Fluance XL8F review: Home theater heart stoppers

Victoria D. Doty

Way back in 1999 two corporations that would loom substantial in CNET’s take a look at labs received their begin: Aperion Audio and Fluance. Even though Aperion has stayed on its property theater path around the last couple a long time, Fluance has branched out to products these types of as the RT82 turntable, winner of our Editors’ Choice award. The business is on a true tear, and the XL8F ground-standing speaker is the newest example.

Like

  • Major, generously proportioned speakers
  • Exceptional seem top quality great for long binge sessions
  • Nothing retains a candle to it for the revenue

Never Like

  • Could be smoother, in particular with its decreased register
  • Dustcaps failed to quite line up

The XL8 range is a price-powerful property theater speaker range incorporating rears, facilities and bookshelves, led by these impressive ground-standers. The fit and end of the XL8F is luxurious for $600 (£600) a pair, and its pure sizing is unmatched by other speakers at its amount. The seem of the XL8F is open up and thrilling, but hardly ever shrill, and when fed a film soundtrack these speakers just zing. They are no slouch with tunes either.

The XL8 presents significantly superior benefit than Fluance’s flagship $800 Signature sequence and a superior style and design far too. The seem is also superior balanced than what I remember from the Signature range.

Even though the similar revenue will purchase you a quite pleasant bookshelf speaker from identify makes like Elac or Klipsch, if you truly want the most speaker for your revenue, the massive Fluance XL8F has no equivalent.

Layout and capabilities

fluance-xl8f-2

Twin six.five-inch glass fiber motorists flank a 1-inch soft dome tweeter.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The Fluance XL8F is a fashionable a few-way ground-stander but it provides as a 2.five-way, with a bass driver concealed in the foundation. The Fluance has two, six.five-inch glass-fiber motorists separated by a 1-inch cloth tweeter (named a D’Appolito configuration, named soon after the designer who perfected the arrangement, Joseph D’Appolito). I did find that 1 of the mid driver’s dust caps looked a tiny tough when seen up near — they are all made from a piece of glass fiber, and this 1 was not glued on sq.. But from the couch I couldn’t actually tell.

In other places the end is exemplary, and I favor the style and design to the uncomfortable Signature sequence with its small, yellow midrange driver at the top. The XL8F towers are quite tall at 46 inches high, only 1.five inches shorter than the monster Signature. They are deep, far too, in get to accommodate that base-mounted eight-inch bass driver. 

fluance-xl8f-3

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The speaker cupboard tapers at the back, to decrease inner reflections, and culminates in two rear bass ports (so it operates superior if you go away a couple of feet length from the wall). The entrance baffle capabilities a piano-black end in a option of either black ash or walnut for the sides. 

The fixtures are just as luxurious as the relaxation of the speaker, starting off with a magnetically attaching grille. The gold plated binding posts are stable-searching and there are two sets in scenario you want to experiment with bi-wiring or bi-amping.

The speakers are rated at a 87dB sensitivity, which 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 suppliers at the second, the business helpfully presents a 30-working day revenue back trial on speakers purchased by means of its internet site.

How does it seem?

As I hope from a speaker with a base-firing bass driver, the Fluance has a major, bold seem, but it is really also capable of subtlety I failed to hope. That midrange-tweeter-midrange arrangement is able to reproduce a lot of depth in tunes and films, with a generously open up character. I when compared the speaker to my go-to reference speaker, the $900 Q Acoustics 3050i and found that the Fluance sounded superior in numerous critical parts, in particular when it came to looking at movies.

The Fluance XL8F’s combination of deep bass and a revealing midrange made it a great associate for the lobby scene from The Matrix. This scene mixes balletic sluggish-mo, ricocheting bullet seem consequences and a pumping electro rating, and the Fluance welded them jointly in a enjoyable way. Although the Q Acoustics was able to manage the very low-conclusion portion superior, the Fluance delivered the shout of “Freeze” and its echoing tail in a more revealing style.

Looking at Avatar, the Fluance demonstrated its eager ear with the lush rainforests of Pandora. All through the Thanator chase scene the simply click of Jake’s device gun was more jarring when he understood the Thanator wanted a cat-man or woman food as an alternative 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 were a tiny more inert, more bass-centered and a little significantly less exciting all round.

When it came to tunes the two were near, but the Q Acoustics’ more laid-back top quality and top-to-base regularity gave it a slight edge. I listened to every little thing from Claude Debussy’s nocturnes to jazz to rock tunes, and found that the Fluance’s abilities lay in tunes with a lot of depth. The XL8F can actually give you a vivid feeling of the overall performance house and make the speakers by themselves disappear — as long as issues don’t get far too unfastened. 

For example, the opening moments of Phoebe Bridgers’ Know The Stop gave me goosebumps when read by means of the Fluance, and this continued as the chorused electrical guitar slithered around powering the singer. At 2:forty five the bass drum that propels the 2nd half of the music was deep and pulsing. Only when the music received actually chaotic did the details turn out to be a clean.

Amazingly the Q Acoustics presented a diverse music, and 1 which was finally significantly more enjoyable. The song’s intro guitars sounded larger, and as an alternative of being in thrall they were thrust outwards into the listening house, enveloping me. When the music received busy the speakers saved every little thing in aim superior than the Fluence, and the 3050i’s eager midrange on the chanted vocals and the enraged “rahhhhhh” were more finely expressed.

Really should you purchase it?

Of course, you can purchase by yourself a pretty killer soundbar for $600, but there is certainly no way it could match the Fluance XL8F for either bodily existence or the potential to reproduce a thundering film soundtrack. There are couple of ground-standers that can do what the XL8F does — marry crushing bass electric power with an open up, thorough seem — and none of them price $600. The Q Acoustics 3050i is a more refined speaker, in particular for tunes, but it expenses $350 more and it isn’t as properly-built. The Fluance XL8F presents an outstanding benefit and if your finances is less than a grand, and you have the area, these speakers need to be at the top of your audition listing.

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