New BG Radia FS-880 Line Array Tower Speaker

I've been digging BG Radia's big floorstanding ribbon speakers since way back when S&V's Al Griffin and I were running Home Theater magazine. (That's before anyone had ever heard of MP3.) But the company hadn't done any new tower speakers for years -- until the new FS-880, which the company demoed at the CEDIA Expo in Denver.

The 7-foot-tall FS-880 is a true line-array speaker, with 16 ribbon tweeters and six ribbon midranges, each group arrayed in a vertical line. The base contains four 8-inch woofers. Each one includes an amplifier for the bass section that's rated at 1,200 watts. Why a separate amp for the woofers? "With four woofers in such a small enclosure, we wanted complete control of them," BG national sales manager Robin Ellis told me.

BG's demo was really loud, but that's the point. I've only rarely heard a speaker that could play so loud without audibly distorting or changing its timbre. Even at levels well over 100 dB, Frank Sinatra still sounded super-smooth on "Fly Me to the Moon."

The FS-880 costs $35,000/pair, including the amps for the bass section.