How good is the Fluance reference series?

A

Anthony350

Audiophyte
Hey everyone,

I've been looking into building a nice media room as I will be moving pretty soon. I've been looking for a good budget friendly brand of speakers. I came across a few video reviews about the fluance reference series. I've heard some good things however they were sponsored videos. Does anyone have any experience with fluance speakers?
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Warlord
I have never heard any Fluance. In general, I do think they are said to sound pretty good.

But, there was certainly a run of QC problems! I don't really recall the details, but if you do more searching on this website, you should be able to find the details.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Warlord
Considering the cost difference, the Signature series is considered to be a pretty good buy... the towers, especially, deliver extended bass response not found often these days at many price points. So over their other products? I'd look there, first. That said, I haven't listened to their gear, so this is, simply, hearsay.
 
A

Anthony350

Audiophyte
I have never heard any Fluance. In general, I do think they are said to sound pretty good.

But, there was certainly a run of QC problems! I don't really recall the details, but if you do more searching on this website, you should be able to find the details.
Interesting... That could have been the previous models. I did hear they had some issues with those. I will try to see what I can find on here. Than you for your input.
 
A

Anthony350

Audiophyte
Considering the cost difference, the Signature series is considered to be a pretty good buy... the towers, especially, deliver extended bass response not found often these days at many price points. So over their other products? I'd look there, first. That said, I haven't listened to their gear, so this is, simply, hearsay.
I did see something about the signature series. There aren't may reviews on those either. Maybe I will dig deeper to see what I can find there. I wish I could find more reviews on their products.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Warlord
I did see something about the signature series. There aren't may reviews on those either. Maybe I will dig deeper to see what I can find there. I wish I could find more reviews on their products.
For the price, they seem to be OK... but it becomes easy to justify stepping up to a different speaker when you really start comparing pros and cons.
I agree, there isn't a lot out there to lock in on. And all reviews must be taken with a grain of salt. That said, I think @shadyJ may know at least a little about them... perhaps he can chime in.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Warlord
I did see something about the signature series. There aren't may reviews on those either. Maybe I will dig deeper to see what I can find there. I wish I could find more reviews on their products.
OH! It may have been the signature series I was thinking about with the QC stuff. Didn't realize this was different.
 
A

Anthony350

Audiophyte
OH! It may have been the signature series I was thinking about with the QC stuff. Didn't realize this was different.
Yes they have three different levels. The first is the elite series, mid tier is the reference, and the top tier is the signature series. The main reason why I prefer the reference over the signature series is one because of the size. I like the signature series but the towers are a bit too large for my liking. The other reason is because the reference is the most recent.
 
A

Anthony350

Audiophyte
For the price, they seem to be OK... but it becomes easy to justify stepping up to a different speaker when you really start comparing pros and cons.
I agree, there isn't a lot out there to lock in on. And all reviews must be taken with a grain of salt. That said, I think @shadyJ may know at least a little about them... perhaps he can chime in.
Yeah that's true. There is always something better. I will definitely welcome him to give his insight on them.
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Ninja
Yeah that's true. There is always something better. I will definitely welcome him to give his insight on them.
Shady reviewed the towers they did well for the price he said they did a lot of things good not great which is to be expected for what they are asking for the price they are asking for a budget speaker like your looking for it would be hard to find something better at that price point then these
 
Replicant 7

Replicant 7

Audioholic General
Any thoughts on these, Fluance Reference XL8FW tower's?
61g32RlM+IL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

They have two 6 1/2 driver's silk dome tweeter and a 8" driver down firing. $599.00 for the pair.
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Ninja
Ok gene has a review of this speaker as well. So they've reviewed both

Let's compare the two

The signature has the better bass response the XL8 has a crossover issue that makes the bass and midbass a touch heavy. This is only an issue with the speakers running full range if you crossover at say 80 hz with a sub then both speakers they're about the same

Midrange Soundstage and imaging all very good for both speakers a tie

Highs both are a warm speaker meaning the highs are recessed not elevated you lose a little sparkle and detail you'll need to toe them in for that. But it's a tie

