PMC Fenestria & dCS Reference Series

  • Posted on 25 October 2023

Around four years ago, I received a phone call from a well-known Martins Hi-Fi customer. This customer's Hi-Fi journey had its roots in the late 1980s when they purchased a Marantz CD Player, an integrated amp, and a pair of Mission loudspeakers at Martins. Fast forward four decades, numerous upgrades had transformed their system into an awe-inspiring reference setup.

The phone call went something like this: "I'm relocating to France, can you assist me in moving my system?" Our immediate response was, "Certainly, we can." However, it later dawned on me that this system likely weighed close to a ton, and I would be the one responsible for lifting it. As time passed, major events such as Brexit and Covid introduced delays and complications, but eventually, our customer was ready to move into their dream home in the French Alps.

The work began with a day of carefully dismantling and packaging the system, preparing it for its journey by road to its final destination. Two weeks later, my journey began in the early hours with a drive to Luton airport and an early flight to Geneva, where the customer would pick me up. The drive into the Alps was nothing short of spectacular, with smooth, pothole-free tarmac roads, picturesque switchbacks, blue skies, mountain ravens, vivid blue rivers crashing into foaming white waterfalls, and charming alpine farmsteads lining the route. Not a bad Monday morning commute, I must say.

Finally, we arrived at a renowned ski resort, which, in the off-season, was a quiet, sleepy place, with most establishments closed except for a couple of small local bars and a boulangerie (essential for sustenance). Just outside the village, we reached our destination, and what a destination it was – simply breathtaking! The chalet was strategically positioned to offer the best mountain views, with a three-story-high back wall consisting of picture windows, ensuring stunning vistas from every corner of the spacious open-plan living area.

Then, I beheld the pile of boxes, which was the purpose of my visit. It was a daunting sight, but we had to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We began by assembling the Stillpoints ESS racks, which serve as a foundation for many high-end systems. Each shelf was meticulously measured, installed, and levelled, and each component in the right place and cable runs double-checked. Once this was completed, it was time to assemble the PMC Fenestria loudspeakers. These slotted together with precision and immediately blended seamlessly with the room, symmetrically placed around the wood-burning stove. By day's end, we were nearly ready to power up the system. After one final check, we pressed the power button on the PS Audio PS20 power regenerator. To my relief, everything powered up and settled down, ready to go.


With the basic checks completed and sound emanating from both left and right channels, the customer insisted that we take a break for "a" beer and some food – it had been a long day. Upon our return, after enjoying "a" beer and some delicious food, we sat in front of the system to assess its sound. All I can say is that our customer had the broadest smile on his face – the scale of the sound was truly immense. The solid soundstage appeared wider than the speakers, with vocals coming from the center. The bass had weight and control, effortlessly distinguishing the kick drum from the bass guitar. We knew the system would require some time to settle, so we retired for the night, leaving it to run.


The next day, we fine-tuned the speaker positioning and basked in the luxurious sound. It was mesmerizing and incredibly difficult to stop playing music. We discovered that the initial position was not far from where the speakers needed to be. By experimenting with toe-in and the distance from the glass, we achieved a slightly more focused sound, which the customer preferred. We were both surprised and delighted to find that acoustically, the room was an interesting space to be in. Despite the large glass area, hard floors, and minimal sound absorption, the wood cladding did an excellent job of breaking up resonances. Halfway up the stairs to the mezzanine floor, there was a significant bass node point that made our trousers flap. The rest of the space had very even acoustics, resulting in a great outcome. All in all, it was one of the most enjoyable systems we've had the privilege of installing.

I was happy in the knowledge that I had fulfilled our customer's dream. Sitting in a comfortable chair, with a fire crackling, a drink in hand, a mountain view, snow falling in the background, and the best sound system effortlessly playing music.

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