Falcon Acoustics Reference GC6500R Loudspeaker Page 2

It all adds up to a speaker that's impressive-looking rather than what you might call 'pretty', but there's no denying the sense of solidity and decent engineering about the GC6500R, even if I'd prefer the speaker terminals to be lower. If you're using hefty cables, there'll be quite a lot of wire dangling from your bananas or spades, which is perhaps not great for durability over the long term.

sqnote Easy Rider
The speakers benefited from a position that offered good breathing space from the side and rear walls, and with a bit of toe-in – just enough to see the outer faces of the cabinets from the listening position. Moreover, while Falcon's specification suggest these are a fairly sensitive speaker, after KH's lab work revealed a somewhat challenging impedance I was pretty glad to have amplification befitting speakers at this price level. This took the form of Constellation Inspiration monoblocks [HFN Oct '19], which are capable of a useful 400W/8ohm without breaking too much of a sweat.

These amplifiers proved capable of managing – or at least masking – some of the electrical foibles KH noted, but it would be prudent to urge purchasers to choose amplifiers in the upper limit of the 25-300W power-handling range Falcon suggests for the GC6500R. Certainly my brief attempts at pushing the speakers really hard, even with the heavyweight Constellation Monos, suggest that using these speakers with relatively low-powered amps might well be testing your luck. Solid, bombproof power is the best bet.

That said, the GC6500Rs sounded very easygoing from the off, with a warm, measured sound unlikely to cause any upset among listeners. Playing Iiro Rantala's My History Of Jazz [ACT 9531-2], which combines some of Bach's Goldberg Variations with Rantala's take on jazz standards, the Falcon GC6500Rs responded well to the crisp, wide-open recording.


Everything from the piano to the way brushes pitter-patter on drum-skins was clearly laid out, even if the focus of the soundstage and the positioning of the performers within it could have been more precisely delineated. The trade-off for the smooth, no-shocks sound is a loss of some crispness and air in the treble, which can make imaging less than pin-point on occasions while diminishing the sense of space around the performers.

Speed Reading
Perhaps more surprising is that while the bass here has excellent speed and attack, making bass lines easy to follow, and high-speed playing such as Mark King's characteristic technique on Level 42's Remixes set [Polydor 513 085-2] very much toe-tapping, it soon dawns that this is as a result of the bass being lean and taut rather than fulsome. Or at least not possessing the kind of rich, deep extension one might expect from speakers of this size, weight and price.

True, the speakers cover their tracks reasonably well, thanks to that low-end agility, but there's little sign of that satisfying growl and rumble delivered by some rival designs. For all that the GC6500R's balance sounds smooth and warm with the majority of tracks played, from the Brodsky Quartet's Petits Fours album [Chandos CHAN 10708] to the scale of the Royal Festival Hall organ opening ELP's 'The Three Fates', from the band's eponymous first album [Atlantic 781 519-2], I was still left feeling that these recordings had more to give, both in terms of power and impact, and openness and expression.

Built To Scale
On the plus side, the Reference GC6500R floorstanders never sound forced or overblown, and there's none of that forwardness some find a risk with speakers trying too hard to be 'hi-fi'. So brightness and brashness never enter the equation, and even the most abrasive rock mixes – along with some early classical digital content – is toned down and warmed up. That's both a good thing and, depending on your viewpoint, something of a compromise because the one word I found appearing most frequently in my notes was 'inoffensive'.

So the big wash of sound is certainly room-filling, but it doesn't always draw the listener into the heart of the music. It's too 'of a piece' for that, with some of the detail of both recording and performance glossed over in favour of sheer scale and presence. Crank things up – we are back to the need for a big amp again here – and the GC6500Rs do breathe that bit more freely, with instruments and voices separating a little more convincingly within that enveloping pool of sound. These big, impressive-looking speakers certainly put subtlety ahead of shocks!

Hi-Fi News Verdict
The Reference GC6500R speakers sound smooth, controlled and inoffensive on first encounter, and typically stay that way, their unflappable civility largely in keeping with their high-quality build and finish, weight and price. The lush, room-filling wash of sound is readily accessible but, for some listeners, this will be perceived as a trade-off against incisive detail, dynamics and compelling involvement.

Falcon Acoustics Ltd
Supplied by: Karma-AV Ltd, York
01865 358001