With the Fishhead Audio Resolution Series, solutions are available that the developer Christoph Winklmeier describes as the right speaker systems for detailed and precise listening. But the fact that he also adds that these are speaker systems that convey enjoyment of music is probably the most decisive feature.
Fishhead Audio GmbH is a comparatively young company that has also dedicated itself to one of the most difficult areas of the consumer electronics market, namely the development and production of loudspeaker systems.
Behind the company is one man in particular, the acoustic engineer Christoph Winklmeier, who probably created the dream of absolute freedom for the realisation of his ideas with Fischhead Audio GmbH.
Loudspeakers – A fiercely competitive market
The decision Christoph Winklmeier made in 2016 clearly commands our respect. Having one’s own company is always a demanding task, no question about that, but deciding on the area of loudspeaker systems, of all things, is yet another very special challenge.
There is hardly any other segment in the field of consumer electronics that is as versatile as that of loudspeaker systems. Looking at the market from an international perspective, there are ultimately only a few big names that are actually globally significant. Many manufacturers, on the other hand, are limited to regions, so there are umpteen examples of manufacturers that are very popular in the USA, for example, but are also well-known in Europe, but do not really play a major role. The reverse is also true: dozens and dozens of brands in the field of loudspeaker systems that are big players in Europe are not represented in other regions of the world. The whole thing can even be broken down to individual countries, especially if you look at small loudspeaker developers.
And there are probably thousands and thousands of them, even the region of Germany, Switzerland and Austria alone, which is often referred to as a market with many commonalities, can probably boast dozens of companies in this field, which certainly enjoy tradition and reputation, but above all have to rely on a comparatively small market.
Is there one perfect loudspeaker?
The reason for this immense variety is quite clear, and it is the answer to the question I just asked: no, there is no such thing as the one, absolutely perfect loudspeaker. The loudspeaker that is equipped for all requirements, that delivers nothing but perfect results.
“A loudspeaker that is supposed to be able to do everything is the biggest compromise to acoustic possibilities and therefore also the biggest compromise to the original reason of hi-fi fun and music listening. A loudspeaker that meets personal preferences will always come closest to this goal.”
Christoph Winklmeier, founder and developer at Fishhead Audio GmbH
We don’t think you can put it any clearer than Christoph Winklmeier. A loudspeaker system, no matter what its origin, no matter what its price, is always one way of many, and no matter which system it is, it is always the perfect loudspeaker only from two points of view, namely from the point of view of the developer, who uses it to realise his special ideas, and from the point of view of the customer, whose individual taste the developer thereby meets.
And it is obvious that Christoph Winklmeier has his own idea of how a loudspeaker system should be designed. He openly states that his solutions are classic loudspeaker systems that differ from the products of other brands by their distinctive strengths.
The fact that he follows this concept through very consistently may also be due to his home, which is certainly character-defining, namely the North German coastal region.
A fish head in Berlin
We would never presume to call the company founder Christoph Winklmeier that if he didn’t do it himself. So it is his own origins that he chose as the basis for the name of his company. However, the native of northern Germany moved to Berlin back in 1995. That’s also where he got the tools for his own company, namely in the development department of a large direct mail-order loudspeaker company, as Mr Winklmeier himself puts it.
To put it in a nutshell, it was Lautsprecher Teufel GmbH, a company that knows very well what preferences a broad customer base has for loudspeaker systems, and also how to develop and manufacture loudspeaker systems at a clearly defined price point.
In our humble opinion, these are excellent prerequisites for founding your own company in the field of loudspeaker development, because as a developer you have a certain “grounding”, the right mixture of enthusiasm and euphoria for the realisation of your own concepts, without, however, losing sight of what is economically feasible and the clear view of market requirements.
An assessment that is also supported by the product range of Fishhead Audio GmbH, because Christoph Winklmeier has so far concentrated solely on one product series, the Fishead Audio Resolution Series, which also consists of only two models.
The Fishhead Audio Resolution Series – Fishhead Audio Resolution 1.6 BS and Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS
Two loudspeaker systems are available in the Fishead Resolution Series, the only product line of the Berlin-based company so far. These are a compact bookshelf loudspeaker system and a floorstanding loudspeaker system.
We will leave the shelf speaker system Fishhead Audio Resolution 1.6 BS aside this time, our focus is entirely on the floorstanding speaker system Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS.
Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS – Precise in every detail
Christoph Winklmeier did not choose the name for his product line without reason, but rather he wanted to express with the name what in his opinion is particularly essential in loudspeaker systems, namely resolution. Accordingly, the Fishhead Audio Resolution Series 2.6 FS is a high-resolution three-way floorstanding speaker system.
The fact that the developer says that this is a solution that reproduces music absolutely true to life and precisely, just as the artist originally conceived and composed it, is nothing unusual in principle; almost every manufacturer promises this. Some can actually keep it, others not…
So the question is: what does the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS offer to achieve this goal?
