Fyne Audio F500SP loudspeaker Page 2

The F500SPs were texture kings. They captured the sound of a wire brush circling a plastic drumhead; of air rushing through a metal saxophone; of the resounding rasp of a vibraslap; of the bristling character that distinguishes a Fender Telecaster from a Stratocaster.

Parasound's Hint 6 Halo extracted clarity from the F500SP, but the combination produced glare that left my ears ringing. The Hungarian Heed Audio Elixir proved a warmer and more liquid match, fleshing out the speaker's low end and producing a more balanced tonal palette. The Schiit Audio Ragnarok 2 made the best match yet to the F500SP, with hotshot dynamics, density, good tone, and soundstage depth; the Ragnarok 2 added a visceral quality that made the music more involving, especially on a first pressing of Horace Silver's The Cape Verdean Blues (Blue Note 4220).

When I inserted the Ayre EX-8 2.0 into the chain, the Fynes cut loose and started singing. Bass became bigger and deeper, soundstage depth and bloom increased. Records sounded smoother and creamier as though a layer of grit had been removed. The Ayre stayed in my system for the remainder of the review.

John Coltrane's tenor sax on Ballads (LP, Impulse! AS-32) as played through the Ayre/Fyne combo had notable depth, intimacy, imaging, and presence. The Fyne revealed Trane's horn as the loudest thing in the mix; the Fyne seemed to capture the sound of his lips on the saxophone's reed. Jimmy Garrison's acoustic bass occupied the center, sounding soft but full.


The Fynes cast a wide, immersive soundfield playing with Kraftwerk's Tour De France (2LP, Kling Klang 50999 9 66109). Depth, midrange clarity, and low-end warmth were stand-out qualities. The star of the four-part "Tour De France"—the bass drum—was big, deep, round, and tight. I often use this track as a bass torture test, but the Fynes didn't notice they were being tortured.

For something entirely different, I dropped Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis's The Cookbook on the Kuzma's platter. I love late '50s, early '60s jazz recordings like this, and Lockjaw's records have terrific energy, swing, and flow. Alongside Shirley Scott's brisk, key-hammering Hammond B3 organ stabs, drummer Arthur Edgehill and bassist George Duvivier play at gleefully slow tempos. One rarely hears anything like this anymore.

Lockjaw's quartet energized Rudy Van Gelder's Englewood Cliffs studio that day (June 20, 1958, says Wikipedia), and the Fynes unpacked the opening track, "Have Horn, Will Blow," in a large, wide mono center-fill spot with real depth and reverberation. These old RVG recordings reveal the sound of Rudy's studio, something many contemporary reissues somehow miss; maybe information is lost in the process of removing tape hiss. Duvivier's acoustic bass sounded deep, full, and clear through the Fynes, resonating over Edgehill's perky hi-hat and snare drum jabs. This record has a spicy top-end, and the Fynes relayed it loud and clear, as on Scott's penetrating organ comping, her single note stabs shredding the air, and on Lockjaw's big-bosomed tenor tirades. It's hard to find Lockjaw records in good shape; apparently folks partied with them, which I understand. But, as with many old deep-groove LPs, you can hear the music floating clear and pristine above the decades of damage.


The Fynes bared the experimental R&B of FKA Twigs's LP1 (Young Turks YTLP118); the F500SP's compression tweeter uncovered every jot and tittle of her freaky synth show. They exposed the rich string textures of Orchestre de chambre Jean-François Paillard (an early digital recording), but here the presentation was forward and ear-biting. (It's a forward-sounding recording.) The Fynes better suited Nils Frahm's atmospheric Felt, issuing treated piano sounds that twinkled, rustled, and shimmered, producing a magic halo of sound. The Fynes came back to earth with Buena Vista Social Club, reproducing this warm, natural-sounding recording with a spacious soundstage that imaged guitars, percussion, vocals, and brass upfront and on an equal plane.

Fyne, GoldenEar, Polk
I used Tom Petty's "It's Good to Be King" to compare the Fyne F500SP to the somewhat less-expensive GoldenEar BRX ($1599/pair) and the considerably less-expensive Polk Audio Legend L100 standmounts. The song has tight, locked-in bass drum and electric bass and a deep soundstage (mapped out especially by the massed strings). Petty's vocal is very upfront and palpable. Acoustic and electric guitars also figure in the mix.

