Fyne Audio F301 Loudspeaker

hfncommendedA group of ex-Tannoy engineers bring their experience to bear on a new speaker brand

As past reviews have noted, the market's not exactly short of budget speaker offerings. Though prices down at the entry-level have shown an upward trend – after all, the £100-a-pair 'superboxes' of a decade or two back really wouldn't be sustainable these days – there's also an argument for saying there's not exactly a crying demand for new speaker brands.

All of that seems to have bypassed the team behind Fyne Audio, for the new Scottish-based brand has come to market with an unusually comprehensive offering. This peaks with the £26k F1-12, the very latest of a complete high-end F1 series, right down to the £250 F301 standmount speakers we have here, one step up from the even smaller F300 model and available in a choice of high-quality black ash, light oak or walnut finishes.

Going Public
Two other ranges fill the gap between top and bottom. There's an F500 lineup, running from the compact F500 itself, a single-driver design with an unusual BassTrax loading system, of which more in a moment, this design being echoed in the larger F501 and F502 floorstanders. Above that sits the single-model F700 series, the F702 basically having the same driver configuration as the F502 but in a classier cabinet. Backup is provided by the three-strong range of active F3 subwoofers, their model designations provided by the size of the driver used, from 8in/20cm upwards. The top-end F3-12 model sees a 30cm woofer driven by 520W of 'DDX Direct Digital' amplification that comes with on-board DSP control.

The F1-10 differs from the rest of the range in its design, an immaculate walnut-veneered cylinder, just under 120cm tall, with burr walnut detailing, on the front of which is mounted, Cyclops-like, a single driver. Each speaker weighs in at a substantial 57.7kg, with Fyne Audio adding, amusingly, 'including spikes'.


The extent of the initial offering can seem baffling, but one must assume that the Fyne fellows know what they're doing. After all, as our boxout explains, they have over 200 years of cumulative speaker-building experience with that well-known loudspeaker brand you'll find in the dictionary as a (well-defended) term for public address systems. They gained major fame on railway platforms and in defence applications during the Second World War, and in holiday camps thereafter. When Spitfire and Hurricane pilots scrambled, they did so at the behest of orders issued over Tannoy speakers, and if anyone did ever cheerily announce 'Hi-de-hi, campers!' – well, you get the idea.

What is immediately apparent when one looks further up the new range, including the F1-10 flagship, is that some of the celebrated technology of the old company has been reinvented for the start-up's products. Most obvious is the heritage of the point source – don't mention the words 'dual' or 'concentric'! – Fyne Audio IsoFlare driver. But there's also innovation here, such as in the 'BassTrax' Tractrix loading found in some of the larger Fyne Audio models. This may draw on some Voigt designs of almost a century back, but the company claims its application is novel.

Magic Flute
However, the F301 seems shorn of such innovation – after all, how much can one do with a budget-limited compact two-way reflex-ported speaker, designed for use on stands or shelves? The tweeter sits above the woofer, and the 30cm-tall enclosure – though solidly built and nicely finished in a decent vinyl wrap plus gloss surrounding the high-frequency driver – gives no hint of anything unusual going on.

Yet this is part of a new, cost-effective range, extending from the tiny F300s up through two floorstanding models to the F303, using two mid/bass drivers in a D'Appolito configuration in a 96cm-tall tower. So there must be something to set it apart – a spot of Fynesse, perhaps?

Well yes, there is, for below the 25mm polyester dome tweeter sits the 15cm multi-fibre mid/bass driver, the crossover point being 3.2kHz. And it's this larger driver that shows the most obvious signs of that experienced engineering team's input, in the form of its 'FyneFlute' surround. This uses variable-geometry fluting moulded into the surround to break up its profile, thus avoiding what the company describes as 'mis-termination' – in other words reflections back into the cone from the roll rather than absorption of the cone energy – and reducing coloration.

That aside, this speaker looks fairly conventional, having a magnetically-attached grille covering the mid/bass unit if required, and a fixed mesh over the tweeter in that upper gloss panel. Single-wire terminals are fitted below that rear port, and the speaker is happy on stands of around 60cm or so. I used a pair of hefty mass-loaded Atacama SE24s.

Fyne Audio Ltd
Supplied by: Fyne Audio Ltd
0141 428 4008