Fluance XL7F Review: Are These Speakers Worth It?
Fluance’s Reference series of speakers are made to look great and sound great at the same time. They aren’t the cheapest for those new to the audio world, but the price point is easily justified for audio enthusiasts. What you get is worth it, making for two-floor standing speakers that sound absolutely wonderful.
Combine that with the beautiful look of the XL7F and you have a real winner. The speakers are gorgeous, elegantly fitting into a living room, demanding enough attention to impress and then fading into the vibe of the room.
If you have the money to put down on them, these floorstanding speakers are some of the best you can get for the price.
|Frequency Response||45Hz – 20KHz|
|Power Handling||80 – 200 Watts|
|Sensitivity||89dB @ 2.83V / 1m|
|Crossover Frequency||800/3500 Hz|
|Impedance||4 ~ 8 Ohms|
|Dimensions||45.8 x 8.5 x 13.4 inches|
|Price||$499.99/pair (check this listing for the latest live prices)|
Design and Build Quality
There’s a few things on the speakers that make them standout from others on the market. Of course, they look great, but the speaker arrangement makes them stand apart.
Let’s start on the front. The face of the speaker holds two midrange woofers and a soft dome tweeter between them. The cones are made out of butyl rubber. This build helps suppress unwanted cone resonances, ensuring durability and performance reliability.
On the bottom are four copper sound-isolation spikes. These high-quality metal spikes absorb vibrations from the floor to make sure the sound is isolated to the speakers.
What’s interesting is where the low-end woofer is placed. The bottom firing driver acts as a pseudo subwoofer, using the floor to propel low end into the room. It’s a cool design that I haven’t seen on very many floorstanding speakers before.
Looks-wise, there are two options here. Both black and cherry finishes are available, but they’re a little different. The cherry is a faux wood grain finish, completely matte, with a black matte front. The black is black all around, but with matte sides and a glossed front. Warning, fingerprint magnet.
However, both of them have the striking white drivers and tweeter on the front. With the cherry finished, the cones aren’t as apparent, sinking into the overall look of the speaker. The more stark contrast on the black variation makes the cones stand out more.
Personally, I like the black finish better. The simple color palette feels more elegant overall. If the cones are too distracting, I can always throw the removable cloth grille on the front.
The speakers are built very nicely as well. The cabinet is constructed from MDF but has internal bracing throughout to give the speaker extra rigidity. Plus, at nearly 50 pounds per speaker, they won’t be moving around much.
There isn’t much to the XL7F in terms of features. Outside of looking and sound great, the speakers just kind of produce sound. No remote controls or anything fancy like that. The feature set is subtle.
The most important is how the cabinet is designed. Tuned rear bass port reflex cabinet design helps improve efficiency with low frequencies and control the overall response. By reducing turbulence when venting low frequencies, the cabinet sounds tighter and more responsive.
The connectivity is well thought out too. The binding posts are compatible with banana plug connectors and speaker wire. They’re completely gold plated, ensuring the maximum conductivity between the connection.
The removable grille isn’t just for aesthetics, either. The low diffraction flush fit on the grille gives a wider image of the sound in use.
The two crossover points have been tuned optimally as well. They use a Butterworth filter design at the crossovers to help maintain a flat response at those frequencies. I won’t get into the math here, but just know that the man who came up with the filter was known for solving “impossible” math problems.
Now, for the meat and potatoes. The speaker looks great and has a few extra features to push it over the edge, but most importantly, it’s a fantastic sounding speaker. Fluance has engineered floor standing speaker that isn’t too expensive, that can produce wonderful audio.
Let’s start at the bottom. Literally. The bottom-firing built-in subwoofer measures eight inches in diameter with a long throw design. That means the bass can physically move the speaker further, resulting in a deeper low end.
I was shocked at how good the bass was on these speakers. The bottom firing sub is more than just an add-on, easily supplementing a dedicated woofer. The response in deep, but tight. The reflex porting helps tighten up the low end and creates punchy bass. If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford a subwoofer, this is an easy compromise to arrive at.
Moving up in frequency and in space are the midrange drivers. The dual 6.5-inch drivers are treated with polymer and surrounded by butyl rubber. Both are separate enclosed, so there’s no crosstalk.
The midrange was the best area for me. The response is smooth and natural sounding, surprising for such an inexpensive set of speakers. They don’t fall victim to the peaks and valleys in the response curve like many other speakers on the market.
With that being said, the midrange area doesn’t lend to the “warm” sound. The area is pronounced enough to not sound scooped but isn’t the main act.
Between the two midrange drivers is the 1-inch tweeter. Here’s how Fluance describes the tweeter. It’s a “1-inch Neodymium Balanced Silk Dome Ferrofluid Cooled” tweeter. I have no clue what half of that means, honestly.
I do know that the highs sound great, though. The highs are crispy and present, but not too aggressive. The tweeter is clear, with trumpet notes a hi-hats coming through with ease. For watching movies, dialogue doesn’t get harsh, which is a plus.
With many inexpensive speakers, the sibilant noises of dialogue can get harsh in the top end. Such is not the case with the XL7F’s, thankfully.
However, there’s a small issue. The speakers don’t shine at low volumes. If you’re like and have the cops called at least once a month for noise violations, that’s not an issue. They don’t sound bad, but they really sound their best from average levels and up.
The Fluance XL7F’sare an amazing set of speakers at a great price. They aren’t the cheapest to newcomers, but a great value for all. The design is elegant, the construction is top notch, and the sound is far better than the price suggests.
If you’re looking for a nice set of speakers and don’t want to break the bank, look here. They aren’t ultra high-end speakers, but they are great for newbies and veterans alike. Oh, and you don’t have to buy a sub, which is great.
Alternatives to Consider
Klipsch R-26F – $540/pair
The most direct comparison to the XL7F’s would be these bad boys. Klipsch has quite the name in the world of audio and these speakers show why that is. Coming from their reference speakers, these speakers sing.
The 90×90 Tractrix horn reproduces high frequencies that sound beautiful. The waveguide disperses it evenly, giving everyone in the room a great experience.
Plus, they’re probably some of the best looking speakers out there. Klipsch’s signature copper spun woofers are elegant and gorgeous. These are a great alternative sitting right around the same price.
Polk Audio RTI A7 – $800/pair
If you’re looking to go more expensive, then it’s hard to go with these speakers. Polk Audio makes some amazing speakers and this one is no exception to that rule. These speakers are really the point where the price increase is justified over the XL7F’s.
The only issue for me is the looks. The speakers come in both black and cherry, but they aren’t stunning the Fluance or Klipsch speakers.
Still, they sound better. If you want to drop some more bones, and actually want to see that money pay off, look here.
Pioneer SP-FS52 – $230/pair
Going in the opposite direction, these speakers are good if you want to save some money. They lack the beautiful looks and don’t have many premium features, but they offer some great bang for your buck.
The speakers actually have three smaller drivers. They aren’t as beefy, but they help distribute sound to give a more natural response. The sound isn’t on the same level as the Fluance’s, but that isn’t surprising at the cost.
If you’re on a super tight budget, but still want great audio, these are a solid option.