Fluance XL8F review: Home theater heart stoppers

Way back in 1999 two providers that would loom significant in CNET’s test labs obtained their get started: Aperion Audio and Fluance. When Aperion has stayed on its dwelling theater path around the final few decades, Fluance has branched out to gadgets these types of as the RT82 turntable, winner of our Editors’ Alternative award. The corporation is on a actual tear, and the XL8F floor-standing speaker is the most current case in point.

Like

  • Major, generously proportioned speakers
  • Exceptional audio top quality perfect for extended binge sessions
  • Very little retains a candle to it for the money

You should not Like

  • Could be smoother, primarily with its lower register
  • Dustcaps did not really line up

The XL8 array is a value-powerful dwelling theater speaker array incorporating rears, centers and bookshelves, led by these spectacular floor-standers. The match and end of the XL8F is high-class for $600 (£600) a pair, and its pure measurement is unmatched by other speakers at its level. The audio of the XL8F is open and thrilling, but hardly ever shrill, and when fed a movie soundtrack these speakers simply zing. They’re no slouch with songs either.

The XL8 offers much greater value than Fluance’s flagship $800 Signature series and a greater design and style way too. The audio is also greater well balanced than what I remember from the Signature array.

When the similar money will buy you a really wonderful bookshelf speaker from title brands like Elac or Klipsch, if you truly want the maximum speaker for your money, the large Fluance XL8F has no equal.

Style and attributes

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Twin 6.five-inch glass fiber motorists flank a 1-inch comfortable dome tweeter.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The Fluance XL8F is a modern 3-way floor-stander but it provides as a two.five-way, with a bass driver hidden in the base. The Fluance has two, 6.five-inch glass-fiber motorists separated by a 1-inch fabric tweeter (identified as a D’Appolito configuration, named following the designer who perfected the arrangement, Joseph D’Appolito). I did discover that a single of the mid driver’s dust caps looked a small rough when considered up shut — they’re all constructed from a piece of glass fiber, and this a single was not glued on sq.. But from the sofa I couldn’t truly inform.

Somewhere else the end is exemplary, and I choose the design and style to the uncomfortable Signature series with its tiny, yellow midrange driver at the top. The XL8F towers are really tall at 46 inches high, only 1.five inches shorter than the monster Signature. They’re deep, way too, in purchase to accommodate that base-mounted eight-inch bass driver. 

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Ty Pendlebury/CNET

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

The fixtures are just as high-class as the relaxation of the speaker, commencing with a magnetically attaching grille. The gold plated binding posts are strong-on the lookout 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, meaning they could be driven by most receivers or amps, and are able of a 35Hz-25KHz frequency response.

When no-a single is truly auditioning speakers in suppliers at the moment, the corporation helpfully offers a thirty-day money back demo on speakers acquired by means of its web site.

How does it audio?

As I expect from a speaker with a base-firing bass driver, the Fluance has a big, bold audio, but it’s also able of subtlety I did not expect. That midrange-tweeter-midrange arrangement is equipped to reproduce a great deal of element in songs and motion pictures, with a generously open character. I compared the speaker to my go-to reference speaker, the $900 Q Acoustics 3050i and found that the Fluance sounded greater in numerous essential parts, primarily when it arrived to watching movies.

The Fluance XL8F’s blend of deep bass and a revealing midrange built it a perfect partner for the foyer scene from The Matrix. This scene mixes balletic gradual-mo, ricocheting bullet audio consequences and a pumping electro rating, and the Fluance welded them alongside one another in a satisfying way. Nevertheless the Q Acoustics was equipped to handle the reduced-end portion greater, the Fluance sent the shout of “Freeze” and its echoing tail in a much more revealing manner.

Seeing Avatar, the Fluance shown its eager ear with the lush rainforests of Pandora. Throughout the Thanator chase scene the simply click of Jake’s device gun was much more jarring when he recognized the Thanator required a cat-individual food in its place of the elephant-like Hammerhead Titanothere. The audio of the chase was simply much more visceral when read on the Fluance than its counterpart. In comparison, the Q Acoustics had been a small much more inert, much more bass-focused and a little bit fewer remarkable in general.

When it arrived to songs the two had been shut, but the Q Acoustics’ much 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 songs, and found that the Fluance’s talents lay in songs with a great deal of element. The XL8F can truly give you a vivid perception of the effectiveness house and make the speakers them selves disappear — as extended as factors never get way too free. 

For case in point, the opening times of Phoebe Bridgers’ Know The Finish gave me goosebumps when read by means of the Fluance, and this continued as the chorused electrical guitar slithered all-around behind the singer. At two:45 the bass drum that propels the second 50 percent of the tune was deep and pulsing. Only when the tune obtained truly chaotic did the facts turn into a clean.

Incredibly the Q Acoustics presented a unique tune, and a single which was ultimately much much more satisfying. The song’s intro guitars sounded even bigger, and in its place of keeping in thrall they had been thrust outwards into the listening house, enveloping me. When the tune obtained busy the speakers saved every little thing in concentrate greater than the Fluence, and the 3050i’s eager midrange on the chanted vocals and the enraged “rahhhhhh” had been much more finely expressed.

Should you buy it?

Sure, you can buy you a pretty killer soundbar for $600, but there is certainly no way it could match the Fluance XL8F for either actual physical presence or the means to reproduce a thundering movie soundtrack. There are handful of floor-standers that can do what the XL8F does — marry crushing bass electric power with an open, specific audio — and none of them value $600. The Q Acoustics 3050i is a much more refined speaker, primarily for songs, but it fees $350 much more and it is just not as well-created. The Fluance XL8F offers an remarkable value and if your finances is beneath a grand, and you have the place, these speakers ought to be at the top of your audition listing.