Fyne Audio may be a newer name in often ancient audio circles but the collective experience of the founding team is enormous. This has enabled the company to become a recognised and highly regarded competitor in the market in impressively short order. The F500SP is an interesting member of the range because it looks (and indeed is) very similar to the F500 which is rather more affordable at around £850 compared to forking out another £600 or so for our review model. The key in the name is the ‘SP’ bit – this stands for ‘Special Production’ and refers to this being a speaker that Fyne produces in the UK using different components and methods compared to the ‘standard’ F500.
The basic design of the speaker is unchanged though and this means that it has one of the more distinctive configurations on the market. The F500SP uses a tweeter made from magnesium that operates on the principle of a ‘compression type’ where the tweeter is placed at the end of a short tube that reduces pressure in front of it to improve sensitivity and dispersion. In the F500SP, the tweeter is mounted in the middle of a 150mm multi-fibre mid bass driver so the driver itself forms part of the means in which audio is directed. The result is just a single hole in the cabinet to mount drivers, increasing the stiffness of the speaker overall, always a desirable feature in the fight to reduce vibrations that can cause negative effects on what we hear.
Neither is this the only unusual feature. The F500SP has a bass port unusually mounted underneath the speaker, rather than at the front or back. It vents against an integrated metal plinth with a cone shaped insert that points up towards the port. This creates a fixed boundary that means there is always the correct distance between the port and the outside world, making it fairly easygoing about where you put it. Around the back, you’ll find the ability to bi-wire the F500SP and ground it too the latter being a rather unusual ( you can read totally unnecessary) feature in this day and age.
The Special Production status of the F500SP also extends to a thicker and more inert cabinet, upgraded crossover and different finish options. Even before any aspect of the performance is taken into account, the SP version looks and feels more special than it’s ‘normal’ cousin and well in keeping with the asking price. Something that doesn’t change in the basic design is that this is an impressively sensitive and easy to drive speaker which can be used with any number of amps that some rivals will struggle with.
Any half decent speaker should be able to create a stereo image; the portrayal of a sound from two speakers that becomes a single perceivable performance in front of you, that’s sort of the point of them. With the Fyne though, the effect is gloriously three dimensional. Not only is there an impressive amount of information moving from left to right but the perception of depth that the Fyne Audio generates is simply outstanding. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re asking for a singer songwriter at tickover or an orchestra on the rampage, the F500SP responds beautifully to the challenge. The integration between the two drivers is truly seamless as well. Close your eyes and these two attributes combine to give you a stereo presentation that is gloriously vivid and free of much in the way of audible clues as to how it came to be.
This is complemented by consistently believable tonal realism and a useful ability with scale too. The Fyne has a light touch with voices and instruments and complements this with a bass response which, while not as deep as some similarly priced rivals, it has more than enough weight to convince. It would be fair to say that this is not the most ballistic speaker going but it never sounds languid or confused at any stage and, with more considered material, it flows beautifully. Partnered with any degree of care, the Fyne Audio should be an extremely agreeable partner. No less importantly, the claimed sensitivity is also achieved in reality, meaning that don’t need very much power to drive the Fyne to room filling levels. The standard F500 is a talented speaker but the SP takes the performance it offers to the next level.
The move to ‘Special Production’ status means you have the option for a high gloss white, black and walnut veneer options for the speakers, all of which are done to a very high standard. The Fyne is a genuinely room friendly device too. That port and plinth arrangement makes it fiercely independent to interference from walls and, while it does its best work on stands, it won’t struggle with being placed on solid furniture either. Combined with that impressive sensitivity, you have a speaker that works well in most rooms and looks good while it does so.
The Special Production takes a very good speaker and unlocks more in the way of performance from it. The result is a wonderfully capable all-rounder that does justice to a huge amount of different music.
The speed that John Watts delivers his lyrics here can leave some speakers playing catch-up. With the F500SP, they’re intelligible and neatly formed thanks to its detail and cohesion
Poppy Ackroyd Quail
The F500SP can take this glorious slice of modern classical and work it into a three dimensional performance that gives you a genuine sense of being there that even more expensive speakers can struggle with.
Thom Yorke Not the News
The Fyne is the perfect device for capturing Yorke’s haunting vocal turn interspersed with almost jarring electronica. It’s vivid and immediate but with none of the unwanted edge that can sometimes creep in.
If you want a beautifully made, attractive (and attractively-priced), room friendly speaker that will handle a wide spread of music with a glorious level of three dimensionality, the Fyne is the speaker you need.