I have been wanting to listen to the Fyne Audio F502 floor standing speakers for a while now as I have always liked the Tannoy Revolution XT8F speakers and hence was keen to hear how much the boffins at Fyne Audio (ex Tannoy), with a collective experience of over 100 years, have managed to showcase their skills with the F502’s
After an excruciating wait, thanks to strong demand for the F502’s worldwide, KEI, the distributors for Fyne Audio in India, finally managed to get a few pairs for our market and duly opened a pair for evaluation as well as for the listening pleasure of the av media as well as the audio enthusiasts. It so happened that I had the good fortune of visiting on the day the F502’s landed at KEI’s HQ and were just plugged in for their evaluation, so technically they were fresh out of their boxes and ready to go. Go they went as right from the first track played, the F502’s showed no signs of edginess or any of the usual maladies associated with new speakers. What struck me the most was that the sound was so open, enveloping and balanced inspite of having no break in and also the fact that the speakers were not in an ideal environment. Given the constraints, KEI’s technical head was at hand and had no doubt managed to set them up well so kudos to the gent.
Partnering the F502’s were the following:
Analogue Source: Thorens TD240MKII with TAS267 MM Cartridge
Phone Pre Amp: MM Phono Input of NADM32
Digital Source: DAC inside NAD M32, paired with Bluesound Node 2i as the streamer.
Amplifier: NAD M32 Direct Digital
We played a variety of music genre’s, analogue & digital, some being very familiar, some not and the F502’s never sounded harsh, tinny or having bloated bass. The usual suspects (audiophile tracks) sounded wonderful and without any overemphasis of any specific frequencies. I also played some tracks from itunes and the tracks that did not have a good recording did sound flat and unappealing so yes the F502’s do not gloss over any glitches, which is also good.
What was supposed to be a quick listening session turned out to last for over two hours which indicates that the F502’s have the knack of reeling one in hook line & sinker with their abilities.
I Would not like to straight away compare the F502’s with the Revolution XT8F’s, but what immediately comes to the fore is a balance – sound wise which is better than the XT8F’s and the overall build quality of the Fyne Audio F Series is 100% superior than that of the Revolution XT Series. I will cover those aspects in detail when I have a pair of the F series for a detailed review, in future.
Do I like the F502’s, hell yes and am very keen to listen to them again, once they have had a decent amount of hours of break in, post which would be better positioned to arrive at a comprehensive conclusion BUT based on what I heard, I believe that the F502’s have that magic to ensure that they will be popular with the music enthusiasts & also the movie enthusiasts who love to listen to music in their home theatre environment as well.
I just hope that Fyne Audio & KEI ensure that the F502’s are available to the prospective buyers as required and that KEI promote the F Series in general with the right dealer network, in order to get the desired results.
Ever since The Den India, relocated to their new venue and opened for business last month, Pawan Sahjwani, the owner had been patiently calling me time and again to come over and experience his entire AV Showroom but for some reason or the other, it did not materialise until yesterday when I decided to go for an impromptu visit that too without him being aware of the same. To be honest, I was keen to do so only once his allocated hi end stereo set up was in place, up and running and to the satisfaction of Khushrau Jilla, the bossman of Nexus AV. To me that was the proverbial cherry on the cake, but to what extent it was going to bamboozle me was still unknown. More on that later….
I shall purposely not include an in depth review of each component of the room which from now onwards I shall refer to as the ‘Unit’ in this article, as I feel that the sum of the total parts is what makes the ‘unit’ perform the way it does. The break-up of the components installed were as follows:-
AVM MP3.2 CD Player with Streamer
Octave V70SE with Black Box (External Power Supply Booster)
PMC Twenty5.26 – 3 Way Floor Standing Loud Speakers
Kaiser Acoustics Diffuser and Absorber Panels
Music heard on CD’s –
Retrospective – The Best of Suzanne Vega
This is one album, I thought was simply at it’s best playing at really very high spl with immense bass control in songs like ‘Luka’, ‘Tom’s Diner’, ’99.9F’, ‘Blood Makes Noise’
Ms. Vega’s vocals were always in the spotlight but with the rest of the instruments in balance, making one wanting to hear the album in its entirety.
Meenaxi: Tale of 3 Cities – OST
The drum beats of ‘Yeh Rista’ were intoxicating, the composition of ‘Chinnamma Chilakamma’ sounded brilliant and the effervescent artifacts of the entire sum of the musical and non musical instruments used to create a vivid image of ‘Cyclist’s Rhythm’ were mesmerising to say the least. This song perfectly encapsulates AR Rahman’s creative genius and why this album needs to be in every music enthusiasts collection of CD’s.
