The company is located in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and one can start to experience their products as Michael and company begin to make appearances at audiophile shows nationwide.
I asked Michael what his ideas about the industry were, and he happily told me that loudspeaker design is both science and art form. Facet Labs' first contribution to the loudspeaker market is the Banshee two-way design loudspeaker, reviewed here.
Having now experienced
this product first hand, I would like to say that Facet Audio Labs is going
to make a nice big splash into the industry. At $4,995/pair, they are not
inexpensive, but take a look at the photo. Gorgeous they are, and as you
will see below, what a sound!
The speakers rest on a black finished base that has inserts for floor spikes. The cabinet stands close to four feet tall, and has very clean edges and lines. Getting right up close reveals the precision in the cabinetry and I could see that the finish was seamless, with the edges being even and laser sharp.
There are three finishes on the Banshees to choose from. The veneer is affixed to the speaker using high quality construction methods, and it makes the speakers look as if they are chiseled from solid wood. The model supplied for review featured natural Bubinga wood, and this finish was a spectacle in itself. It has a warm buttery glow with mixed shades of gold and cream that are banded horizontally along the speaker. As you move around the speaker its look changes as you see light hitting the wood from different angles. This is a very exquisite effect as it highlights the various shades of the finish.
Bubinga should complement many
different decors, and it stands out as having an almost exotic
look that I think would work very well in high fashion decors. The
Banshees are also available in an antique cherry which has natural and deep
warmth to it, and an ebony finish that appears as a pure satin black from a
distance, but from closeup, looks like a subtly shaded black mixed with the
brown and grey of the wood grains. I was fortunate enough to see all of the
finishes in person and I can say that all are very attractive. Facet Audio
Labs also includes a black cloth speaker grille that snaps into place on the
front of the speaker.
The end goal here is to try
to get a low mass, highly rigid driver that also has good dampening
properties that comes from the sandwiched layer of foam. The tweeter is an
inverted titanium dome model with a coated foam surround. Inverted dome
structures are said to pass some of the mechanical energies created between
the dome and the voice coil back into the dome structure which would then
get converted into sound rather than dissipate as heat in the suspension
unit. Both the tweeter and mid/bass drivers are magnetically shielded, so it
wouldn't be a problem placing them next to a CRT display. However, as you will
see later in this review, these speakers perform better placed wide apart,
rather than next to your TV.
On top of the MDF lies the wood laminate layer which is
flawlessly. The end result of the construction on this cabinet makes the
Banshees once again look and feel like they are sculpted from solid wood.
There are other notable features that we would expect to see in a speaker in
this price range such as high quality binding posts which allow bi-wiring,
silver plated internal wiring, and every connection being hand soldered and