Fyne Au­dio F501

FOR De­tailed, en­gag­ing sound; tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tion AGAINST Ju­di­cious part­ner­ing needed; low-vol per­for­mance

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

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

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