Way again in 1999 two organizations that would loom massive in CNET’s exam labs bought their commence: Aperion Audio and Fluance. When Aperion has stayed on its dwelling theater route in excess of the final pair a long time, Fluance has branched out to products such as the RT82 turntable, winner of our Editors’ Selection award. The company is on a genuine tear, and the XL8F flooring-standing speaker is the latest example.

Like

  • Major, generously proportioned speakers
  • Superb seem high-quality perfect for extensive binge classes
  • Absolutely nothing retains a candle to it for the money

Don’t Like

  • Could be smoother, specially with its reduce sign up
  • Dustcaps did not rather line up

The XL8 assortment is a charge-productive dwelling theater speaker assortment incorporating rears, facilities and bookshelves, led by these extraordinary flooring-standers. The suit and complete of the XL8F is lavish for $600 (£600) a pair, and its pure size is unmatched by other speakers at its amount. The seem of the XL8F is open and thrilling, but in no way shrill, and when fed a film soundtrack these speakers simply just zing. They are no slouch with music possibly.

The XL8 presents considerably much better price than Fluance’s flagship $800 Signature series and a much better style and design way too. The seem is also much better well balanced than what I remember from the Signature assortment.

When the same money will buy you a quite good bookshelf speaker from title brand names like Elac or Klipsch, if you definitely want the highest speaker for your money, the large Fluance XL8F has no equivalent.

Layout and characteristics

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Twin six.5-inch glass fiber motorists flank a 1-inch comfortable dome tweeter.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The Fluance XL8F is a present day 3-way flooring-stander but it offers as a two.5-way, with a bass driver hidden in the base. The Fluance has two, six.5-inch glass-fiber motorists separated by a 1-inch cloth tweeter (known as a D’Appolito configuration, named just after the designer who perfected the arrangement, Joseph D’Appolito). I did obtain that a single of the mid driver’s dust caps appeared a small tough when viewed up close — they’re all produced from a piece of glass fiber, and this a single was not glued on square. But from the sofa I could not definitely tell.

In other places the complete is exemplary, and I desire the style and design to the awkward Signature series with its small, yellow midrange driver at the leading. The XL8F towers are rather tall at 46 inches higher, only 1.5 inches shorter than the monster Signature. They are deep, way too, in get to accommodate that base-mounted 8-inch bass driver. 

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Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The speaker cabinet tapers at the again, to lower inside reflections, and culminates in two rear bass ports (so it is effective much better if you go away a couple toes length from the wall). The front baffle characteristics a piano-black complete in a option of possibly black ash or walnut for the sides. 

The fixtures are just as lavish as the rest of the speaker, starting with a magnetically attaching grille. The gold plated binding posts are solid-on the lookout and there are two sets in case you want to experiment with bi-wiring or bi-amping.

The speakers are rated at a 87dB sensitivity, indicating they could be pushed by most receivers or amps, and are able of a 35Hz-25KHz frequency response.

When no-a single is definitely auditioning speakers in merchants at the moment, the company helpfully presents a 30-working day money again trial on speakers acquired by way of its site.

How does it seem?

As I be expecting from a speaker with a base-firing bass driver, the Fluance has a big, bold seem, but it is also able of subtlety I did not be expecting. That midrange-tweeter-midrange arrangement is equipped to reproduce a great deal of element in music and films, with a generously open character. I compared the speaker to my go-to reference speaker, the $900 Q Acoustics 3050i and observed that the Fluance sounded much better in several key spots, specially when it came to observing films.

The Fluance XL8F’s combination of deep bass and a revealing midrange designed it a perfect partner for the foyer scene from The Matrix. This scene mixes balletic slow-mo, ricocheting bullet seem consequences and a pumping electro score, and the Fluance welded them jointly in a satisfying way. Although the Q Acoustics was equipped to handle the minimal-conclude part much better, the Fluance sent the shout of “Freeze” and its echoing tail in a far more revealing style.

Watching Avatar, the Fluance demonstrated its eager ear with the lush rainforests of Pandora. Throughout the Thanator chase scene the click on of Jake’s equipment gun was far more jarring when he realized the Thanator required a cat-individual food as a substitute of the elephant-like Hammerhead Titanothere. The seem of the chase was simply just far more visceral when read on the Fluance than its counterpart. In comparison, the Q Acoustics have been a small far more inert, far more bass-centered and a little bit considerably less enjoyable overall.

When it came to music the two have been close, but the Q Acoustics’ far more laid-again high-quality and leading-to-base regularity gave it a slight edge. I listened to everything from Claude Debussy’s nocturnes to jazz to rock music, and observed that the Fluance’s skills lay in music with a great deal of element. The XL8F can definitely give you a vivid feeling of the efficiency area and make the speakers them selves vanish — as extensive as matters do not get way too loose. 

For example, the opening moments of Phoebe Bridgers’ Know The End gave me goosebumps when read by way of the Fluance, and this ongoing as the chorused electrical guitar slithered close to at the rear of the singer. At two:45 the bass drum that propels the second half of the song was deep and pulsing. Only when the song bought definitely chaotic did the facts come to be a wash.

Surprisingly the Q Acoustics presented a distinct song, and a single which was finally considerably far more satisfying. The song’s intro guitars sounded bigger, and as a substitute of being in thrall they have been thrust outwards into the listening area, enveloping me. When the song bought hectic the speakers stored everything in target much better than the Fluence, and the 3050i’s eager midrange on the chanted vocals and the enraged “rahhhhhh” have been far more finely expressed.

Really should you buy it?

Certainly, you can buy your self a pretty killer soundbar for $600, but there is no way it could match the Fluance XL8F for possibly physical existence or the capability to reproduce a thundering film soundtrack. There are couple flooring-standers that can do what the XL8F does — marry crushing bass energy with an open, comprehensive seem — and none of them charge $600. The Q Acoustics 3050i is a far more refined speaker, specially for music, but it fees $350 far more and it is not as properly-designed. The Fluance XL8F presents an extraordinary price and if your finances is below a grand, and you have the area, these speakers should be at the leading of your audition checklist.