Pathos Acoustics is a company, that needs no introduction. I doubt there are any audiophiles and music lovers, that don't know it or their audio path did't led them to come across this Italian high-end audio products. With the distinctive style and sound Pathos Acoustics found home with many people over the world.
Pathos Acoustics still keep the strong pace at present times with a steady releases of cleverly designed high-end products without loosing their high-standards for the sound and design.
Many of audiophiles know Pathos Acoustics for their electronics, but might missed their line of loudspeakers. Pathos Frontiers line of loudspeakers hold two models. Frontiers Life and Frontiers Prime. Pathos Acoustics Frontiers Prime are company flagship floor standing speakers and a passionate and elaborated work of Pathos's Mr. Gaetano Zanini. He put all of this love and knowledge into their creation. All company loudspeakers are designed entirely by him and they are his proud creations, that for him reflects the true spirit of the Pathos Acoustics.
With Pathos's Marketing director Enrico Fiore we set for the review date schedule and few weeks later two enormous boxes arrived in front of our house. I really didn't expect such large wooden crate boxes, but the Frontiers Prime are designed with a special curved shape, that makes the Prime's appearance very unique and stylish, but more impotently great sounding. There is a reason for the dedicated shape, but more on that later. My speakers test samples arrived in the white pearl finish, that embodied the recognised Italian spirit reminding me closely to the energy of legendary Italian cars, where passion and elegancy are bursting hand by hand.
Pathos Acoustic Prime are uniquely shaped speaker. Their design hold an elaborated story:
The Frontiers diffusers constitute the beginning and the target in the sound history signed by Pathos. The Pathos Loudspeakers section, which considers dipolar emission a state-of-the-art for the listening sensation, was capable to go beyond dipolar, remaking it with its own technologies and geometries.
Thus, the Research and Development Department entrusted their inner resources with the design to obtain the exclusive sound perfection. After a decade of testing, Frontiers is the leading and pride model of Pathos Loudspeakers. Although the spatial perception of Frontiers range is unique, seeing is believing. Try it, after all when you sit down in front of a Pathos Loudspeaker product, you will not use only your ears; with Frontiers, we see the skin of the kettledrum, we perceive the hammer felt on the piano wire, we distinguish the key of the woodwind pulled down.
The diffuser itself beats, it shakes, and it trembles as something alive, conceived to create the sound wave, not to reproduce it. The materials and the structure constitute a body that harmonises perfectly in all its parts, is something that turns to make the diffuser all in one with the listening room.
In fact, thanks to its particular geometry of variable sound emission, the listener becomes absorbed in a living system that holds and discloses a new way of seeing music. Through the innovative technology SST of its own dipolar diffusers, the influence of the listening space is minimised, improving especially spatial atmosphere of the room with a little predisposition to sound reproduction and returning consequently the sound image in three-dimension. That way, the sound becomes an image. Thus, hearing is not the only sense involved in the experience.
THE PRIME CHARACTER
I was sure, that Primes's had to represent something special as they were cherished work of Mr. Zanini, but I didn't know exactly what to expect. When I set them into my listening room the Frontiers Prime feels like massive objects at first, but after positioning them at their dedicated space the feeling of big size disappeared in the room. When you glance at them from the front side, they elegantly hide their curved and big nature. Looking them straight ahead your vies focus quickly attach to the black front baffle where the front speakers are mounted.
With Pathos both form and function seems to work side by side also with their loudspeakers. Interestingly, when I unpacked them and inspected them visually there was something familiar with the design. It clicked after few seconds. These speakers were on the market long before some of the present similar shaped speakers. Mystery solved. Its clear where many present took their inspiration from. Mr. Zanini surely set the path, that many followed afterwards. I surely wish that they would copycat also the Frontiers Prime sound...
SOUND SET TECHNOLOGY
Three compartments make the diffuser brought together in a single cabinet. Tasked to reproduce low range sound, the woofer are in the lower part, while in the rear, in an independent compartment, the middle-high unit is positioned. Another similar middle-high unit is located in the front part but assembled in a cabinet in an axis with the bass and capable to rotate horizontally. Once the placement of the diffusers takes place in a manner that realistic space sensation of sound scene is recreated, you use the moving middle-high units like two satellites by referencing the listening point. This technology called Sound Set Technology allows to create an atmosphere easy to by customised and a sound scene always perfectly precise and extraordinary profound in every environment. Once you find the right placing, the diffusers disappear to create a sound stage that stands beyond the physical position of the speakers. Positioning is not enough.
The possibility to orient freely front-rear emissions enables to obtain different results according to the surroundings. Therefore, the sound takes concrete shapes; sources cancel and multiply themselves, giving birth to all the elements of an orchestra, or simply, your favourite ensemble. For the first time in a stereo system, sound timbres no more appear only unbelievably distinct, but concrete in space.
MUSIC BY HEARTH
Usually loudspeakers need the strict positioning and are heavily dependable on the room acoustics. Pathos Acoustics Frontiers Prime were not so strictly dependable on the environments. I had no problems with their positing and "tuning" with their position to avoid the typical bass bumps. Even when they were placed closed to the walls the lower frequencies worked with straight focus and clear presentation. It was the same with the midrange. Many listeners and even reviewers fails to recognise the importance of the upper bass, that strongly defines the grounds for the mid frequencies. This gives the instruments and voices the needed real three dimensionality and believable life-like body.
