Fluance Ai60 Powered Bookshelf Speakers – Fluance is carving out a niche in the budget audio world – As the title suggests, they make great products for the money.
A Canadian online company that has a wide range of budget conscious products to offer. I’ve previously reviewed some of their products, including the Ai40’s big brother, the Ai60. I loved it and had a hard time parting with it. The Ai40 carries much of the same DNA from the larger model and, although smaller, its design and capabilities are largely the same in this nicely scaled-down version. Fluance once again offers an elegantly designed speaker at a modest price.
Fluance Ai60 Powered Bookshelf Speakers
There are many more powered speakers on the market than there used to be for consumers to choose from. Proven producers have always kept a pair or two on hand for recording purposes, casual audio enthusiasts have largely gone the route of a pile of components and a few passive speakers. Lately, most consumers have picked up a Bluetooth speaker or soundbar to listen to, and while some sound pretty good, they’re still
Fluance Ai60 Powered Bookshelf Speaker Preview
Musicians have more than likely owned a few studio monitors and powered speakers for the home are becoming much more common these days. And for good reason, the guesswork of which amp to pair with your speakers is taken out of the equation. In addition, the manufacturer has control over the signal path and optimizes it for the drives. In addition, the mess of cables connecting the amplifier to the speakers is almost gone. Motorized speakers are usually relegated to recording studios or on top of desktop computers acting as computer speakers. With mobile devices being the only source for many people, convenience took precedence and Bluetooth speakers with a simple box became more common. So this move to powered speakers is a very logical, happy medium for me, if not a good move for HiFi.
This is my fifth trip with Fluance and the Ai40 is another great addition to their range. An MSRP of $199 begs a closer look. Does it sound as good as the marketing material suggests? Will it knock my socks off?
The Fluance Ai40 Powered Bookshelf is priced to appeal to consumers who wouldn’t normally consider a pair of dedicated speakers for budget reasons, space constraints, or for those just looking for a step up in sound quality. Fluance, for its part, makes no claims that the Ai40 monitor is audiophile reference, and it would be unfair to judge them by that standard. However, Fluance touts the ease of use and the “effortless music enjoyment” you can have. So, simplicity and a fun, lively sound are the barometers for this review.
I took on this review in mid-summer 2019. Which means I’ll be spending a lot of time in my cabin. And while I love escaping the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto to the peaceful tranquility of the countryside, I ultimately miss having a dedicated speaker setup on hand. We Airbnb our cabin as it’s in wine country, so I generally wouldn’t risk leaving any serious hi-fi equipment unattended and hope it doesn’t get misused. So all we have up there is a Bose Soundlink which
Ai61ss05r Fluance Ai61 Powered 2 Way 2.0 Stereo Bookshelf Speakers With 6.5
Gets the job done, but doesn’t blow your hair back or even fill the room the way I’d like, so I decided to take the Fluance Ai40 to wine country and give them a listen. Even better, the Fluance Ai40 came tightly packed in a fairly small box that fit into our already overstuffed Q5, which held two adults, two children (and car seats), two dogs, a stroller, food, two duffels, toys, and more.
2-way – 2 driver powered bookshelf speaker system with integrated amplifier (pair – 1x active 1x passive)
The Ai40 is available in All Black and Walnut (both of which have black faceplates) and Lucky Bamboo (which has a white faceplate). I was surprised by the looks of the Lucky Bamboo variant I received when I reviewed the Ai60. This time, however, I got the black variant. The build quality is really good, but it doesn’t feel as premium as the Lucky Bamboo. The speaker cabinets measure 10.9″ H x 6.5″ W x 7.6″ D and feature curved cabinet edges. The cabinets are constructed of MDF and are sealed enclosures with an acoustic suspension design. The black 5″ woven fiberglass driver is housed in butyl rubber housings, while the soft dome tweeter is surrounded by a waveguide for better off-axis response.The Fluance Ai40 is powered by a 70-watt Class D amplifier and claims a frequency range of 30Hz to 20KHz and via DSP (Digital Signal Processing) Virtual Sound.
Included in the small box is a remote control with 2 AAA batteries, a 100-240V power adapter, 8 feet of 18 gauge speaker cable, a 3 feet 3.5mm Aux-to-RCA cable, a quick start guide, the Fluance product catalog, and 2 year’s manufacturer’s warranty.
Fluance Ai61 Powered Bookshelf Speaker Preview
Just like the Ai60, the right speaker is active and the left passive. The real speaker is the one that houses the connections. From the top you will find a Bluetooth pairing button, then an RCA input, speaker terminals and finally Power in. This is it. The back of the left speaker only has speaker terminals. On the front of the right speaker you’ll find an infrared port for the included remote control and a button that switches input sources and, when pressed, turns the speakers on and off. An LED light indicates by color which mode you are in. To alleviate any confusion about which setting you are on, the Ai40 comes with a small removable sticker on the right speaker that indicates which mode corresponds to which color. The modes are further described in the quick start guide.
The included remote control is easy to use and nice to have, and everything essential is at hand; power, mute, volume, track forward and reverse, source and play/pause, LED brightness and dedicated treble and bass controls! The default tone settings are flat, but you can adjust with +/- 6.
Drawing is just as easy. Connect the included 18-meter speaker cable to the jacks on the back of each speaker, plug in the power adapter, then select your source. You have two options with RCA or Bluetooth. Most I would assume would connect via Bluetooth and that was my first choice. Pairing is also easy. Set the Ai40 to Bluetooth, press the pairing button on the back of the speaker, find the Ai40 on your smartphone or source device and you’re good to go. Fluance Ai40 is aptX compatible and therefore you can enjoy 16 bit/44.kHz audio at 352 kbps. Bluetooth paired directly from my iPhone 8. I didn’t use the RCA hook at the cabin, but I did when I was back in town. More on that below.
I had the Ai40 sitting on a mantel above our sofa in the living room. Although this places them overhead, the Ai40s were well placed to fill the living room with sound, but my wife had reservations about their aesthetic placement. She feels that these black speakers stand out against the all-white walls and the power cord hanging on the wall just doesn’t work for her. So, the next best place for them was in the kitchen, on the counter, on either side of the sink. They all disappeared except on the dark gray counter. And there they sat for the rest of the stay. Fortunately, the kitchen opens up to the entire entrance floor and the counter-height speakers are just above ear level.
Ai61bsp05 Fluance Ai61 Powered 2.0 Stereo Bookshelf Speakers With 6.5
The Fluance’s recommended break-in period is 10-12 hours of play at moderate volume and I did my best to warm them up a bit. We unpacked and sat down, settled down and cooked while casually listening to a Bluenote Spotify playlist. At moderate volumes without breaking in, they were lively, wonderfully neutral, well-balanced speakers. I knew I was in for a treat as we listened over the next few days.
This rock! They really do. Like its larger siblings, the Fluance Ai40 is an excellent neutral-sounding speaker. But day two of our cabin trip we got them installed, I think I might be as in love with these as I am with the Ai60. I’m a bit of a bass fiend, but I didn’t find myself reaching for the remote to adjust the volume on the fly. This may have been because I was aware of the sonic limitations of a sealed enclosure and tempered my expectations. Anyway, when we decided to take the Fluance Ai40 to party levels, we found ourselves adding some bass and bumping up the treble a touch.
When we played hard we could seat about 18 people out on our front porch
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