Brand new at this show were the PX-5HS powered speakers ($799/pair, according to my notes). This is close cousin to the PX-5, Fostex’s professional reference monitor, but re-imagined for hi-fi. The tuning is reportedly slightly different, and the PX-5’s black boxes replaced with attractive wood. Like the PX-5, these feature 5.2″ Crimson woofers and 1″ Urethane film laminated polyester dome tweeters, as well as a digital amp with 35w (LF) and 18w (HF) output. Tone controls and volume are controlled with a knob on the back, and there’s an auto standby function as well as a gradual fade-in function.
The room showcased a minimalist system, with a tablet running through the HP-A8C DAC ($1,100), Fostex’s new flagship 32 bit DAC/headphone amp. This DSD-capable DAC has USB, coaxial, optical, and analog RCA inputs, as well as a slot for an SD card. Sitting next to it, although I didn’t get to play with it, was the new HP-A4 DAC/headphone amp ($399), which is also DSD capable and is billed as the new and improved version of the popular HP-A3.
I was really impressed with the jump and spark in this room! The liveliness of this little system was really exceptional for its size. I have not heard the original PX-5 speakers, so I can’t speak to how the tuning may have been changed to make them more “home hi-fi friendly,” but I found them quite dynamic and, while not harsh, certainly not rolled-off or tame. Folks who have looked seriously at upgrading to larger Audioengine or to Vanatoo speakers may want to give these a shot. The DACs, too, deserve a close listen, particularly at this price point.