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LOUDSPEAKERS ⸜ stand-mounted


Price (in Poland): PLN 50,000/pair

ul. Malawskiego 50
31-471 Kraków ⸜ POLSKA


Provided for the test by:


translation Marek Dyba
photos "High Fidelity", Fram

No 235

December 4, 2023

FRAM is a company founded with the non-audiophile market in mind. It offers active loudspeakers that look like lifestyle products, but which are built like high-end audiophile speakers. We test its largest passive model, the ARTE.

MUST CONFESS - I don't think I've had such speakers in my room yet. At shows I have seen various designs, constructions, etc., but even there I have not come across such an interesting, surprisingly fresh concept as Arte. These speakers are a pretty faithful translation of the stage spotlight form into audio requirements.

These are two-way speakers that are technically "stand-mounted", yet actually they are integrated with a three-legged stands, also borrowed from stage technology, so they can't be placed on classic stands. The Arte are really big - set up next to the Harbeth M40.1 they made the British, after all really massive, monitors disappear in their shadow.

And yet Fram accustomed us to somewhat different designs. Created by Jarek Waszczyszyn, owner of Ancient Audio, together with his partners, based on modern design, offering modern aluminum speakers (mostly active), it targeted people who would like to have good sound at home, but at the same time do not want to give up modern design. Arte are quite different.


| A few simple words...

co-owner, designer

AS YOU CAN SEE, FRAM has a different style than Ancient Audio. First of all, we have an excellent team, great relationships and mutual inspiration. The technological base, the experience of working with metal, are incomparable to Ancient Audio. The technological base can be somehow managed - the current anodized aluminum enclosures of Ancient Audio equipment are made by a specialized company in Taiwan. But the question of WHAT can be made of this metal, can not be overcome without daily contact with technology.

The first series of Fram speakers, in aluminum cabinets, was very well received. I took care of the sound, and the form was developed by Tomek, Adam and Andrzej. Another idea came to us two years ago. The Wadowscy company asked us to build a prototype of a decent sound system for an RV. An RV is a vehicle for pleasure, and music is invaluable when traveling (→

The fruit of this order, a system consisting of four small satellite speakers, a subwoofer, five amplifiers and a digital sound processor was presented at a caravanning exhibition and it was the most besieged camper. The sound was good, and by caravanning standards simply great.

⸜ The front speaker of the camper audio system - photo by Jaromir Waszczyszyn.

Based on it, a new idea was born - the next system was already to be a serial one. Visible elements had to be of the right class, after all, these vehicles quite often cost a million zlotys and more. Proper form and build quality were just as important as the sound. I used Dayton Audio drivers, known from Studio Oslo, which for playing from a short distance are excellent, and very well made. The cabinet is made of aluminum, and the rear chamber is made of epoxy-glass laminate. They look like small headlights, Harley-Dawidson style.

The effect, both visually and sonically, surprised everyone. This is probably the smallest audio system, offering fun to discerning audiophiles as well. I loved playing this micro-system, placed next to large speakers. Absolutely everyone was fooled, thinking that big speakers were playing. Tomek and Adam, co-founders of Fram - thought so too. The thing appealed so much that we were effectively inspired by the concept of large speakers in the shape of classic stage spotlights.

Each of us imagined them differently, of course. The first trial units were messed up, as usual, but when I saw the final design, I was blown away. The use of speaker’s heat dissipation fins as decoration as well as an acoustic element worked superbly. The prototypes presented at last year's Audio Video Show were impressive. This is something that a person who is not familiar with aluminum processing technology cannot come up with.

⸜ Amplifier and speaker processor panel in an RV - photo by Jaromir Waszczyszyn.

We decided to make the speakers in passive form, to play in any high-end system. Therefore, the tuning of the passive crossover involved multiple, laborious trials. The final crossover is very complicated, but we couldn't do in any other way. For the speakers’ design we used SB Acoustics drivers from the Satori series. Powerful neodymium magnets provide an efficiency of 91 dB, and a very long linear excursion of the coil. As a result, the speakers play with dynamics, space, details straight from the best high-end audio systems.