Power handling the signature handles more power and maintains composure better at high volumes but this is to be expected at the price increase the signatures will work a little better in a bigger room because of this

Setup the XL8 with that down firing woofer are a little more finicky with setup the signatures are easier to place

Sensitivity about the same
The signatures are easier to drive unless you cross the XL8 over at say 60 to 80hz you will need an amp
Measurements
both measure well for there price point the signatures measure a bit better cost more though they both have some unevenness at 1 to 5 kHz but not enough to keep the reviewers from enjoying the speakers and the treble is recessed or warm not elevated a lot of people will like this type of sound signature though

They lack some detail and clarity you'll get on higher priced speakers but for the money they sound great and do everything good just not great but that's to be expected at the price

At the price based on there reviews they are hard to beat

I'm looking to go to something less expensive in my bedroom setup these both are top choices for me

Hope that helps
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Ninja
One last thing I'm not impressed on the center channels for these two lines it would be better to go with either another one of the towers if you can manage it or a better center from another company those center channels won't keep up with the towers and multiple seating will be an issue with there design.
 
Soundsgud

Soundsgud

Audiophyte
RECOMMEND. I bought the Fluance Reference Home Theater for a Dolby 7.1 set-up back in 2015 and built a home theater room for them in a "shoebox" style Volkmann ratio (1.0 H: 1.5 W: 2.5 L) and the sound is amazing actually.

I think the room acoustics are a major factor, and so good actually, I've been using my brother's 20 year old Yamaha AVR with "Vienna Concert Hall" based on an actual 1,800 seat "shoebox" concert hall to listen to music that isn't even Dolby Digital 5.1 of 7.1. I was going to buy a new amp back in 2015, but the sound of the Fluance speakers has been so good I didn't bother.

I spent around $10,000 USD finishing my entire basement using InSoFast basement insulation that also acts as a sound absorption panel, I believe, behind the drywall as suggested by the manufacturer, although I have not scientifically tested anything. Half of that cost is the home theater, so like $5,000 on the room instead of putting that into the speakers. The sound quality is so phenomenally good with the Fluance Reference system in the room that I was happy from the first moment. Now I'm upgrading the system piece by piece. I'd say to someone in my situation, put the money into building the listening room/home theater first and buy the low-cost speakers, then upgrade everything else later over time.

Now with Apple "Spatial Audio" I'm shopping for Dolby Atmos gear as I had pre-wired the home theater for Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 back in 2015-2016 while I was building the room.

I'd say they are great speakers in comparison to ones I've heard in less ideal listening rooms such as Klipsch, PSB, and KEFs.

I think Fluance based the design concept on the original KEF Reference Series, at least visually and in the arrangement of the drivers, although I've never been able to make a sound comparison between the Fluance system (at a $1000 USD entry point) to the significantly more expensive KEFs (for example, just the KEF 2C center channel in rosewood costs $3,500 USD!).

I'm not an audio professional, but I grew up playing classical music in music groups where my friends became professionals and play with or have conducted the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Toronto Symphony, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Orchestre Métropolitain (Montreal), etc., so I know the real world sound of an orchestra or solo classical musicians as a reference from within the orchestra, etc.

When testing the Fluance Reference Speakers in my newly built "VOLKMANN RATIO" (i.e. concert hall "shoebox" ratio) home theater, Nicola Benedetti's "Italia" album with excerpts from Vivaldi's Four Seasons with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra was the most realistic classical recording I had ever heard in my life! The same level of energy I'd only experienced in real life, like hearing the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra rehearsing for a concert when I lived in Budapest for a few years, or sitting as a musician in a chamber orchestra myself.

In addition to the musical energy of Benedetti and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the acoustics of the room, the full-size speakers of the Fluance Reference speakers with the subwoofer positioned in the center of the front that I think achieved this effect that has never worn off after 6 years of listening! And to put that in perspective, that was BEFORE Apple Lossless and Decca still hasn't made that recording into Apple Lossless or Apple Spatial Audio as far as I can tell.