Loudspeakers in general can quickly create not only the unwanted bass bumps, but also the mid bumps, that are tightly connected with the proper reproduction of lower frequencies. When bass and mids are lost in space or amplified by the room imperfections, the whole sound balance collapses and music becomes unfocused with a little actual appeal to draw you into the music.
THE TIMBRAL VOYAGE
Pathos Acoustics Frontiers Prime loudspeakers impressed me very much and very quickly. I cannot remember when midrange reproduction invited me so instantly into the musical listening. There is something special about the Frontiers Prime voicing, that correlate so closely to the natural timbre. Prime's instantly connected me with the music.
One of the main mistakes that contemporary speakers manufacturers are repeating constantly is the completely wrong voicing. This is not just the matter of tuning and matching of the crossover and drivers, but failing to have the strong focus on the coherent inner workings with the speaker enclosure. At present most of the loudspeakers manufacturers are trying to hard in highlight the use of high-tech materials and latest highly praised drivers. Everything looks so admirably well when advertised, but with the actual listening over 90% of speakers collapses at the basic and primal goal of recreating the natural timber of vocals, violins, guitar and other live acoustical instruments. Materials like aluminium, ceramics etc. tend to have their advantages, but by nature I strongly believe that its hard to create and design a speaker that can resonate with the natural timbre without the use of the wood. For sure we're always fighting with the elimination of unwanted resonances and vibrations, but in recreating the real high-end illusion of any given musical event, the implementation of wood seems to help with its natural resonant structure.
But, again. It's not simple. You have to know how to deal with the wood. Sole wood as ground material would do a little. There is still a need of complete science and listening tests with the involvement of the wood as the structural part of the loudspeakers enclosure. When not use in a proper way, the solid or laminated wood can quickly kills all the inherited advantages of the wood as great resonant material.
Mr. Zanini and Pathos team managed to expertly create a speaker, that is exemplary at presentation of natural timbre and music in a most passionate and emotional way. They used the wood and technology in right way. The end results speaks easily for itself.
I've pulled out my 50's and 60's collection of classical and jazz vinyl especially for this review. Playing some of the early John Coltrane records was great rediscovery with Pathos Prime speakers. Making saxophone work at best with the illusion of reproducing it is a harder task that might seems. Brass and metal instruments reveals instantly the flaws of any high-end audio system components. Be it cables, preamplifier, amplifier or loudspeaker. With great sounding loudspeakers you cannot hide any imperfections reproduced or created in prior to sending them to the speakers. Loudspeakers represent the end link of audio chain and those being tuned to natural side of timbralic performance can accent the music in a certain way with evoking life-like energy back into the music. But, they cannot cure the raw - primal imperfections and flaws of the system.
Pathos Acoustics Frontiers Prime loudspeakers were clearly designed with the musical focus in mind. Their warm natural imprint brings the best out of music and with their higher efficiency they are both tube ready/friendly and open to the Pure Class A solid state amplifiers. Frontiers Prime won't work at their best with mega watts amplifiers as they were for sure not designed with monstrous amps in mind. Connect them to something like Pathos T.T. or INPOLREMIX and you'll quickly discover the heavenly combination of grand musical involvement, that they can offer.
Pathos Acoustics Frontiers Prime advantage is easily highlighted with the reproduction on any vocals. Be it opera, pop or jazz vocals of legends like for example Nina Simone, Pathos Primes do their job with full emotional impact and without any curtains in front. The poetic rawness of Bob Dylan's voice is presented as good as it gets and so was the Johnny Cash unmistakable powerful vocal. The depth, the sadness and life's energy simply floats towards the listener.
Pathos Acoustics Frontiers Prime loudspeakers stayed for a good month with me and it was really special time. These are the speakers I could happily live with for good. They bring out the best in music and by design offer a room friendly performance.
Frontiers Prime come from the Pathos's Mr. Gaetano Zanini as the product of his lifetime passion and quest for the sound that deals with the music in the best way possible.
There might be a faster or imaginably more precise sounding speakers on the market with their flashy specs and materials, but when it comes to the natural musical reproduction Pathos Acoustics Frontiers Prime is the grand example of how things should be done and who music should sound. Period!
Frontiers Prime Type: Bipolar
Sound Set Technology, Floorstanding,
Three way front:
2 woofer 210 mm /
1 midrange 165 mm / 1 twetter neodymium Two way rear:
1 midrange 165 mm / 1 twetter neodymium
Crossover frequency: 200 - 4.000 Hz
Answer Frequence: 27 - 30.000 Hz
Impecence: 8 Ohm Sensitivity: 92db
Advised power: 10 - 200 Watt Single weight approx: 40 Kg. Dimension: 33 x 68 x 137 Color: Front Main cabinet
PATHOS ACOUSTICS SRL
Grumolo delle abbadesse
Tel. +39 0444 264732
Fax. +39 0444 381275