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Fluance Ai40 Bluetooth Speaker Review

by April 28, 2019
Fluance Ai40 Bluetooth Speakers

Fluance Ai40 Bluetooth Speakers

  • Product Name: Ai40 2.0 Bluetooth Speakers
  • Manufacturer: Fluance
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: April 28, 2019 21:00
  • MSRP: $ 199 - Fluance.com, $169.96 - Amazon
  • SPEAKER CONFIGURATION          2 Way – 2 Driver Bookshelf Speaker System with Integrated Amplifier (Pair)
  • BLUETOOTH       Yes; aptX Codec
  • TWEETER             1 inch Silk Soft Dome Ferrofluid Cooled
  • WOOFER              5 inch Woven Glass Fiber Composite Drivers with Butyl Rubber Surrounds
  • AMPLIFIER POWER          Class D 70 Watts Continuous Average Output (2x 35 watts)
  • FREQUENCY RESPONSE 40Hz – 20KHz (DSP Virtual Sound Perceived by Ear)
  • INTERNAL LEAD WIRE     18 gauge Internal Lead Wire
  • CROSSOVER FREQUENCY              2600Hz Phase Coherent – PCB Mounted Circuitry
  • ENCLOSURE        Acoustic Suspension Design
  • PHONO PREAMP              No
  • DIMENSIONS     10.9 x 6.5 x 7.6 inch
  • SPEAKER WEIGHT             15.1 lbs


  • Price for quality
  • Deep resonant bass


  • No AUX or optical in
  • No subwoofer out


Fluance is a Canadian-based audio brand that produces high- end home audio, music systems and high-fidelity turntables.  Their new Ai40 hits the sweet spot between price and performance. The original price of the Ai40's came in at $299 which then dropped to $199. At $199 the Ai40 is a significant level up on $100 powered Bluetooth speakers, yet can hold its own against the $300 tier.

Fluance uses high-performance drive units, advanced enclosure technologies, highly-refined crossovers, and engineered wood cabinets to achieve all new standards in sound performance and technological design excellence. The results are clean, undistorted bass, smooth response throughout the midrange, exceptional high frequency, and accurate sound reproduction.

- Fluance

Fluance Ai40 Bluetooth Speakers Overview

Bold statements. I was impressed in the past with Fluance offerings like the solidly built Fluance AB40 High Performance Soundbase Home Theater System, but bookshelf speakers are a different beast. We expect high fidelity like we see in our passive speakers and are often let down. But with 70 watts total output from a class D amplifier and a 40Hz – 20KHz measured frequency response from the manufacturer I have my hopes high.

Build Quality

Ai40 box.jpg     Ai40 box2.jpg

The Ai40 was well received in sturdy packaging and foam inserts. No double boxing, but no damage was seen when the Ai40 was unveiled.

 Ai40 contents.jpg

Inside the box were all the tools needed to get the Ai40 going: Power cord, remote control, 8’ - 18guage speaker wire, and a surprising twist- a 3ft 3.5mm Aux to RCA Cable.

 Ai40 colors.png

Fluance sent me the natural walnut finish which I found a bit mundane, but the Ai40 also comes in Black Ash and Lucky Bamboo which has a cool white front and bamboo patterned sides. With three finishes to choose from I’m sure the Ai40 could easily find its way into any décor. The solid build of the wood cabinet with sexy curved edges though is where you can see what Fluance has to offer with their Ai40. The thick MDF (medium density fiberboard) gave a solid feel to the speakers. Much better than cheap highly- resonating plastic enclosures.  No grilles are offered and with that regard, none are needed. Why hide the beauty of the 1-inch silk soft dome ferrofluid cooled tweeters and 5-inch woven glass fiber composite drivers?

 Ai40 back.jpg

On the back of the active speaker you can see the amplifier panel which includes the 19V DC input for power, the left speaker wire out connectors, the RCA inputs, and the Bluetooth pairing button.  Inside the active speaker lies the heart of the system, the class D 70 watt continuous average output (2x 35 watts) amplifier. A built-in adjustment for bass and treble is included in the active speaker for those of us that just HAVE to tweak our system to our liking.  One feature missing from the back of the Ai40 is the port. The majority of smaller active bookshelf speakers are ported. We cover the advantages and disadvantages of ported vs non-ported speakers in our article Sealed vs Ported Loudspeakers: Which is Better?

The right speaker is considered active, which I’ve always been a little curious about. How does the manufacturer decide which speaker will be active? In my case it would have been more efficient to have the active speaker on the left, closer to my power strip in my demo room.  But alas, a short extension cord will have to do.

The left speaker is passive and is powered from the right speaker through an 18- gauge speaker wire. For longer runs Fluance recommends beefier cable, but with 35 watts per channel an 18- gauge wire is fine for 10 or even 20-ft runs.


Fluance Ai40 Published Frequency Response (smoothed)

The crossover is designed at 2,600 HAi40 front single.jpgz, which should do a sufficient job at moving the bass/treble frequencies from the woofer to the tweeter.  Fluance includes an SPL vs Frequency graph with their paperwork on the Ai40. It’s a flat, smoothed out graph that really doesn’t mean much for critical analysis, so in this case we’ll let our ears do our measurements for us.

On the front of the speaker is a single control knob. Turning the knob will control the volume of the speaker manually, but the option of volume control through your paired Bluetooth device and the remote control is also available. Pressing the knob will control the input options and power the system off. A yellow light means the speakers are paired with an RCA input, blue for Bluetooth, and red means the speakers are powering off.

