Fineline Speakers LCR-11 Ultra-Thin On-Wall Loudspeaker Reviewed

Fineline Speakers LCR-11 Ultra-Thin On-Wall Loudspeaker Reviewed

Phil Jones started up a new speaker company, FineLine Speakers. The LCR-11 is an on-wall speaker that is part of the the first line of products from FineLine. Andrew Robinson, Managing Editor of Home Theater Review, puts this speaker to the test to see what it is made of.

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When there isn't room for floorstanding loudspeaker or even bookshelf loudspeakers, on-wall loudspeakers are the go-to choice for many home theater enthusiasts. Virtually every manufacturer of a floorstanding or bookshelf loudspeakers offers some sort of on-wall solution; however there are a few companies, like Fineline Speakers, that build only on-wall loudspeakers.

Additional Resources
• Read more on-wall speaker reviews by HomeTheaterReview.com's staff.
• Find a thin HDTV in our LED HDTV and Plasma HDTV review sections.

Well, Fineline's LCR-11 is their entry level on-wall that retails for $225 apiece and are sold direct via Fineline's website and come with a money-back 30-day in-home trial. The LCR-11 is a two-way loudspeaker featuring a midrange driver mated to a single dome tweeter giving it a reported frequency response 85-20,000Hz. The LCR-11 has a rated sensitivity of 88dB into an eight-Ohm load so it's an ideal loudspeaker for today's modern receivers.

The LCR-11 is a very compact design, measuring 11 inches tall by six and three quarter inches wide and trim one and three quarter inches deep, making it an ideal solution for some of the industry's thinnest HDTVs. The LCR-11 is lightweight, weighing only five pounds so you won't have to mount them to studs like some larger on-walls - good news for apartment dwellers or renters. The LCR-11 comes equipped with all the necessary hardware to facilitate on-wall mounting and is available in either black or white.

In terms of sound the LCR-11 is more ideally suited for small rooms such as dens or bedrooms. The LCR-11 lacks any real or meaningful bass, meaning you'll have to pair it with a subwoofer like Fineline's own SUB-8, which retails for $679. The LCR-11's midrange is nimble, a touch on the lean side giving it a slightly cool but not unpleasant sound. The LCR-11's high frequency performance is on par with speaker in its class, possessing good attack, decay and focus though lacking a bit of transparency and air, but potential customers shouldn't be discouraged by this for many on-wall speakers priced at or even a little above the LCR-11's asking price perform in a similar manner. The LCR-11 is capable of producing a wide soundstage from its wall-mounted position though it doesn't allow that same soundstage to recede much beyond the front wall, another downfall of many on-wall loudspeakers. Dynamically the LCR-11 is pretty agile; combined with its slightly forward sound and a subwoofer, it's fully capable of reproducing all the thrills and excitement of your favorite Hollywood blockbuster albeit on a smaller scale.

Read about the high points and the low points of the LCR-11 on Page 2.

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High Points
• The LCR-11s are among the thinnest, least intrusive
on-wall loudspeakers I've ever encountered. Though they're not as visually stylish as say, Definitive Technology's new Mythos ultra-thin on-walls, they're considerably cheaper, are sold direct and are made in the good 'ol US of A. 
• With their white finish, the LCR-11's virtually disappear visually even when hung beside a large HDTV. Also, because of their light weight, enthusiasts who are renters will be able to install LCR-11s without marring their drywall, thanks to modern mounting products available at your local hardware store. 
• When paired with a sub and powered by a receiver with room correction aides such as Audyssey EQ, the LCR-11 are capable of churning out one hell of a cinematic experience provided you don't install them in a room that is too large or full of reflective/harsh surfaces.

Low Points
• The LCR-11's binding posts are terrible and frankly have no business being on any speaker let alone one that retails for $450 a pair. Thanks to the binding posts the LCR-11 pretty much makes it so higher end cable, even entry-level
audiophile cable, is out of the question. 
• The LCR-11's build quality is robust and looks to be able to stand the test of time; however it's not quite as sexy as some of the competition. 
• I'm afraid that because of their uber high crossover point and need for a capable subwoofer that the LCR-11's require the use of an auto EQ system, such as Audyssey or YPAO, to sound their best for as stand alone stereo speakers they don't quite cut it.

Competition and Comparisons
Based on the LCR-11's asking price a possible competitor would be Magnepan's MMGW on-wall planar loudspeaker, which sells direct, like the LCR-11, for $325 a pair. Like the LCR-11, the MMGW are super thin and need to be mated to a subwoofer, though I feel the MMGWs possess a more natural sounding midrange and airy top end. The downside to the MMGWs is that they're a much harder load on a receiver so you're either going to need to bring a bit more juice to the party or be okay with slightly reduced dynamics at times.

Another possible on-wall to consider is Paradigm's Cinema 330, which retails for $299 each. The Cinema 330 boasts a better form factor than the LCR-11s and improved sound though both need a subwoofer and should be used in small to medium sized rooms.

Conclusion
At $225 each the LCR-11's from Fineline Speakers are among the most affordable on-wall loudspeakers available today. While they may be a bit Spartan in appearance and require careful setup and a subwoofer to sound their best, they're not bad and are worth a look if you're looking to add a bit of home theater sparkle to your bedroom or den. While I despise the LCR-11's binding posts and think that for a nominal increase in price a few of their shortcomings could've possibly been eliminated, I feel they are a better value than Fineline's own soundbar (which is essentially a LCR in a single chassis).

Additional Resources
• Read more on-wall speaker reviews by HomeTheaterReview.com's staff.
• Find a thin HDTV in our LED HDTV and Plasma HDTV review sections.

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