Tech News on G4

Fluance Fi30 Bluetooth Wood Speaker System

Oct 29, 2014

By Greg Gazin - Apple Gazin' - G4 Canada

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Fluance Fi30 Bluetooth Wood Speaker SystemI’ve become so used to seeing speakers that are housed in cabinets made with plastic and metal that I almost forgot about speakers that come in wood grained cabinetry just like the ones I got so used to during my formative years. So I was pleasantly surprised when I had an opportunity to test drive one that reminded me of days gone by.

Fluance, a North American based direct-to-market speaker brand, has combined the best of yesterday and today with their high-performance Fi30 speaker system. It features wireless audio streaming via Bluetooth powered by aptX enhanced audio technology incorporated into a solid audio grade MDF wood cabinet.

Although it is wireless, it’s fairly hefty and not really designed to be portable, measuring 16.5" x 5.5" x 5.5" and weighs a whopping 8.3 pounds. There's no battery option as it runs purely on AC and the kind of device that would not seem out of place on a wall unit or mantle.

Under the hood it has two 3-inch woven glass fibre composite drivers with butyl rubber surrounds. There is no separate bass speaker, but in the rear you'll find two respectably tuned bass ports that give you just about that you just the right amount of resonance without the need for a subwoofer.

Fluance Fi30 Bluetooth Wood Speaker SystemWarm Deep Sound

As I worked through a myriad of music files and podcasts, I could feel the richness of the sound consistent with solidness of the cabinetry, reminding me of the warmth of the sounds of my youth but without the analogue hiss from the old turntable. Its integrated power amplifier puts out 6W RMS x 2, making it ideal for a living room or family room.

The manufacturer actually recommends the Fi30 be played for 10 hours at normal listening volumes to effectively break in speakers explaining that after this length of time the drivers will have moved back-and-forth sufficiently to perform at their peak level. I didn’t notice any significant difference before of after the 10 hours. It sounded great to me the entire time.

Less is More

As for technology, the company opted for the less-is-more approach. There are no buttons, knobs or controls defacing the front, top or side of the unit, except for a small power LED in the front. On the back is a power switch and Bluetooth pairing reset button In fact, you totally control the Fi30 from your mobile device.

It does however, come equipped with the 5V USB charging port at the back of the unit. It outputs 2.1A, so it will even charge energy hungry devices like the iPad. It’s a nice little bonus.

Fluance Fi30 Bluetooth Wood Speaker SystemTo connect to music sources that are not Bluetooth enabled, there is a 3.5mm auxiliary jack you can plug into. When a cable is plugged into the jack, Bluetooth connectivity for the device is actually disabled, so you do need to unplug from that jack when you’re not direct connecting.

It’s easy to stream your tunes to the Fi30, as it is designed to auto pair. In the event that you move your device outside of Bluetooth range, typically 10m, the Fi30 will disconnect. When you move back into the range it will make a “blooping” sound and automatically reconnect. If you now want to now connect to a different device, let’s say move from your iPhone or iPad, you will need to push the pairing reset button, breaking the connection. If you don’t pair your iPad within 30 seconds, it will auto-pair back to the iPhone. This is great if you pair only one or two devices, but less convenient if you pair a bunch of them.

I would have really liked to see this unit come with a remote control.  Yes I do realize you can do all of that from you wireless device, but with lack of on-board controls, being able to quickly hit the mute button and even power on and off the device without having to enter a passcode or grab your device I think would have been a good option.

At the end of the day, a speaker is really about sound. And despite its “vanilla-ness” the Fluance Fi30 does the job and delivers what it promises – good looking warm wireless sound, a pleasure to your ears.

The Fluance Fi30 retails for $149.99 and is available directly from Fluance or Amazon. It comes in three colours: Piano Black, Glacier White and Bamboo. The unit ships with a 6’ 3.5mm auxiliary cable and quick start guide. It also comes with a two-year parts and labour warranty and free lifetime customer support.

Rating: 4 / 5.

Greg Gazin can be reached at  gadgetguy "at" telus "dot" net , , or on Twitter @GadgetGreg

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