11th September 2023 · News

Size matters……Fyne Audio F1-8

Fyne Audio are a relatively new company in the audio world, formed back in 2017. Although young in years Fyne’s senior management team have around 200 years of collective experience in the hi-fi industry so they are no strangers to hi-fi and they have really hit the ground running over the past 6 years.

They have several ranges of speakers available at differing price points, the F1 Series is their flagship line of speakers and every range below them utilises trickled down elements of F1 technology, they have also developed a number of patented technologies that they employ across all of their speakers in various forms.

There are 5 speakers in the F1 Series, the F1-8 being the larger of the 2 stand-mount offerings, the smaller option being the F1-5. The 5 and 8 refers to the size (in inches) of the point source drive unit, the F1-8 utilises a 25mm tweeter at its centre whereas the F1-5 uses a smaller 19mm tweeter. The image below shows F1-8 and F1-5 side by side so you can see the size difference.

Fyne Audio F1-8 @ Audio Therapy

The F1 Series is quite different from a design standpoint and they make quite a visual statement and are rather striking and unique. I think they are fantastic looking speakers and I really like the fact they are different. Whilst I appreciate that they won’t be to everybody’s tastes visually the build quality and fit and finish is superb and absolutely beyond reproach. The curved cabinet is hand crafted and finished in a stunning piano gloss walnut veneer and it really looks the part, the burr inlay on the front and top of the cabinet really sets them off.

All Fyne Audio speakers use a single point drive unit system, meaning the tweeter is located at the centre of the primary drive unit, so they both share a common centre – this assists the speaker in delivering superb imaging and ensures the speakers are correctly time aligned giving them greater coherence, less smearing, less distortion and importantly less interaction with the room as well, which is always a good thing. The presentation is linear and very natural as a result and they aren’t  fussy in terms of positioning either.

The F1 Series uses a unique diffuser system, the cabinet has a twin cavity with a tuned port which fires downwards from the reinforced lower panel of the cabinet. This has the benefit of reducing cone excursion and it also acts as a damping system which blocks any potential standing wave resonances produced by the main internal port between the cavities.

Fyne Audio @ Audio Therapy

Underneath this port is the diffuser itself, Fyne call this their BassTrax Diffuser (patent pending), it converts the downward bass energy into a 360 degree spherical wave, this is another factor which aids the positioning of the speaker in the room. The image above shows the BassTrax diffuser off the F1-10, which is a floorstanding speaker, the concept on the F1-8 is the same.

On the front of the cabinet is a ‘Presence’ dial, this gives some subtle adjustment to high frequency between 2.5kHz and 5kHz – in a well balanced system (and importantly a well balanced room) the 12 o’clock position is generally where they sound best. Mileage will vary from room to room and system to system – in an overly damped room, or a lively room the Presence dial can be very useful to get the tonal balance that is preferred for the listener so it definitely has its uses.

Standing at 470mm tall and weighing in at just over 15kg the F1-8 are larger than your average standmount speaker, as such they do appreciate a little free space around them, but they aren’t a difficult speaker in terms of positioning, especially taking into account their size. This size does allow the F1-8 to give you the best of both worlds – you get all the superb traits of a great standmount speaker – intimacy, agility and precision, coupled with the scale and depth of a floorstanding speaker. Close your eyes with some music playing and it never takes long to get drawn in and forget that you are not listening to a much larger floorstanding speaker.

The F1-8 excel at delivering realism and for the price of admission (£7499 plus stands, the dedicated Fyne stands are £1099 a pair) they are a very special loudspeaker. They are well balanced, effortlessly natural and refined and when called upon to be dynamic they respond with ease. The single point source drive unit helps with creating a solid stereo image and this is one area where the F1-8 takes full points, set up in the demo room around 1.6m apart the soundstage is both wide and deep, standing 80cm off the back wall the image goes beyond that wall and well out into the garden. They paint a musical landscape which is precise and almost palpable, we’re almost talking Avalon level imagery which is a complement of the highest order.

Treble and finer detail is never analytical or artificial, they are informative enough to allow you hear the finer ambience and micro detail in any recording and it is integrated ever so well with the mid-range and lower registers as well. Bass response is deep, textured and for a standmount speaker it is ridiculously good, there is no sense of bloating, ponderous overhang or blurring at all. As mentioned above if you listen to music with your eyes closed you will very quickly forget that you are sitting in front of a standmount speaker.

At 91dB sensitivity the F1-8 are not a difficult speaker to drive at all, but as ever they appreciate quality amplification and as the amplifier and system changes around them the F1-8 will quickly let you hear those changes.

I’ve used the F1-8 with a variety of different amplifiers over the past few weeks including Gold Note, Alluxity, Vitus (RI-101 mk2) and T+A (PA3100 HV) and they partnered up with everything really well. The F1-8 were happy to highlight the differences between all of the various options, the Gold Note and Alluxity pairings were incredibly organic and rich sounding, full bodied, very easy to listen to.

When used with the Vitus the sound gained much more precision and greater transparency, the Vitus is the master of delicacy and it is a fabulous amplifier. With the RI-101 mk2 you also have the option for the DAC Streamer board, when installed it gives you option for a one box system, an amplifier for life for many, many people. Fitting some Stillpoints under the Vitus opens things up further as well, the speakers always responding immediately to the changes upstream.

Fyne Audio F1-8 and Vitus Audio @ Audio Therapy

The T+A PA3100 HV is another high powered integrated and just like the Vitus it controlled the F1-8 perfectly and with incredible precision. This combination offered superb detail retrieval and textures and the bass was excellent, extended and very fast. The T+A has no DAC option so I was using the MP200 and DAC 200 from their 200 Series as a front end streaming Qobuz.

If I had to pick one amplifier to go with the F1-8 it would be a tough call, either the Vitus or T+A would be at the top of my list, both of these amplifiers really allowed the F1-8 to open up and really show off their abilities and strengths. The fact the Vitus can be used with the DAC/streamer module possibly edges it just ahead keeping everything in one box, but the reality is I could happily live with either of them.

Make no mistake the Fyne F1-8 is a world class loudspeaker, they are not the smallest speakers which is the only real criticism I can level at them, but for those with all but the smallest rooms I’m sure the size of the speaker would be quickly forgotten once you have experienced their abilities!

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Fyne Audio F1-8 @ Audio Therapy

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