The GoldenEar BRX standmount played the track with a creamy, tight, smooth, almost treated-sounding low end. The song's bridge, where Steve Ferrone switches to the bell of his ride cymbal, sounded forward and shrill—it's recorded that way. The production had lots of air with the BRX, which benefited the swirling strings that appear toward the track's end. Petty's voice was immediate, with a pronounced leading edge. The BRX rendered the Petty track visceral and punchy, with excellent grip.

The Fynes played the track without the acute focus of the BRXs but with slightly more weight and with fleshier, chunkier images. I couldn't hear Ferrone's hi-hat notes as clearly as I could with the BRXs, and the bass drum sound was less focused, but—again—that bass drum had more weight. The Fynes sounded more laid-back than the BRX. Those strings had more depth and populated a fuller, wider, more open soundstage.


The soundstage and images produced by the much-less-expensive Polk Legend L100s were smaller than those produced by either the Fynes or the GoldenEars, and the sound lacked the weight that both pairs of more expensive speakers produced. The Polk presentation was, however, clean and punchy—outstanding at the price. The Fynes played larger than either the GoldenEars or the Polks.

Standmount loudspeakers on Stereophile's Recommended Components list near the Fyne F500SP's price include the big, beefy KLH Model Five ($1998/pair), and Tekton Design Impact Monitor ($2000/pair). The floorstanding Sonus Faber Lumina III costs $2199/pair, I haven't heard the last two. The KLH, though hard to beat at its price, needs room to groove and sing. I like the GoldenEar BRX a lot. The Fyne has a wider and deeper stage, although it lacks the BRX's determined focus and resolution.

The Fyne is somewhat picky as to what gear it associates with—in my system, it didn't like the Parasound Hint 6 integrated but sounded good with the Heed Audio Elixir, great with the Schiit Ragnarok 2 and even better with the Ayre EX-8 2.0. When locked in and squared away, the Fyne F500SPs played music with a big, wide, deep stage, satisfying punch and precision, and much humanity.

If you're in the market for a pair of standmount speakers near this price, try to hear these.

Fyne Audio Ltd.
US distributor: The Sound Organisation
1009 Oakmead Dr.
Arlington, TX 76011
(972) 234-0182

DougM's picture

The Sonus Faber Lumina III is NOT a standmount speaker, it's a floorstander

John Atkinson's picture
DougM wrote:
The Sonus Faber Lumina III is NOT a standmount speaker, it's a floorstander

Fixed. Thanks for spotting the error.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

MZKM's picture

Can't really see any reason to pick this over the similarly priced KEF R3. The only advantage I cans ee is tat the impedance/phase load seems a lot easier to handle over the KEF, so amplifiers not up to the task of powering the KEF could give more dynamics with this Fyne.

Jack L's picture


Agreed above. This physics.

First glance made me think about the famed historical Tannoy coaxial 'full-range' speaker units. No wonder, both the then Tannoy technical & marketing chiefs quitted to form their own loudspeakers company.

IMO, USD3,000 paired (including the indispensable matched floor stand) is way way too costly vs Tannoy Gold 7 6.5" coaxial driver POWERED (built-in 300W Class AB amp) monitor for only USD369x2 per pair !!!!!!!!

With such huge saving, I would go for Fynes alma mater: Tannoy UK.
With built-in biamp, the Tannoy Golde 7 will surely reproduce bass much much better !

Also, this review did not mention where the Fynes are built (hopefully in Scotland!). Not even shown at the back panel of the loudspeakers !!??

Am I a too smart consumer or a cheapskate or what ??

Jack L

John Atkinson's picture
Jack L wrote:
Also, this review did not mention where the Fynes are built (hopefully in Scotland!).

We do say on the Specifications page that the Fyne speakers are "Designed, engineered, and made in UK." Scotland is in the UK (for now, at least).

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

Jack L's picture


Thanks for pointing out.


David Harper's picture

"the Fyne has a wider and deeper stage, although it lacks the BRX's determined focus and resolution."

silly made up nonsense.

Trevor_Bartram's picture

for the KEF R3 or LS50 Meta. I'd like to see a shootout between those three. Every time I listen to the Metas I wish I could afford them!

smileday's picture

Unlike a 15 inch dual concentric Tannoy speaker measured by Stereophile may years ago, this Fine dual concentric has quite good high frequency dispersion. More high end dispersion than some dome tweeters such as those in Spendor.