At the budget end of the A/V spectrum, Canadian company Fluance has been making its name as a high-quality speaker manufacturer since the turn of the century. After a run of seriously impressive Bluetooth speakers the company is spreading its design wings and gliding from entry-level up into enthusiast territory with its new Signature Series floorstanders.
The Signature Series Hi-Fi Three-Way Floorstanding Speakers are available separately for $799 or as part of a 5.0 system (with surrounds and a center channel) for $999.
While the accompanying literature boasts that these monolithic speakers will "outperform the band themselves" they actually sounded surprisingly poor with music. Instead, like the other Fluance models we have tested, the speakers have a serious home theater bent. The floorstanders' main strengths are the sizable 8-inch drivers, which virtually do away with the need for a separate subwoofer.
When speakers are this close to a thousand bucks, we expect more than just "good for the money." They should simply be "good." Given the lopsided nature of their performance -- home theater over hi-fi -- the Fluance speakers are really only recommendable if you want to impress your friends with their considerable good looks and pure size. If that's not enough for you, get something like the ELAC F5 or the Klipsch RP-250 (or RP-260).
It seems that Fluance is in an arms race to create the biggest speakers it can, a race in which it is the only participant. The company's previous flagship the Fluance XL7F was a stupendously large speaker. We said at the time that it dwarfed the others before it.
Well, imagine a school bus being swallowed by a sperm whale and you get an idea of how big the new Signature Series is. At 4 feet tall, they could be the largest consumer speakers we'll ever see in the CNET audio lab.
And heavy. At 62.4 pounds per speaker you'll definitely need help from a friend to set them up.
The Fluance is a three-way speaker with a 1-inch silk dome tweeter, a 5-inch yellow glass fiber driver which looks smaller than it is, thanks to the enormous dual 8-inch bass woofers it sits above. The woofers crossover at a fairly high 1.2kHz to the mid-range driver, which itself crosses over at 2.3kHz to the tweeter.
In its piano black finish the speaker is undoubtedly Fluance's most attractive speaker to date. Although it lacks grilles it also lacks the proliferation of fasteners on the front panel of its predecessor, for a cleaner look. We also like the luxurious touches, such as the angled cabinet and the substantial speaker terminals.
Due to their immense size and weight these speakers are difficult to handle, and attaching the floor spikes is also fraught with peril. The speakers come with eight "spikes" and four metal brackets to attach them, but sadly there are no instructions on how to attach them. Trial and error is your only recourse. After that ordeal, we found that toeing the speakers in toward the listening position and setting them a few feet from walls gave the best sound.