FYNE AUDIO F501

MJ08.12.2021

Floorstanding loudspeakers

When employees separate from a big brand to establish a new enterprise under a so far unknown brand, they only get one chance to justify their move and prove the world it was worth it. Scots did exactly this and broke away from Tannoy. Without hesitation they got down to work and built a range of speakers that are great to look at, and sound marvelous.

100% reference

Function and form

100%
Ease of use
55%
Sound
100%
Appearance

The Fyne Audio F501 is a 2 ½ way speaker. No doubt that their IsoFlareTM coaxial driver is a main attractor here. The coaxial/concentric drivers – like any other solution – have their high and low points, however, at least to my ears, the benefits prevail. When you listen to KEFs, TADs, Tannoys, and now also Fyne Audios long enough, you get use to the single point source coherence and outstanding stereo imaging, so that it is almost impossible to adapt any conventional solution afterwards.

The tweeter, that sits in the center of the midrange driver, has a titanium diaphragm, and is vented to the rear. Its resonant frequency lies deep below its operation range which is cut down at 1700Hz by the cross-over. The geometry of the high frequency unit’s waveguide provides a flat frequency response and avoids internal reflections.

The tweeter is surrounded by a multifiber paper cone of the midrange driver with a soft surround that employs what Fyne calls FyneFlute technology: there are shallow tangential “flutes” evenly spaced around its perimeter to eliminate coloration and improve musical behavior.

Bass performance owes to a single bass driver – multifiber paper again – that is supported by a bass-reflex port. The port down-fires into a dedicated chamber at the bottom of the cabinet, and only then the energy is vented towards the speaker´s base. Below the vent there is a “BassTraxTM Tractrix” profile diffuser (patent pending) that dispenses the airstream into 360° energy radiation.

The Fyne F501 are rather sensitive (91 dB) and 8-ohm on paper. Some reviewers found the F501 overly sensitive to partnering electronics and claimed a lot of power was needed to make the Fyne sing. I cannot comment on this as I did not have any watt-shy amplifier on hand during the review.

Bass management

Weight
54
Slam
62
Articulation
60

What I can confirm, however, is the Fyne Audio F501´s sensitivity to proper positioning in a room. Even tiny changes in toe-in or spacing were audible, often quite dramatically. I always recommend using pink noise tracks, both correlated and uncorrelated, for a pair of speakers placement. This way one not only can establish the most precise phantom image, but also identify the spot where the frequency response is the most even in the room. If there is no pink noise available, go for a true mono track. By the true mono I mean a track with identical information in both channels. I usually reach for Creedence Clearwater Revival and their Call It Pretending from 40th Anniversary Edition Disc (Fantasy/Concord).

To anchor the sound in a thin vertical strip right between the speakers took quite an effort with the F501s. In fact, they already sounded fabulous when I positioned them in usual places, but after spending an hour shuffling them forth and back, and left to right, they underwent significant transformation. To sum up my findings, I recommend getting them as far away as possible from room boundaries. I ended with the F501s 1.80m from the front wall, and 1.0m from the side walls. The specification sheet claims the bottom extension of 36Hz @-6dB when not close to walls, and this was what I heard. The bass was leaner than when the speakers were closer to the corners, but it was tighter and much better integrated with the rest of the frequency spectrum. If you need deeper bass, then don´t push the Fynes into corners, rather get a good subwoofer or two.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
94
Air
85
Transparency
74

All the things that happen from mids up are marvelous. Fadia El-Hage contralto on Divine Rites (Vox, Hearts of Space) floated in the room with articulated effortlessness, sweet and rich, embracing, and otherworldly. There is no detail that the Fyne F501s would let escape – subtle inflections, mouth movements, a rustling synthetic sound that resemble a dry leaf falling from a tree. The Divine Rites album explores historical context of liturgic chants of medieval Lebanon and Syria, the times when Christianity coexisted with Islamic and Jewish culture. The sound of the voice is pure, as sung by Fadia El-Hage, a Lebanese classically trained diva. Through the Fyne Audio F501s 2the sound was levitating and blossoming in the room, it was no problem to hear the ambience of the authentic venue where the recording was taken. There were times when my brain refused to accept that such a cheap pair of speakers could perform so beautifully. In Resurrection, the multitracked voice simulates polyphonic singing. All the voices here were a tad bit more articulated and detailed than I use to hear through my own TADs, and they even surpassed what I heard recently during my time with the new Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4s. Ahhh….

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
52
Dynamics
55
Temporal resolution
74

I have found Patricia Barber´s Clique SACD (Impex) earlier this week in my mailbox, and it has become my listening staple since. When listening to I Could Have Danced All Night I had nothing to say about how the F501s interpreted Barber´s voice. In this price category - and far beyond it – this is one of the best speakers available. If you ever tried to listen to an audiobook through a hi-fi system, the Fynes are the way to go.

I could only realize what speaker category I was listening to when I started missing the transient definition and wood of sticks on cymbals. The cymbals were less metallic too, and their resonance was illuminated a tad shorter than I am used to. The double bass on Clique was punchy and beautifully round through the F501sc, although it lacked some power which could not be there, considering the cabinet size of the Fynes. However, the sound was very energetic and juicy, and it had an incredibly high entertaining factor. With the Fyne Audio F501 conducting the Clique I forgot about my reservations towards how the album was produced; each instrument was recorded in a separate booth and thus the communication between the instruments is completely missing, no matter how impeccable its sound is.

Spatial resolution

Holography
81
Soundstage width
78
Soundstage depth
83

The F501’s build is absolutely fabulous. Take the structured vinyl foil they are covered in (my pair is in black oak). Although it is not a wood veneer, it looks like it. There are no visible joints or imperfections. When the F501 stood next to my TAD, it was the TAD’s finish that looked like a vinyl foil.

The front and back of the F501’s cabinet is arched – a small detail that helps immersive imaging. In this category Fyne Audio could not have done it that way. The plinth is sculpted and the spikes are adjustable from top. The aluminum trimming at the bottom of the cabinets adds luxurious feeling. The bi-wirable panel is of high quality. The fabric grille can be attached to the magnets at the back of each cabinet, so it is safely stored. All these small details add value to the speaker – Fyne Audio could not have done it. Not at this price. Compared to the F501, many high-end speakers look very basic.

Earlier in the text I mentioned that the Fyne Audio F501s were rather demanding on placement. I also should add that they were the best disappearing speakers in the room. No matter how effectively a pair of speakers disappears, a trained ear can always trace a subtle clue that helps identify where each speaker stands. Not with the Fynes. Their act of disappearance was total. What remained was the broad and deep soundstage. Although the F501s were not the last word in imaging accuracy, they more than made up for it by their transparency and rhythmic drive. One of the best budget speakers I have ever encountered. Kudos to designers!

Price as reviewed:42 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Perfect Sound Group, Praha, tel. +420 722 960 690

Associated components

  • Sources: Accuphase DP-720, DiDiT DAC212SEII
  • Amplifiers: TAD-M2500
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Ansuz Signalz C2, Krautwire MAX Pro, Krautwire Numeric Digital, AAI Mestoso XLR, AudioQuest Dragon Zero | Bass
  • Loudspeakers:  TAD Evolution One E1
  • Power conditioning: Shunyata Research Denali, Stromtank S-1000, Ansuz Mainz C2, AAI Maestoso, Synergistic Research Atmosphere Level 2

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