PATHOS Frontiers Prime


Floorstanding loudspeakers

To sum it up, the Pathos Frontiers Prime features 6 transducers radiating in 3 non-parallel planes, which is a sort of a unique solution. Pathos calls it SST, which stands for Sound Set Technology, with the simple goal: to eliminate the walls of a room, to free a room from its borders.

100% reference

Funkce a forma


The Frontiers Prime are bipolar speakers. Let me spend few words on it as people often mistaken bipoles with dipoles. Both concepts do have transducers firing both to the front (towards a listener) and to the rear (towards a wall). Both concepts share the same idea – in real conditions music instruments are not directional in how they radiate a sound. Pianos, violins, guitars, saxophones or drums have omni or semi directional characteristics and the resulting harmonies of their sound are quite complex structures of both the direct and reflected sounds. The reflections are not harmful, rather complementar to the final experience. Unlike this, the home audio is based on directivity with focus on damping any but the direct sound. That is also why our HiFi can never compete with a live performance: reverbs are not only the part of the interaction of a speaker and a room but they double with (usually different) reverbs that are already encoded on a recording. Idea of suppressing anything apart from the direct sound is therefore basically right because we already have the ambience recorded on the media. It is not that simple, though. The human ear likes deception so through the concepts of multidirectional radiation, if done cleverly, we can significantly enhance our listening enjoyment.

Typical dipole speakers (often planar speakers) does have front and back radiation out of phase, meaning that when the front radiators move forward, the back radiators move backward. The parallel movements yield a significant issue – generated sound waves are of an inverted amplitude and are cancelling at the sides of a speaker resulting in a drop of efficiency especially at low frequencies. The bipolar speaker´s cones are moving out on both sides of the speakers so there is no cancellation. The Pathos Frontiers go a bit further with few interesting tweaks that I will be discussing in a minute.

The Pathos Frontiers Prime´s are big enough to be respected and elegant enough to be livable with. The baffle is 137cm tall and the base measures 33x68cm. Into the spiked base there are three (!) sets of speaker terminals integrated to wire all the three modules separately.

The Frontiers Prime are an assembly of 3 dedicated modules. The bass compartment hosts two 210mm woofers with in-house developed cones plus doubled front-firing reflex port. The mid-woofer and tweeter compartment takes from the bass at 200Hz (4000Hz respectively) with 165mm mid-woofer and neodymium tweeter) and radiates into the back of the speaker, on top of that not horizontally but in an upward firing angled plane. The same set (mid-woofer plus tweeter) is used for front radiation and is housed in a module that can be rotated horizontally. By toeing in and out the module a listener can adjust upper frequencies to his or her taste or to number of listeners.

The front baffle of the speaker is matt black, the rest of the Frontiers Prime cabinet is either white gloss or rosewood or cherry. On paper the Pathos speakers are specified as 8-ohm speakers with 92dB sensitivity, covering 27Hz to 30.000Hz. I see no reason why they should not be partnered with any stable amplifier, valve triodes inclusive.

Nízké frekvence


With increasing volume levels the Frontiers feel no strain and are as extended as at normal levels. Take a double bass and you would hear round and full sound with incisive attack and the weight that would put some subwoofers to shame. This is also to say that there will be no need to employ a subwoofer with the Frontiers Prime. The bass of the Pathos is seamlessly blended into mids and is heard only when called to action, like in Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre (Charles Dutoit, Philharmonia Orchestra, Decca). Actually, I did not realize there is something like a real deep bass until 1´20 mark that unleashed the orchestra at its full force and I was (literally) moved with my chair by the acoustic pressure. The speakers could handle enormous dynamic contrasts and moved from pianissimos to fortissimos with the power of thunder and the speed of light. Really deep synthetic lows shaken the room in Sade’s songs and I started wondering whether it is true that tube amp designs (like the Adrenalin) could not play deep and articulate – the bass I heard was as if coming from a superb solid state amplifier.

Čistota rozlišení


The midrange is the most important all ranges – have it wrong and everything is wrong. That is why I got excited about the Pathos Frontiers Prime that have it right. They were on the neutral side of neutral rather than honey flavored or analytically overlit. They provided plenty of detail, a high level of plasticity and a perfect sense for colors with the very balanced ratio between gold and silver (read color and detail). Very often I just sat back and listen without making notes, like with All Saints Night (Loreena McKennit, The Visit). The fragile vocal hovered over multilayered textures and everything remained perfectly resolved in both quiet parts and climaxes. Initially I suspected the Frontiers from the tendency to slight brightness. However, when I played a bit with how far I was seated in front of the speakers. There was less brightness from 3 meters distance and none at 4 meters, yet the natural balance of the rest was kept. Only then the brightness was transformed into the spark that set any piece of music on fire and let it bloom in its ambience like in Bonny Portmore where you needed to hear deep into the music to fully appreciate the richness of its orchestration. Similarly I liked one of the simplest yet quite difficult a cappella traditional Gloucesterhire Wassail (A Midwinter´s Night Dream) - the Pathos speakers excellently delineated all the voices yet let them communicate between themselves and throw a very breathing scene with nice depth and lateral plus vertical resolution.

Tonální věrnost


There is a lovely banjo heard in Freedom Now (Tracy Chapman, Crossroads) that was perfectly delineated in space and time within a breathing soundstage. It may be due to the bipolar design of Frontiers Prime that I was receiving more ambient clues that I was used to with other speakers. That way I could sense the instrument in space including its ´longitude and latitude´, as well as I almost felt the hand that plucked the banjo´s strings. The Frontiers Prime did not exhibit pinpoint imaging like other superb dynamic speakers neither they threw enormous soundstage. Quite opposite, the naturalness of the soundstaging and imaging was so remarkable and perfectly integrated in the whole sonic picture that it was almost left unnoticed. Some speakers try to portrait a studio like it was hundred meters deep – it is very easy to get seduced by such a spatiality, however, it is not realistic. Therefore I appreciated the Frontiers Prime´s honesty of not placing a three-man jazz combo in a barn but portraying the realistic picture of a jazz club venue instead. What’s more, the way the Frontiers Prime use a sonic paintbrush is of a ´robust´type, similarly to what we experienced with the Logos amplifier. It leads me to the speculation that this feature may be rather inherit from the Adrenalin monos than the speaker´s feature. The sounds are very lifelike through the speakers so soft drumming in Be Careful of My Heart shines with the palpability of tightly stretched animal skins on drums that you cannot mistaken for anything synthetic.


Šířka scény
Hloubka scény

Should you want to taste the Pathos energy it is not necessary to listen to pummeling heavy metal numbers (but those would sweep you off your chair instantly) – rather fragile Tracy Chapman is a sonic delight through the Frontiers Prime. The music like Freedom Now speaks to you from as if from a higher dimension through the Pathos. Within minutes it got clear that the encounter with the Prime speakers would be a lifetime experience.

Cena v době recenze:335 000,- Kč

Doporučení prodejci

High-End Audio Studio, Belgická 4, Praha, tel. +420 224 256 844

Připojené komponenty

  • Sources: Pathos Endorphin
  • Amplifiers: Pathos Adrenalin power amplifiers, Synapse preamplifier, Pathos Logos integrated amplifiers
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Kubala-Sosna Elation, Faber Cable
  • Power cables: standard
  • Power conditioning: IsoTek Aquarius, no filtration on power amplifiers



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