My iFi Zen Blue makes this recording and others sound even better, but now with Apple Spatial Audio the world has changed and my Zen Blue will make a nice paper weight in the very near future. Fast support, but rude. Still recommend the iFi Zen Blue as well for the DAC if using an older AVR with no Bluetooth if you can put up with the dweebs in iFi support.

I started listening to the tracks identified as Apple Spatial Audio on Apple Music and now see that the music world has caught up with what I was trying to achieve back in 2015 when there was no Dolby Atmos material available for listening.

I don't watch too many movies, mostly listen to music and NHL Hockey on ESPN+ and now they are saying they're adding ATMOS to NHL games on ESPN+ as recently as October 2021, what we need is exactly the "upper atmosphere" of a NHL hockey game from the ceiling speakers delivering the sound of the arena as if we were there live, not so much the sounds of the skates on the ice, hearing the hallmark NHL organ echoing through an arena in an Atmos theatre listening room will be like being at the game...hopefully soon:

"Regarding Atmos, ESPN Senior Director, Remote Production Operations, Mike Foss says, “We were looking at it, and I would expect some developments maybe towards the end of the season, but nothing at this point.”"
Source: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2021/10/25/espns-nhl-coverage-creates-hot-sound-on-the-ice/

So music and hockey have finally caught up to Dolby Atmos and now I'm upgrading my AVR to Dolby Atmos and trying to find ceiling speakers that match the Fluance Reference speakers that is proving to be a challenge. If anyone has any ideas, let me know with a reply.

CONCLUSION: The Fluance speakers are excellent so I'm putting my money into ceiling speakers, the new Apple TV 4K (for listening to music and NLH on ESPN+), and a new Dolby Atmos AVR. My experience with the Fluance Reference is subjectively very good, excellent actually. Recommended based on my experience.

N.B. 1: My choice for a new AVR is now focused on one of the Yamaha RX-A AVENTAGE AVRs with a DAC equal or better to the iFi Zen Blue, and also for Yamaha's DSP stuff in addition to Atmos since that's what I use now and am very satisfied with. I don't want to lose the listening experience if Apple Spatial Audio takes some time to deliver what I can already achieve with Yamaha's DSP on a 20-year old AVR!

N.B. 2: Since I wrote this review this morning I found these ceiling speakers, Nuvo NV-6IC-8ANG Series Six In-ceiling speaker with angled baffle, featuring a 1" dome tweeter aimable at listening area to match all tweeters in the Fluance Reference speakers and an 8" woofer to match the Fluance Reference towers woofer as opposed to the 6.5" mid range(?). The sensitivity is 89 dB to match the Fluance Signature L/R surrounds that are a bipolar design so we'll see how they perform in Dolby Atmos when pointing half at the listening area, and half at the future second couch listening area with the null in between. Anyway, I found the Nuvo in-ceiling speakers at Crutchfield as a Black Friday special and saved a few hundred bucks. I'll write a review on how they blend with the Fluance Reference Home Theater in a future post: https://www.crutchfield.com/p_717NV6IC8A/Nuvo-NV-6IC-8ANG-Series-Six.html

N.B. 3: InSoFast Basement Insulation panels to build a home theater room: https://www.insofast.com/lc/insulating-interior-walls-sound.html
 

Attachments

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A

Anthony350

Audiophyte
RECOMMEND. I bought the Fluance Reference Home Theater for a Dolby 7.1 set-up back in 2015 and built a home theater room for them in a "shoebox" style Volkmann ratio (1.0 H: 1.5 W: 2.5 L) and the sound is amazing actually.

I think the room acoustics are a major factor, and so good actually, I've been using my brother's 20 year old Yamaha AVR with "Vienna Concert Hall" based on an actual 1,800 seat "shoebox" concert hall to listen to music that isn't even Dolby Digital 5.1 of 7.1. I was going to buy a new amp back in 2015, but the sound of the Fluance speakers has been so good I didn't bother.

