Fyne Audio's F500SP is a revamped version of its F500 bookshelf speaker, a model that gained a solid four-star rating when it entered our test rooms back in July 2019.
We say revamped, but we actually mean heavily revised. SP stands for ‘Special Production’ and indicates the speaker in question has been adorned with not only a revised cabinet construction but also components taken from the company's more premium F700 speakers.
This supercharging of the speaker has resulted in quite a significant difference in price between the original (£599, AU$1595) and the new model (from £1499, AU$2995), so we’re really interested to hear how much extra bang you’re getting for your buck.
Unboxed and positioned on a suitably sturdy pair of stands, the Fyne Audio F500SP certainly look the part. Our review sample is dressed in the piano gloss black finish, although a gloss white version is also available. If you want the piano gloss walnut option you’ll have to pay a premium – £1725 (AU$3495) to be precise.
Max power 120W
Frequency response 42Hz - 34kHz
Impedance 8 ohms
Dimensions (hwd) 32.3 x 20 x 32cm
The subtly curved cabinet (front and back) looks great and the finish contrasts nicely with the striking diamond-cut aluminium driver trim. The eye-catching FyneFlute roll surround (designed to reduce cone resonances) sits on the outside of Fyne Audio’s trademark IsoFlare driver. It’s a 15cm multi-fibre mid/bass cone unit that has a 25mm dome compression tweeter sat inside it.
Scan down to the bottom of the F500SP and you’ll find Fyne’s advanced BassTrax porting system, which has been mounted onto a thick aluminium base plate. The idea behind the speaker tech is to create a downward-firing port system designed to help evenly disperse energy into a room. And if you look along the top of the plate, you can actually see the shape of the diffuser which helps achieve this.
In practice, this port configuration helps the F500SP when it comes to positioning. When they are placed up against the wall, we don't notice a major bass imbalance, although we did prefer them around 60cm/24 inches away from the rear wall in our listening room with a little toe-in to help with focusing.
The front of the speakers look pretty compact, though they do stretch back 32cm and weigh over 8kg each, so probably aren't pairs we’d recommend squeezing into a small space. You do have the option of bi-wiring should you wish to and Fyne also includes a fifth terminal on each rear panel to ground the driver chassis and reduce the effects of RF interference. We think it’s worth experimenting with it if your set-up allows.
We use the Fyne Audio F500SP first with our reference Naim ND555/555 PS DR music streamer and Burmester 088/911 Mk 3 amplifier. As a tool to hear what the Fynes are doing, this set-up works, but we get the impression the speakers struggle with the amount of information they’re being asked to process. So we also employ a more price-comparable stereo amplifier in the shape of the Naim SuperNait 3 and immediately the speakers sound more comfortable and at home in its presence.
We kick things off with a blast of Kanye West’s Love Lockdown to see how the Fynes cope with low frequencies. And we’re impressed with the way they serve up lashings of bass without any protestation. There’s real power and authority on display as the track’s big bassy footprints stomp down in your sound field – the F500SP do a great job of giving the impression they’re a generously sized pair of floorstanders.
The punch and precision with which the Fynes communicate are really hammered home in the stereo image they produce. Each and every element is positioned without any hesitation. Switch tracks to Charlotte OC’s Satellite and you’re presented with a wide-open arena in which the speakers deploy all the different elements in a carefully controlled manner. The expressive vocal starts front and centre as the F500SP starts to layer in and immerse the listener with percussion, drums and electronica. It’s a punchy and powerful display that has you sitting up and taking notice for the right reasons.
Where the Fynes lose out to their rivals, though, is in the dynamics department. Yes, they sound powerful, but they don’t quite have the ability to shift up and down the gears as effectively as the very best. When Charlotte OC’s track drops in intensity, laying bare the quieter moments of the song, the Fynes don’t quite have the subtlety or dynamic dexterity to really make those moments as memorable as the showier elements of the track. A speaker like the KEF LS50 Meta is more communicative in these moments, which makes the shift from quiet to loud even more impactful.
Still, if you’re looking for a big, bold-sounding standmounter that delivers plenty of bass, the F500SP definitely tick those boxes. They just don’t quite have the breadth of ability and sophistication that’s required to secure that fifth and final star at this level.
- Sound 4
- Compatibility 4
- Build 5
Read our review of the KEF LS50 Meta
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