Although the bass and midrange drive units on the twenty.26 may appear similar to those of the PMC fact 12 [HFN Nov ’13], they are completely new and only found on this loudspeaker so far. The tweeter is the one unit carried over from the existing models and it’s the well proven Solonex 27mm soft-dome unit, developed by SEAS in conjunction with PMC.

Its output is rolled off below 3.8kHz to hand midrange duties over to the new dome mid driver – something of a work of art and a big step forward in technology for PMC. PMC has come up with a 50mm driver that utilises a very light yet rigid fabric dome, covered with a carefully configured grille that aids dispersion. The pole piece of the driver behind the dome is damped, in order to reduce internal reflections within the chamber and thus minimise distortion.

Below 380Hz, the dome hands over to a 180mm bass driver based around a lightweight natural fibre cone, coated with a layer of doping. This then feeds into a 3.3m transmission line.

A relatively complex crossover offers fourth order slopes between each unit. The circuit is laid out on a solid military-grade board with thick tracking and gold through-plating in order to allow maximum current flow. This is then directly connected to the tri-wire terminals.

Standing just over 1m tall, the twenty.26’s cabinet is certainly no shrinking violet but it is handsome and the sloped-back aspect of the front baffle is very stylish, eg, the full-length grilles have invisible magnetic fixings. The review pair were finished in walnut real wood veneer but oak, amarone and gloss diamond black are also available.

The plinths are 5mm thicker and 30% heavier than those of the twenty.24s to cope with the extra mass of these larger cabinets. Spikes are supplied, while the plinths also feature cork and rubber isolation mounts to decouple the cabinet from the floor, promising better stereo definition and tighter bass.

New gains in insight

As the first bars of Steely Dan’s ‘Jack Of Speed’ from their Two Against Nature CD [Giant] rang out, we had a feeling that we were going to like the twenty.26s – and this proved to be the case. The initial bass notes went deep, but the very subtly strummed electric guitar out at the extreme right-hand side of the soundstage was more vivid than we have heard it for a long time.

At one point, Donald Fagen emphasises the word ‘routine’ and the ‘t’ can make some tweeters splutter. Here, though, it was certainly prominent, but merely a clean, fleeting artefact.

A particular strength of the twenty.26 has to be that midrange dome – remarkable in the way in which it can dig out the finest of details on offer and serve them up in an easy manner. A perfect example of this was ‘Hey Hey’ from Eric Clapton’s Unplugged [Reprise Records] with Eric’s vocals projected expertly, and the string plucks as good as we know them.

We tried ‘Takes You Back…’ from Jazzanova’s In Between [JCR], a track with some wild synthesiser bass that can rearrange shelf ornaments at the right volume level – and the PMCs had no trouble in doing so. And when we turned the volume right down, bass lines remained vivid and punchy.

Verdict

A fitting flagship to the range. The two new drive units, created specifically for this model, do a first-class job, with the midrange dome a particular ‘high point’.

Originally published in the 2014 Yearbook