Fyne Audio F302
FOR Detailed, entertaining presentation; timing; low-end AGAINST May need some care for best system matching
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.
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.
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