Fluance xl8f review home theater heart stoppers

Fluance XL8F review: Home theater heart stoppers

Two companies that flocked to ClearTips’s testing labs in 1999 made their debut: apperian audio and flow. While Apperion has remained on its home theater path over the past few decades, Fluence has continued to grow with devices such as RT82 Turntable, winner of our Editors’ Choice award. The company is on a real tear, and the XL8F floor-standing speaker is the latest example.


  • large, generously proportioned speaker
  • Excellent sound quality perfect for long binge sessions
  • Candle has nothing for money

do not like it

  • Can be smooth, especially with its lower register
  • Dustcaps didn’t quite line up

XL8 Range Led by these impressive floor-standers, there’s a cost-effective home theater speaker range encompassing rear, center, and bookshelf. The XL8F’s fit and finish is great for $600 (£600) per pair, and its sheer size is unmatched by other speakers at its level. The XL8F’s sound is open and thrilling, but never overpowering, and these speakers just tinged when fed a movie soundtrack. They are not too inclined with music.

The XL8 offers much better value than Fluance’s flagships $800 Signature Series And an even better design. The sound is also better balanced than what I remember from the Signature range.

Whereas that same money will buy you a really cool bookshelf speaker from name brands Elac or Klipsch, if you really want the most speakers for your money, there’s no equal to the huge Fluance XL8F.

Design and Features


Twin 6.5-inch glass fiber drivers flank a 1-inch soft dome tweeter.

Ty Pendlebury / ClearTips

The Fluance XL8F is a modern three-way floor-stander, but it presents itself as a 2.5-way, with a bass driver hidden in the bass. The Fluence has two, 6.5-inch glass-fiber drivers, separated by 1-inch fabric tweeters (called the D’Apolito configuration, named after the designer who perfected the arrangement, Joseph D’Apolito). I found that one of the driver’s dust caps looked a bit rough when viewed up close – they’re all made from a single piece of glass fiber, and it didn’t stick to the square. But from the couch I couldn’t really tell.

Elsewhere the finish is exemplary, and I adore the odd Signature Series design with its small, yellow midrange driver on top. The XL8F towers quite tall at 46 inches high, only 1.5 inches smaller than the Monster signature. They’re also deep enough to accommodate the bottom-mounted 8-inch bass driver.


Ty Pendlebury / ClearTips

The speaker cabinet tapers at the rear to reduce internal reflections, and ends in two rear bass ports (so it works better if you leave a few feet off the wall). The front baffle has a piano-black finish in black ash or walnut options for the sides.

The fixtures are just as luxurious as the rest of the speaker, starting with a magnetically attached grille. Gold plated binding posts are solid looking and are a set of two if you want to experiment with bi-wiring or bi-amping.

The speakers are rated at 87dB sensitivity, which means they can be powered by most receivers or amps, and are capable of 35Hz-25KHz frequency response.

While no one is actually auditioning the speaker in store at this time, the company does offer a 30-day money back trial on speakers purchased through its website.

How does it feel?

As I’d expect from a speaker with a bottom-firing bass driver, the Fluence has a big, bold sound, but it’s also capable of subtlety I didn’t expect. That midrange-twitter-midrange arrangement is able to reproduce a lot of details in music and movies with a generously open character. I compared the speaker to my go-to reference speaker, $900 . from Q Acoustics 3050i And found that Fluence delivers better sound in several key areas, especially when it comes to watching movies.

The Fluance XL8F’s combination of deep bass and revving midrange made it a perfect partner for The Matrix’s lobby scene. The scene mixes balletic slo-mo, ricocheting bullet sound effects, and a pumping electro score, and Fluence ties them together in a satisfying way. Although the Cue Acoustics was able to handle the lower back better, the Fluence “freezes” and its buzzing tail screams in a more revealing fashion.

Looking at the avatar, Fluence displayed his keen ear with the lush rainforests of Pandora. Jake’s machine gun click during Thanator’s chase scene was more jarring when he realized Thanator wanted a cat-person food instead of the elephant-like hammerhead Titanothere. The sound of the chase was simply more visceral when heard on Fluence than its counterpart. In comparison, the Cue acoustics was a bit more passive, more bass-focused, and a little less exciting overall.

The two were close when it came to music, but the more quiet quality of the cue acoustics and the top-to-bottom accompaniment gave it a slight edge. I listened to everything from nocturnal jazz to rock music by Claude Debussy, and found that Fluence’s talents lie in the music with great detail. The XL8F can really give you a vivid sense of the display space and make the speaker itself disappear—unless things are too loose.

For example, the opening moments of Phoebe Bridgers’ No the End gave me goosebumps when I listened to Fluence through, and it continued as the chorus swung around behind the electric guitar singer. At 2:45 the bass drum that drives the second half of the song was deep and pulsating. Only when the song got really chaotic did the details wash out.

Surprisingly, Q Acoustics presented a different song, and one that was ultimately more satisfying. The song’s intro guitars sounded big, and instead of being thrilled, they were pushed out into the listening space, which surrounded me. When the song got busy the speakers took into account everything better than Fluence, and the deep middle arrangement on the 3050i’s chanting vocals and angry “rahhhh” were more subtly expressed.

should you buy it?

Yes, you can buy yourself a pretty killer soundbar for $600, but there’s no way it can match the Fluence XL8F either for physical presence or its ability to reproduce a thundering movie soundtrack. There are a few floor-standers that can do what the XL8F does—marry crushing bass power with an open, detailed sound—and none of them cost $600. The Q Acoustics 3050i is a more sophisticated speaker, especially for music, but it costs $350 more and isn’t as well designed. The Fluance XL8F offers an exceptional value and if your budget is very tight, and you have the room, these speakers should be at the top of your audition list.

Source link

Similar Posts