Fyne Audio F301

Stereophile|May 2020

Fyne Audio F301
LOUDSPEAKER
KEN MICALLEF

Located outside Glasgow, in a geographical area that’s also home to Linn Products and Tannoy Ltd.—and also near the storied whisky distilleries of Aberfeldy and Blair Atholl—Fyne Audio got off to a fast start. A mere three years after the company’s 2017 founding, Fyne already has distribution deals in 50 countries and offers 24 products in seven series.

How did they do it? There’s a clue on the company’s homepage, which claims “more than 200 years of experience” among Fyne employees: The founders are a core group of former senior managers from Tannoy Ltd.— including former Tannoy operations director Gabriel O’Donohue, product development director Stuart Wilkinson, and Dr. Paul Mills, who spent 27 years as Tannoy’s director of research and engineering and now serves as Fyne’s technical director.

Those 24 products cover a wide range of price and luxury, from the big, five-figure F1-12 at the top of the line to the small, stand-mounted F300. The subject of this review, from the F300 series, is Fyne Audio’s second least expensive speaker, the F301 stand mounter, which sells for $425/pair.

Design

The F301 is a compact, two-way, ported loudspeaker designed and engineered at Fyne’s headquarters in Lanarkshire, Scotland, and assembled and manufactured in China. (Upper-tier Fynes are manufactured in Scotland.) Tannoy is known for its coaxial drivers, and Fyne’s founders carry on that tradition, but there are no coaxials in this model. The F301 utilizes a 1 (25mm) polyester-dome tweeter, which the company says produces “a more insightful, detailed sound” than the more common silk dome. The F301 tweeter, which incorporates a neodymium magnet, is protected by a steel mesh grille with a “phase loss compensator” said to “delay the output from specific areas of the dome to give a smooth and extended response.”

SPECIFICATIONS

Description

Two-way, rear-ported, stand-mount loudspeaker. Drive units: 1 (25mm) polyester-dome tweeter. 6 (150mm) multifiber cone woofer. Crossover type: 2nd order low-pass, 3rd order high-pass. Crossover frequency: 3.2kHz. Frequency response: (−6dB typical in room) 44Hz–28kHz. Nominal impedance: 8 ohms. Sensitivity: 89dB/2.83V/m). Recommended amplifier power: 25–100W(RMS). Continuous power handling: 50W (RMS).

Dimensions 11.8 (300mm) H × 7.5 (190mm) W × 10.7 (271mm) D. Weight: 11.7lb (5.3kg).

Finishes walnut, black ash, light oak.

Serial numbers of units reviewed F80000042190329500921 and ...922. Made in China.

Price $425/pair. Approximate number of US dealers: 5. Warranty: Seven years.

Manufacturer Fyne Audio Ltd., Suite 42, Grovewood Business Centre, Strathclyde Business Park, Bellshill, Lanarkshire ML4 3NQ, Scotland, United Kingdom. Tel: (0141) 428-4008. Web: fyneaudio.com. US distributor: The Sound Organisation, 1009 Oakmead Dr., Arlington, TX 76011. Tel: (972) 234-0182. Web: soundorg.com.

The matte-silver “multi-fibre” cone of the F301’s 6 (150mm) mid/bass driver is a blend of paper fibers said by Fyne to be “a proprietary mix, designed to offer stiffness at low frequencies for a piston-like behavior, but also to obtain damping and smooth roll-off in the midrange.” The driver’s synthetic rubber surround is dimpled or fluted at 0.25 intervals—the manufacturer calls this their FyneFlute technology—which is said to cancel the “mis-termination” effects that occur when energy not fully absorbed by the surround is returned to the cone, causing resonances and colorations. The mid/bass driver incorporates a ferrite magnet system, the rear of which is joined to the cabinet’s internal crossbracing using a “lossy resonant-absorbing” mastic resin, intended to maintain support for the back of the magnet while damping energy fed into the brace. The mid/bass driver is reflex-loaded via a rear-mounted port. The speaker’s stated sensitivity is 89dB/2.83V at 1m, with a nominal impedance of 8 ohms.

The F301’s cabinet is built with CARB-compliant MDF panels that are cross-braced internally. The front baffle and back panel are also made of MDF, glued in place using polyvinyl acetate adhesive. Each F301 cabinet is damped internally using a fill of bonded acoustic fiber. Visually striking—and somewhat novel in my experience—is the convex curved, 2-high, 0.5-deep band of polished acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) thermoplastic glued to the upper section of the F301’s baffle, where the tweeter is mounted. The ABS housing is “designed to minimize diffraction, [and] is fabricated from polymer chosen for its robust properties and its ability to be aesthetically finished to a high standard,” Paul Mills wrote in an email.

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May 2020