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Fikus Electric

Manufacturer: FIKUS ELECTRIC
Price (when reviewed): 6000 EUR

ul. Brzozowa 26A
05-552 Warszawa | Polska


Provided for test by: FIKUS ELECTRIC

hen more than 5 years ago I wrote the first review of Łukasz Fikus product his company was a small manufacturer known only to a few people mostly for the modifications of audio devices, including CD Players, as well as for their DACs. The brand's name - LampizatOr - clearly suggested that there were “lampy = tubes” involved. And indeed, the DACs designed and built by Mr Fikus and later also amplifiers, benefited from the advantages of vacuum tubes. Today LampizatOr is one of the most recognizable Polish audio brands in the world. The scale of the operation is still far from the industry giants' but the name is already well-known. Over these few years company has won hearts of a large number of fans and users in several countries on most continents. Sadly, there are more of them abroad than in Poland.

I think that there are two elements that significantly contributed to this success. The first one is the, so important for music playback, perfect timing. The ever-growing popularity of music files, also those in DSD format, has created the proper conditions for smaller companies to satisfy the needs of the customers before the big players stepped in. So when the LampizatOr D/A Converters that actually did not convert DSD but played this format natively using proper filters and additionally featuring tubes in their outputs (with some models such as Big7 or Golden gate being the tube-rollers wet dream) hit the market offering astounding performance they were immediately a big hit.

However, for the success to last the Polish manufacturer had to make sure that also make&finish quality and reliability of his products would satisfy customers. Sure the sound quality, especially for DSD (but also for PCM converted to DSD) files was absolutely remarkably, among the very best any money could buy but that wouldn't be enough on demanding markets without reliability and a solid after-sales service. LampizatOr products may still not offer the top make&finish quality that could compete with that of, say, dCS or MSB, but their aesthetics improved significantly over the years and inside one finds the same, top shelf components that many top manufacturer use. Seemingly not that important elements as solid flight cases or tubes made for LampizatOr with their logo by a famous manufacturer or (partially) copper chassis made a significant difference in how this Polish brand is recognized by customers even on such demanding markets as the American one.

In the meantime, the brand's lineup has been expended and today it includes also tube amplifiers, a computer / file server, and recently also digital and analogue signal cables and power chords have been added to the mix. All these are complementary products to the probably still most important item on the menu – the digital-to-analog converters. The company today has its network of distributors and dealers (abroad) and, as far as I know, is doing really well. In short - it's one of those Polish brands - and this bunch, to my delight, has been growing year by year - which has succeeded on many competitive and demanding markets proving that high-end products can come also from our country.


Probably only few people know that Mr Łukasz started his adventure with audio not with D/A Converters or any other tube devices but by building his own loudspeakers. So it was a safe bet that since the lineup was already almost complete to build a full LampizatOr system, sooner or later he would add the last necessary element, the one he'd started his audio life with – the loudspeakers.

Those who had an opportunity to visit the LampizatOr headquarters probably could have seen, or maybe even listened to, their system featuring their own devices but paired with some other brand's speakers. The latter changed over the years but they always had some things in common: (a) these were always some large loudspeakers with (b) huge woofers and (c) were fairly easy to drive, because they had to perform well paired with LampizatOr's tube amplifiers. Looking at the P-17, I realized that probably at least two years ago I must have seen one of the prototypes in company's demo room. I probably did not have a chance to listen to them back then, but I remember that they were big, of course featured large woofers that worked in open cabinet and above there was a midrange driver and tweeter fixed to an open baffle.

It seems that fine-tuning the details and the performance of this design took some time, but finally there it is - the last piece of the puzzle, a loudspeaker called the P-17. Surprisingly, it is sold under the new brand, FIKUS ELECTRIC. As the manufacturer points out on his website, these loudspeakers are offered only in factory-direct mode - not through the LampizatOr's dealership network – and only to the customers from within the European Union. Why? As it reads on the company's website: "Due to transportation constraints and customs ". I will not delve into the latter, and as for the former – these are really big speakers of quite a specific, one may say fragile (in terms of transportation requirement) design, so preparing a safe packaging for intercontinental shipment would prove challenging, and probably the cost a lot considering the weight and size. Plus it is a (relatively) reasonably priced model which does not go well with high shipment costs.

