Philharmonic Audio

The BMR Philharmonitor

Philharmonic Audio is pleased to announce the BMR Philharmonitor.  The newest member of the Philharmonic family provides a level of performance previously available only in a premium tower speaker, but at substantially lower price.  The BMR Philharmonitor is a 3-way design using the same RAAL ribbon tweeter found in the New Philharmonitor, an innovative Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) midrange driver, and the latest version of the highly respected Scan Speak 8545 7-inch woofer.

Usable bass response extends to 32 Hz in a bass reflex cabinet optimized by Paul Kittinger.  The BMR midrange and RAAL tweeter provide exceptional lateral dispersion and an expansive sound stage.  The 17-element crossover uses the same high quality parts found in our more expensive speakers and blends the three drivers seamlessly.  Pricing starts at only $1,350/pr plus shipping, not to exceed $100 for Continental U.S.

The most unique feature of the new design is the Balanced Mode Radiator midrange driver.  Conventional drivers function in simple pistonic fashion across their frequency range.  Eventually the response becomes chaotic as severe breakup modes develop from the applied mass of the voice coil interacting with the driver mass, which greatly restricts the usable range of operation.  The BMR is a flat-diaphragm speaker that uses strategically placed weights in the diaphragm to counteract the mass of the voice coil at higher frequencies. 

The driver operates as a piston at lower frequencies, but shifts to a bending wave motion mode in the lower treble, and to a second bending mode in the upper treble.  The result is greatly reduced breakup and extremely broad dispersion above 2,000 Hz.  This driver is used as both a midrange and tweeter in several commercial applications.  Although the BMR can function acceptably in this fashion, its true strength is upper midrange performance.  The highest frequencies are much better served by the RAAL ribbon tweeter.

Bass frequencies are handled by a recently improved version of the classic Scan Speak 8545 7-inch woofer.  This driver has long been noted for its superior bass reach and low harmonic distortion.  The large volume of the BMR cabinet and expert port tuning by Paul Kittinger allow the Scan Speaker woofer to provide useful bass response to 32 Hz.  This means you can experience the power of a pipe organ or bass drum without the expense of a tower speaker or the complexity of a subwoofer.

The BMR Philharmonitor is available in custom cabinets built by Jim Salk, or slightly smaller prefabricated cabinets in cherry or piano black.  Pricing for the BMR with Salk cabinets starts at $1,600 with standard finish.  A furniture-grade finish is available for $1,800.  Standard veneers include mahogany, curly walnut, curly cherry, and maple.  There is no charge for dyes.  High-gloss or satin piano black finish is also available.  The pictured Salk monitor at the top features dyed curly walnut veneer with the premium finish.  The prefabricated cabinets have curved sides and extensive bracing, and come with magnetic grills.  These cabinets are two inches shorter than the Salk version, but there is no practical difference in the bass extension or overall sound quality.  In addition, the turnaround time is much shorter for the BMR's with prefabricated cabinets, and they are priced at only $1,350/pr.

The following graphs illustrate the frequency response performance of the BMR Philharmonitor.  The first plot shows the very smooth on-axis response, which is free of any fatiguing peaks.  The second graph combines the on-axis curve (red) with the response at 30 degrees off axis (dark blue) and the response a full 80 degrees off axis (green).  The extremely broad radiation pattern at even the highest frequencies provides a very wide listening position and excellent sound staging.  Further, because the dispersion characteristics of the drivers are so well matched at their crossover points, there is no need for wave guides that can color the sound and narrow the listening window.

Frequency Response



To place the BMR's performance in better perspective, here are third-party off-axis plots of the BMR and a comparably priced high quality monitor.  Both speakers were measured in the anechoic chamber of the Canadian National Research Council under identical conditions.  The measurements start at 45 degrees off axis and extend to 75 degrees off axis.  Although the off-axis behavior of the competing monitor is admirable in the consistency of its general contour, note that the BMR is free of any peaks and maintains a much broader dispersion pattern.



Cabinet Cherry, piano black, or custom veneers by Jim Salk
Tweeter RAAL 64-10 OEM
Midrange Tectonic Balanced Mode Radiator 2.5"
Woofer Scan Speak 8545-01 7"
Frequency Response 32 Hz - 20kHz (+ / - 2db) Anechoic
Sensitivity 84.5 dB (dB/2.83v/1M)
Box Alignment Bass Reflex
Dimensions 20" H x (8" Front, 4.5" Back) W x 14" D
Weight 38 lbs each
Impedance 6 Ohms