Fyne Vintage Five Review By WHAT HI-FI?

Jun 12, 2024 |

Fyne Audio’s Vintage speaker range has a separate fanbase. The engineering behind it, has succeeded to blend the nostalgic aesthetics with the modern day engineering which truly steals the show. It can be bought in four series: the tiny Fyne Vintage Five we are testing today is the first in range, the wardrobe-sized Vintage Fifteen, which contains a massive 38cm (15in) mid/bass driver and costs almost 10 times the amount.

While Fyne has filled the huge halls and large rooms with the three floorstanding speaker models, they have decided to leave some space for smaller space with the standmount speakers, without compromising the quality of the brand. That makes sense considering that they have a comparatively modest 12.5cm mid/bass driver and are only 35 cm tall. The engineers have placed the tweety Isoflare in the middle of the mid/bass unit, proving to be a Fyne Audio product with its engineering. The mechanism of aligning the acoustic centers of both drivers in the same axis with perfect timing, is very impressive. The integration between the two units seems strong and creates uniform dispersion characteristics, making it outstanding among speakers with separate driver locations.

Design and Engineering

The multi-fibre paper mid/bass unit is connected to the 19mm magnesium dome compression unit (Isoflare), which is powered by a vented neodymium motor system, via an excellent second order crossover. The multi-fibre paper mid/bass unit is connected to the 19mm magnesium dome compression unit tweeter, which is powered by a vented neodymium motor system, via an excellent 2nd order crossover. This filter network crosses over at 1.9 kHz and is cryogenically processed to relieve internal stresses in each element. The interior wiring of the speaker is made of Van Den Hul silver-plated copper. The cone resonances are efficiently damped with the help of indented rubber surround around the unit. Using a downward-facing reflex port that directs sound into a cone-shaped diffuser, the Vintage Five's bass is adjusted, and the technique has been named Basstrax by Fyne Audio, by which the low-frequency sound is dispersed uniformly. This method has the benefit of making the speakers more flexible about where they are in relation to the room's walls. The diffuser is visible through the opening located at the bottom of the speaker's front surface.

A “Presence” dial can be found above the diffuser slot. The dial helps in tone control, which ranges from plus 3dB to minus 3dB, which is very delicate and affects only 2.5-5.0 kHz range. That frequency range affects our perception of depth in stereo images and vocal quality. We would suggest you leave the Presence control in the center in your reference arrangement because it tends to balance the speaker the best. You will be pleased with the control's smooth, well-damped action, albeit an indent to highlight this point would be useful.

Build and Compatibility

While the design and appearance of the dwarfish monster remains a debatable topic, we could not deny the quality of the manufacturing, top standard finishing and build quality. The speakers seem to be more of a luxurious antique than a modern-age appliance. The speakers are surrounded by the barriers of birch ply externally and sealed by the mix of bonded acoustic fiber and polyether foam.

The hand finish design uses the blend of walnut veneer and burr walnut to cover the internal and external surfaces of the speaker. This blend adds a luxurious touch to the Fyne Vintage Five. Well done, Fyne Audio Team. At the back side, the connecting terminals consist of a pair of WBT Nextgen binding posts and a terminal for grounding. Connecting the grounding terminal to the amplifier helps in improving the clarity and refinement a bit.

With a nominal impedance of 8 ohms and a claimed sensitivity of 87dB/W/m, these speakers shouldn't be too difficult to drive in smaller spaces. Valve amplifiers are relatively low in power and have outputs up to 20 watts per channel which is able to achieve decent volume levels. In our spacious 3 x 7 x 5 m high-power test room, we have no problem with noise when we use transistor-based integrated designs like Arcam's A5 (50 watts per channel), Naim's Nait XS 3 (70 watts per channel), or PMC's Cor (95 watts per channel). The Vintage Five are reliably driven without incident by our Burmester 088/911 MkIII reference amplifier (180 watts per channel), even if these speakers aren't able to fully utilize the power of such an amplifier. They are powerful in other domains.


 

Given that they are exposing speakers, providing them with a high-quality signal makes sense. Our primary sources are the Technics SL-1000R/Kiseki Purpleheart MC record player, the Naim ND 555/555 PS DR music streamer, and a Macbook Pro that is linked to a Chord Hugo TT DAC and loaded with the music-playing program Audirvana.All standmounts depend on the strength and quality of the support. With Vintage Five, people will rethink keeping standmounts on stands and will look forward to putting them in the bookshelves or wall brackets. Although Fyne provides accessories for their products, you could find the right accessories from brands like Atacam and Solid Steel. But, we suggest you grab the best fit as per your dealer’s advice.

We eventually tilted the speakers slightly toward the primary listening position, aiming them so they crossed about a meter beyond our heads, after experimenting with placement. With this positioning, the stereo imaging fits perfectly. Because of the advantages of the Isoflare configuration, the sound staging is more consistent over a wider variety of listening positions than it would be with a traditional driver arrangement.

Sound

Once every experiment is successful, the Fyne Vintage Five performs well. No seismic bass or high volume levels are coming out with strained sounding. As this is obvious in small-sized speakers, we will have to accept it. But as claimed, the little dwarf is a gem for the smaller spaces and can do better than we could have imagined.

When we listen to Rag 'N' Bone Man's Human, we are truly struck by how much low-end weight the Five manages to pack into such a small package. Upon transitioning from Górecki's Symphony No. 3 to Feeling Good by Nina Simone and You Can't Kill Me by 070 Shake, it is evident that these speakers possess remarkable transparency. The Fynes' amazing stereo imaging is evident in the Górecki piece; they have a great sense of how to cover a large soundstage with precisely placed instruments while keeping it floating.

Although the higher frequencies could be a bit sweeter and more elegant, the tones are generally well-balanced. It's vital to carefully associate with electronics that act well. If you get it right, any lack of top-end finesse will be overshadowed by the clarity and bite of the top end.

The Vintage Five can show off their enthusiastic side on the Nina Simone song. As Simone comes through with passion and fire, we could feel the energy bursting all around us. While some competitors may possess greater skill than these Fynes, very few are able to produce sound with such energy and clarity.

Conclusion

It's simple to underestimate The Vintage Five speakers. Their tiny size makes them difficult to take seriously, particularly considering their seemingly expensive price. Their retro design also suggests that they are for people who long for olden days. However, when you take into account the superb engineering, remarkable build quality, and amazing sound—when utilized with the right system—it is difficult to remain unimpressed. We certainly are.

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