Fluance Signature Series HiFi Two-way bookshelf surround sound speakers. That is a mouthful of a name. From this point on, I’m going to refer to these as Fluance Signature Series bookshelf speakers. They’re not to be confused with the company’s Ai40 powered bookshelf speakers I reviewed a few months back. These are passive bookshelf speakers that must be connected to a receiver or amplifier. They’re ideal as the mains in a compact stereo system (which is how I tested them), and they could also be used as part of a surround home theatre system.
Stylish appearance, actually fits on a bookshelf
The definition of “bookshelf” speakers can be rather loose. I suppose that’s because there’s considerable variation in bookshelves themselves. That being said, I have had some frustrating experiences in equipping the stereo system in my office. The walls are lined with bookshelves and I had to eliminate way too many bookshelf speaker options because they were simply too large, so I was very happy to discover that the Fluance Signature Series bookshelf speakers actually fit on my bookshelves—and with a little room to spare! At 32.5 cm tall and around 20 cm deep, they should fit on most bookshelves, I would think.
They are also nicely styled, especially the front face. The speaker cabinet is audio-grade engineered wood (MDF) covered with a simulated walnut or black wood finish. That part is pretty nondescript, but the front faces (the part you’ll actually see) are a nice high gloss black. Cloth grill covers are included, and thanks to magnetic mounts they can be removed and put back with ease.
I should mention the speaker terminals can be used as binding post-type for pin connectors or bare wire, and if you have banana clips on the speaker wire they just plug in directly.
Front bass ports, equipped for wall hanging
These are two-way speakers that are equipped with a pair of front facing bass ports. This design is another advantage for both bookshelf use and home theatre applications.
Many bookshelf speakers have rear bass ports. If they are positioned close to a wall, low-end audio can be exaggerated when the air pushed out of the vents hits the wall. With the closed back, front bass port design, these speakers can be placed right against the back of a bookshelf without fear of distortion. Fluance ships them with keyhole slot mounting brackets and sound isolation pad pre-installed, so they can be hung on the wall.
Surprisingly full sound from such a compact package
I evaluated these as bookshelf speakers, part of a compact stereo system. These aren’t powered speakers, so they need to be connected to a receiver or amplifier.
I primarily tested them with the vintage receiver that’s at the heart of my office audio system (an early 80s vintage Pioneer SX-6 that puts out 45 Watts per channel). There’s no subwoofer in the system, just two-channel stereo with the receiver driving a pair of bookshelf speakers. The two components hooked up to the system are a turntable and a computer that serves as my home media server.
I’m not going to name names, but at the time I bought them, my current bookshelf speakers retailed for close to double what these Fluance Signature Series bookshelf speakers go for. Despite that price difference, the Fluance speakers more than held their own.
How’s the bass on Fluance Signature?
A pair of bookshelf speakers with a 5-inch woofer are not going to compare to a subwoofer at the low-end (these are rated to go down to just 60Hz), but I prefer to leave subwoofers out of the mix when listening music. The Fluance speakers performed as well as my own on bass.
They had the punch I was looking for on tracks like “Bring on the Night” by the Police and even the ominous rumble from Pink Floyd’s “Time.” That’s not saying the bass was powerful, and it did drop off at the low-end, but for bookshelf speakers, they did pretty well. Mid-range was solid and the high-end had plenty of detail—without being too bright. When all was said and done, I preferred the Fluance Signature Series bookshelf speakers and the extra energy they brought to my own.
I didn’t have enough time to really work these speakers in (and the review units were new, sealed in the box) so they are only going to sound better after some more use. Sadly, they have been sent back so I won’t find out just how much they improve with use and time.
Fluance Signature Series bookshelf speakers key specs:
I also had the opportunity to introduce the new Fluance RT85 turntable into the mix, and wow—the speakers, that turntable and a receiver make for an incredible vinyl listening experience.
In a good example of how a great pair of speakers can save the day, I also happened to be evaluating a vacuum tube amp that shipped with its own matching speakers. I was really disappointed at how that system sounded—way too bright, harsh, thin, and not at all what I was expecting from the vacuum tubes. I swapped out the pack-in speakers for the Fluance Signature Series bookshelf speakers and the difference was incredible. The combination sounded fantastic.
Perfect bookshelf speakers for a compact home stereo
If you’re assembling an audiophile stereo system, you’re obviously going to be looking for a lot more than two-way bookshelf speakers. But if you’re putting together a two-channel stereo system for listening to music—or your current system isn’t living up to expectations—the Fluance Signature Series bookshelf speakers deliver a really solid listening experience without requiring a big investment. I’d go so far as to say that they are a serious bargain.
Fluance is also marketing these as being suitable for surround speakers in a home theatre system. I wasn’t able to test that as my home theatre setup is a Yamaha soundbar that doesn’t have the necessary outputs. However, based on what I’ve seen and heard, I have no doubt that the Fluance Signature Series bookshelf speakers would excel in that capacity as well.
Check out all the speakers, receivers, amplifiers and turntables at Best Buy, where you can find everything you need to put together your dream home audio system.