Fyne Audio F500SP loudspeaker



Fyne Audio F500SP loudspeaker

 In my April 2020 review of Fyne Audio's inexpensive F301 standmount loudspeakers, I wrote, "The Fyne F301s impressed with their exceptional rendering of soundstage width and depth, reasonably wide dynamic range, extended low end (for their size), and exuberant, I-can't-stop-spinning-records presentation. The Fynes presented a finely layered, spatially convincing soundstage with images that were solid, if small."

Upon receiving Editor Jim Austin's assignment to review the Fyne F301's big brother, the F500SP, an upgraded version of the company's F500 model, I wondered if listening would reveal a house sound. Fyne's bookshelf speakers share a similar look, and similar parts and design. But, while the F301s cost just $425/pair and the base-model F500s, $849/pair, the F500SP will set you back $1995/pair in gloss black or white, $2295/pair in walnut. The F500SP's dedicated FS6 stands add $995/pair to the price.


Founded in 2017, Fyne Audio is the brainchild of several former Tannoy employees, including Dr. Paul Mills, the company's technical director, who was formerly the engineering director at Tannoy; and Max Maud, Fyne's sales and marketing director, who formerly served as Tannoy's sales manager. "SP" designates Fyne's "Special Production" speakers, which are made at Fyne's Glasgow factory by the company's "Special Projects" team, in contrast to the regular F300 and F500 lines, which are manufactured at Fyne Audio's Asia facility. The SP line adds features found in the more expensive 700 line to the 300 and 500 speakers.


There's a clear resemblance between some Fyne Audio speakers—including the F500SP—and some Tannoy speakers, the most obvious being the use of coaxial drivers, which Fyne Audio calls "IsoFlare." "Fyne Audio's IsoFlare driver is a point-source system whereby the bass/midrange driver shares a common center with the high frequency unit," Max Maud explained in an email. "[E] nergy is radiated isotropically with constant directivity following the flare of the driver cone. Sound is produced emanating from a single point." The F500SP utilizes a 6" version.



Fyne Audio F500SP loudspeaker


"Our IsoFlare point-source drivers are built around a custom-tooled, rigid, cast-aluminum chassis," Maud continued. The high-frequency unit's annular waveguide has "a computer-optimized expansion rate and geometry to provide flat frequency response and avoid internal reflections."


The Fyne website further elucidates the technology used in the 500SP: The 6" cone is "multi-fibre"; its bass reproduction is said to be enhanced by a "twin-magnet motor system"—an additional magnet positioned behind the main magnet system "focuses otherwise stray magnetic flux into the voice coil gap to improve low frequency performance"—and a composite-rubber surround, which Fyne calls "FyneFlute." This special surround is said to "reduce cone resonances at the driver termination."


The F500SP is a bass-reflex design with a port that opens onto Fyne's "BassTrax Tractrix diffuser system," which is mounted to the plinth to which the speaker is attached by four aluminum feet. The BassTrax Tractrix system "converts plain wave port energy to a spherical 360-degree wave front, integrating energy uniformly into the room."


At the center of the F500SP's coaxial driver is a "highly rigid," magnesium-diaphragm tweeter, which is energized by a neodymium high-frequency magnet. "The unique geometry of the high frequency unit's waveguide provides a flat frequency response and avoids internal reflections," Fyne says. That glossy waveguide is made of mild steel.


The tweeter's rear chamber "is vented through the magnet system," Maud explained. "This has foam damping to avoid reflections and lowers the resonant frequency for improved tweeter low-end performance." The IsoFlare driver is produced by "specialist subcontractors to our design," Maud said.


The F500SP's crossover utilizes "low-loss, laminated core inductors and audiophile-grade polypropylene capacitors." The F500SP provides two sets of inputs—it's biwirable—plus one unusual feature: a grounding terminal that allows you to ground the driver chassis to "eliminate amp or cable born[e] RF interference." The only other loudspeaker brand I'm aware of that offers anything like this is Audiovector.


The F500SP is a substantial-looking speaker, squat and hefty. The speaker's rear and front baffles are slightly rounded, which is said to improve the dispersion of the IsoFlare driver.


Max Maud told me the F500SP was voiced using a "CLIO measurement system and a wide range of partnering equipment in subjective evaluation."

Fyne Audio F500SP loudspeaker


Setup

Fyne Audio says that the BassTrax Tractrix diffuser ensures that the loudspeaker is "less critical of room positioning." Maybe so, but I found this speaker to be less forgiving than other small, ported speakers of near-wall placement. Siting them approximately 33" from the front wall, 59" apart, and 59" from my listening seat gave the most spatially appealing sound with a deep soundstage, open treble, clear mids, and strong bass. I didn't have the matching stands, so I placed the Fynes on a pair of 24"-high Sonus Audio speaker stands.


A 6' pair of Auditorium 23 speaker cables connected the Fynes to the Ayre EX-8 2.0 integrated amplifier, which, according to JA's measurements, should deliver a maximum of 107W into a nominal 8 ohm load. I also tried the Heed Audio Elixir, Parasound Hint 6 Halo, and Schiit Audio Ragnarok 2 integrated amplifiers.


For this review, I mostly listened to records with my Kuzma Stabi R turntable and Kuzma 4Point tonearm and the EMT TSD15 N Super Fineline moving coil cartridge. The output of that front-end was equalized and preamplified by a Tavish Audio Design Adagio phono preamp connected to those integrated amps via a 2m run of Triode Wire Labs Spirit II single-ended (RCA) cables



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