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Fluance Signature Series 3-Way Floorstanding Speakers Review

by December 28, 2016
  • Product Name: Signature Series Hi-Fi Three-Way Floorstanding Speakers
  • Manufacturer: Fluance
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Review Date: December 28, 2016 11:00
  • MSRP: $ 699.99/pair (free shipping)
  • Buy Now
  • Configuration: 3 Way - 4 Driver Floorstanding Main Speakers
  • Tweeter: 1 Inch Neodymium Balanced Silk Dome Ferrofluid Cooled
  • Midrange: 5 Inch Woven Glass Fiber Butyl Rubber Surrounds
  • Woofer: Dual 8 Inch Polypropylene Butyl Rubber Surrounds
  • Power Handling: 90 - 200 Watts
  • Frequency Response: 35Hz - 20KHz
  • Sensitivity: 89 dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 530/2600 Hz - PCB Mounted Circuitry
  • Impedance: 8 Ohm Compatible
  • Enclosure: Tuned Rear Port Bass Reflex Tower Design Dampened
  • Dimensions: 47.24 x 10.9 x 15.4 inch
  • Weight: 62.4 pounds/speaker

Pros

  • Powerful bass
  • Good finish for the price
  • Reasonably good dispersion
  • Easy electrical load for any amplifier
  • Good dynamic range for the cost

Cons

  • They are not suited for a small room or close listening distances
  • ‘Warm’ voicing is a matter of preference
  • On the large side for tower speakers

 

Signature Series Hi-Fi Three-Way Floorstanding Speakers Introduction

The Fluance Signature Series Hi-Fi Three-Way Floorstanding speakers have had something of a tumultuous history since their launch in early 2016. Initial enthusiasm about the specifications, features, and the nice finish for the low cost gave way to mixed reactions from reviewers and owners once the product was in hand. Our investigation into what was heard to be shortcomings in the sound revealed a problematic crossover. The crossover was redesigned, and the Signature Series Three-Way Floorstanding Speakers were relaunched in the fall of 2016. In this review of the relaunched Fluance Signature Series Hi-Fi Three-Way Floorstanding speakers (which we shall hereafter simply call the Signature Towers), we will see if the crossover redesign managed to rectify the weaknesses of the first units while retaining their strengths.

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Fluance Signature Series Tower Speakers

Unpacking and Setup

FluanceBoxC.jpg     Internal-packingC.jpg

The Signature Towers arrived at my doorstep well packed. They were double-boxed and the speakers were placed in a thick plastic covering and surrounded by large foam blocks. The packaging had taken a beating, and it was obvious that the carrier had not babied these shipments, but the speakers were in mint condition thanks to the smart packing. The manual that Fluance provided is pretty generic and seems to be the manual for all Fluance speakers, but it does give intelligent advice for placement and setup. One part of the setup is the assembly of the outriggers, and Fluance includes instructions for that, so it is a simple and easy process.

Appearance


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Signature tower image courtesy of Aaron Wallace

This speaker has the appearance of being much more expensive than it is.

The Fluance Signature Towers are not small speakers, at four feet high, eleven inches wide (fourteen inches wide with outriggers), and fifteen inches deep. They will not disappear in whatever room you place them in. This is not to say they look bad; on the contrary, the tapered cabinet, glossy front baffle, and slick driver array make this speaker look much more expensive than it is. It is a large speaker, but a tastefully finished one. With grille on, the speaker is a black monolith, but a handful of nice touches do distinguish it. The embossed cursive signature at the top and metal Fluance emblem down below are aesthetic touches one would expect to find on pricier speakers, as are the polished wire posts on the back. Even the floor spikes on the outriggers look attractive. My favorite visual element here is the sleek bass drivers. I can’t think of a nicer looking tower speaker at this price. It may be that, given the speaker’s sheer size, Fluance had to go the extra distance in terms of aesthetics to make this a more acceptable speaker for more people.

Design Overview and Build Quality


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Signature tower driver images courtesy of Aaron Wallace

The “Three-Way” in the Signature Tower’s name is split between two 8” woofers, a 5” mid-woofer, and a 1” dome tweeter, with crossover frequencies at 530 Hz and 2,600 Hz. The 8” bass drivers use polypropylene cones and are claimed to have ‘long throw’ by the marketing literature, but I am not sure what their definition of ‘long throw’ is. Nonetheless, two 8” woofers would seem to offer more displacement than other similarly priced tower speakers. The 5” glass fiber woven mid woofer uses what Fluance’s literature calls a “pointed dome” but, since it is fixed to the pole piece, it is really a phase plug; as long as it serves to improve the driver’s performance, I don’t care what they call it. The 1” silk dome tweeter is embedded in a shallow metal waveguide and uses a neodymium magnet and ferrofluid cooling which are fairly standard features of dome tweeters these days. Notably, one of the complaints of the first Signature Towers was that the bass-to-mid crossover was too high, at 1,200 Hz, which allowed the mid-woofer to only play a relatively small range of frequencies, but we see this has been rectified with a more sensible 530 Hz.

