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Funk Audio 6.1P Loudspeakers

06-29-2015 | By Victor Chavira | Issue 80


Nathan Funk resides in Canada. Nathan lives for music. He is handy with shop tools and would love to build you a pair of speakers. That is exactly what Nathan and his team has been doing at their shop in Halfmoon Bay British Colombia for the past fifteen years. Over that time word of mouth has spread in the Great White North that Funk Audio creates very high performance products for very reasonable prices. The subject of this review is Funk Audio's stand mount 6.1P.

Funk Audio operates as a built-to-order business. The speakers sent to me were well broken in traveling show samples. The 6.1P features Baltic Birch ply construction and a 1.5 inch thick front baffle with smoothly tapered side walls. The interior is stiffly braced and damped with sound absorbing foam material. The back has a rectangular port. Unusual for a stand mount, four disc shaped rubber pads are attached to the bottom of each speaker. All sides of the cabinets are finished in a variety of fine grade wood veneers. My sample featured handsomely applied dark burl. A six inch black woven poly fiber woofer and 1 by 5 inch planar ribbon tweeter are contained behind a tear drop shaped CNC machined aluminum "full face" plate that serves to both firmly secure the drivers to the cabinet and wave guide for the tweeter. No cloth grills are supplied. The manufacturer states that the crossover is set at 2.5kHz. Sensitivity measures 89dB for 8 Ohms and mated well with my 75 watt Bel Canto CR7 receiver.

The speakers were set up on 24 inch metal stands approximately three feet front the front wall with minimal toe in. Although not unheard of for a review item, I was obliged to connect the speakers with three meter pair of cables supplied by the manufacture rather than my long term reference Analysis Plus Oval Nine. This was because the speakers were made with Neutrik speakON connections instead of five way binding posts. The amplifier end of the cables were terminated with bare wire while the speaker end featured a right angle male connector that inserted into the corresponding female part on the back of the speaker cabinet above the port.


One of the first tracks I listened to was "My Shining Hour" by John Roney from his album St-Henri. This contemporary jazz instrumental features acoustic piano, electric fretless bass, and drums. I was immediately impressed with the 6.1P's panoramic and enveloping projection of sound. Instrumental outlines were rendered with sharp focus. My ability to perceive transient speed and decay of musical sounds was greatly enhanced. Bass was robust and more suggestive of a floor tower than a stand mount speaker.

Much of the credit for such brilliant reproduction and extension of upper mid and high frequencies goes to the planar ribbon tweeter. The element chosen my Funk has five times the radiating surface area of the typical one-inch dome. Subtle musical clues and textures that are merely implied by lesser tweeters are eloquently brought to light by the five-inch planar ribbon. For example, the first ten seconds of Nortec Collective's "Olvidela Compa" begins with a field recording of a man explaining the difficulty of leaving lost love behind. After a lonesome button accordion and deep synth bass begin to play and the song takes shape. This is music I've heard numerous times on a variety of systems but never have I been so aware of the context of the field recording at the beginning of the song and how it contrasts with the studio work. The ambient sounds surrounding the man seem to indicate that he was recorded at a vast bus station or outdoor market. Remarkable!

"Finlandia" Op. 26 by Jean Sibelius as performed by Iceland Symphony Orchestra sounded magnificent. The sound space was wide and deep along the length of the front wall of my listening/living room. The ring of triangle emanated from a place completely disassociated for the speakers in the room. Trumpets, trombones, and tuba compelled the music forward with brassy energy. Lush layers of strings swayed with sweetness and no hint of unpleasant edge or bite. Due to the planar ribbon's wide dispersion pattern, the orchestral image was consistently clear and focused from several listening positions. Getting up for a drink or a snack to the dining area adjacent to the listening room did not yield a major shift in frequency response. As a result one remained engaged with the music while casually moving about.

"Calderito de Tostar Café" (The Cauldron for Roasting Coffee) is a festive Cuban son by Eliades Ochoa from his album Tribute to the Cuarteto Patria. I know every aspect of this musical selection or so I thought until I listened deeply with the 6.1P. The fret board on Eliades' instrument buzzes on many instances that I was previously unaware of. The Funk speakers are very revealing but not uncomfortably so. The clearer than daylight upper mid to top end are balanced with warm meaty bottom end that exhibited excellent pace of Afro-Cuban bass tumbao.

The 6.1P showed finesse with that most critical of instruments, the human voice. Listening to "Buzzcut Season" by Lorde revealed superb production values as the singer's delicate vocal harmonies floated in and out of the song lyric's central voice. Polyrhythmic beats and deep electronic bass gripped the room at moderately loud listening levels. Once again, certain percussive sounds in the recording seemed to emerge spontaneously and unrelated to the speaker's physical location in the room. In fact, my time with the Funk's tell me that the speakers like to be played loudly and with good amounts of high quality power. I think the 6.1P would be just as happy pumping out jams for a backyard patio house party as well as dedicated acoustically treated listing room.

"Rebellion (Lies)" by Arcade Fire from their album Funeral is a favorite track of mine. Like the Lorde track, "Rebellion (Lies)" builds layers of sounds on a foundation of bass and drums. Piano plays a steady beat while lines of guitar and violin traverse the soundscape. Snare drum is given big reverberant signature. Truly, the song is captivating through any speaker or system as most great songs are. Listening with a high quality monitor such as the 6.1P, however, transforms casual listening into a special occasion.

My download recommendation for this review is the album Blue Painted Walls in Far Away Places by drummer Adam Topol. Adam's main gig is drumming for Jack Johnson. Even though Adam is a drummer, Blue Painted Walls in Far Away Places is not a vehicle to showcase drum solos. Rather, Adam takes his spot in the center of a jazz group featuring organ/piano, bass, guitar, percussion, and horn section. As Adam is also a Zyldjian endorser, great care has been taken to capture the distinctive sounds and colors of cymbals in Adam's kit. Eight of the album's nine songs are instrumental. I enjoy listening to the entire album but you won't be disappointed for ninety nine cents with the songs "Bumping at the Breakwater" or "Arc of the Covenant". Listening with the 6.1P was quite satisfying. Horns sounded so spread out behind the plane of the speakers. Each tap on a cymbal communicated the skill and intent of the drummer's touch. Thick bass lines offered weighty support for improvisations by various members of the group.

Matching a five-inch planar ribbon driver with a dynamic woofer is no easy task. Nathan has done an admirable job here. However, achieving maximum performance will depend largely on the user. I found the speakers to sound best with the listening position father back than usual. Audio enthusiasts often create an equilateral triangle between themselves and the speakers. Listening is this position with the 6.1P made the music sound segmented and forward. However, when I moved back about three feet, the sound bloomed into a cohesive panoramic wall of music. In fact, the optimal distance was the same as the length of the supplied speaker cables, about 12 feet.

In closing, the Funk Audio 6.1P Loudspeakers are revealing high quality monitors and an honest value at $2805 – $3605 depending on finish. I my opinion, they are speakers worthy of wider recognition. If you are looking for a resolving monitor capable of producing a wide cinematic field of sound and bass output on par with a floor stander, put the 6.1 on your short list of speakers to audition. Victor Chavira

Funk Audio