In this day and age, it takes a brave company to come into the world of hi-fi and try to make a mark against the heavyweights of the industry. However, with true stalwart Scottish spirit, this is exactly what Fyne Audio have done.
On their site, they’ve revealed that their seven strong management team have an astounding 200 years of combined experience in the hi-fi industry and that everyone on the team has worked together for at least ten years. This amount of time however, is not simply old dogs rehashing old ideas from the past and placing them in a new branded box – on paper there’s a lot of very interesting concepts coming from this exciting start up. We take the Fyne F501 floorstanders into the demo room to see if they’re worthy competition for an already strong market.
Straight out of the box, the speakers look and feel like a quality above their price point. With genuine wood veneers as opposed to vinyl finishes, it looks and feels like premium furniture, making it feel at home with other items in the room, and in the case of our demo room, look perfect next to gorgeous stands from the likes of Atacama. With gently rounded edges and finishes like this, there are only a few manufacturers near this price to make speakers that look so damn lovely, meaning that for sheer décor purposes the Fyne’s leave many a manufacturer in the dust.
There’s a clever design involving their grilles as well. In the stores, we all tend to remove the speaker grilles immediately so we can stare at the drivers in their various states of work and generally geek out a little over the products. We do appreciate however, that others may want their speaker to intrude less on their room, and as such pop the grilles on to make them less discrete. Fyne have clearly considered this as well. Not only the grilles able to cling onto the front of the speaker magnetically, leaving no unsightly holes on the front of the unit, but they can also mount to the back of the speaker as well. This means if you don’t always have them on, you won’t have to worry about where they’re going in the meantime.
The drivers are another fascinating point. The solid titanium tweeter is embedded within the mid-range driver – not too dissimilar to KEF’s Uni-Q design or the dual concentric concept from another Scottish brand, Tannoy. Not to be outdone on the naming front, Fyne have called this design IsoFlare. By ‘flaring’ the assembly, this means that all the sweet treble will spread more evenly across the soundstage making for excellent stereo imaging even if your positioning isn’t perfect.
Another point in aid of positioning is the Basstrax Tractix Diffusing System, (okay, they may have gone overboard on the naming here). Similar to other bass porting from Tannoy, whereby the bass is projected into the room by a downwards port onto a plinth. However, Fyne have ensured that once again, diffusion into the room is evened out by their clever grille design – it looks sexy as well, which is a definite plus.
The final piece of engineering the team have created (that’s obvious to the eye at least) is their Fyneflute speaker surrounds. Look at nearly any speaker and realistically, you’re going to a see a round, rubber surround to each driver, allowing it to move forward and back to produce sound. However, this is always going to be a point of distortion for speakers. Different manufacturers have tried many different methods to resolve this. Monitor Audio use their RST drivers to dissipate anomalies at the driver itself, KEF use passive radiators to control bass and Dali spread their sound across extra drivers such as ribbon tweeters. However, with the Fynes – the flared edges to the driver cause them to do something quite special. As opposed to simply moving in a totally linear ‘in and out’ sense – the drivers twist through the motion. By doing this, colouration to the music is all but eliminated.
With all of this tech in mind – I (and a very curious and excited set of colleagues) got them running.
Opting immediately for something to challenge the speakers on their complexity, I used “Vicarious” by Tool. I was not disappointed. The speakers handled the spacing of every instrument perfectly and the vocals had a huge sense of presence whether forward or further backward in the track.
Eager to test the bass, our store manager opted for a track from Killer Mike’s new album. Not phasing the speakers at all, the F501s threw bass notes that were more felt than heard and still retained volumes of clarity as lyrics were shot over the top of the window-rattling bass.
Happy to test the softer element of the speakers (having heard rumours that they prefer to be played louder rather than background level), other colleagues opted for Miles Davis and Modern Jazz Quartet. Trumpets, pianos and celesticas all rang out high and clear with perfect separation over soft drum beats. Whilst it may be somewhat true that the speakers prefer to be loud – ultimately they’re floorstanders, and when they sound this good, that’s no problem with us.
These speakers are, for lack of a better word, stunning and demand your attention. Make an appointment with your local Richer Sounds shop to hear them yourself today.
Author: Steve, Chiswick store