Fyne Audio is a relatively new kid on the hi-fi block, formed in 2017 by several former Tannoy staff, following the takeover of Tannoy by a conglomerate a couple of years earlier. They’ve not wasted any time, and for such a young company, Fyne Audio now has an impressive portfolio of products. However, that’s what you can do when your team includes five former directors and senior managers, including the former director of engineering, the manager of mechanical design, and the factory manager. Not to mention the former managing director and the sales manager. As Fyne itself puts it, it’s like they’ve got the band back together.
Conceptually, they remain committed to the traditional Tannoy-style co-axial arrangement of a tweeter mounted centrally within the bass/mid cone. Termed ‘IsoFlare’ this point source system is claimed to provide outstanding stereo imaging, even off-axis, because energy is radiated isotropically, following the flare of the driver cone. The drivers have undergone considerable technical development, including computer-designed beading around the outer rim, dubbed ‘FyneFlute’, to better manage the interface between the edge of the driver cone and the mounting point to reduce reflection effects. Finally, the porting via a tractrix profile vent in the foot of the speaker, which helps create a spherical wavefront from the port output, the better to couple the output to the room and aid overall coherence.
The F700 series sits one rung below the top-end F1 series, and the £6,000 F702 is a substantial two-and-a-half-way floorstander, sitting in the middle, between the F701 stand mounter, and the F703, a large floorstander configured like the F702, but with 250mm drivers in place of the 702’s 200mm units. The bi-wirable crossovers benefit from high-end components and have been deep cryogenically treated. Boat-backed cabinets and a slight downward slope to the top plate help manage internal acoustics but also reduce the sense of mass, and make for a singularly modern and elegant design. However, the 702’s are not a small loudspeaker, being more significant in all dimensions than my old Focal 1028s. There’s a passing resemblance to Tannoy’s much-admired ‘Definition’ series, but the F700 range has benefited from considerable development, which is apparent in the way it performs.
Given their size, and the generous proportions of the bass and bass/mid drivers, I was slightly concerned that they’d not work well in my modest domestic setting, but I’d also heard them absolutely singing their heart out in a small dealer dem room, so I wasn’t unduly worried, and Fyne themselves explain that one advantage of the tractrix port arrangement is less susceptibility to room placement issues. That said, they still amply rewarded a little bit of experimentation with placement; an inch or two this way or that and they quickly made themselves very much at home.
First impressions, then, and it’s pretty clear that the F702s are a very free and expressive loudspeaker. Don’t mistake ‘free’ for ‘loose’ here, either; there’s no sense of flabbiness, nor any lack of control, it’s just that control is being very judiciously applied. Dynamics are natural, unconstrained, and unforced, timbres have a real sense of texture and shape, and timing is right on the money. Andy Sheppard’s ‘Peshwari’ from Learning to Wave [Provocateur] shows his mastery of phrasing and textures; his lines follow a natural arc, and through the F702s it is easy to hear why he plays that way, and how essential those lines are to the musical experience.