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow
This is one of my favourite albums that I thought was very poorly mastered and recorded until yesterday when I heard it. ‘Man on the silver mountain’, ‘Catch the rainbow’, ‘Snake Charmer’, ‘The temple of the king’. I was specifically listening to certain passages of each song twice or thrice, literally in disbelief as what was I hearing was truly possible or not? Most noteworthy in all the tracks was the presence of Cozy Powell’s insane melodic timing with his stick work and intense rhythmic pounding of the skins and cymbals that was never felt as deeply as it was today. Now I can live happily in the fact that this album is indeed recorded and mastered at a higher level than what I was lead to believe for all these years!
Stradivari Sampler – Volume 2
The control the ‘unit’ displayed whilst playing Bach’s ‘Toccata and Fugue in D Minor’ had to be heard to be believed. The bass was felt more than heard which was magnificent and really satisfying.
If You Wait – London Grammar
Hannah Reid’s seductive vocals in ‘Strong’ were simply a treat to my ears. The strong (pun intended) bass was also a revelation.
The Dark Knight OST – Hans Zimmer
The true depth and power of this extremely dark composition needs to be heard in it’s entirety of 16 odd minutes to truly comprehend what Hans Zimmer is all about. Incredibly powerful and deeply connects with you on an emotional level. ‘If you are a fan of the movie then you can simply visualise the scenes in front of you, such is the impact’. Khusrau said so and I concur.
Random Access Memories – Daft Punk
The tracks ‘Giorgio’ and ‘Contact’ just pull you into the music with an addictive bassline and intense contact (again pun intended) The frenzied pace of the beats kept me awake at night, whilst I tried to get some sleep but the experience had earlier in the day was not leaving my consciousness. Total knock out!
Love In The Modern Age – Josh Rouse
I heard this artist and album for the first time thanks to Khusrau. It has a very 1980’s music feel that instantly connects with a listener who grew up in the ‘80s. ‘Businessman’ is a track with so much of the ‘80s synth vibe that it instantly transports you into a happy space, emotional connect and nostalgia. I heard this track a couple of times and each time enjoyed it even more!
I literally had a ‘reset’ and my ears were re-calibrated by the ‘unit’ whilst listening to all the albums that I had carried along with me. The intensity of the music played at varying volumes was always on point. Infact, so seductive that it makes you listen to the album end to end, what with so many nuances in the recordings coming to the fore that you are bamboozled by how much information there has been in your favourite tracks that you are realising this only after listening to it in this environment. Ones ears also get re-calibrated with regard to the lower frequencies, their texture, quality and finesse that sadly most if not all of us have never truly experienced in our life to date. Another important aspect of the whole experience was that we could listen to music at a stretch for hours together, without any ear fatigue, irritation and also manage conversations without having to shout or strain to hear the other person speak. A side note and probably the irony of this being reiterated with authority was when an accompanying non audio video industry related person mutually known to me and others in the audio video industry had just come from an uber high end system set up listening session, where he was truly miffed at the level of sheer ear fatigue and irritation he experienced in that listening session vis a vis to what he experienced in this room. He was simply not able to comprehend how a uber hi end stereo music set up costing 6 times more than the ‘Unit’ was so terrible, painful to the ear and not able to have any musical connect with him at all?
The sharing of his experience simply reassured me and validated what I was experiencing was true and there was NO false sense of over appreciation that he or I was intentionally or unknowingly getting into.
One thing that impressed me most about the whole set up is that Pawan clearly states that he is selling you a tailor made solution that is guaranteed to make you happy as the entire gear on demo including the acoustic panels will be sold as a ‘unit’ or single entity only. Yes, you may want to buy selective components from the ‘unit’ but how will it perform by itself is not something that he is interested in getting into. As far as Pawan is concerned, there is clear focus and a plan of action in what the ‘unit’ does. Play the entire game or don’t play it at all! This ensures top level performance that is guaranteed to make a music enthusiast relish the opportunity of experiencing sheer bliss. At a price of 40 lakhs, our market may be very very small and insignificant in context to the one in matured markets worldwide, but the fact that there are buyers of hi end audio in our country and that their tribe is growing, is gratifying and ensures that the need of the hour is to correctly showcase hi end stereo in India. The hallmark of a great sounding and optimised room is how much one is able to just forget all the baggage of life and relax into a nice comfortable chair to not only listen but to get involved in the music. The ‘Unit’ achieves this so effortlessly that it became addictive for me to hang around inside its environment for a couple of hours than what was supposed to be just a few minutes.