And then there's the name... It seemed to me that it should be a variation on the theme of tubes. But the name Arte, which was finally chosen, perfectly defined what the speakers are: they are an embodiment of the art of design, the art of sound. JW



WHEN JAREK emailed me about the new design, he wrote that the form of the Arte speakers is inspired by classic theatrical and cinema spotlights. In his words: "they fill the stage, and so the speakers fill the room with sound". And further:

Arte always attract attention and give a sophisticated character to a space thy are in. The sound of the speakers reflects their appearance. Tuned by Ancient Audio, the speakers fill the entire room with spacious sound and bring out all the details. Sitting in your favorite chair transports you to a concert you've been dreaming about for years.

The Fram Arte are two-way speakers in a bass-reflex enclosure. Both drivers are sourced from the Danish company SB Acoustics. The treble are reproduced by a ϕ 29 mm diameter TW29RN-B 4 soft dome with a two-piece aluminum front and a distinctive diaphragm with a large fold at the suspension point. The lows and mids, on the other hand, are entrusted to the mighty 240 mm (9.5") WO24P-8 9.5 woofer, which impresses with its heavy cast basket and large neodymium magnet. The company named the technology for making the basket Bimax. The diaphragm is made of a fiber specially prepared for SB Acoustics from a blend of Egyptian papyrus.

But what really impresses is the cabinet. It is extremely complex mechanically and was made entirely of aluminum. It's something like consecutive modules joined (front to back) to each other, much like high-end plywood enclosures are made. Instead of assembling the walls from individual pieces, a dozen or so "ribs" are cut from it, in which the inner chamber is milled and then glued together. In Arte, the external vertical reinforcements are not only a decorative element, although that too, but they also stiffen the cabinet and, as we read in the company materials, work as an acoustic comb filter.

The internal structure is a combination of three tubes, which further increases the rigidity of the structure. One of the tubes is, facing forward, it is a bass-reflex. It is made in a way I have not seen before. The aluminum tube runs the entire depth of the enclosure and is attached to both the front and rear, stiffening it. Halfway along its length, part of its top surface is milled out to allow airflow. There is one dampening element that looks like a sponge in the center of the speaker, the rest is not damped. The second tube is a sub enclosure for the tweeter, and the third is actually the main enclosure.

The speaker terminals are great WBT from the nextGen series, that is, with minimized metal presence. The crossover components, made by Jantzen Audio, are equally good. These are Cross-Cap series capacitors and lots of air coils. The interconnect cables are a group of braided copper cables - from Oehlbach. If you take a look at the photo, you'll see that the crossover is not a simple circuit and consists of as many as sixteen components. The manufacturer says that it "perfectly corrects the amplitude and phase of the two drivers, combining them into one coherent sound source."

Fram claims the high efficiency of the speakers, at 91 dB, at 4 ohms. As they write, these are "easy to drive even by anemic amplifiers." Interesting, but the PCB-assembled circuitry was additionally shielded with a plate of aluminum. Perhaps the idea was also to stiffen the board so that it vibrates less.

The speakers are sizable, measuring 462 x 534 x 420 mm, and we get them with three-legged bases - metal or wood (if desired). They are quite tall as they measure 85 cm. So the speakers stand higher than usual. In my system, the center of the woofer was at 115 cm from the floor, and the tweeter as high as 134 cm. The speakers needs to be positioned so that they face the listener. This is helped by the bracket to which they are screwed - exactly like headlights. The speaker mounting butterfly nuts are made of brass, as is the flange around the larger driver. These are the only colored elements - the rest of the body is black.


⸜ HOW WE LISTENED • The Fram Arte speakers were tested in the HIGH FIDELITY reference system. To drive them, I used an amplifier which I use every day, consisting of an Ayon Audio Spheris III tube preamplifier and a Soulution 710 solid-state power amplifier. It was connected to the speakers by a Crystal Cable Art Series Da Vinci cable, but I also did some of the listening with a vintage cable, namely the Western Electric WE16GA (tin-coated copper twisted pair). The sound source was an Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition SACD player, but in the test I mainly used a Lumin T3 file player.

