Finally, it’s time to review a point-source speaker from Fyne Audio, the UK-based outfit formed as a result of the sale of Tannoy to Music Group, and the reforming of the original team including DR Paul Mills, former ‘Director of Research & Engineering’ for Tannoy’s residential division (1988 – 2015). Take a look at Fyne’s point-source products and you will see similarities to Tannoy ranges of past and present. Dig deeper, however, and you find a design which is similar in principle yet thoroughly modern in execution.
Yes, all but the base models in the range use point-source drivers, at first glance not dissimilar to Tannoy’s famous Dual-Concentric. But while the Dual-Concentric driver has mostly seen only revisions to the same core design throughout its many decades in production, the Fyne drivers are a fresh design from the ground up. Similar in concept, but modern and more sophisticated in execution.
The F500 series is the least expensive of Fyne’s range to use a point-source driver, of which the F500 speaker is the smallest standmount. It packs a 6” (150 mm) IsoFlare TM point-source driver into a compact cabinet with a gentle curve to the front and rear baffle to reduce cabinet colouration. Cloth grilles are provided with an understated silver Fyne logo, the grilles attached magnetically to leave a clean fascia when removed. Further subtle branding is etched into the aluminium band above the vented plinth.
The cabinet incorporates a downward-firing port with a cone-shaped defuser, evenly dissipating energy into the room via a Tractrix diffuser system technology Fyne calls ‘BassTrax’. The speaker is raised on a plinth with vents surrounding the lower 50 mm or so of its cabinet. These vented grills in combination with the BassTrax system direct directional waves into an expanded 360-degree wavefront which interacts more uniformly with the room, and allows less fussy placement.
This iteration of Fynes IsoFlare driver situates a 25mm titanium dome compression tweeter in the centre of a 6” (150 mm) multi-fibre paper cone, the common centre aiding directivity and allowing for a more isotropic stereo image even off-axis. FyneFlute technology features here as it does in the F300 series, with equally spaced grooves not only enhancing aesthetic appeal but also effectively terminating cone energy, with better control of cone movement particularly at the leading edges of notes. As a result, IsoFlare drivers accentuate the precise, articulate character that is a trait of the Tannoy Dual-Concentric.
The packaging leaves a lasting impression. The speakers are shipped in cotton cloth covers with plenty of polystyrene protection and instruction manual, should you require one of those to aid you in situating the speakers on a pair of stands and connecting them up. They’re bi-wirable at the rear, with the terminals joined by default by bi-wiring links for single-wire operation. Unless you’re bi-amping there is no evidence to suggest a sonic advantage to bi-wiring, and indeed many (myself included) who will tell you that there is an adverse effect. I ran the speakers with terminal jumpers in place and would suggest you do too.
The cabinets are available in black oak, walnut, piano gloss black or piano gloss white. They certainly look the part and though not especially heavy do feel as solid as befits a speaker at their price and far beyond. The finish doesn’t spoil the tactility of the wonderfully textured grain, and the edges are expertly finished. The curved baffles, aluminium band and BassTrax grills all add to a distinctive yet understated and enduring design. This quality of build would be exceptional for a company with a rich history, let alone a new brand’s first product.
And the sound is frankly everything I’d hoped for and more. They’ve got clarity in spades, the top end brimming with detail yet pleasing, rather than fatiguing to the ears. Lows are deep, crisp and beautifully controlled, with rhythmic aplomb that makes it nigh-on impossible to keep still.
There’s just something about the Fynes, an inane sense of impeccable timing and “get up n’ go” that is such a joy, it will put a smile on your face within the first few notes. It’s as if the speakers become part of the performance, lifting even the most mediocre mainstream pop record to something not only listenable but downright entertaining. There’s a boundless enthusiasm to rock, yet also the ability to kick back and belt a ballad when required. I could employ a vocabulary of audiophile drivel to describe these to you, but it’s better to simply describe them as having an innate musicality that will delight, whatever you play.
Since they took their place in my system I’ve kept returning to the F500s for day-to-day listening. Fyne Audio have produced the best point-source driver I’ve heard to date, packed them in a beautiful box and the result is a terrific speaker with a fyne build and epic sonics. They’re ace. Highly recommended.