Fyne Audio F501
FOR Detailed, engaging sound; technical innovation AGAINST Judicious partnering needed; low-vol performance
Never heard of Fyne Audio? Don’t feel bad or in any way out of the loop; this is a very new company.
This Scottish brand has arrived fully formed, with an ample selection of speakers and subwoofers. These F501s look, feel and, most crucially, sound more like the product of a company building on years of experience and expertise. In terms of build quality and finish, they have the sturdiness a £1200 floorstander needs, and the finish is smooth and seamless too.
On a technical level, the F501s are an intriguing combination of the predictable and the unusual. The broad strokes are pretty predictable: a
two-and-a-half way design using a 25mm tweeter, 15cm mid/bass driver and 15cm bass driver, but Fyne Audio has brought some interesting thinking to bear. The tweeter, for example – a highly rigid titanium dome – sits in the throat of the mid/bass driver in an arrangement Fyne calls Isoflare. And at the bottom of the cabinet, Fyne has employed a downward-firing port above a carefully profiled, conical diffuser. This should, in theory, make the speakers less picky about their position in your room.
Glossy track, polished sound
To start with, we give the F501s the chance to show off with Diana Krall’s version of Almost Blue. It’s a high-gloss recording, with painstakingly recorded piano and close-mic’d vocal supported by stand-up bass, brushed drum kit and economical guitar – and the F501s lap it up. There’s a broad, well defined soundstage, solid stereo focus and a lavish amount of detail. But while they’re borderline-fanatical about laying out the last scrap of information, the F501s don’t sacrifice the coherence of a performance.
A move to Rhapsody In Blue by the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein allows the F501s to demonstrate not only their fine grasp of timing but also their dynamic prowess.
Rhapsody is full of attention-seeking shifts from ruminative piano to fullorchestra outrage, and the F501s handle each with confidence. They snap into and out of the leading edges of notes, alive with controlled drive and attack.
A degree of system-matching is always necessary, but in this instance it’s imperative – the Fyne Audios’ confident (yet never hard) top end isn’t impossible to provoke. Equally, while the lowfrequency response is thrilling, leaner electronics are probably best avoided. The F501s’ vibrancy and excitement properly come to the fore only once the volume control nudges above ‘polite’ – but that should be a minor worry.
It’s a bold move to launch a speaker into this market – but Fyne Audio has no problem with acting boldly. The F501s are an extremely confident calling card.
F501: An intriguing mix of the predicatble and the unusual