The Dutch speaker producer Final is back. And how! Of course, the company still makes electrostats – in Veldhoven to be exact – and there are still hybrid models as well as full range panels. But they have looked at the whole concept and improved every element of their electrostatic speakers. We test the (sort of) full range Final Model 12.
Final Audio started manufacturing electrostatic speakers again a few years back. However, they took a different approach. Different materials, different construction, different factory. One of the reasons is of course that in the past – well… – sometimes stuff went wrong in terms of reliability. But that was in the past. Water under the bridge. We are living in the now… 2021. And these Finals have a completely different construction with new and robust plastics (including PMMA and Teonex, see the review of the Model 5). And should be able to play for decades without maintenance.
Anyone who wants a full range electrostatic has to make concessions. Such a speaker simply becomes very, very big. After all: the excursion of the foil is limited and so the surface area must be increased to realize the air pressure differences. Partly because of this, the Final Model 12 is almost 180cm high. The even larger Model 15 is even taller than 2 meters! (It goes down to 45 Hz, the Model 12 can play from 48 Hz…).
Now you will think: “oh well…. they are transparent, aren’t they? So in terms of size and presence, it’s not too bad in the living room!” No… it’s not too bad. Our black version is not a black hump of wood of 1.8 meters; but they are still large. And also kind of present if we’re being honest. But there is a consolation. And perhaps a solution: they are available in all colors of the rainbow. You ask, Final delivers. Moreover, these electrostats are really not heavy and therefore easy to move if necessary. No really: they are super easy to move. A dream for every reviewer who has to carry a lot of stuff.
We already touched on it in the review of the Final Model 5. But we’ll mention it again here: an electrostat – and magnetostat – is a dipole speaker. That means, they send energy both forward – to you: the listener – and backwards. So that’s against the back wall as seen from the speaker.
Now the dispersion is very small because it’s a flat plane and not a point source. So the side walls play less of a role. However, do take the placement kind of serious. A little absorption or treatment of the back wall won’t hurt with an electrostat.
No big deal for an amp
What is striking about the Final Model 12 is that it does not require a very heavy amplifier. We played on both the Pass Labs / Bryston combination and the Yamaha A-S2200 and in both cases we experienced absolutely no problems. According to Final, a tube amp – starting at about 20 watts – is also possible.