Overall to sum things up, it takes courage of conviction & intestinal fortitude to go all out and walk the talk. Pawan & Khushrau have managed to showcase in our country, what high end stereo done at an international level is all about. It is a matter of great satisfaction that now there is yet another dealer who is ready to make the dream a reality as far as hi end stereo set up showcasing is concerned.
Chapeau time for both the gents mentioned above and look forward to them succeeding in their endeavour. I only hope that the others too in the audio industry take the cue from them and collectively take the leap of faith to replicate such environments pan India.
As always, my aim is to first and foremost be unbiased and share what I feel on a personal level than sugar coat or wax eloquently on something that isn’t true. Infact, I would appreciate the readers of this article to visit The Den India and experience first hand what I did yesterday. It would be best if you could get in touch with Pawan and his team to fix an appointment for experiencing the same. I also suggest to carry all your favorite music album CD’s to enjoy to the maximum.
PMC, was asked to produce a one-off pair of speakers as part of the world’s only musical work of art which has been created by American Hip Hop group Wu-Tang Clan and has been sold today to a mystery private collector for an undisclosed sum in the millions. Read More
WRITTEN BY DENOMDali A/S, Denmark, launched the new Opticon series on 23rd September 2015, via a ‘Live From London’ concert held at the Hospital Club, in London. The event was streamed live on you tube.
The Opticon series is positioned above the Ikon Series & below the Menuet. It consists of 7 speakers, having options of 1 LCR, 1 Centre, 2 Stand Mounts & 3 Floor Standing Speakers. The Opticon range will be available in 3 finishes, which are Black Ash Vinyl, Light Walnut Vinyl & White Matt Satin Vinyl.
Kii Audio is a new-formed company with well known founders, including Bruno Putzeys, Bart van der Laan, Wim Weijers, Chris Reichardt and Thomas Jansen, that recently announced their first-ever product. A compact loudspeaker named Three. According to the press release, the Kii Three is an amazing active loudspeaker with a compact form factor that behaves like a large system, in terms of power as well as coupling with the room. Kii’s Active Wave Focusing technology brings those benefits previously only possible with very large or in-wall mounted speaker systems. What may look like a cute pair of speakers at first sight, is really an audiophile listening pleasure that outperforms other huge and way more expensive systems with ease, the company says. Kii’s mission for the Three was to break the sonic mold of compact loudspeakers. Powerful small loudspeakers with deep bass have been around for a while now but none so far sounded like a big loudspeaker. The Three is built to fix that. A loop hole in acoustics says that small directive loudspeakers are possible – if you have enough drivers and you feed them the exact right signal. The Three has a total of 6 ways, front, side and rear, working together to throw the sound in one direction only, without relying on a baffle. The Three’s ability to direct bass is comparable to, but much better controlled than, that of a traditional speaker several meters wide. Active Wave Focusing filters, a technology featured in the Three, mark a complete departure from the classical crossover filter. Instead of just splitting the spectrum into bands it forces the specially positioned drive units to create a completely coherent wave front that is only emitted forward and behaves as though all of it came from the midrange driver. Each Kii Three contains six channels of DSP, D/A conversion and power amplification. Each side panel of the loudspeaker holds a 3x250W power amplifier board, designed by Bruno Putzeys using the latest iteration of the Ncore class D technology which he invented for Hypex. Unique to the implementation used in the Kii Three is a combined voltage/current control loop that goes beyond merely a better amp – it actively improves the distortion performance of the drive units which contributes significantly to the extreme resolution of the loudspeaker. Naturally this means that the performance of the AD/DA conversion has to match that of the amps. This task fell to Bart van der Laan who has a long track record designing DSP and converter boards for high-end professional audio equipment. Alongside the Active Wave Focusing filters the DSP is responsible for keeping the drive units within their safe operating range by gently adapting the filters instead of brutally limiting the signal, allowing the Three to play significantly louder and cleaner than much bigger traditional designs. On the input side there is a choice of analogue, digital or wireless inputs (compatible with WISA). All digital inputs are up-sampled and re-clocked using Kii’s own jitter rejection algorithm that guarantees actual “bits is bits” audio performance for any digital source.