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Fyne Audio F1-8

Fyne Audio F1-8

Since its inception in January 2017, Fyne Audio has continued to advance coaxial point-source driver technology, which is exactly what you would expect from a cadre of mostly ex-Tannoy employees with decades of collective experience. At the helm of this Fyne effort is Dr. Paul Mills, whose design expertise is second to none. Hence, it isn’t surprising that Fyne is now fully in control of its own intellectual property, including such driver components as waveguides, cones, surrounds, magnet systems, and high-frequency compression drivers. I find that most reassuring, as I tend to be distrustful of speaker manufacturers who source their drivers from external vendors and therefore lack full control over the manufacturing process.

The F1-8 is a member of the F1 series, and therefore represents Fyne Audio’s premier stand-mount speaker. Think of the F1 series as the no-compromise embodiment of Fyne’s point-source technology, proudly manufactured in the UK (Scotland to be specific). The F1-8 features an 8″ IsoFlare bass/midrange driver mated to a 1″ magnesium-dome compression tweeter, forming a time-aligned coaxial transducer. The cabinet is hand-crafted and finished in gorgeous piano-gloss walnut veneer with burr walnut inlay. The speaker’s physical appearance, though, is a bit unusual, as it is dominated by the protruding coaxial driver which conveys a slightly Cyclopean look. 

This is a bass-reflex design, but you won’t find the port in the most obvious locations, namely the front or rear baffles. That’s because the cabinet is bottom ported through an aluminum base that houses Fyne’s patented BassTrax low-frequency diffuser. This strikes me as a clever idea that in practice converts the port’s energy to an expanding 360-degree wavefront thereby improving bass dispersion. The drivers cross over at a frequency of 1.8kHz with slopes carefully tailored to achieve optimal integration. Unusually, the crossover is cryogenically treated to improve sonic performance. 

A Presence Control is located on the front baffle which provides a ±3dB adjustment over the octave from 2.5kHz to 5kHz. It affords the ability to fine-tune a particular system setup, as well as address listening-room acoustics that may be overly damped or overly bright. Keep in mind that this is the octave where the auditory system is most sensitive, so getting it right is important to achieving optimal tonal balance. Maximum effect is at a frequency of 3.5kHz where the response takes a 3dB hit at the “minimum” dial setting. This is very audible, and I doubt that anyone will end up at this setting. My suggestion is to initially set the dial in the middle of its range (12 o’clock) and break-in the speakers for an extended period, at least 100 hours, to smooth out the treble range. At that point, my approach was to use soprano voice and violin tone to tweak the dial setting to tonal perfection. Most of you I suspect will end up, as I did, with a dial setting between 2 and 4 o’clock.

The in-room measured frequency response at 1-meter was extended in the treble to at least 20kHz and fairly uniform to a bit below 300Hz, where room modes began to dominate the response. The lower midrange was slightly recessed, mainly through the power range of the orchestra, covering the octave from 200 to 400Hz, which is pretty typical for stand-mount speakers. In-room bass extension was reasonably flat to about 45Hz. The measured impedance minimum was about 6 ohms, which translates into a tube-friendly, easy-to-drive 8-ohm nominal load. The rated sensitivity is 91dB, which means that even a 30–50Wpc power amp should do fine. Setup was quick and simple: For best imaging be sure to allow a few feet of breathing space behind the speakers, and toe them in so that the driver axes intersect in front of the listening seat.

As the audio gods would have it, I happened to be listening to the Tannoy System 1000 studio monitors when the Fyne F1-8 arrived on my doorstep. This late 90s Tannoy design features a 10-inch coaxial driver and conventional bass-reflex loading. In my estimation, that entire series represents the last great set of passive studio monitors marketed by Tannoy. I was quite interested to find out if Dr. Mills was involved in the System 1000’s design, so I asked him about it. His response: “Yes, indeed, I was involved with those monitors. Those things can rock.” And we certainly agree on that score.

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Tags: FYNE LOUDSPEAKER STAND-MOUNT

By Dick Olsher

Although educated as a nuclear engineer at the University of Florida, I spent most of my career, 30 years to be exact, employed as a radiation physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, from which I retired in 2008.

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