There aren't many among us who can afford to spend £600 on a set of iPod or desktop speakers, but for those with the ways and means, feast your eyes on this beauty.
Looking at the curves and materials, you get that feeling of calm that really good design can give. It's not too dissimilar to the feeling of peering inside the Mac Pro, come to think of it.
Ferguson Hill is a small company in the tradition of British speaker makers that produces very high-quality products for a narrow clientele that doesn't particularly want to compromise. The FH007 is essentially a scaled-down version of Ferguson's amazing £10,000 FH001system, but at a fraction of the cost.
The FH001 is the kind of speaker that you only find at an audio show, or in the soundproof listening booth at the back of high-end audio shop. Not so with the FH007, which is Ferguson Hill's first attempt at cracking the consumer market.
The sound from this impressive-looking set-up is quite fantastic, and on audio quality alone it's by far and away the best iPod speaker we have yet come across. There's a great balance of driving detailed bass in amongst the engaging mids and highs.
We played dub reggae to push the bass, modal jazz to fly off into the mids and then romping classical pieces to test the dynamism. We also played around with different types of sound file, because an MP3 is a severely compressed format and quite limiting. We found the FH007 to be a good all rounder, but particular good with the jazz music we played through it.
Compared to the Apple Hi-Fi or the Jamo i300, the FH007 lacks a lot of features. Firstly, it's not in any way portable. Secondly, there's no iPod dock, so there's nothing to charge the iPod while you use it. A proper audiophile iPod dock, one with carefully chosen components, can upgrade the stereo connected significantly.
These docks also give you a possible mounting point for an IR receiver, so you could throw in a remote. Alas there's no remote here, and the only control is a volume knob on the front of the amp. If you can afford the FH007, then we suggest you find another £80 and buy Denon's iPod dock to go with it; you could use the RCA ports on the amp to connect the dock. The alternative is to run a decent cable directly from the iPod to the back of the amp via the 3.5mm audio-in jack.
Aesthetically, you can't go wrong as it's such a strong design. Nearly everything apart from the amplifier is transparent and this creates an excellent illusion of space as you can still see the wall behind it. This speaker set is quite a revelation. James Ellerbeck