The Bristol Hi-Fi Show 2023 is in full swing and it has brought with it all manner of awesome tech treats.
Highlights have included the appearance of Klipsch’s The Sevens and The Nines Heritage Speakers, the Rega Naia turntable making its debut and, of course, more exclusive Bristol Show deals than can easily be counted.
But for me, there was one particular product that caught my eye - the Fyne Audio Vintage Five. For those at the show, this may sound a little odd. After all, surely it’s the £30k Fyne Vintage Fifteen that was unveiled alongside that’s more exciting?
And on a technical level, yes, that’s true. To catch readers up, the Vintage Fifteen is the largest speaker in Fyne Audio’s current retro-inspired Vintage line-up, sitting above the older Vintage Ten and Vintage Twelve.
On a technical and marketing level, it’s also the one the company has made the most noise about, claiming the Vintage Fifteen is its “most ambitious” to date and that its custom dynamic IsoFlare driver will deliver audio with "the precision and scale of a full orchestra."
We haven’t listened to the speaker yet so we can’t confirm if this is true, but considering how well past Fyne speakers have performed when we’ve put them through their paces in our listening rooms, we’re excited to find out when we get them in for review.
As certain What Hi-Fi? team members have pointed out, the Five’s £3,749.99 price tag is fairly high for a speaker pair their size. Check out our best bookshelf speaker guide and you won’t see many other options around that price. Regular, non-audiophile, readers would also weep after doing the math to find out how many Apple HomePod 2 and Sonos One speakers they could pick up for the same price.
But, it’s actually the rather small size that appeals to me most and makes the Fyne Vintage Five so compelling. Myself and our Managing Editor, Becky Roberts, have both made no secret of the fact we’re very excited at the prospect of better, but smaller hi-fi. This was also one of the main reasons I got so excited about the Cambridge Audio MXN10 streamer when I had a brief play with it earlier this year.
The truth is, as much as it pains me to admit, I could not fit the Fyne Vintage Ten, let alone the Vintage Fifteen, into my home, even if I could sneak it past my fiancée which would be a big if, being in a two up, two down London townhouse. And my neighbours would not thank me for it.
This feeling was compounded when I saw the Fifteen in the wild. Make no mistake, there’s a reason all the promotional material shows it in situ at a palace or mansion – it’s gigantic.
Which is why I really found the Five speakers so compelling. The picture at the top of this article really doesn’t do justice to quite how nice the Five looks, with their birch ply – which has been hand finished in oiled walnut veneer and burr walnut inlays – really oozing class.
Then there’s the fact that they are built by Fyne Audio, a speaker company with superb hi-fi pedigree and whose speakers have consistently scored incredibly well during our tests. To catch you up, both the Fyne Audio F302i and Fyne Audio F501 earned five-star ratings when we reviewed them.
This is why I am especially curious to see how its smaller IsoFlare driver - which combines a 5-inch (125mm) multi-fibre cone mid/bass driver with FyneFlute surround and a 19mm magnesium dome HF compression driver with a neodymium motor system - performs in the real world. I can’t help but feel slightly more excited about it than its larger, more expensive, sibling.
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