Fyne Au­dio F302

FOR De­tailed, en­ter­tain­ing pre­sen­ta­tion; tim­ing; low-end AGAINST May need some care for best sys­tem match­ing

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

Homonyms hold the key to around 90 per cent of dad jokes, and for that we must be grate­ful to our lan­guage for their ex­is­tence. But when it comes to Fyne Au­dio, the fledg­ling Scot­tish com­pany’s rhyme-sake doesn’t de­scribe its bril­liance quite aptly enough.

Though the brand is in its in­fancy, Fyne’s seven-strong man­age­ment team rep­re­sents a kind of su­per­group of in­dus­try minds. It has more than 200 years of ex­pe­ri­ence, but with a re­sult that ac­tu­ally to­tals the sum of its parts, if the first of its loud­speak­ers to ar­rive in our test rooms are any­thing to go by.

Good omens

We’ve al­ready praised Fyne’s £1200 F501 speak­ers, so the time to wel­come its en­try-level floor­standers could hardly have come soon enough. And if that tan­ta­lis­ingly low £400 price tag doesn’t al­ready have you rush­ing to dig out your credit card, we wouldn’t be sur­prised if you’re al­ready en­ter­ing your bank de­tails be­fore the end of this re­view.

A two-way, rear-ported de­sign, the F302s house a 25mm polyester dome tweeter and 15cm multi-fi­bre mid/bass driver in each of their rel­a­tively sturdy cab­i­nets. With the plinths adding a lit­tle more width to the over­all foot­print, it feels as though we’re get­ting a lot of speaker for the money.

The F302s are avail­able in wal­nut, black ash or light oak fin­ishes – de­scribed by Fyne as ‘su­pe­rior vinyl’. It’s un­der­stated, off­set by a glossy black head­band fram­ing the tweeter. There is fur­ther de­tail sur­round­ing the bass/mid driver too. More than mere aes­thetic flour­ish, this tyre-like de­sign makes the unit stronger and less likely to tear.

Lost in mu­sic

Their per­for­mance sets the F302s apart as con­sum­mate class lead­ers. We lis­ten to ev­ery re­view al­bum from be­gin­ning to end, an acid test passed only by the most en­gag­ing prod­ucts that cross our path. We con­sider that very telling.

We play Bon Iver’s 22, A Mil­lion and from the out­set we’re met with a con­fi­dent, for­ward pre­sen­ta­tion, but one that has all the de­tail and re­fine­ment we might ex­pect from the best standmounters at this price.

The tex­ture in those open­ing vo­cal loops of­fers a sense of move­ment and an­tic­i­pa­tion over a flatlin­ing drone, and quite lus­cious warmth to Justin Ver­non’s trade­mark cho­ral har­monies. The pre­sen­ta­tion also feels spa­cious, with plenty of di­men­sion, both in terms of width and depth.

The size of the cab­i­net sug­gests a wealth of low-end, but that too is taut and doesn’t ob­struct the F302s’ keen rhyth­mic sense. Tim­ing and dy­namic range are of­ten ne­glected char­ac­ter­is­tics in floor­standers at this price – power, bass and a grander sound­stage be­ing more highly favoured – so it’s worth high­light­ing just how adept Fyne is here at cap­tur­ing both.

That means har­ness­ing the grimy per­cus­sive loops of tracks such as 10 d E A T h b R E a s T, while al­low­ing 29 #Straf­ford APTS to trickle down­stream with­out fear of be­com­ing stag­nant. It builds the in­ten­sity of 8 (cir­cle) nicely as it reaches its an­themic con­clu­sion.

These tracks also high­light how adept these Fynes are at cap­tur­ing the pro­duc­tion as well as the char­ac­ter of the mu­sic, and, as we lis­ten on, the speak­ers only seem to grow in self-as­sur­ance, dis­play­ing the kind of in­sight and anal­y­sis we find rare in this price bracket.

If there is one caveat, it is that some care needs to be taken with sys­tem­match­ing. While the bal­ance is far from skewed, there is a lit­tle bright­ness in the tre­ble that should be tem­pered by a suit­able am­pli­fier and mu­sic source.

At this price, we’d rec­om­mend some­thing such as Rega’s Brio amp, which will com­ple­ment the F302s’ strengths while round­ing off some of that top end, per­haps with the com­pany’s CD6006UK as a source.

Good part­ners

That said, even test­ing with our Cyrus Cdi/rega Elex-r combo, each of which tends to high­light any tre­ble coarse­ness, was a de­light. So it’s more that you’ll get the best from these speak­ers with some care­ful match­ing rather than be­ing forced to avoid them with­out.

It’s rare to find floor­stand­ing all­rounders at less than £500 that are able to com­pete in ev­ery re­spect with the wealth of qual­ity stand­mount speak­ers at the same price. This serves only fur­ther to im­press just what a ster­ling job Fyne has done with the F302s.

If our F501 re­view had your mouth wa­ter­ing, but left you in dan­ger of drain­ing your bank ac­count, Fyne has pro­vided us with an­other class leader be­ly­ing its mea­gre price tag at ev­ery turn.

“We lis­ten to ev­ery al­bum all the way through – an acid test passed only by the most en­gag­ing prod­ucts”

They’re as good as top standmounters at the same price. That’s rare

The de­sign is pretty straightforward but the sound is first-rate

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