This model, named after "project number 17", which shows how many prototypes were created before, looks exactly like the one from two years ago I described above although I can't be sure it features the same drivers. It's big, not to say huge, with a height of 140 cm, width of 55 and depth of 60 cm. This type of design is called an open baffle, but in this case the huge bass woofer actually works in a large chamber with an open back. This is a three-way design with all three drivers working as dipoles, i.e. unlike in most loudspeaker types, the sound waves emitted by the rear side of the membranes are not damped.

The rear opening of the woofer box may be closed using a grill. This should be done mainly for improved aesthetics, but also to hide the crossover that sits there from the eyes and curious hands / paws of kids / home animals. If required, this chamber can be filled in using special damping material. The sheets of this material are not particularly aesthetic, so that's yet another reason to use the grill. The front of the speakers is a small door-sized baffle that hosts the 18-inch (!) woofers, midrange driver and a ribbon tweeter.

The speakers have an efficiency of 95 dB at a (nominal) impedance of 8 Ω and as proved over the course of this review work really well even with an 8 W 300B SET. The premise was to offer fans of low-power tube amplifiers loudspeakers that would be (relatively) inexpensive while delivering a full-range sound. To reduce costs, the basic model is offered in a plain MDF finish (or no finish actually). For those with higher aesthetic requirements, there is a possibility, to pay extra of course, for a version finished with a white or black lacquer or using one of the exotic veneers. There are also other upgrade options including higher grade crossover components, and more advanced woofer version featuring a cast basket and neodymium magnet.

The basic version will cost you 6,000 euros, and the "maxed out" version - with the better crossover, woofer and natural veneer finish - can cost as much as € 11.500. I received the basic version for this review simply because it was the only already well broken in pair Mr Łukasz had at the time. On the photos provided by Mr. Fikus, you will see the "deluxe" version.

It so happened that for this Polish issue I tested two pairs of high-efficiency loudspeakers. In both cases, the first challenge turned out to be finding the optimal positioning for them. The P-17 are really big and, in my opinion, should be used in bigger rooms than mine. It's a matter of how far they can be spaced apart, and even more importantly how far away from the wall behind one can place them while keeping the appropriate (3-4m meters at least) distance between them and the listening spot.

When I placed them in the same spots where I put my own speakers and most of the reviewed ones I didn't like much what I heard. The sound seemed constrained, it didn't fully open, and also the bass, despite adding more and more damping elements to the chamber, did not quite fit my taste as it remained a bit boomy. So I had to move them further away from the wall behind them, so that the transducers had more than a meter of space (behind) to breathe. The distance between my ears and the loudspeakers automatically decreased, but after a small toe-in it was no longer a problem.

Same as with the Thaisis I found my modified Art Audio Symphony II, 300B SET using Western Electric tubes to be the best match. Of course, as the main source I used my LampizatOr Golden Atlantic DAC. Mr. Lukasz suggested using bi-wiring to connect speakers even with a single amplifier and he even provided me with speakers cables of his own design, as he said, perfectly matching the P-17. Since I didn't have any high quality jumpers anyway, I went with it and used two sets (one designed for bass and the other for midrange/treble) of LampizatOr cables during this test.

Recordings used during this test (a sele- ction)

