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Fluance ES1 Floorstanding Pillar Speaker Preview

The Fluance ES1 Floorstanding Pillar Speaker

The Fluance ES1 Floorstanding Pillar Speaker


  • Product Name: Fluance ES1 Two-Way Floorstanding Pillar Speaker
  • Manufacturer: Fluance
  • Review Date: May 23, 2013 12:00
  • MSRP: $449.99/pair
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Tweeter: 1" Ferrite Balanced Silk Dome Ferrofluid Cooled
  • Midrange/Woofer: Four 5" Woven Glass Fiber Composite Drivers with Butyl Rubber Surrounds
  • Crossover: Air Cone Inductors
  • Power Handling: 40 - 160 Watts
  • Frequency Response: 72 - 20K Hz
  • Sensitivity: 90dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 3500 Hz Phase Coherent - PCB Mounted Circuitry
  • Impedance: 8 Ohms
  • Cabinet: Precision Forged 100% Aluminum with MDF Wood Front Baffle
  • Enclosure: Tuned Front Firing Port Bass Reflex Pillar Design
  • Dimensions: 51.8 X 10.6 X 10.6 inches (H x W x D) *including base
  • Weight: 31.9 pounds/speaker

Inexpensive. That's the first word that comes to mind when I think of Fluance. For those unfamiliar with the name, Fluance was established up in the Great White North (aka Canada) in 1999, and since their debut they have been known for building extremely inexpensive but good quality loudspeakers. The speaker we'll be looking at today is the Fluance ES1, a slim floorstanding model priced at $450/pair and boasting a quartet of woofers per side. While not exactly dirt cheap, the ES1 appears to pack a lot of punch for the dollar. How does it stand up to a cursory examination from the Audioholics? Read on to find out.

The Basics

The Fluance ES1 is a sleek floorstanding speaker sporting a 1" silk dome tweeter and four 5" woven glass fiber drivers in a slim vented enclosure composed of forged aluminum, except for the front baffle which is MDF. A basic two-way design, the tweeter hands off to all four woofers at 3,500Hz. Claimed sensitivity of the ES1 is 90dB; nominal impedance is listed as 8 ohms; frequency response is specified to be 72Hz-20kHz, though no tolerance is provided.

So what does this information tell us? For starters, in spite of the aggressive appearance that four 5" woofers might give, the ES1 is without a doubt designed to be used with a subwoofer, and would likely work optimally if crossed over at the THX standard of 80Hz. Fortunately, with a significant amount of cone area to work with, we'd expect the ES1 should deliver a respectable amount of output for the dollar down to the 80Hz mark. Taking the sensitivity and nominal impedance ratings at face value, the ES1 shouldn't present a particularly difficult load for a partnering amplifier, though one should note nominal figures and reality do occasionally differ significantly.

Fluance ES1 Grill On

The Fluance ES1 with the grills on.

Potential Concerns

With respect to the overall design, we do have a couple of potential concerns worth mentioning. For starters, pushing the 5" mid-woofers up to 3,500Hz could lead to at least one potential problem. We have no doubt that the drivers themselves should respond that high.  However, it's a challenge to minimize beaming at the higher frequencies the midrange drivers are being asked to reproduce, potentially creating unevenness in the off axis response. We're also a bit curious about the use of a basic two way crossover for this design. Running all four midrange drivers up to 3,500Hz tends to be less than ideal, and we suspect there may be issues of acoustical interference from doing so. However, since this is a vertical array of drivers, potential tonal shifts occurring from the common drivers playing up in higher frequency may be less problematic in terms of audibility and more academic in nature.  A more ideal solution would possibly be a two and a half way design in this case, i.e. have one or two of the 5" drivers operate up to 3,500Hz to meet the tweeter, with the rest only operating up to 500Hz or so. This would retain the benefit of having all four drivers operating down to the lower limit of the design, while possibly cleaning up the midrange band a bit.  Still, given the cost involved with additional crossover components, we can understand why this isn't done here.


As per their modus operandi, Fluance is delivering a lot of speaker in exchange for $450/pair. The slim aluminum enclosure of the ES1 should meet the WAF (wife acceptance factor) test, and the array of woofers shouldn't have any problems delivering big output in spite of the small package. Unsurprisingly, the ES1 isn't perfect; however, taking cost and the form factor into account, we'd expect these speakers to deliver quite respectable performance. If you're in the market for a speaker that's diminutive in stature but not sound, the Fluance ES1 could be right up your alley.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Steve Munz is a “different” addition to Audioholics’ stable of contributors in that he is neither an engineer like Gene, nor has he worked in the industry like Cliff. In fact, Steve’s day job is network administration and accounting.

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