loaded a speaker design, the cabinet sings along with the music, and the crossover ends up singing along with the cabinet. This might be at low levels, but these low levels are still sonically deleterious. Moving to active design or physically extracting the crossover from the cabinet helps but comes at its own costs (usually in terms of space or cost). So, the company embarked on an investigation to find the least microphonic crossover components. In most companies, that would mean ‘flipping through a few parts catalogues’, but not PMC. While fine resistors with excellent low microphonic properties exist in the Mundorf MResist Supreme line, the quest to find a similarly low-microphony capacitor was not so simple. Two years of research with the University of Salford, extensive double-blind trials and a lot of laser interferometry later, and these ultra-high-grade capacitors were born. These capacitors – with their intricate internal construction designed to lower mechanical resonance – were produced specifically for the fact range. It’s joined by custom air core inductors for the bass.
As in the Fenestria, the components in the crossover are hand-tested and carefully matched... and then the results are logged should repairs be necessary in the future. Like every part of the design – from the Advanced Transmission Line system to the steep 24dB per octave crossover slope that are retained from the original fact.12 – the choice and even orientation of the components in the crossover is the subject of an extensive and iterative test and listen programme at PMC.