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FBT PSR 212MA Powered Wedges

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Rob Spence:
Some background… I am a weekend warrior that wants to make it into a bit more than that. My usual fare is folk clubs and folk festivals with the occasional corporate talking heads thing and a garage band or so.

I went to Wedgefest to find out, hopefully, what you get when you spend 4 to 8 times the price of a typical MI wedge.

Ok, so that was my focus. I understand that a good sound from the monitors is important to get the best performance from the artists.

My rig consists of all powered speakers so I was particularly interested in the powered ones we had to listen to.
Size and weight matter to me also so I looked at that too.

The FBT PSR 212MA is a 12” 2 way coaxial design with a 400w amp for the LF and 100w for the HF.

One real neat feature that jumps right out is that the power inlet is a Neutrik Powercon and there is no on/off switch!

Here they are at Wedgefest (it was a big room and the flash didn’t cover well)

Closer view so you can see the driver

Side angle view

Up close of the connector panel

On the side panel there is the expected XLR in and through with indicator LEDs for power, Overload, LF Limit, HR Limit and network.

There are also a block of DIPswitches for setting an EQ contour and another block for setting delays.

An attenuator (gain) is present but requires a small screwdriver or long fingernail to set it.

Finally, there are RJ45 (Ethercon) jacks for a network connection. The network is proprietary and you need their adapter to USB in order to use it with their software.

I felt that the FBT got pretty loud but not stupid loud like some of the other wedges.

On Saturday I felt that the FBTs didn’t sound as good as many of the others at very high volume but did sound clean quite loud. They also had very good stability and excellent feedback rejection. It turned out that on Saturday we had set the DIPswitches wrong. The markings on the side panel are small (see above), the printing in the supplied manual was also small and in the manual there were 3 tables for three different speaker types in the powered FBT line and for some reason, a few of the settings were on different switches for different speakers. We ended up setting them from the wrong table on Saturday but discovered the problem Sunday, set them right, and the sound clarity at louder volumes improved quite a bit.

One thing that became obvious to me as I got to handle each of the wedges, including the FBT, was just how dense and non-resonant they were compared to MI speakers. A tap of the knuckles on a big surface met with a dull thud.

So, I guess the question is did I learn what I wanted? Big resounding yes! The difference in performance of these wedges compared to what I usually see was hard to believe. In general, all these boxes went far louder with clear intellegent vocals and many were all but feedback proof compared to MI cabs. Wow!
This has to be one of the best kept secrets in audio  

Out on a Gig
Saturday I had a gig to provide sound for a 5 piece classic rock band (think “the Dead”) in a large grassy field for a neighborhood party.

Here are the wedges in their boxes heading out to the gig

This was a bit of a stretch for me as I don’t do rock often and not outdoors at a site this size. I was hoping that the FBT monitors would at least relieve me of the worry of getting a monitor mix to sound good and loud enough on stage for the band.

They did!

And on the stage during soundcheck

These things are heavy at 64lbs each! Good thing the band members were young and strong  

The show went off well with the band getting all the volume they wanted from the FBT monitors (I got asked to turn it down once!) and I didn’t have to fight any feedback problems that have been like a plague to me in the past!

These wedges sounded good, were easy to set up if you really read the right table in the manual (note: I used the zoom in Adobe Acrobat quite a bit to make the table readable).

- Get very loud while staying clean
- Powercon power connector with pass through
- No power switch to get turned off by error
- Nice long 16’ power cable
- Feedback resistant
- Remote monitoring capable (was not able to test this)

- No feet on the end opposite the handle.
  the cab gets scuffed cause it is set on this end when not in use

- An awful lot of things that can be set or set wrong

- The area where the DIP switches are should have a protective cover to keep unauthorized folk from messing with settings and to protect the switches should you set it down on an irregular surface

- Network isn’t a standard one. The need for a USB adapter is annoying as it is yet another thing to plug into USB

- Really Heavy

The bottom line is “would I buy these for my use?”

I really liked the sound of these! They are a huge step up from what I am used to. They are bit too heavy and a little pricey for me though they were priced in the range of the other good wedges at Wedgefest.

I may look into the unpowered model that is 12lbs lighter and with fewer things for my volunteer roadies to screw up  

If someone else would carry them for me I think I would like the FBT PS212MA wedges a lot!!

I hope this is helpful.

Dan Brown:

You never said what wedges you usally use or are used to using.
Let us know.


Rob Spence:
Good point  

I usually use my Mackie 450s or 350s or Yorkie NX520s or some SxA100s that a friend owns. I also use some 10" Peaveys.

I owned some Nady wedges a while back and they were terrible. Feedback all the time.

I have known for a while that I needed good monitors but was almost afraid to buy any since I had no idea what made a good one.

Now I know and appreciate what a good wedge can do for a performance.

Eric Reese:
Just curious,
What is the MSRP and avg street price on these?

Bennett Prescott:
Eric Reese wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 12:14
Just curious,
What is the MSRP and avg street price on these?

Maybe if I say "Jeff Knorr" right here, he'll be able to tell us...


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