woofersr.jpg     binding-posts.jpg

The cabinet build quality is not bad considering the price. The enclosure is MDF, of course, and Fluance calls it “audio grade MDF” (first time I have heard of that grade of MDF). The side and rear panels are 0.7” thick, and the front baffle is a more impressive 1.4” thick. Window bracing is used in the cabinet, and one nice touch is that the drivers have separate internal enclosures. The mid-woofer and tweeter occupy their own sealed compartments in an effort to keep other driver’s back waves from interfering with their smooth operation. The speaker is bi-ampable for those who want to amplify the bass section separately from the midrange and tweeter section. This may help to reduce distortion slightly. The cabinet is chock full of polyfill for damping internal waves. Two 3” ports are flared on both ends and have netting covering the internal end that keeps stuffing from blowing out and objects (or critters!) from entering the cabinet. This looks like a good idea for those with children who like to hide things; most of the stuff they can cram in the ports won’t fall into the cabinet. The Signature Towers come with a very sturdy set of outriggers. The outriggers use floor spikes, but the spikes do not have a sharp tip, so they should be safe to use on hard floors without being a scratching hazard. The cabinetry is not as heavy-duty as one sees in higher-priced speakers, but it is good for its price, and there is some details in its construction that go beyond what you expect to see for the cost.

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About the author:

James Larson is Audioholics' primary loudspeaker and subwoofer reviewer on account of his deep knowledge of loudspeaker functioning and performance and also his overall enthusiasm toward moving the state of audio science forward.

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Recent Forum Posts:

rojo posts on January 07, 2017 14:36
Rootman, post: 1165348, member: 81198
I'm not trying to be a troll or anything –

– yet, sadly, accidental trolling occurs alarmingly often. Best to say nothing at all, my dear man.
Dennis Murphy posts on January 07, 2017 14:01
Rootman, post: 1165393, member: 81198
Very Quasi… I'm not trying to be overly critical and get what he's doing.
I guess I'm not understanding what your objection is. Would you also say that Harman shouldn't test their speakers in an anechoic chamber because people don't listen to speakers in anechoic chambers? If so, I think you're misunderstanding the point of measurements like this. They're just intended to sort out the inherent response of the speaker from room effects.
Rootman posts on January 07, 2017 13:55
Dennis Murphy, post: 1165382, member: 29480
The reviewer wasn't conducting listening tests out there on the driveway. He was taking quasi-anechoic measurements. His setup allowed more resolution into the lower frequencies to give a better idea of the inherent bass capability of the speaker. As for the listening environment, as is stated in the article: “In my approximately 24’ by 13’ listening room, I set up the speakers with equal stand-off distances between the backwall and sidewall……………..”
Very Quasi… I'm not trying to be overly critical and get what he's doing.
Dennis Murphy posts on January 07, 2017 12:52
Rootman, post: 1165348, member: 81198
I'm not trying to be a troll or anything, but having bought and listened to high end audio equipment for most of my 60 years(OK, I started at age 10), I know of no one that would ever listen to their rig set out in their driveway, 4 feet off the ground!!!! Unless of course, you are having a field party, like Woodstock!!!! So why run listening tests on stuff out there????

If you want real world stats, use real world listening conditions. I get that not everyone has the same environment….but, I grant you NO one on this man's earth listens out on the driveway to a high end rig on a regular basis, eh???? Enough already with the empirical data!!!!!

Just my two cents after reading and seeing the Fluance speaker review. BTW. I am not listening to BOSE 901's or such. I'm a tube guy with VTL stuff and Maggies and other things. Just saying boyzzzz!!!!

Happy New Year!!!

The reviewer wasn't conducting listening tests out there on the driveway. He was taking quasi-anechoic measurements. His setup allowed more resolution into the lower frequencies to give a better idea of the inherent bass capability of the speaker. As for the listening environment, as is stated in the article: “In my approximately 24’ by 13’ listening room, I set up the speakers with equal stand-off distances between the backwall and sidewall……………..”
Rootman posts on January 07, 2017 10:54
I'm not trying to be a troll or anything, but having bought and listened to high end audio equipment for most of my 60 years(OK, I started at age 10), I know of no one that would ever listen to their rig set out in their driveway, 4 feet off the ground!!!! Unless of course, you are having a field party, like Woodstock!!!! So why run listening tests on stuff out there????

If you want real world stats, use real world listening conditions. I get that not everyone has the same environment….but, I grant you NO one on this man's earth listens out on the driveway to a high end rig on a regular basis, eh???? Enough already with the empirical data!!!!!

Just my two cents after reading and seeing the Fluance speaker review. BTW. I am not listening to BOSE 901's or such. I'm a tube guy with VTL stuff and Maggies and other things. Just saying boyzzzz!!!!

Happy New Year!!!
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