Approach again in 1999 two firms that may loom massive in Proinertech’s check labs obtained their begin: Aperion Audio and Fluance. Whereas Aperion has stayed on its house theater path during the last couple many years, Fluance has branched out to units such because the RT82 turntable, winner of our Editors’ Selection award. The corporate is on an actual tear, and the XL8F floor-standing speaker is the most recent instance.

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Large, generously proportioned speakersExcellent sound high quality excellent for lengthy binge sessionsNothing holds a candle to it for the cash

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May very well be smoother, particularly with its decrease registerDustcaps did not fairly line up

The XL8 vary is an economical house theater speaker vary incorporating rears, facilities and bookshelves, led by these spectacular floor-standers. The match and end of the XL8F is lush for $600 (£600) a pair, and its pure measurement is unmatched by different audio system at its degree. The sound of the XL8F is open and thrilling, however by no means shrill, and when fed a film soundtrack these audio system merely zing. They’re no slouch with music both.

The XL8 affords a lot better worth than Fluance’s flagship $800 Signature collection and a greater design too. The sound can also be higher balanced than what I recall from the Signature vary.

Whereas the identical cash will purchase you a really good bookshelf speaker from identify manufacturers like Elac or Klipsch, when you actually need the utmost speaker in your cash, the massive Fluance XL8F has no equal.

Design and options

Twin 6.5-inch glass fiber drivers flank a 1-inch mushy dome tweeter.

Ty Pendlebury/Proinertech

The Fluance XL8F is a contemporary three-way floor-stander nevertheless it presents as a 2.5-way, with a bass driver hidden within the base. The Fluance has two, 6.5-inch glass-fiber drivers separated by a 1-inch cloth tweeter (referred to as a D’Appolito configuration, named after the designer who perfected the association, Joseph D’Appolito). I did discover that one of many mid driver’s mud caps regarded slightly tough when considered up shut — they’re all constructed from a bit of glass fiber, and this one wasn’t glued on sq.. However from the sofa I could not actually inform.

Elsewhere the end is exemplary, and I desire the design to the awkward Signature collection with its tiny, yellow midrange driver on the high. The XL8F towers are fairly tall at 46 inches excessive, only one.5 inches shorter than the monster Signature. They’re deep, too, to be able to accommodate that bottom-mounted 8-inch bass driver. 

Ty Pendlebury/Proinertech

The speaker cupboard tapers on the again, to cut back inner reflections, and culminates in two rear bass ports (so it really works higher when you go away a number of toes distance from the wall). The entrance baffle contains a piano-black end in a alternative of both black ash or walnut for the edges. 

The fixtures are simply as luxurious as the remainder of the speaker, beginning with a magnetically attaching grille. The gold plated binding posts are solid-looking and there are two units in case you need to experiment with bi-wiring or bi-amping.

The audio system are rated at a 87dB sensitivity, which means they may very well be pushed by most receivers or amps, and are able to a 35Hz-25KHz frequency response.

Whereas no-one is admittedly auditioning audio system in shops in the intervening time, the corporate helpfully affords a 30-day a refund trial on audio system purchased by way of its web site.

How does it sound?

As I anticipate from a speaker with a bottom-firing bass driver, the Fluance has a giant, daring sound, nevertheless it’s additionally able to subtlety I did not anticipate. That midrange-tweeter-midrange association is ready to reproduce loads of element in music and films, with a generously open character. I in contrast the speaker to my go-to reference speaker, the $900 Q Acoustics 3050i and located that the Fluance sounded higher in a number of key areas, particularly when it got here to watching movies.

The Fluance XL8F’s mixture of deep bass and a revealing midrange made it an ideal companion for the foyer scene from The Matrix. This scene mixes balletic slow-mo, ricocheting bullet sound results and a pumping electro rating, and the Fluance welded them collectively in a satisfying manner. Although the Q Acoustics was in a position to deal with the low-end portion higher, the Fluance delivered the shout of “Freeze” and its echoing tail in a extra revealing trend.

Watching Avatar, the Fluance demonstrated its eager ear with the luxurious rainforests of Pandora. Through the Thanator chase scene the press of Jake’s machine gun was extra jarring when he realized the Thanator needed a cat-person meal as a substitute of the elephant-like Hammerhead Titanothere. The sound of the chase was merely extra visceral when heard on the Fluance than its counterpart. As compared, the Q Acoustics have been slightly extra inert, extra bass-focused and barely much less thrilling general.

When it got here to music the 2 have been shut, however the Q Acoustics’ extra laid-back high quality and top-to-bottom consistency gave it a slight edge. I listened to all the pieces from Claude Debussy’s nocturnes to jazz to rock music, and located that the Fluance’s skills lay in music with loads of element. The XL8F can actually offer you a vivid sense of the efficiency house and make the audio system themselves disappear — so long as issues do not get too unfastened. 

For instance, the opening moments of Phoebe Bridgers’ Know The Finish gave me goosebumps when heard by way of the Fluance, and this continued because the chorused electrical guitar slithered round behind the singer. At 2:45 the bass drum that propels the second half of the music was deep and pulsing. Solely when the music obtained actually chaotic did the main points turn out to be a wash.

Surprisingly the Q Acoustics introduced a unique music, and one which was finally way more satisfying. The music’s intro guitars sounded greater, and as a substitute of staying in thrall they have been thrust outwards into the listening house, enveloping me. When the music obtained hectic the audio system stored all the pieces in focus higher than the Fluence, and the 3050i’s eager midrange on the chanted vocals and the enraged “rahhhhhh” have been extra finely expressed.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure, you should buy your self a reasonably killer soundbar for $600, however there is not any manner it might match the Fluance XL8F for both bodily presence or the power to breed a thundering film soundtrack. There are few floor-standers that may do what the XL8F does — marry crushing bass energy with an open, detailed sound — and none of them value $600. The Q Acoustics 3050i is a extra refined speaker, particularly for music, nevertheless it prices $350 extra and it is not as well-designed. The Fluance XL8F affords an distinctive worth and in case your funds is below a grand, and you’ve got the room, these audio system needs to be on the high of your audition listing.

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