I spent around $10,000 USD finishing my entire basement using InSoFast basement insulation that also acts as a sound absorption panel, I believe, behind the drywall as suggested by the manufacturer, although I have not scientifically tested anything. Half of that cost is the home theater, so like $5,000 on the room instead of putting that into the speakers. The sound quality is so phenomenally good with the Fluance Reference system in the room that I was happy from the first moment. Now I'm upgrading the system piece by piece. I'd say to someone in my situation, put the money into building the listening room/home theater first and buy the low-cost speakers, then upgrade everything else later over time.

Now with Apple "Spatial Audio" I'm shopping for Dolby Atmos gear as I had pre-wired the home theater for Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 back in 2015-2016 while I was building the room.

I'd say they are great speakers in comparison to ones I've heard in less ideal listening rooms such as Klipsch, PSB, and KEFs.

I think Fluance based the design concept on the original KEF Reference Series, at least visually and in the arrangement of the drivers, although I've never been able to make a sound comparison between the Fluance system (at a $1000 USD entry point) to the significantly more expensive KEFs (for example, just the KEF 2C center channel in rosewood costs $3,500 USD!).

I'm not an audio professional, but I grew up playing classical music in music groups where my friends became professionals and play with or have conducted the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Toronto Symphony, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Orchestre Métropolitain (Montreal), etc., so I know the real world sound of an orchestra or solo classical musicians as a reference from within the orchestra, etc.

When testing the Fluance Reference Speakers in my newly built "VOLKMANN RATIO" (i.e. concert hall "shoebox" ratio) home theater, Nicola Benedetti's "Italia" album with excerpts from Vivaldi's Four Seasons with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra was the most realistic classical recording I had ever heard in my life! The same level of energy I'd only experienced in real life, like hearing the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra rehearsing for a concert when I lived in Budapest for a few years, or sitting as a musician in a chamber orchestra myself.

In addition to the musical energy of Benedetti and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the acoustics of the room, the full-size speakers of the Fluance Reference speakers with the subwoofer positioned in the center of the front that I think achieved this effect that has never worn off after 6 years of listening! And to put that in perspective, that was BEFORE Apple Lossless and Decca still hasn't made that recording into Apple Lossless or Apple Spatial Audio as far as I can tell.

My iFi Zen Blue makes this recording and others sound even better, but now with Apple Spatial Audio the world has changed and my Zen Blue will make a nice paper weight in the very near future. Fast support, but rude. Still recommend the iFi Zen Blue as well for the DAC if using an older AVR with no Bluetooth if you can put up with the dweebs in iFi support.

I started listening to the tracks identified as Apple Spatial Audio on Apple Music and now see that the music world has caught up with what I was trying to achieve back in 2015 when there was no Dolby Atmos material available for listening.

I don't watch too many movies, mostly listen to music and NHL Hockey on ESPN+ and now they are saying they're adding ATMOS to NHL games on ESPN+ as recently as October 2021, what we need is exactly the "upper atmosphere" of a NHL hockey game from the ceiling speakers delivering the sound of the arena as if we were there live, not so much the sounds of the skates on the ice, hearing the hallmark NHL organ echoing through an arena in an Atmos theatre listening room will be like being at the game...hopefully soon:

"Regarding Atmos, ESPN Senior Director, Remote Production Operations, Mike Foss says, “We were looking at it, and I would expect some developments maybe towards the end of the season, but nothing at this point.”"
Source: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2021/10/25/espns-nhl-coverage-creates-hot-sound-on-the-ice/

So music and hockey have finally caught up to Dolby Atmos and now I'm upgrading my AVR to Dolby Atmos and trying to find ceiling speakers that match the Fluance Reference speakers that is proving to be a challenge. If anyone has any ideas, let me know with a reply.

CONCLUSION: The Fluance speakers are excellent so I'm putting my money into ceiling speakers, the new Apple TV 4K (for listening to music and NLH on ESPN+), and a new Dolby Atmos AVR. My experience with the Fluance Reference is subjectively very good, excellent actually. Recommended based on my experience.