  • Natural jazz recordings, fonejazz, DSD64
  • Thirty years in clasical music, fonejazz, DSD64
  • AC/DC, Back in black, SONY Music B000089RV6, CD/FLAC
  • Arne Domnerus, Antiphone blues, Proprius PRCD 7744, CD/FLAC
  • Buddy Guy, Born to play guitar, RCA/SONY 88875120371, CD/FLAC
  • Hans Zimmer, The Dark Knight Rises, WaterTower Music B008645YEE, CD/FLAC
  • Isao Suzuki, Blow up, Three Blind Mice B000682FAE, CD/FLAC
  • Leszek Możdżer, Kaczmarek by Możdżer, Universal Music 273 643-7, CD/FLAC
  • Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington, The Complete Session. Deluxe Edition, Roulette Jazz 7243 5 24547 2 2 (i 3), CD/FLAC
  • McCoy Tyner, Solo: Live from San Francisco, Half Note Records B002F3BPSQ, CD/FLAC
  • Michael Jackson, Dangerous, Epic/Legacy XSON90686F96, FLAC 24/96
  • Michał Wróblewski Trio, City album, Ellite Records CD/FLAC
  • Mozart, Le nozze di Figaro, dyr. Teodor Currentzis, MusicAeterna Orchestra, Sony Classical B00GK8P1EG, CD/FLAC
  • Mozart, Piano concertos, wyk. Eugene Istomin, Reference Recordings HRx, WAV 24/176,4
  • Pavarotti, The 50 greatest tracks, Decca 478 5944, CD/FLAC
  • Rachmaninow, Symphonic dances, Etudes-tableaux, Reference Recordings HRx, WAV 24/176,4
  • Renaud Garcia-Fons, Oriental bass, Enja B000005CD8, CD/FLAC
  • Rodrigo y Gabriela, 11:11, EMI Music Poland 5651702, CD/FLAC
  • The Ray Brown Trio, Summer Wind, Concord Jazz CCD-4426, CD/FLAC

Japanese issues available at

I've had a few occasions before to listen to open baffle designs also in my room, with remarkable, although quite pricey Ardento (also Polish brand). The more you listen to this type of speakers the more you realize that even the best “traditional” competitors (the ones with vented or closed cabinets) are not completely free from the cabinet's coloration. It does not mean that the open baffle is a perfect design as it also has its flaws (like all audio components). It must be big (not just high but also wide), it requires a lot of space around it to deliver optimal performance, and its interaction with the room is stronger and more difficult to predict than in the case of other types of speakers.

They however, including the P-17, do offer clear advantages too, such as openness, directness and purity of the sound, lack of any constrain and the resulting from the size of such speakers, huge scale of the sound. In this case it was pretty clear already with one of the first albums I listened to - Michael Hedges' fully acoustic recording. OK, the whole soundstage, because of the size of the speakers, the specific arrangement of the transducers and a short distance between them and me, was presented a bit higher than it should have been, and the guitar was a bit bigger. But at the same time the presentation was amazingly tangible and three-dimensional. And there was a remarkable energy in the sound - something that most sound reproductions lack compared to live music.

As I have written many times before, this energy is not the same thing as dynamics. It's about the almost tangible energy of every sound, that makes it sound ... simply put: live and natural. It is so lively that instead of listening to the music one gets immediately involved, even sucked into it. My guitar playing skills are very poor by I still couldn't help myself and moved my finders over imaginary strings and frets. This level of engagement already when listening to the first album proved that once Łukasz Fikus managed to create something special that speaks directly to the soul of a music lover - probably more than an audiophile's. Also already this first album suggested that acoustic music reproduction might be a strong suit of the P-17.

The top quality ribbon tweeter reproducing high frequencies provides not only a great deal of information, but also the highest quality and precision. This part of the bend is well-differentiated in terms of both, tonality and dynamics in a micro scale, the music has a natural “glow”, it is vibrant and its decay phase is beautifully presented. All that is delivered in a particularly coherent, resolving and absolutely non-aggressive way. This lack of aggression does not mean any sort of roll off or rounded edges, so if you use these speakers to play a track with "rolled up", harsh, "dirty" treble, or with emphasized sibilants it will hurt your ears. If, however, it is just a naturally “sharp” trumpet, strong but well-recorded drum cymbals or vocals with natural but not emphasized during the production sibilants, they will sound very natural and you'll be listening to them with a pure pleasure.

I believe that the amplifier played a big role in achieving such performance. The P-17 are designed for tube amplifiers including the low-power ones, and most of them deliver rich, dense, saturated sound. That is why my modified Art Audio Symphony II was such a perfect match for the P-17. With these teamed up, for example, the drum cymbals not only shine, amaze with vibrancy but they also have a mass. And there is the right attack speed and full decay, which, combined with the very good differentiation, gives us a presentation in which the cymbals attract most attention even when percussion does not play the leading role. It so happened on the Tingvall Trio Norr or Krzystof Herdzin's Almost after albums, none of which is a percussion recording so normally I don't focus on this particular instrument when listening to them.