Note: One cool feature of the Ai40 is that you can control the intensity of the selector light through the remote control.

As mentioned earlier, the Ai40 comes with a RCA to 3.5mm cord for playback through a tethered device. Although it would have been nice to see an optical-in for upgrading your TV speakers, the RCA inputs on the back of the speaker are a nice upgrade from the 3.5mm input the more inexpensive Bluetooth speakers come with. All the accessory components such as the speaker wire, RCA mm cord, power cord and even the remote control are made of high-quality materials Fluance is known for.

As with other Bluetooth speaker systems, setup takes just a few minutes. For initial listening tests, I set up the speaker system with the speakers 5’ apart and 30” off the floor with 1’ behind the speakers. Once the speakers were plugged in, I depressed the Bluetooth button on the back of the unit.  Within seconds the Fluance Ai40 paired with my iPhone and I was ready to go.

The colors on the front of the unit correspond with what the speaker is doing.

Blue (solid): Bluetooth is paired

Blue (flashing): Bluetooth pairing mode

Yellow (solid): RCA

Red (solid): Standby mode

Red (flashing): Mute

Red (double-flash): Bass or treble set to +/-5

Blue/Yellow (double-flash): Bass or treble set to 0

Listening Tests


Stevie Ray Vaughn "Tin Pan Alley"

Stevie Ray VaughnI pulled up some of my usual Bluetooth speaker demo songs from my phone to see what the pair could do. First up was Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Tin Pan Alley. The intro high guitar riffs were distinct, clear, and melodic. The soft tap of the cymbal and snare edge showed the capability of the ferrofluid- cooled tweeters. The background bass guitar hummed nicely through the 5” woofers. I don’t like to listen to music at ear bleeding volume levels so for me the Ai40 was a nice compromise of deep bass – not enough to rattle the walls, but enough to just barely feel it in your chest.  

The remote for the Ai40 is simply laid out: Volume up and down, track forward and back, mute, and an easy treble and bass adjustment. For “Tin Pan Alley” I boosted the bass almost up to full. There were many times when the bass control feature came in handy.  In a small room, the low end bass came through loud and clear, so it was nice to be able to adjust it to my liking without it overpowering the room. For most songs I kept the bass at about half level. On the other hand, I found the best placement for the treble level was all the way up.  The small white light on the remote flashed twice when you reached full levels on either bass or treble.

Michael Jackson – "Smooth Criminal"

The Ai40 reproduced the heartbeat like intro to "Smooth Criminal" with precision. The cuts to Michael Jackson’s voice stood out clearly. The mids were a bit muffled in this song, but it’s hard to tell if it was the speaker itself or the recording playing through Bluetooth. The Ai40 never broke up at medium to high volumes I played it at.

Connected: Computer

The Fluance Ai40 far exceeded my expectations of what a $200 bluetooth speaker setup could do.

I was giving a lecture the week I was demoing the Ai40 and decided to bring them with me to test them in a larger setting. The speaker pair was connected through the 3.5mm port in my computer using the supplied AUX cable. I depressed the front volume button so it was on the “Yellow” setting and was ready to go. The 1,200 sf room I was in had nearly 13-foot ceilings and ubiquitous industrial linoleum tiled floor. Between the hard floor and solid concrete walls I didn’t expect much from the small speakers, but how I was wrong!  The Ai40 did an exceptional job of replaying the short video clips I had embedded in my presentation.

Ai40 pair.jpg 

After the lecture I decided to sit in the room and listen to a few tracks played from my computer to see how the system compared to the more intimate setting of my listening room at home. I played the Eagles 1994 acoustic version of Hotel California. Several people sat with me and commented on the immense lows coming from the Ai40 system. Soundstage and separation were far beyond what you could get from a single box system.  Like “Smooth Criminal”, the mids were a bit mushy here, but I attributed it more to the size and acoustics of the room as opposed to the speakers or source material.

Note:  Like other Bluetooth speakers I have auditioned, if you are streaming from your phone and you get a text or phone call, the ringtone comes through the speaker which can scare the ever loving crap out of you!


The Fluance Ai40 Powered Bluetooth SpeaAi40ker Pair far exceeded my expectations of what a $200 active speaker setup could do. In fact while writing this article I found them on Amazon priced new for $170!

I could easily see it paired with a hi-fi turntable to provide an exceptional 2.0 stereo sound experience. Connect the pair using RCA cables to a phono pre-amplifier or bypass the external pre-amp if your turntable has one built in. If you’re shopping for the Ai40 on Amazon, the superstore web giant will even recommend buying the Ai40 along with Fluance’s RT80 HiFi Turntable for an additional $169 (limited time offer).

Like other speakers in this price range it would have been nice to see a sub out and optical input for an easy-to-install, easy-to-use sound bar killer. A simple acoustic room adjustment program or app for your phone would have been nice too. At $200 or less, the Fluance Ai40 was twice the price of our recently reviewed Dayton Audio MK402BT and in this case they do sound twice as good.

For those of you looking for a solidly-built pair of Bluetooth speakers that sound good, it would be hard to make a better choice than the Ai40 for $170. The speaker pair comes with lifetime customer support and a 2-year full manufacturers direct warranty as well as free shipping from both Fluance and Amazon Prime, so you can be guaranteed a happy minimal investment in this speaker pair.

About the author:
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Tony is our resident expert for lifestyle and wireless products including soundbars. He does most of the reviews for wireless and streaming loudspeakers and often compares soundbars in round ups and helps us cover the trade shows.

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