It is surprising just how much difference a couple of letters make. In this case, we are referring to the SP tacked onto the F502 floorstander’s name. They stand for Special Production, which is Fyne Audio’s way of saying that these speakers are upgraded from the basic product. We’re not talking minor tweaks either, as the price difference between the standard F502 floorstanders (£2499 / $3750 / AU$549) and our review pair of the Fyne Audio F502SP shows.
Essentially, Fyne Audio’s engineers have taken the standard model and upgraded pretty much everything while keeping to the same basic design and dimensions. Think of it as ‘hot-rodding’ taken to an extreme. All SP models are hand-built in the UK, which accounts for some of the price differential too.
The standard F502 drivers are replaced by new designs that are derived from those used in the company’s high-end F700 range. Consider that the equivalent floorstander in the F700 range, the F702, comes in at around double the price of the F502SP and you’ll understand why sharing similar drive units is such a big thing for the cheaper product.
The heart of these speakers is the IsoFlare drive array. This consists of a 25mm horn-loaded magnesium tweeter sitting in the throat of a 20cm multi-fibre (paper) coned mid/bass unit. The idea is to create a point source, where all frequencies of sound seem to come from the same place. Contrast this with the conventional way of arranging driver units on a speaker where they are lined up on a front baffle. Think of the distance between the drive units and the uneven dispersion that causes, and the appeal of Fyne’s IsoFlare (and KEF’s Uni-Q) is clear. In the F502SP an additional 20cm woofer augments the bass output.
Type 2½ way floorstander
Drive units 25mm horn-loaded magnesium dome / 20cm multi-fibre mid/bass IsoFlare array with additional 20cm bass driver
Ported Downward firing
Nominal impedance 8 ohms
Dimensions (hwd) 111 x 34 x 38cm
The three drivers are linked with an all-new, handmade crossover network that’s made using high-quality inductors and ClarityCap capacitors. All internal cabling is silver-plated OFC van Den Hul rather than the no-name wires most rivals use. The crossover points are fairly standard at 1.7kHz between the mid/bass and tweeter with the lower bass driver rolling below 250Hz.
Low frequencies are tuned by the company’s favoured downward firing port system but in the SP version the port fires down into a substantial twin aluminium plinth structure – rather than the standard model’s wooden plinth – which has a built-in diffuser to spread bass energy evenly. The claim is not only that of deep and powerful bass but of less fussy integration into the listening room.
The F502SP’s generous cabinet dimensions are the same as for the standard model, but the enclosure is made of high-density fibreboard and more rigidly braced. Great care is taken over the internal damping with the design using no less than three complementary materials to control resonances. The result should be a more solid and stable foundation for the drive units to operate from. There are three smart piano gloss finish options: white, black and the premium-priced walnut.
Don’t be tempted to short-change the F502SP when it comes to partnering electronics. They’re not the most refined of speakers, so any harshness or edge in the signal at higher frequencies will come through. Equally, despite a relatively high 92dB/W/m claimed sensitivity and a nominal impedance of 8 ohms, try to partner these speakers with an amplifier with some poke if you want to make the most of their dynamic capabilities. Something like Naim’s SuperNait 3 is a good starting point.
We use our usual reference system of Naim ND555/555 PS DR music streamer, Technics SL-1000R/Kiseki Purpleheart record player and Burmester 088/911 Mk III amplifier for the bulk of testing, though the aforementioned Naim integrated is also pressed into service on occasion.
There is no getting around it, you’ll need a pretty sizeable room to get the best out of the F502SP. They work well in our 7 x 5m test room, having plenty of room to breathe, but previous experience has shown that they can easily sound overpowering in anything much smaller.
It is worth taking a bit of time to optimise their positioning. We got the best results with the Fynes placed around a metre from the back wall and well away from the sides. Once the positioning is optimised, you’ll get a wonderfully expansive soundstage that’s tightly focused and beautifully layered. Just make sure to get the angling towards the main listening position spot-on; we had the speakers crossing just a little behind our heads when seated.
As we listen to Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 in full flow it is hard not to be impressed by the F502SP. These are big speakers for the money and the benefits of their generous proportions are obvious. First off, these floorstanders sound so much more authoritative than most rivals. They deliver the Beethoven symphony with breathtaking scale and solidity. Large-scale dynamic sweeps are rendered with ease, even at high volumes where smaller alternatives start to struggle.
These Fynes reveal an impressive amount of detail and arrange all that information in a cohesive and controlled way. There’s a crisp snap to the leading edge of notes and the ability to paint the rest of the sound envelope properly. This is a colourful presentation that’s bold and confident.
If you are after outright tonal neutrality or class-leading refinement then we would point you elsewhere, as these aren’t the most refined or balanced speakers at this level. Yet, the rivals that gain ground on sonic sophistication lose it when it comes to the more visceral aspects of music replay. These Fynes are terrific at pulling us into the music. They deliver sound with immense verve, even if ultimately they deliver less in the way of outright finesse.
This contrast between the F502SP and the rest is just as obvious when we play Michael Jackson’s Dangerous set. Here the Fynes are happy to charge along full throttle. They dig deep into the bass and produce thundering results when we play Who Is It at high volumes.
Pleasingly, those lows are agile as well as rich and powerful. Don’t think that the rest of the presentation falls short. There’s plenty of attack at all frequencies and a surefooted ability to convey rhythmic drive that makes most alternatives sound imprecise and a bit half-hearted. Analyse the midrange and you will find that it is impressively crisp and clear. We have no issue following Jackson’s impassioned vocals, hearing every trademark vocal tick with ease.
We play a large range of music over our time with the F502SP, going from the calm contemplation of Olafur Arnalds’ Found Songs to the energy-fest that is Nirvana’s Nevermind, and never do these floorstanders disappoint. They reproduce music with an enthusiasm that makes most rivals seem po-faced in the way they go about their business.
Sure, you can get a sound with more refinement, a sweeter treble and even more delicacy for similar money, but it would be hard to find something that delivers as much entertainment as these Fynes. If you have the space and can pamper them a little, these Fyne Audio F502SP are worth every penny.
- Sound 5
- Build 5
- Compatibility 3
Read our review of the Spendor A7
Also consider the ATC SCM40
Read our Wharfedale Elysian 4 review