N.B. 1: My choice for a new AVR is now focused on one of the Yamaha RX-A AVENTAGE AVRs with a DAC equal or better to the iFi Zen Blue, and also for Yamaha's DSP stuff in addition to Atmos since that's what I use now and am very satisfied with. I don't want to lose the listening experience if Apple Spatial Audio takes some time to deliver what I can already achieve with Yamaha's DSP on a 20-year old AVR!

N.B. 2: Since I wrote this review this morning I found these ceiling speakers, Nuvo NV-6IC-8ANG Series Six In-ceiling speaker with angled baffle, featuring a 1" dome tweeter aimable at listening area to match all tweeters in the Fluance Reference speakers and an 8" woofer to match the Fluance Reference towers woofer as opposed to the 6.5" mid range(?). The sensitivity is 89 dB to match the Fluance Signature L/R surrounds that are a bipolar design so we'll see how they perform in Dolby Atmos when pointing half at the listening area, and half at the future second couch listening area with the null in between. Anyway, I found the Nuvo in-ceiling speakers at Crutchfield as a Black Friday special and saved a few hundred bucks. I'll write a review on how they blend with the Fluance Reference Home Theater in a future post: https://www.crutchfield.com/p_717NV6IC8A/Nuvo-NV-6IC-8ANG-Series-Six.html

N.B. 3: InSoFast Basement Insulation panels to build a home theater room: https://www.insofast.com/lc/insulating-interior-walls-sound.html
Thank you so much! Your review was very helpful. I actually ended up going with a pair of Jamo c97 II with the c93s for my surrounds, and the matching center. I saw a nice review of these from Andrew Robinson on YouTube and they happen to be on sale at Crutchfield so I jumped on it. Now I'm searching for a good sub I actually want to use duals right now my sights are set on a pair of RSL speedwoofer 10s. They just go out of stock so fast. But I still have a while before I move so I have a little time.

Also looking at the new Yamaha aventage recievers as well.
 
A

Anthony350

Audiophyte
One last thing I'm not impressed on the center channels for these two lines it would be better to go with either another one of the towers if you can manage it or a better center from another company those center channels won't keep up with the towers and multiple seating will be an issue with there design.
Yeah I remember someone saying the center want that impressive before too. But I ended up not going with the fluance. I saw something about the jamo concert series so I ended up getting those towers instead. I like the fact that they are more on the lively side.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
Hate to complicate things for you but JBL has a pretty fantastic sale right now on their 570 and 580 speakers that fall within your budget range.


Great speakers even without the discount. These 50% off sales they do are legit great deals.
 
Soundsgud

Soundsgud

Audiophyte
Thank you so much! Your review was very helpful. I actually ended up going with a pair of Jamo c97 II with the c93s for my surrounds, and the matching center. I saw a nice review of these from Andrew Robinson on YouTube and they happen to be on sale at Crutchfield so I jumped on it. Now I'm searching for a good sub I actually want to use duals right now my sights are set on a pair of RSL speedwoofer 10s. They just go out of stock so fast. But I still have a while before I move so I have a little time.

Also looking at the new Yamaha aventage recievers as well.
You're welcome and no need to thank. I also was looking for the opportunity to post something about my experience with FLUANCE Reference Series Home Theater, and thus, the lengthy review.

My plan is actually to make the jump to lightspeed from the FLUANCE Reference Series to the KEF Reference Series in the more distant future after upgrading my AVR to the Yamaha AVENTAGE or something else. From FLUANCE to KEF will likely be a massive leap forward and why I invested in building a home theater room first and tweaking it for Dolby Atmos with the FLUANCE Ref's as kind of a Proof-of-Concept that only cost me about $1200 for enough speakers to test a Dolby Atmos 7.1.2 set-up.

The JAMO's are a nice looking speaker. Hopefully the sound quality delivered up to expectations.
 

Attachments

Soundsgud

Soundsgud

Audiophyte
Just a follow-up on a comment I made above about the ZEN Blue from iFi audio in this thread. I got the new Apple TV with Dolby Atmos, etc., as I'm making the full upgrade to Dolby Atmos still using the Fluance Reference series. Since I posted above about iFi Audio I wanted to add a second clarification post to recommend their product to compensate for my negative comments and experience with their customer support since my experience listening to the ZEN Blue from iFi Audio delivers above and beyond my expectations. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND giving the ZEN Blue a try.

