The F501 was situated in newly configured listening room No. 2, with a 14' x 25' floor plan which was previously used for home theater and recently converted to full-time audio use. I experimented with speaker placement in order to obtain the most satisfying bass response. That turned out to be about 7.5' from the rear wall where useful in-room bass extension was about 45Hz. I found it necessary to toe-in the speakers toward the listening seat, since there was too much treble roll-off at angles beyond about 10 degrees off-axis.
Initially, partnered by a tube amp, bass definition suffered considerably, being rather bloated or plummy (as the British are fond of saying). The change over to the Wyred 4 Sound SX-1000R monoblocks proved to be a game-changer. Midbass tightened up considerably, as evidenced by the impact generated on kick drum and tympani, communicating a satisfying degree of slam—well beyond what you would ordinarily expect from a 6" woofer.
Once the bass range was dialed in, it was time to take stock of the phenomenal imaging. Image outlines were almost palpable and focused within the confines of a soundstage of remarkable depth and breadth, which was totally untethered from the speakers. But it wasn’t just the spacious soundstage and focused image outlines that had me enthralled; the critical midband was reproduced with excellent clarity and detail resolution that resulted in the sort of open-window transparency I wasn’t used to experiencing in sub-$10k loudspeakers. Reproduction of choral music was particularly satisfying in that it was possible to resolve individual voices within layers of depth perspective. Playback of Calrec Soundfield single point-source microphone recordings evoked a strong sensation of being there, of being transported to the recording venue. Oldarra—Le chant Basque (Erato/Elektra), a large men’s chorus recorded at Chapel of Notre Dame du Refuge, Anglet, Basque Country, perfectly captures the church acoustic and was beautifully reproduced by the F501.
There wasn’t even a hint of gratuitous brightness, but harmonic colors occasionally dipped a bit below tonal neutrality. According to Fyne Audio, the final frequency response was determined subjectively with a number of different listening rooms, listeners, and systems. But in the context of my system, the upper midrange lacked a tad of harmonic richness, possibly due to the response dip in the 2 to 3kHz range. To be fair, it was a subtle effect, most notably perceptible on soprano upper registers and on trumpet—two musical ingredients that are front and center on the Baroque Duet (Sony Classical) recording. Kathleen Battle, a wonderful light lyric soprano, is perfectly suited to the Baroque repertoire, which makes her collaboration with Wynton Marsalis totally delightful. On this recording, the perceived tonal balance was somewhat diminished in presence. This effect became more obvious when contrasted with the response of the Russell K. RED 50 mini-monitor, a unique little speaker that has earned quite a few accolades in its native UK market and has won me over as well. It lacks the bass of the F501 and its soft dome can’t compete with the detail resolution of the F501’s titanium compression driver. But its sense of rhythmic drive coupled with a compelling midrange are quite addictive. And it measures quite flat through the upper midrange and presence regions. It confirmed quite clearly that, in the same system context, the F501 had pushed the soprano vocal and trumpet slightly back in the mix. To be sure, the effect was minor and thus could very likely be mitigated by careful system matching.
The F501 looks and feels like a mature product that has been brilliantly executed. It proved easy to listen to over long listening sessions. Initial listening excitement sometimes wears off pretty quickly. Not so with the Fyne F501. I continued listening late into the night. With my eyes closed, I could imagine being teleported to the original recording venue, not exactly front row, but a satisfying mid-hall perspective. The F501 delivers outstanding detail resolution, midband clarity, and spectacular imaging. Add excellent transient speed and control to the sonic mix, especially when partnered by solid-state amplification, and what you end up with is a mighty-fine Fyne F501—a compelling buy at its price point.
Specs & Pricing
Frequency range: 36Hz–34kHz (-6dB typical in-room)
Sensitivity: 90dB (2.83V/1m)
Continuous power handling: 75W RMS
Nominal impedance: 8 ohms
Drive unit complement: One 150mm IsoFlare coaxial with 25mm titanium dome compression tweeter, one 150mm woofer
Finishes: Dark oak, black oak, piano gloss black, piano gloss white
Dimensions: 7.9" x 38.8" x 12.6"
Weight: 41.7 lbs. each
Price: $1750/pr. ($2045 in gloss finish)
FYNE AUDIO LIMITED
Suite 42, Grovewood Business Centre
Strathclyde Business Park
Bellshill, Lanarkshire ML4 3NQ
THE SOUND ORGANISATION (U.S. Distributor)
1009 Oakmead Drive
Arlington, TX 76011
Power amplifiers: Wyred 4 Sound SX-1000R and VTL Manley reference series 100/200 monoblocks
Line Preamplifier: Lamm Audio L2.1 Reference & PrimaLuna Evo 400
Phono front end: Revox B795 turntable; TPAD 1000 phono stage; Sound Tradition MC-10 step-up transformer
Digital front end: audiolab 6000CDT transport; Altmann Attraction and Soekris 1421 DACs
Cable & interconnects: Tara Labs RSC speaker cable; Wire World, and Kimber KCAG interconnects