Fluance Fi50 Music System Bluetooth speaker, $199
Sound Advice Speakers Review By Don Lindich
Manufacturer website: fluance.com
The Fluance Fi50 is a mid-sized sound system, positioned below the top-of-the-line, stand-mounted Fluance Fi70 system with FM radio ($499.) It is designed to be used on a countertop or shelf and requires AC power, as there is no battery option.
Construction and workmanship
One thing that sets the Fluance Fi50 apart from like-priced competitors is the attractive wood finish, wrapped all the way around the oval-shaped cabinet. Available in Natural Walnut, Black Ash or Lucky Bamboo, I have seen all three finishes and they are all quite attractive. Though the wood finish rates a bit below furniture grade (unlike Fluance’s RT81 turntable, which clearly does) it is still high quality and the Fluance Fi50 is probably the most attractive $199 speaker out there.
The Fluance Fi50 has two 5-inch woofers with coaxial tweeters and a volume display on the front.
The back of the unit has ports for enhanced bass response and greater speaker efficiency, enabling the Fluance Fi50 to play quite loudly.
The rear control panel features the power switch, an auxiliary port and a 2.1-amp USB charging port.
There are soft-touch controls for volume and brightness on top of the unit. The Fluance Fi50 is solidly built and has some heft, and though it is not so heavy and bulky that it can’t be moved around it I would not call it portable. This is a system that you probably want to find a place for, and leave it there.
If Fluance has a “house sound” the Fi50 exemplifies it, as it is warm and pleasing to the ear, with clear treble that stops short of being bright. It also has liveliness that is evident when playing music such as mariachi and jazz, a liveliness that makes it easy to get drawn into the music. The bass is satisfying and well-defined, but does not go quite as deep as some competitors like the Cambridge Audio Bluetone 100 (which admittedly, is more expensive.) The Fluance Fi50 can play loud enough to easily fill a medium-sized room, and never sounds strained dong so. In terms of detail and fullness, it falls short of the very best Bluetooth speakers, but is unmatched at the $200 price point and overall this speaker sounds a lot more expensive than it is.
If you have a budget of $200, an AC outlet and enough space for it, it is hard to to do better than the Fluance Fi50. While I would like to see FM included as it is on the Fluance Fi70, there is not much else I would suggest in the way of improvement. Though a battery would be nice, the wood finish and hard-wired AC plug makes this more of a countertop system than a portable system and I think it is just fine without it.
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