Fluance XL8F review: Home theater heart stoppers

Nancy J. Delong

Way again in 1999 two firms that would loom large in CNET’s check labs received their start off: Aperion Audio and Fluance. When Aperion has stayed on its house theater route over the previous couple many years, Fluance has branched out to gadgets these types of as the RT82 turntable, winner of our Editors’ Preference award. The company is on a true tear, and the XL8F flooring-standing speaker is the most up-to-date instance.


  • Massive, generously proportioned speakers
  • Outstanding audio top quality ideal for extended binge sessions
  • Very little retains a candle to it for the funds

You should not Like

  • Could be smoother, especially with its reduce sign up
  • Dustcaps failed to rather line up

The XL8 array is a price-helpful house theater speaker array incorporating rears, facilities and bookshelves, led by these remarkable flooring-standers. The healthy and complete of the XL8F is magnificent for $600 (£600) a pair, and its pure dimensions is unmatched by other speakers at its stage. The audio of the XL8F is open up and thrilling, but in no way shrill, and when fed a film soundtrack these speakers simply zing. They’re no slouch with songs both.

The XL8 gives a lot improved price than Fluance’s flagship $800 Signature series and a improved design and style as well. The audio is also improved balanced than what I recall from the Signature array.

When the exact same funds will purchase you a really awesome bookshelf speaker from title manufacturers like Elac or Klipsch, if you truly want the most speaker for your funds, the large Fluance XL8F has no equivalent.

Style and design and capabilities


Twin six.5-inch glass fiber motorists flank a 1-inch delicate dome tweeter.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The Fluance XL8F is a modern 3-way flooring-stander but it provides as a two.5-way, with a bass driver hidden in the base. The Fluance has two, six.5-inch glass-fiber motorists separated by a 1-inch cloth tweeter (identified as a D’Appolito configuration, named immediately after the designer who perfected the arrangement, Joseph D’Appolito). I did uncover that one of the mid driver’s dust caps seemed a minimal tough when seen up shut — they are all created from a piece of glass fiber, and this one wasn’t glued on sq.. But from the sofa I could not truly convey to.

Somewhere else the complete is exemplary, and I like the design and style to the awkward Signature series with its very small, yellow midrange driver at the leading. The XL8F towers are rather tall at forty six inches high, only 1.5 inches shorter than the monster Signature. They’re deep, as well, in purchase to accommodate that base-mounted eight-inch bass driver. 


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The speaker cupboard tapers at the again, to lessen inner reflections, and culminates in two rear bass ports (so it works improved if you leave a few toes length from the wall). The front baffle capabilities a piano-black complete in a selection of both black ash or walnut for the sides. 

The fixtures are just as magnificent as the relaxation of the speaker, beginning with a magnetically attaching grille. The gold plated binding posts are strong-seeking and there are two sets in case you want to experiment with bi-wiring or bi-amping.

The speakers are rated at a 87dB sensitivity, indicating they could be pushed by most receivers or amps, and are able of a 35Hz-25KHz frequency response.

When no-one is truly auditioning speakers in shops at the instant, the company helpfully gives a 30-working day funds again demo on speakers purchased via its web-site.

How does it audio?

As I be expecting from a speaker with a base-firing bass driver, the Fluance has a massive, daring audio, but it’s also able of subtlety I failed to be expecting. That midrange-tweeter-midrange arrangement is capable to reproduce a great deal of element in songs and videos, with a generously open up character. I in contrast the speaker to my go-to reference speaker, the $900 Q Acoustics 3050i and found that the Fluance sounded improved in quite a few important areas, especially when it arrived to observing movies.

The Fluance XL8F’s mix of deep bass and a revealing midrange manufactured it a ideal partner for the lobby scene from The Matrix. This scene mixes balletic sluggish-mo, ricocheting bullet audio results and a pumping electro score, and the Fluance welded them alongside one another in a gratifying way. Nevertheless the Q Acoustics was capable to handle the lower-conclusion portion improved, the Fluance delivered the shout of “Freeze” and its echoing tail in a extra revealing vogue.

Seeing Avatar, the Fluance demonstrated its eager ear with the lush rainforests of Pandora. In the course of the Thanator chase scene the click on of Jake’s device gun was extra jarring when he understood the Thanator needed a cat-particular person meal as an alternative of the elephant-like Hammerhead Titanothere. The audio of the chase was simply extra visceral when heard on the Fluance than its counterpart. In comparison, the Q Acoustics have been a minimal extra inert, extra bass-targeted and a bit significantly less remarkable total.

When it arrived to songs the two have been shut, but the Q Acoustics’ extra laid-again top quality and leading-to-base regularity gave it a slight edge. I listened to everything from Claude Debussy’s nocturnes to jazz to rock songs, and found that the Fluance’s abilities lay in songs with a great deal of element. The XL8F can truly give you a vivid perception of the general performance room and make the speakers on their own vanish — as extended as factors don’t get as well unfastened. 

For instance, the opening moments of Phoebe Bridgers’ Know The Conclusion gave me goosebumps when heard via the Fluance, and this continued as the chorused electric powered guitar slithered around powering the singer. At two:forty five the bass drum that propels the 2nd 50 percent of the song was deep and pulsing. Only when the song received truly chaotic did the aspects grow to be a clean.

Remarkably the Q Acoustics presented a distinct song, and one which was in the long run a lot extra gratifying. The song’s intro guitars sounded even larger, and as an alternative of staying in thrall they have been thrust outwards into the listening room, enveloping me. When the song received busy the speakers saved everything in concentrate improved than the Fluence, and the 3050i’s eager midrange on the chanted vocals and the enraged “rahhhhhh” have been extra finely expressed.

Should you purchase it?

Certainly, you can purchase oneself a fairly killer soundbar for $600, but there is certainly no way it could match the Fluance XL8F for both bodily existence or the skill to reproduce a thundering film soundtrack. There are few flooring-standers that can do what the XL8F does — marry crushing bass electric power with an open up, detailed audio — and none of them price $600. The Q Acoustics 3050i is a extra refined speaker, especially for songs, but it prices $350 extra and it is not as well-built. The Fluance XL8F gives an remarkable price and if your budget is less than a grand, and you have the area, these speakers really should be at the leading of your audition listing.

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