The manufacturer declares high efficiency of the speakers, and this is indeed the case. Arte are easy to drive, so we don't need to look for a very powerful amplifier for them - even 20-30 watts should suffice. The speakers stood at a distance of 255 cm from the listening position and 280 cm from each other, counting from their vertical axis. They were placed at a distance of 75 cm from the front wall, also counting from their axis and top edge. The speakers were toed in directly to the listening position - also in terms of vertical positioning.

I determined the distance between the speakers with Bosch PLR 50 C meter. For more on speaker positioning, see the article Fine tuning, HIGH FIDELITY № 177, Jan 1st. 2019, → HERE For more on HF listening room acoustics, see the article Room acoustics and how it works according to MARIUSZ ZIELMACHOWICZ, HIGH FIDELITY № 189, Jan 1st. 2020, → HERE.


⸜ JOHN GRANT Queen of Denmark, Tidal, FLAC 16/44,1 ⸜ 2010.
⸜ FLEETWOOD MAC, The Best Of Fleetwood Mac, Columia/Tidal, FLAC MQA Studio 16/44,1 ⸜ 1996/2016.
⸜ JEAN-MICHEL JARRE, Zoolook, Disques Dreyfus/Tidal, FLAC MQA Studio 24/48, 1984/2014.
⸜ VANGELIS, Blade Runner, East/West/Tidal, FLAC MQA 16/44,1 ⸜ 1994/2014.
⸜ AMON DÜÜL II, Made In Germany, Nova/Tidal, FLAC MQA 16/44,1 ⸜ 1975/2014.
⸜ BLACK MOUNTAIN, IV, Jagjaguwar/Tidal, FLAC 16/44,1 ⸜ 2016.

IF AUDIO PRODUCTS look different than we are used to, it is difficult to predict how they will play. The techniques and technologies we are familiar with, solutions and "patents" usually have a common "DNA" that translates later into certain sound characteristics. In the case of the Fram Arte speakers, I had no idea how they might sound like. So I sat in front of them for quite a long time not noting anything, and just playing album after album, based only on the playlist in the file player.

And that's because this is a slightly different sound than most speakers. It is, first of all, absolutely detached from the radiating sources, as if the speakers themselves did not exist, and someone has suspended the virtual sound sources in front of us. "Suspended" because the presentation is built higher than in other speakers - after all, the sound comes to us from above rather than straight ahead.

I got used to it surprisingly quickly. And it gave an interesting side effect, namely enlargement of the whole presentation. The latter was no longer limited by the size of the speakers, but was built from floor almost to ceiling. These are, on the one hand, small, but on the other hand, not at all small stand-mounted speakers that play as if there were a sizable floor-standing boxes standing in front of us. There is momentum and a kind of freedom in the presentation, as if the rules associated with compression did not apply to them. It's an illusion, but an exceptionally intense one.

So when I played JOHN GRANT's Queen of Denmark album, I didn't quite follow its sonic layers, because I was struck by the scale of this re-creation and, as I say, the freedom. Grant's voice was soft but dense, so to speak, which reflects well on the characteristics of his voice. This, born in 1968, American musician is a powerful, bearded "Viking" - a legacy of his birthplace, Iceland. When we listen to him, however, we are not overwhelmed by the sound, but rather drawn into his world. Grant sings in a way that doesn't expose his stature, but uses it to deepen his timbre, to allow him to scale the dynamics. It's a delicate, even lyrical vocal.

The Arte loudspeakers showed this momentarily - precisely because of their large scale playing and their extreme freedom in rendering information about the recording. For, played immediately afterwards, Albatross by FLEETWOOD MAC, an instrumental track released on a single in the year Grant was born, sounded beautifully in its dark tone, and showed very well the "play" between the close sound of the lead guitar and the very far away set sounds recorded on subsequent tracks, overlaid with long reverb. The soft pulse played by the drummer on the timpani in one channel, supported by the bass in the other, also came out very cool. It was just as "wide", in the sense of: with flair, a sound as with Grant.