Out of the box the sound stage from the Apple TV (now capable of Dolby Atmos) fed into my old Dolby TrueHD Yamaha AVR running music engineered for Apple Lossless and Apple Spatial Audio in "Vienna concert hall" DSP was all messed up as it was running with no DSP. The Beatles "When I'm Sixty-Four" sounded ok. So I put on Julia Fischer, I. Allegro moderato, Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, and Amazing Grace by Carrie Underwood and the singers/musicians in the center of the sound stage shifted to my left. What?!?

This may be what the customer support at iFi Audio was referring to, although it wasn't clear. My AVR was not getting a Dolby Atmos feed, but an Apple Lossless feed that triggered Dolby TrueHD 5.1 as on the AVR's display. I was hoping there was a higher resolution feed, and instead got a messed up sound stage and an inferior sound. I switched back to listening with the ZEN Blue from iFi Audio to calm things down with Julia, Carrie, and The Beatles.

An amazing discovery is that the ZEN Blue ($150 USD) that SOUNDSGUD(!) uses the ESS Sabre Hyperstream DAC chip. The Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A8A ($3,000 USD) that I'm planning to buy uses the 32-bit ESS SABRE PRO Premier Hyperstream II DAC ES9026PRO. The RX-A8A surround sound AI and Dolby Atmos, are new and the Yamaha DSP tech I already know and love are what I'm paying for to make the upgrade to Dolby Atmos? Maybe too early right now. I comment below.

-- The rest is just my experience as a "low-budget" good sound seeker and not a review --

Running Apple Lossless through my iPhone into the ZEN Blue with Yamaha "concert hall" DSP in a Dolby True HD 5.1 setup (with two more speakers on the back wall for simulated 7.1 configuration wired into the surrounds of the 5.1 system actually works) still sounds amazing, phenomenal actually, very life-like with the ZEN Blue through the Fluance Reference system.

I can't comment on Dolby Atmos and Apple Spatial Audio until I get the new Yamaha AVENTAGE amp. Until then no benefit for music listening with just the new Apple TV 4K (Second Generation), and yeah, I know "TV" is emphasis on what you see so shouldn't be a huge surprise.

My guess right now is that Dolby Atmos for music will only deliver with added DSP (like Yamaha's) that best fits the acoustics and dimensions of the listening room, and I don't mean just speaker calibration, I mean Yamaha's ground-breaking work on capturing actual acoustic environments and reproducing those with DSP.

I wonder if the MAJOR shift in sound quality will only happen when music recordings are RECORDED in Dolby Atmos not just engineered for Dolby Atmos. I think that's where we are going.

Publishing this before the fact of my purchase of a Dolby Atmos AVR. Apple Spatial Audio is an awesome initiative although if in the end fails to deliver a better sound than what already exists people are going to be disappointed with spending another $4000 or whatever to go from Dolby TrueHD/Dolby Digitial 5.1/7.1 to Dolby Atmos for music and even worse if it doesn't improve the sound quality when listening through a $150 ZEN Blue on Dolby TrueHD/Dolby Digital 5.1/7.1 with DSP like that from Yamaha.

On the other hand, ESPN+ NHL with the new Apple TV 4K (Second Generation) is excellent even using the older Dolby TrueHD 5.1 configuration.

No doubt, will be even better when ESPN+ upgrades the NHL to Dolby Atmos. Even so, definitely an awesome boost to the sound quality, and when they upgrade to 4K also will be an improvement in the picture quality.

I'm going to wait until the music industry, especially Classical Music industry, and ESPN+, etc., upgrade to RECORDING in Dolby Atmos before putting down the money for a Dolby Atmos AVR since I don't watch too many movies these days.

Anyways, just posting this to say give ZEN Blue from iFi Audio a try if you are looking for a boost sound quality to existing audio recordings with Apple Lossless as we wait for true Dolby Atmos recordings to arrive.

 
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