It has been over a year since we were first introduced to Fyne Audio, but we remain impressed by this British speaker manufacturer’s output. Few have scored fours and fives this consistently since Ann Widdecombe was on Strictly Come Dancing, and the latest pair of Fyne Audio speakers to pass through our test rooms, the F500 standmounters, do not let the family down.
In many ways, the F500s look familiar. In effect, they are truncated versions of the first Fyne Audio speakers we tested, the F501 towers, which were named our favourite floorstanders below £1500 at the 2018 What Hi-Fi? Awards.
Fyne Audio has relegated the second woofer from those F501 towers to fit these bookshelf dimensions, but it retains the driver technology it integrated so well for the other.
That is to say its IsoFlare configuration, where the tweeter sits in the pool of the mid/bass driver – a 25mm titanium dome compression tweeter inside a 15cm multi-fibre paper cone – sharing a common centre to aid directivity and stereo imaging.
And that rope-like surround is not merely decorative, either. The design, called FyneFlute, provides an uneven surface in order to kill off cone energy and reduce colouration.
A quick glance around the back of the F500s raises the question of whether Fyne Audio has included a reflex port. In fact, it is located in the speakers’ undercarriage, thanks to that same BassTrax technology as is present in the F501s – though this is an augmented version for standmounters.
A downfiring port, with a cone-shaped BassTrax Tractix diffuser, it aims for 360-degree dispersion of the soundwaves, as well as increasing versatility when it comes to placement in regards to a back wall.
The result is not only a lengthened spec sheet, but a pair of speakers that look and feel every bit of their mid-range price tag. Based on aesthetic, there’s little doubt that these standmounters are from Fyne Audio’s top line.
That’s also the case as soon as you plug the F500s into your system. Even more so once they have been given a couple of days to run in.
Of all Fyne Audio’s technologies present, the first you’re likely to notice is the work of its BassTrax design. Without going entirely overboard, the F500s dish out an impressive portion of low end, with sufficient punch to deal heavy kicks and the smoothness to feed bubbling pulses and luscious pedals.
It makes for a warm, welcoming sound that benefits the midrange with its body as well. Whereas many standmount speakers can sound small, the F500s give that middle register real purchase with the support coming from the octaves below. Such profound bass can sometimes feel detached, but this is a cohesive performance, with a smooth line drawn through the frequencies.
Fyne Audio F500 tech specs
Power handling 60W
Nominal impedance 8 ohm
Frequency response (-6dB) 45Hz – 34kHz
Dimensions (hwd) 32.5 x 20 x 32cm
Weight 7.3kg (each)
The treble can really sing as well, that centralised tweeter performing its role admirably. As with the F501s, there is mild danger of exciting the high frequencies with more rough and ready partnering electronics, but with some careful pairing – and at this price you really should consider how your speakers fit into your system – it is by no means harsh.
Unlike with the F501 floorstanders, however, that careful matching is necessary when it comes to bass response as well. We wouldn’t call the low end soft or slovenly, but it can easily become muddied if your source or amplifier isn’t taut enough to keep it in check.
Detail is plentiful, though. It isn’t quite what you’d describe as analytical, but there is plenty enough here to validate the price tag, and we are always fond of Fyne Audio’s focus on musicality and entertainment over chin-stroking examination. And if that sounds like a backhanded compliment, it really isn’t.
Our main gripe with the F500s, though, is that they never quite reach the giddy heights of their floorstanding cousins. Timing and organisation is good, dynamics are expressive and hold our interest, but they don’t quite snap in the way we’ve heard Fyne Audio’s towers do so before.
That is highlighted when we switch to their main rival, B&W’s 606s. They don’t possess the same low-end heft as the F500s, but that weight loss contributes to a more sprightly, airy performance. There are marginal gains in detail and space, but the 606s’ handling of rhythm and dynamics puts a star between the two. In essence, the B&Ws feel more excited to be playing the music for us, as much as pointing out the sonic sights along the journey.
That said, there is still plenty to love about this latest pair of Fyne Audio speakers. If you’re after a mid-range standmounter with enough bass to shake you, and don’t want to miss out on detail or musicality, the F500s are more than worth your time for an audition.
- Sound 4
- Compatibility 4
- Build 5
Read our Fyne Audio F501 review
Read our B&W 606 review