What is the Fyne Audio F301
The nature of Fyne Audio as a company throws some pointers that this speaker isn’t the result of dewy eyed innocents. The core team of the company comprises six men who collectively have over a century of experience in the audio industry (and the suggestion is that this is fairly evenly spread rather than five novices and Dorian Grey). Based in Glasgow, they have assembled a portfolio of dealers that include a few I know to be habitually at the point where ‘discerning’ meets ‘very, very choosy.’ They have additionally managed to secure funding from the Scottish Investment Bank to assist with further development. The speakers they have released so far have shown an interesting spread of clever ideas backed up with solid engineering. With the £250 speaker market being a busy one, how does this collective experience translate into reality?
Specification and design
Where this driver differs from many similarly priced models is that it uses a separate dust cap rather than a continuous profile cone. Fyne says this improves the midrange characteristics and it’s a relatively unusual thing to encounter at the price. The driver surround is also unusual. It is grooved rather than uniform and Fyne says this is much more than a styling exercise. The process is called ‘FyneFlute’ and is intended to offer a non homogenous interface that better controls the driver energy.
One aspect of the design that is quite unusual is the sensitivity and impedance. Fyne Audio quotes a figure of 89dB/w matched with an impedance that is given as 8 ohms. These two figures, if genuine (and in use, nothing has suggested that they aren’t), makes the F301 tremendously easy to drive and something that can be partnered with a wide variety of equipment without proving a challenge for them. Like the vast majority of speakers we’ve looked at recently, the F301 does without bi-wiring and uses a single set of three way terminals for connection.
It is also well made. As I’ve mentioned on more than a few occasions, £250 is not a huge amount of budget to play with in terms of making something that sounds good, is well made and also attractive. Fyne Audio has done a good job with the F301 and the points of contact like the terminals and the grill- which makes use of magnetic tabs - all feel like a quality offering. This is a speaker you would be happy to have out on display in most rooms.
How was the F301 tested?
There is an effortlessness to how the F301 goes about making music, that is unusual in a relatively compact and active speaker. This doesn’t necessarily manifest itself in greater scale - as we’ll come to, the F301 has good bass extension but nothing that necessarily redefines what we associate as being possible from a £250 speaker. Instead, there is simply a sense of space and three dimensionality to the midrange that is notable for a speaker of this size and type. Listening to the peculiar but impossible catchy I Don’t Know! by The Suicide Sports Club, the F301 does an impressive job of capturing the peculiar cackle at the start of the recording. There’s nothing overtly showy about the way that this is worked into the mix, it is simply extremely well handled.
The tonality on offer is also very compelling and realistic. The lovely Fields by Junip is delivered with a lovely sense of overall tonal accuracy in which everything sounds ‘right.’ Guitars have the right sense of resonance and decay to them and the supporting drums are a believably three dimensional and weighty instrument. As noted earlier, the F301 doesn’t have more bass than most rivals. Instead, it cleverly uses that slightly larger 150mm driver to fill in the space between the lower midrange and the start of true bass extension in a way that is almost entirely effective.
What makes this more appealing is that Fyne Audio seems to have achieved it without the F301 being a mess with less brilliantly recorded material. It makes it clear that Feeder’s We Can’t Rewind is not a reference recording but it never remotely comes close to rendering it unlistenable. Using Spotify and Deezer doesn’t provoke it either. This is a very well sorted speaker and one that isn’t going to leave uncomfortable swathes of your music collection gathering dust.
The performance with TV and film material very closely matches this. That spaciousness and weight to the lower midrange is something that helps a lot of TV material sound more convincing than is often the case with small speakers. Dialogue is extracted from the mix in a manner that makes it easy to follow and crucially this is the case at low listening levels, as well as healthy ones (although, as noted, the F301 will give you a healthy volume level on fairly limited input power. There have been times when a little more cinematic excitement- the safe dragging insanity of Fast Five doesn’t have quite the unrelentingly ballistic quality that I’ve experienced elsewhere but as we’ve established, this is the acoustic equivalent of a lover, not a fighter.
- Open and effortless presentation
- Easy to drive
- Well made
- Can sound fractionally relaxed
- Looks might be a little old fashioned for some tastes
- No shortage of competition
Fyne Audio F301 Standmount Speaker Review
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