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The Sampan FTL


Role Sampan FTL
believe it!

Shown: Sampan FTL birch

"...essentially the reverse art and engineering of my monster rig’s multi-driver VMPS RM40s."

" ..The Amphion ... doesn’t present the depth and holography of the [Sampan] FTL. Nor is it as coherent and immediately engaging. The Ion has it’s own strengths and appeal. but doesn’t possess the addictive coherency and flow, the magic of the [Sampan] FTL."


Frequency Response: 35 Hz - 20,000 Hz
Dimensions: 8 X 4 X 9.5 inches (H X W X D), 20 X 10 X 24 cm



"The Role Audio Sampan FTLs are essentially the reverse art and engineering of my monster rig’s multi-driver VMPS RM40s. The major challenge for the designer of the 40s is to integrate the seven drivers into a coherent whole. Above all else, Brian Cheney is a fantastic crossover engineer. The Sampan’s, however, are a single driver design meaning there is no crossover. The designer’s task here is to help one driver sound good across the entire frequency range, and in the Sampan’s case, fulfill the stated goal of satisfying bass from a box about the size of a historical epic in hardcover."
Robert Learner, Sonic Flare

"Small, musical and amazing!"​
Paul Cervantes,* 

Can the Sampan FTL take on the Amphion Ion?
" ..The Amphion ... doesn’t present the depth and holography of the [Sampan] FTL. Nor is it as coherent and immediately engaging. The Ion has it’s own strengths and appeal. but doesn’t possess the addictive coherency and flow, the magic of the [Sampan] FTL.
Robert Learner, Sonic Flare

Compared to Audience 1+1 loudspeakers? "... the Sampan FTLs delivered a level of fidelity, finesse, and soundstage accuracy that approached what I've been hearing from my current desktop reference, the Audience 1+1 loudspeakers." (The Audience 1+1 retails for $1,800-$2,345.)
Steven Stone,

Compared to the Audience The One? "...the Sampan FTL has a more bass energy and better power-handling capabilities." compared to Audience's The One  loudspeaker.
Steven Stone,

Can the Sampan FTL take on the Magnepan 1.6QR speakers?
 The Sampan FTLs, "...are absolute champs when it comes to soundstage portrayal, tonal accuracy, and coherence from top to bottom and musicality. I even found myself reconsidering my own listening preferences and questioning the performance of my Magnepans in several areas when compared to the Sampan FTL (in particular overall musicality, soundstage depth and micro detail). Consider it strong praise indeed for these little overachievers."
Craig Johnson in Affordable$$Audio reviews the Sampan FTL
"The Sampans ... have a big, bold, expansive sound.... It really takes some time to come to terms with just how much energy they can put into a room. There’s always a tendency to look up and say to yourself, “all of this is coming from those two little boxes? That can’t be right."
Paul Cervantes,*

Good enough for mastering?
"...the Sampan FTLs are good enough that I could easily use them for mixing or mastering."
Steven Stone,

Can VMPS RM40 owner Robert Learner finds satisfaction in the Sampan FTL micro speaker?
"Surprise #1 was the amount of detail the FTL threw at me. ... you get timing and texture -- this is a potent combo.

Surprise #2 is how deep these tiny boxes go. ... the Sampan FTLs subjectively deliver, and music across the frequency spectrum has appropriate body.

Surprise #3 is the other end of the frequency spectrum. The rolled off highs I often experience with single driver designs is MIA here. The FTLs [are] notably neutral throughout the entire frequency range.

...That the FTL manages to fit a nearly three foot [transmission] line in a box about a fifth of a cubic foot in volume is indicative of high quality cabinet design and construction." 
Sonic Flare, April 25, 2007

Here is what Positive Feedback has to say:
"... the little Sampan FTLs were dynamic and surprisingly extended at both ends of the frequency spectrum. ... the speakers sounded much bigger than they looked...vocals and acoustic guitar sounded full-bodied and robust."
John Acton of Positive Feedback comments on the Sampan FTL at AudioKarma Fest 2007 in Michigan.

Here is what had to say upon hearing the Sampan FTLs at AudioKarma Fest ‘07.
"Audio Two (Windsor, Ontario) surprised many listeners with the sound, size and price of the Role Sampan FTL speakers .... They are incredibly small (8”x 4”x9.5”) and lightweight ... considering the full-range sound they are able to produce from a single 3.5” driver in a folded transmission line. Electronics were a Croft battery powered preamp and amplifier and Connoisseur CD player.", Issue 16, April 2007 report on AudioKarma Fest ‘07 evaluates the Sampan FTL as high end computer speakers:
"Do the Role Audio Sampan FTLs win the title of world’s greatest computer speaker? I can only say that I have yet to hear better. ...There’s no way I can convey just how well these tiny speakers play. ...They are truly some of the most amazing dynamic speakers that I have ever used. You really owe to yourself to try a pair. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself listening to them more than you ever imagined and in far larger rooms than you might believe possible."
Paul Cervantes,*


The Sampan FTL is a tiny full range hardcore audiophile loudspeaker that measures 8 X 4 X 9.5 inches (H X W X D), 20 X 10 X 24 cm, and weighs less than four pounds (less than 1.8 kgs.). It does not have the mid bass bump small loudspeaker use to pretend low bass response. Instead, it uses a folded transmission line design to produce a guaranteed linear frequency response of 35 Hz to 20,000 Hz that makes it ideal for critical listening and mastering. Place it on a desktop, stands, or on a bookshelf, it is light and small enough to fit in an overnight bag to allow you to enjoy full range audiophile music just about anywhere.

The Sampan FTL images better on a bookshelf than most small loudspeakers image on stands out in the room. Place it on stands out in the room and there is no contest. And while most small speakers struggle to reproduce 80 cycle bass, the Sampan FTL is engineered to play 40 cycle bass with ease. In fact, the Sampan FTL bass extension will put many full range loudspeakers to shame. 

From top to bottom the Sampan FTL presents a very neutral and seamless frequency response with no excesses at any place in its frequency spectrum. Its midrange performance approaches absolute neutrality and it produces a totally engaging and enveloping sonic experience. It's astonishing resolution and foot tapping speed will make you want to go through your entire music collection to discover and savor sonic delights you missed before. It is a tiny loudspeaker that can full an average sized house with music. And it has the uncanny ability to project accurate bass even into adjoining rooms. 

The Sampan FTL uses the latest transducer technology – a cast aluminum frame, neodymium magnet, underhung motor design to generate surprising sound pressure level. Its crossover-less design and flat impedance curve means it can easily be driven with everything from an iPod to the most exotic audiophile amplifier. And its small size means you can freely enjoy high quality music just about anywhere. 

The Sampan FTL is the game changer among small loudspeakers. It says the future is now!

Imagine a loudspeakers with an internal volume that is roughly one tenth of one cubic foot that plays 40 cycle bass. The Sampan FTL is one of the most innovative small loudspeakers ever! 

Special Features

  • True point source
  • Perfect time coherence
  • Crossover-less
  • True minimum phase response
  • Hard wired hand soldered
  • Single 3.5 inch full-range, cast frame transducer
  • Matched transducers
  • Retainer for Omnimount 10.0 and other brackets with 1/4-20 stem
  • Superior ElectricTM five-way terminals
  • 10 year limited warranty
  • Health friendly, Eco-friendly and "all green" cabinets

*Note: is no longer online. is no longer on line.