Slim, but far from lightweight…
Loudspeaker systems must be able to be integrated seamlessly into any living environment, at least for those customers who have high demands on quality but ultimately regard hi-fi as part of their lifestyle. Christoph Winklmeier knows this, too, and decided on a very slim, discreet design for his floor-standing loudspeaker system.
If you include the base, the grille and, of course, the connection panel on the back of the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS, this floorstanding speaker system measures 1,120 mm in height, 320 mm in width and 340 mm in depth. That’s not small, yet the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS is a rather discreet solution in the living room that doesn’t take centre stage, at least not visually.
One might call the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS’s restrained design concept with clear lines, free of frills, conservative, but ultimately it will appear contemporary, modern, classic for many years to come. Yes, it is the simple concepts that often stand the test of time, not the flashy solutions that pant after every fashion trend.
It is therefore fitting that the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS is offered in exactly one version, namely white, with a matt finish.
In fact, it is a stylish combination of white and black, because only the actual cabinet is white, the baffle and rear panel are in matt black and the base on which the speakers rest is also in black.
Speaking of the base, it is made of aluminium and is also very slim, yet extremely stable. For the height-adjustable spikes for levelling, the speakers naturally come with corresponding washers to protect the floor.
Even a closer look shows that the workmanship is impeccable, and that the more expensive of the developer’s versions available on the market was always chosen for details. For example, in the mounting of the loudspeaker grill, which is also covered with black textile fabric and is held in position by means of magnets.
This is really just a detail, but somehow it looks more elegant when the grille is not mounted and yet there are no holes to spoil the impeccable picture.
The weight of the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS is proof of the fact that the cabinet is made of solid MDF, bracing and damping. 24.1 kg can be found in the data sheet, so it is advisable to have a helping hand when unpacking and setting up the speaker system…
Three-way bass reflex system
The Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS is designed as a three-way bass reflex system, whereby the designer decided on many fine details. But let’s start at the very, very bottom, where the bass reflex system is ready and waiting, providing a clearly defined distance via the aforementioned crossbar stand of the speaker system and ensuring an even dispersion into the room.
Carbon fibre for bass and midrange, Air Motion Transformer as tweeter
It’s powered by two 129 mm diameter woofer drivers, which rely on a carbon fibre cone and a powerful drive based on a ferrite magnet system, as well as a die-cast aluminium basket.
The midrange driver has almost the same features, but with a remarkably small diameter of only 63 mm and a magnet system based on neodymium.
The really outstanding feature we’ve just been talking about is at the very top of the baffle, in the form of an Air Motion Transformer tweeter.
This is a very special driver that, due to its special construction, has an immense amount of diaphragm area in a very small space – 26 x 33 mm to be precise – and in combination with the powerful neodymium magnet system allows for an extremely effective and also very detailed reproduction over a very wide frequency range.
In his description, the designer goes into detail about the fact that the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS offers a comparatively small diaphragm area in total, even if exactly the opposite is considered ideal.
Yes, if you want to achieve high sound pressures with the lowest possible distortion, there is no substitute for diaphragm area, except more diaphragm area, the manufacturer says literally.
But then comes the big “but”… because when it comes to the most exact reproduction possible, especially with regard to stage imaging and depth, the most homogeneous dispersion behaviour possible is much more important, and this is exactly what the Fishhead Audio Resolution series and thus also the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS are optimised for.
The three drivers of the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS are therefore just large enough to be placed as close as possible to each other in the baffle, thus avoiding differences in time of flight that would lead to colouration.
And in order to keep the dimensions of the loudspeaker system as slim as possible without losing power, the drivers are designed to be particularly powerful and therefore effective.
By the way, we were pleased to see that the connection panel of the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS is equipped for bi-wiring and bi-amping, i.e. it has four connections, which are of course connected in pairs ex works. The high-quality screw terminals accept both bare cable ends and pre-assembled cables with bananas, thus guaranteeing the best connection.
A few technical key data
As a guide, here are a few key data that characterise the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS.
The three-way bass reflex system Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS has a nominal impedance of 4 ohms and a sensitivity of 86 dB. This means that it is designed for amplifiers with an output of 120 watts, but can also handle peaks of up to 180 watts with ease.
The crossover intervenes at 350 Hz and 3.8 kHz. The frequency response of the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS is given as 45 Hz to 21 kHz.
On the Fishhead Audio website Christoph Winklmeier explains in detail how he designed his loudspeaker systems and how they should be set up. Of course, this is a guideline, because not every room is the same and it is the individual room acoustics that determine the result.
And indeed, our test, which we deliberately did not carry out in any optimised listening room, but in a living room furnished according to the feel-good factor and not according to acoustic specifications, showed that not everything can and must always be implemented strictly according to the rules.
