Fluance XL8F review: Home theater heart stoppers

Maria J. Danford

Way back again in 1999 two providers that would loom large in CNET’s exam labs acquired their get started: Aperion Audio and Fluance. Even though Aperion has stayed on its residence theater path about the last couple a long time, Fluance has branched out to equipment these as the RT82 turntable, winner of our Editors’ Selection award. The firm is on a actual tear, and the XL8F ground-standing speaker is the most current example.

Like

  • Significant, generously proportioned speakers
  • Fantastic seem top quality excellent for lengthy binge classes
  • Absolutely nothing holds a candle to it for the money

You should not Like

  • Could be smoother, specifically with its decreased sign up
  • Dustcaps didn’t pretty line up

The XL8 assortment is a charge-effective residence theater speaker assortment incorporating rears, centers and bookshelves, led by these amazing ground-standers. The in shape and end of the XL8F is lavish for $600 (£600) a pair, and its pure sizing is unmatched by other speakers at its degree. The seem of the XL8F is open and thrilling, but never shrill, and when fed a film soundtrack these speakers just zing. They are no slouch with new music either.

The XL8 delivers much far better worth than Fluance’s flagship $800 Signature sequence and a far better layout as well. The seem is also far better balanced than what I recall from the Signature assortment.

Even though the exact same money will get you a quite good bookshelf speaker from name models like Elac or Klipsch, if you certainly want the utmost speaker for your money, the enormous Fluance XL8F has no equivalent.

Design and style and options

fluance-xl8f-2

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


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The Fluance XL8F is a modern-day 3-way ground-stander but it offers as a two.5-way, with a bass driver hidden in the foundation. The Fluance has two, 6.5-inch glass-fiber drivers separated by a 1-inch cloth tweeter (termed a D’Appolito configuration, named immediately after the designer who perfected the arrangement, Joseph D’Appolito). I did obtain that 1 of the mid driver’s dust caps seemed a little tough when viewed up shut — they’re all manufactured from a piece of glass fiber, and this 1 was not glued on sq.. But from the couch I could not actually convey to.

In other places the end is exemplary, and I want the layout to the awkward Signature sequence with its tiny, yellow midrange driver at the leading. The XL8F towers are pretty tall at 46 inches high, only 1.5 inches shorter than the monster Signature. They are deep, as well, in purchase to accommodate that bottom-mounted eight-inch bass driver. 

fluance-xl8f-3

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The speaker cupboard tapers at the back again, to decrease inside reflections, and culminates in two rear bass ports (so it is effective far better if you go away a several ft length from the wall). The front baffle options a piano-black end in a preference of either black ash or walnut for the sides. 

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

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

Even though no-1 is actually auditioning speakers in shops at the moment, the firm helpfully delivers a 30-working day money back again demo on speakers acquired by way of its web site.

How does it seem?

As I hope from a speaker with a bottom-firing bass driver, the Fluance has a massive, bold seem, but it truly is also capable of subtlety I didn’t hope. That midrange-tweeter-midrange arrangement is equipped to reproduce plenty of detail in new music and motion pictures, with a generously open character. I compared the speaker to my go-to reference speaker, the $900 Q Acoustics 3050i and uncovered that the Fluance sounded far better in various critical places, specifically when it came to viewing movies.

The Fluance XL8F’s mix of deep bass and a revealing midrange built it a excellent partner for the lobby scene from The Matrix. This scene mixes balletic gradual-mo, ricocheting bullet seem outcomes and a pumping electro score, and the Fluance welded them jointly in a enjoyable way. While the Q Acoustics was equipped to handle the lower-close part far better, the Fluance shipped the shout of “Freeze” and its echoing tail in a more revealing fashion.

Looking at Avatar, the Fluance shown its eager ear with the lush rainforests of Pandora. For the duration of the Thanator chase scene the click on of Jake’s device gun was more jarring when he realized the Thanator needed a cat-individual food instead of the elephant-like Hammerhead Titanothere. The seem of the chase was just more visceral when read on the Fluance than its counterpart. In comparison, the Q Acoustics had been a little more inert, more bass-concentrated and somewhat considerably less remarkable total.

When it came to new music the two had been shut, but the Q Acoustics’ more laid-back again top quality and leading-to-bottom consistency gave it a slight edge. I listened to almost everything from Claude Debussy’s nocturnes to jazz to rock new music, and uncovered that the Fluance’s skills lay in new music with plenty of detail. The XL8F can actually give you a vivid feeling of the effectiveness house and make the speakers on their own vanish — as lengthy as issues you should not get as well unfastened. 

For example, the opening moments of Phoebe Bridgers’ Know The Stop gave me goosebumps when read by way of the Fluance, and this ongoing as the chorused electric guitar slithered about driving the singer. At two:45 the bass drum that propels the 2nd 50 % of the song was deep and pulsing. Only when the song acquired actually chaotic did the facts become a clean.

Astonishingly the Q Acoustics presented a distinctive song, and 1 which was eventually much more enjoyable. The song’s intro guitars sounded even larger, and instead of keeping in thrall they had been thrust outwards into the listening house, enveloping me. When the song acquired busy the speakers stored almost everything in aim far better than the Fluence, and the 3050i’s eager midrange on the chanted vocals and the enraged “rahhhhhh” had been more finely expressed.

Should you get it?

Of course, you can get yourself a fairly killer soundbar for $600, but there is certainly no way it could match the Fluance XL8F for either bodily presence or the ability to reproduce a thundering film soundtrack. There are several ground-standers that can do what the XL8F does — marry crushing bass electric power with an open, thorough seem — and none of them charge $600. The Q Acoustics 3050i is a more refined speaker, specifically for new music, but it expenditures $350 more and it just isn’t as nicely-created. The Fluance XL8F delivers an outstanding worth and if your funds is under a grand, and you have the place, these speakers must be at the leading of your audition checklist.

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