Fram speakers tend to focus our attention on the listening axis. As I say, they create a high and wide soundstage, but what's happening in front of us - both near and far - is emphasized by them in such a way that, knowing all this, we focus our "gaze" right there. This worked out great with JEAN-MICHEL JARRE's Zoolook in Dave Dadwater's 2014 remaster. It felt like I was sitting with large headphones over my ears, with air compressed between me and the speakers. Previously, I had a similar impression only when listening to horn speakers.

With the material in question immediately followed by VANGELIS' soundtrack of Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner (1982), the presentation was powerful and well integrated internally. This is not a warm sound. And yet... The three dots are needed to introduce a moment of suspense, not hesitation.

I would say that the tonal balance of the Arte speakers is set slightly higher than a large portion of floor-standing speakers in this price range, and quite a bit higher than the Harbeth M40.1s I compared them to. There is no saturated low bass, nor are there deep descents. Yet it's a complete sound - hence the three dots, time to think about it. There is no brightness, and the attack of the cymbals is rounded, more pastel than "cutting the air." That's why you get the feeling that you're listening to speakers with a warmer tonal balance. And that, as I say, is not the case.

A large woofer in a sizable enclosure would suggest playing meaty bass, strong bottom end. This is also not the case. These are speakers with surprising timbre, reminiscent of the sound of speakers with a single wide-range driver, only that without their dynamic limitations and with an even tonal balance in which there are no "highs" and "lows." They also share with speakers of this type an absolutely "seamless" reproduction of the entire bandwidth. Because it is wide - both from the bottom and from the top. Only that our attention is focused on the midrange, where the most music happens.

So when AMON DÜÜL II began playing the La Krautoma, a musical joke but kept in a tone that was completely serious, I heard mostly electric guitar with a strong fuzz - right in front of me. And even the drums, closing this passage at 2:35, did not change the tone of the recording. It was still a dense sound with guitars entering momentarily in the lead role.

Every time I changed a recording, every time I played a new track, I had the sensation of being immersed in the sound generated by the speakers. They are a design of the type that brings the acoustics of a recording into our room, filling it with new "air" - denser, more compressed, and thus more tangible. They are not particularly selective, nor do they signify details, but rather focus on larger perspective. And they can generate a really powerful stage.

Arte are also dynamic, but it's a dynamic that is more potential than kinetic. What I mean is that there is no "slamming" of the sound, because the attack is rounded, I would even say slightly attenuated. Hence the lack of impression of "immediacy" of sound. The Fram speakers do the opposite. They saturate the sound coming in behind the attack phase. That's why it's so dense and so substantial. It has a slightly soft character, this is also a result of the rounding of the attack. But it is extremely time efficient - it's not a blurring of the sound, but a concentration of it in the sustain phase, where most of the deeper emotions are, as opposed to the short, instant emotions delivered by the attack.

So the slow, soothing yet deep playing of the BLACK MOUNTAIN from the IV filled the listening room with a carpet of sound. Perhaps not a "carpet", although the first impression was just that, but a kilim. The band in question is a Canadian psychedelic rock band formed in 2004, and the album in question is from 2016. And one listens to it as if it came to us in a flying saucer straight from the early 1970s. Arte showcased big, dense, succinct vocals and "sobbing" guitar, played with a "wah-wah" effect, in a way that made you - nomen omen - fly away.


FRAM ARTE OFFER a sound that belongs on the one hand to the world of designs with wide-band drivers, and on the other to modern multi-driver speakers. This is a completely non-obvious juxtaposition, I would even say - non-intuitive. Thus, these are not speakers that would be easy to encapsulate in a short description. They offer a characteristic clearly shaped sound - and that's the only thing that can be said with certainty after just a few tracks.

Their presentation is thick, smooth and completely devoid of sharpness. The attack is rounded in them and the most important thing is the sustain phase of the sound. They create a powerful soundstage, with clearly drawn sources on axis, and that's where our attention is focused. When the voices of radio operators and presenters, dating from decades ago, enter on the phenomenal This New Noise, recorded "live" with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and telling the story of radio, they are incredibly natural, even though their quality is quite different from what a modern background sounds like.