The really essential prerequisite is that the left and right loudspeaker systems play under the same conditions, first and foremost the distance to the listener is as equal as possible, but also the “room for manoeuvre” that they have, i.e. the distance to the wall at the back and to any furniture or walls at the sides.
As we found out in our test, the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS is very flexible, even “good-natured”, because we had to use the space that was available due to the furnishings, and in the end there wasn’t much room around the speaker systems.
But lo and behold, it still worked dazzlingly, especially if you play around with the angle a bit to optimise the radiation a little more.
The Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS proved to be just as flexible when it came to the choice of electronics, because it was almost irrelevant what calibre or category the amplifier was, the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS proved to be extremely strong in character, thus offering its primary strengths, which we will go into in more detail in a moment.
But one thing is clear: it could be a little more expensive electronics to really test the limits of the loudspeaker system, whereby the price range is out of all proportion to the price of the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS itself. The buyer can be sure that with the purchase of the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS he has plenty of room for future improvements. A future-proof investment is what we call this…
What was said at the beginning? There is no such thing as the perfect loudspeaker, as a developer you have to decide in which direction to pursue your concept.
In the case of Fishhead Audio and the Fishhead Audio Resolution Series, it is clearly the detailed, natural reproduction that is at the top of the list of requirements, without, however, cutting back on the “emphasis”, the assertiveness, which ultimately leads to the fact that listening to music is simply fun and does not degenerate into a sober analysis of recordings.
What we really liked is that the fine, balanced and truly detailed imaging of the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS does not only come into its own at volume levels beyond the proverbial room volume, but already at comparatively low volumes.
From our point of view, this is a crucial point, because not everyone is in the happy situation of being able to enjoy music at any time of the day or night without worrying about other people or neighbours. And if the real fun only came when you had to turn the volume knob far to the right, you would rarely be able to enjoy this.
This is not the case with the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS, although it should be noted that there is a lot that can be done if you have the chance to really go a bit overboard. You don’t have to, but you can!
Fishhead Audio GmbH states in detail that there is simply no such thing as a perfect loudspeaker, but at least for the most diverse music genres, this can certainly be said of the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS. We played our playlist up and down through all styles, and we could now go into detail about what was played and how. But suffice it to say that listening to music through the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS is simply fun! Clearly defined, rich bass, nuanced mids and clear, detailed highs, that’s what sets the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS apart.
How does Fishhead Audio GmbH do it?
After all, we raised the question of whether the young company from Berlin can actually keep its promise to offer the most natural, detailed reproduction possible, just as the artist planned. The answer is a resounding yes, although this in turn raises another question: How does Christoph Winklmeier do this at a price that is clearly in the entry-level segment for a floorstanding loudspeaker system?
We have not yet mentioned a very important point, namely the price Fishhead Audio GmbH is asking for the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS.
Please allow us to use this formulation, but it is not more than a measly € 1,599, not per unit, but actually per pair, that you have to budget for the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS.
Sure, that’s a lot of money, no question, but it’s downright very, very reasonable when you consider the value for money in sound that you get with the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS.
It helps, of course, that Christoph Winklmeier, as described, worked for many years for one of the leading direct distributors in the field of loudspeaker systems and adopted many of this concept for his company. This starts with the fact that Fishhead Audio GmbH also relies on direct distribution; customers not only find detailed descriptions of the Berlin company’s loudspeaker systems on their website, they can also order directly and the speakers will be delivered to their homes as quickly as possible. The customer then has 28 days to try them out at home under “real” conditions. Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it?
Of course, the loudspeaker systems of Fishhead Audio GmbH are conceived by Christoph Winklmeier in Germany, from design to tuning. The production, however, is outsourced, and some of the components come from the Far East. But Fishhead Audio GmbH is just like many other renowned manufacturers, although they sometimes do not offer such attractive prices as the young Berlin company does.
Getting to the point
As diverse as the market for loudspeaker systems may be, it is always good for a surprise. And the products from Fishhead Audio GmbH are truly a surprise, as our test of the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS showed. And that in several respects. Firstly, it is surprising what sound quality can be achieved for such a low price, secondly, what flexibility this speaker system offers, which is especially relevant for beginners. In addition, it is surprising what high build quality and elegant design you get for such a low price. In short, you will hardly get “more” speakers at such a low price!
A floorstanding loudspeaker system that is committed to audiophile virtues, but which is first and foremost fun to listen to, at such an attractive price is rarely seen on the market. With the Fishhead Audio Resolution 2.6 FS, the Berlin-based company Fishhead Audio GmbH offers a solution that can be recommended without reservation, especially to those users who want to own a fine hi-fi system for a manageable investment and yet will never have the feeling that they have saved money at the wrong end.
- Elegant, slender appearance
- Flexible positioning
- fits into any living environment
- fine sound even at low volumes
- Very balanced reproduction
- homogeneous dispersion for a wide sweet spot
- very attractive price
- Only one design variant available
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