The sound presented by the P-17 is incredibly open and unconstrained, and the soundstage, whose depth increases with almost every centimeter added between them and the wall behind them, is pretty impressive too. When I moved the speakers as far away from the wall as it was possible, the foreground started behind the speaker line, and the instruments playing in the back of the stage were placed behind the wall in the other room. The width of the soundstage was also impressive as in some recordings sounds came from the space on the left from the left speaker and on the right from the right one. In other recordings everything was happening in the space between both speakers. It clearly showed that the P-17 do not tend to enlarge the soundstage on their own – they just convey the recording.

On The last seven words of Christ on the cross by Haydn conducted by Savall, or my favorite Carmen with the wonderful Leontyna Price, the soundstage was huge. Especially on this first recording, where the acoustics of the big church was so well caught on the recording, that the farthest corners seemed to echo at a distance of dozens of meters. In the latter recording I admired how precisely the figures of the singers were moving along the stage while singing, but also by how powerful and natural their voices were. Also the dramatic aspect of the play was conveyed in the most convincing way.

The Muddy Waters concert featuring the members of The Rolling Stones proved, that when the P-17 play a recording with numerous musicians performing on a crowded, their good separation and differentiation allow listener to fully enjoy such show. There was no problem with following the selected guitarist despite all the crowd On the Jazz at the Pawnshop for a change, they recreated this engaging atmosphere of a small club with the audience surrounding me in a very convincing manner. Again the small soundstage with several musicians on it was presented in an orderly fashion. This time my attention was attracted mostly to this amazingly vibrant, naturally sounding, well-recorded vibes.

It should be clear by now that Fikus Electric loudspeakers are really good at playing acoustic music. But I don't know that many people who listen exclusively to the unplugged recordings. I have already mentioned Muddy Waters' most definitely electric concert, although I have only pointed out the high quality of differentiation and separation. As it is usually the case with electric blues and rock'n'roll, such music is based on electric guitars, and in this particular concert several top class guitarists participated, and of course each of them tried to show off, to mark their presence on a stage.

It sounded ... very good not to say - phenomenal. Starting with the great pace and rhythm, fast, taut drums, powerful bass working in the background, and finally those energetic, fast-paced guitars. Well, of course there were also those charismatic, powerful and very pure sounding vocals of Muddy and Mick, that brought down the house. Although this is not really an audiophile grade recording, but with the P-17 it was presented in a clean, orderly, energetic and even energizing way. Although I've heard this album played in a richer, "meatier" way, this particular insanely lively, direct, captivating performance got me smiling from the very first track until the very last one. That's what this type of music is for.

I've had as much fun with one of the albums of electric bass guitar master, Mr Marcus Miller. In spite of using the maximum amount of damping material for the P-17's bass, his instrument sounded lively, agile, it had the right weight, and "kick" to it. And yes, I know some faster loudspeakers capable of conveying Markus' style in even better way, but if they do they are usually not capable to deliver the very lowest notes with that much power as huge woofers of Fikus Electric speakers could.

To finalize this review I played AC / DC album and from the beginning it was clear that although the Polish speakers would not be the best choice for studio work since they do not tend to expose all the downsides of each recording, they do inform listener about not so perfect quality of the material they play. But even in this case, after a moment taken to fully realize that rock recordings do not offer audiophile quality, I was able to forget about it and simply have a lot of fun with the unstoppable flow of energy coming from speakers supported by a well-timed pace&rhythm. The large scale and momentum offered by those speakers but usually impossible with smaller designs, came handy again.


The open baffles are quite a unique type of design rarely seen on today's audio market. In fact so rare that majority of music fans to appreciate their qualities first must get used to their performance that is quite different from any speakers with cabinets (closed or vented). Many people only know the sound of the most popular today, not because of the sound quality but because of their convenience, bass reflex speakers, and any deviation from this type of presentation they to them seems, at best, “strange”. I guess many would react the same after listening to the P-17 for the first time. Not only these sound different but are huge so unpractical as they should not be used in small spaces, and the looks is, let say, controversial (meaning not many people would place them in a living room).

