Paul White lends a critical ear to Xpression's first ever powered monitor, to test the company's claim of accuracy at a budget price.
In the relatively short time they've been on the market, the two‑way Xpression! DPM1 passive monitors have won over a lot of users with their combination of tonal accuracy and low cost. Now the company have built an active version, the Xpression! DPM1 ProActive. These use the same drivers and cabinets as the passive DPM1s, though the bass/mid cone is now deep blue rather than purple, and dual amplifier packs and active crossovers are built into the rear of the cabinet.
Alan Shaw, the MD and chief designer of Xpression! parent company Harbeth, has a history that is closely interwoven with that of the BBC's monitoring systems, and Alan still adheres to their basic design principles. Indeed, Harbeth are the only company licensed to build the BBC‑designed LS3/5a, which they still manufacture today, along with the newer LS5/12a.
Having spoken at length to Alan about his designs, I would say that he's always been obsessed with obtaining the best possible audio reproduction from available loudspeaker technology, and I get the impression that his integrity won't let him market anything he isn't thoroughly happy with. Unlike most manufacturers, who use third‑party drivers, Harbeth build their own bass/mid drivers from scratch using some unusual manufacturing techniques researched with the aid of a significant Science and Engineering Research Council grant. As far as I know, the Xpression! bass/mid driver is unique, in that it is built around a high‑pressure, injection‑moulded, 200mm synthetic‑polymer cone that varies in thickness across its diameter to minimise resonances and coloration. This driver, which also features an aluminium...