Ferguson Hill are a niche British designed loudspeaker company who have garnered notable interest for their innovative and striking horn-loaded speakers and hi-fi components. Headed by Tim Hill, a former aeronautical engineer, the company first set the scene with their £17,000 artisan FH001 full-size speaker system.
Through research and more innovation, the company were able to downscale the same flagship FH001 system into a more compact affordable desktop version to satisfy more reaches of the audiophile marketplace. With a semi-full range drive unit and four dedicated power amps featuring an active crossover and Bluetooth compatibility, the £495 FH007 (dropped from £695) represents the culmination of Ferguson Hill’s design and technical prowess.
The FH007 system comes equipped with a four 16W channel amplifier with active crossovers and front volume control. At the back end of the amplifier, there are multiple inputs and outputs including an RCA input, stereo jack, 1/8 inch jack and stereo output.
Each mid-bass cone and horn are made from a toughened polycarbonate said to withstand drops. The drivers are supported with a polished steel three-piece strikes which updates the retro design profile of the FH007 system.
Also added to the latest edition, is a Bluetooth receiver V4.0 which allows consumers to enjoy wireless streaming from any smart phone, tablet or laptop device which aids the products flexibility and utility across all aspects of the home and office setting.
The work behind the design of the FH007 grew out of many trials conducted in Loughborough University where speckle pattern laser interferometry and optical test benches were used to measure soundwaves to finally achieve an ideal horn profile that could give a uniform expansion rate of sound.
The use of the acoustic horns as a way to mechanically amplify the sound allows the FH007 system to enjoy great levels of efficiency. The open-ended back of the speaker is also a brave design choice that may be explained by the wish to amplify a large part of the sound system.
The FH007 arrived in a very neatly packaged box with the speakers carefully packaged in polystyrene foam. The overall brand and packaging is very reminiscent of Apple which is impressive from the small and humble company.
The speakers also come equipped with a pair of white gloves for handling and preventing unwanted fingerprints being imprinted on the polycarbonate finish.
The Design & Build
Aesthetics really shine on the FH007 with the original FH001 earning incredible acclaim for their bold, inspiring and elegant design. The company however claim that the design comes second to sound on their priorities list which mean Ferguson Hill are serious in pushing for audiophile sound without the need to resort to gimmick or novelty as their ultimate unique selling point.
It is advised to run the FH007 system in for a few days to achieve the maximum sonic potential and to allow the diaphragms to settle in.
The FH007 system is very position dependent and does require the end-user to direct the front-loaded horn speakers within their direction. Failure to do so does alter the acoustic sound quality; an easy way to achieve the sweet spot would be to position the horn speakers so that the horizontal and vertical steel components are facing the listener. In addition, the mid-bass cones should be spaced evenly from the horn speakers and amplifier. A near-field listening experience with the addition of the subwoofer is the optimal setting required to make the best use of this sound system.
After adjusting the system, the FH007 really comes to life and shines with vocals. For example, in London Grammar’s “Help”, Reid’s powerful and haunting vocals are emotionally conveyed while still retaining that high upper midrange presence. The ethereal and ambient piano background is also captured with realistic timbre and presence. Similarly, in London Grammar’s “If You Wait”, the harmony between piano and vocals are nicely demonstrated with volume that fills a small/medium sized room.
The FH008 subwoofer complements the FH007 system well with fantastic macro-dynamics in the form of impactful yet taut bass. In Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA.”, low frequency notes can not only be heard across the room but also felt. Similarly, in Drake’s “Don’t Matter To Me”, the sub-bass rumble digs deep with pleasant and smooth tonal character.
In “Arrival of the Birds” by the Cinematic Orchestra, the FH007 boasts a large soundstage with sonic cues being projected in both the width and height dimensions. Also impressive, is the scaling and instrument separation which fills the room with a live ambience that many other speakers fall short of. This same type of ambience is reflected in “Love Crime” by Siouxsie Sioux & Brian Reitzell where Sioux’ voice has an airy quality that soars above the backing drums and instrumental music.
Overall, the FH007 system has a sense of dynamism and airy nature which allows orchestral and instrumental music to really show their true capabilities. In parallel, micro-dynamics are very good with the speakers able to display subtle nuances and gradations in music loudness. An example of this is in “Light of the Seven” by Ramin Djawadi where the mid- to late crescendo is tactfully able to portray the subtleties of the piano track whilst also being able to capture the deep brooding notes of the cello amongst the harmonious bellows of the choir.
It is admirable when a company strives for something different in an already saturated marketplace. The FH007 system certainly would not look out of place in an avant-garde condominium and with a sound to match, offers affordability and good-value compared to its full-sized flagship predecessor. The FH008 subwoofer completes the set with powerful and deep-reaching bass that is not only enveloping but a great addition in rendering impactful lows. One thing worth mentioning is that the speakers were slightly larger than I expected and thus a suitably sized desk is required to house the entirety of the system. However, having said this, the system would stand proud on any shelfing space or cabinet unit as long as there are sockets within the vicinity. While there are minor nitpicks such as the positional element of the speakers, a slight roll-off in the very high frequency ranges and the questionable practicality of the speaker sizes, the speaker system does get a lot right. At a price of £495 (reduced from £695), therefore, the FH007 along with the addition of the £325 FH008 subwoofer represents a great investment which skilfully combines form with function. It will be interesting to see what the company will be able to offer next; do stay tuned …
FH007 mini-speaker system
£495 (reduced from £695)
£566 (airfreight to the US)
- 2 Horn speakers 8 Ohm Horn H 43cm W 27cm D 18cm
- 2 Bass speakers 8 Ohm Bass Sphere 20 cm diameter
- Integrated Amplifier 14 cm cubed, Bi-amped class A/B, 64 Watts with two dedicated stereo amplifiers and an active crossover.
- Frequency response 75Hz – 20KHz +/- 5dB
- This product conforms with the EMC. Directive and the Low Voltage Directive
- Amplifier 100W per channel class A/B
- Infinite Baffle enclosure
- Drive unit 20cm dia/8 Ohm
- Frequency response 45 to 150 Hz
- This product conforms to EMC Directive and Low Voltage Directive
- Colours, gloss black or gloss white