Devoid of coloration and this (in my ears) ugly boomy bass from bass-reflex port, offering high quality, pure, vibrant, well differentiated, open mid and high tones and pure bass the P-17 will either a revelation or a disappointment. What I'm trying to say is that opinions will be strongly polarized. People who go to concerts, who know well sound of live music and who look for similar, energetic and emotional experience in their (large) listening room will most likely be amazed with the P-17. Others will probably not appreciate them because of how different they sound from mainstream speakers, or simply will not be able to accept their form and dimensions. Let's be honest – these are loudspeakers for a dedicated audio cave of significant size, not for a living room.

Very few (relatively reasonably priced) speakers can offer such an unconstrained, large scale sound, such a directness of the presentation without it ever becoming aggressive, such an open, relaxed and enjoyable performance, and above all, such an almost live-like energy. Even of the basic version doesn't really come cheap, but have if you compare what these speakers have to offer with other products from the same price range you will find the P-17's price very attractive and competitive. For this price you can usually buy some small, though probably nicer looking speakers that don't even come close in terms of scale and energy of the reproduced sound, because to achieve that you simply need big speakers preferably open baffle ones. If you have a chance to listen to the P-17 – grab it! I think there are only two options - either you fall in love with this type of presentation or you will find them completely unacceptable. I can promise you that it is worth checking that out!

Fikus Electric P-17 is a large, three-way floorstanding loudspeaker offered by Lukasz Fikus, the man behind the LampizatOr brand. They are offered under a new name and sold only factory direct. The main goals these speakers were to realize were twofold. First they were to offer excellent full-range sound while being low-power amp friendly. Secondly the final price was to be reasonable. To achieve the former goal, the designer selected the best drivers and components he could find and opted for an open-baffle design. In order to implement the latter, he decided to offer them under a separate brand to sell them directly, plus he offered a standard version of raw MDF (without any finish), so that the people for whom aesthetics is not an important factor, could pay less for the same sound quality. If the raw appearance of the basic version does not suit your taste you can order a black or white version or one finished with a chosen natural veneer (which costs extra, of course).


Most people when they hear “open baffle” they imagine something that looks differently from the P-17. The huge, 18-inch woofer works here in a large volume that does not have a rear panel, so it is actually open. You can “close” it using a grill but that's only for aesthetic reasons. The front baffle is 55 cm wide and almost 140 cm high, and when we add the 60cm depth of the bass woofer chamber to it it becomes clear that we are dealing with a huge loudspeaker here.


The 18-inch woofer comes from pro market - it's made by the company called ATS. It features a paper diaphragm with a fabric suspension. In standard version it has an extruded basket and ferrite magnet. The woofer works up to 700 Hz, where it is cut off by a 2nd order filter. If you decide to pay extra manufacturer offers another driver with cast basket and neodymium magnet.

At the very top of the front baffle sits a Dayton's wideband driver here used for midrange only. It features a paper cone and neodymium magnet. Originally it features also a small paper horn but the Polish producer decided to get rid of it leaving only the phase plug. This driver covers the frequency range from 700 to 3500 Hz. It was chosen as the closest still produces match for the legendary Greencone Saba transducer.

Between these two sits a costly (around 900 EUR a piece) ribbon tweeter made by Serbian company RAAL. According to the manufacturer tweeters generate almost 70% of the total cost of the P-17 (for the basic version), but he also stresses that they simply the best he could found and definitely worth it. While the mass of the ribbon is smaller than the one of a regular silk dome's membrane, it has almost 10 times bigger surface reproducing sound waves. That allows these drivers to reproduce purer, more powerful, and unconstrained high tones.

The loudspeakers feature two pairs of loudspeaker terminals that allow – which is even highly recommended - bi-wiring or even bi-amping. The pair delivered for the test was fitted with small (lockable) wheels, which mad

Specifications (according to manufacturer)

Speaker type: open baffle, full dipole, 3-way
Crossover points: 700 and 3500Hz
Sensitivity: 95dB / 1m / 1W
Nominal impedance: 8Ω
Dimensions (W x H x D): 550 x 1400 x 600mm
Weight: 40kg/pc.