This is because Arte are able to combine the sounds of different instruments into a continuous whole. They are perfectly coherent, although we pay for it with selectivity and clear attack, which are here in the background, or even in the third plan. But that's precisely why these are such interesting designs - they are quite different from most speakers available on the market. This is suggested by their appearance, but the sound ultimately confirms it: this is a sound for individualists who want something different from life than 99% of other people.

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

Design: two-way, passive speaker with bass-reflex
rivers: SB Acoustics Satori:
- 24 cm paper woofer, neodymium magnet, long-throw coil with 17 mm linear excursion.
- 29 mm soft dome-ring, bandwidth up to 40 kHz
Efficiency: 91 dB/2.8 V/1 m
Nominal impedance: 4 Ω
Maximum power rating: 100 watts
Recommended amplifier power: 8-200 W
Speaker terminals: WBT Nextgen
Cabinet: aluminum
Dimensions (W x H x D): 462 x 534 x 420 mm
Stands: 780 mm high, wooden or metal, adjustable

THIS TEST HAS BEEN DESIGNED ACCORDING TO THE GUIDELINES adopted by the Association of International Audiophile Publications, an international audio press association concerned with ethical and professional standards in our industry, of which HIGH FIDELITY is a founding member. More about the association and its constituent titles → HERE.


System referencyjny 2023

|1| Kolumny: HARBETH M40.1 |TEST|
|2| Podstawki: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
|3| Przedwzmacniacz: AYON AUDIO Spheris III |TEST|
|4| Odtwarzacz Super Audio CD: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |TEST|
|5| Wzmacniacz mocy: SOULUTION 710
|6| Stolik: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |OPIS|
|7| Filtr głośnikowy: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototyp) |TEST|


Interkonekt: SACD → przedwzmacniacz - SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |TEST|
Interkonekt: przedwzmacniacz → wzmacniacz mocy - ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute Triple-C FM (1 m) |TEST|
Kable głośnikowe: SILTECH Triple Crown (2,5 m) |ARTYKUŁ|


Kabel zasilający AC: listwa zasilająca AC → odtwarzacz SACD - SILTECH Triple Crown (2 m) |TEST|
Kabel zasilający AC: listwa zasilająca AC → przedwzmacniacz - ACOUSTIC REVIVE Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |TEST|
Kabel zasilający AC: listwa zasilająca AC → wzmacniacz mocy - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |TEST|
Kabel zasilający: gniazdko ścienne → listwa zasilająca AC - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |TEST|
Listwa zasilająca: AC Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |TEST|
Listwa zasilająca: KBL Sound REFERENCE POWER DISTRIBUTOR (+ Himalaya AC) |TEST|
Platforma antywibracyjna pod listwą zasilającą: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |TEST|
Filtr pasywny EMI/RFI (wzmacniacz słuchawkowy, wzmacniacz mocy, przedwzmacniacz): VERICTUM Block |TEST|

Elementy antywibracyjne

Podstawki pod kolumny: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Stolik: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |OPIS|
Platformy antywibracyjne: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |TEST|
Nóżki pod przedwzmacniaczem: FRANC AUDIO ACCESSORIES Ceramic Classic |ARTYKUŁ|
Nóżki pod testowanymi urządzeniami:
  • HARMONIX TU-666M „BeauTone” MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |TEST|


Przedwzmacniacz gramofonowy:
  • RCM AUDIO Sensor Prelude IC |TEST|
Wkładki gramofonowe:
  • DENON DL-103 | DENON DL-103 SA |TEST|
Ramię gramofonowe: Reed 3P |TEST|

Docisk do płyty: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition



Wzmacniacz słuchawkowy: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |TEST|

  • HiFiMAN HE-1000 v2 |TEST|
  • Audeze LCD-3 |TEST|
  • Sennheiser HD800
  • AKG K701 |TEST|
  • Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro (old version) |TEST|
Kable słuchawkowe: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC |MIKROTEST|