Fluance Ai61 review: Versatile, high-performing Bluetooth speakers

Fluance makes good audio gear reasonably priced. The Ai61 Bluetooth bookshelf audio system reviewed right here price $300, but had been aggressive with my $400 Yamaha HS5 (5-inch) studio screens whereas providing extra versatile connectivity.

Design and specs

The Ai61 cupboards are considerably bigger than the everyday bookshelf speaker, measuring 13.1 x 7.Eight x 9.2 inches (HxWxD). That’s because of the hefty-for-its-class 6.5-inch woven composite woofers inside the cupboards. I needed to tweak the Ai61’s EQ a bit (growing bass) for style, however stated woofers had no bother maintaining after I did. Word that there’s really a really useful break-in interval of 10 to 12 hours for the woofer’s butyl rubber outer ring—so don’t crank them proper out of the field. Precisely what would occur, I can’t inform you, however there it’s.

The 1.Zero-inch silk tender dome tweeters are ferrofluid cooled should you’re fascinated about that kind of information. Do your self a favor—neglect the boutique mumbo-jumbo and pay attention first once you purchase audio tools.

This evaluation is a part of TechHive’s protection of the most effective Bluetooth audio system, the place you’ll discover critiques of the competitors’s choices, plus a purchaser’s information to the options it is best to contemplate when searching for the sort of product.

Between the tweeters and woofers, that are crossed over at 2.8kHz, Fluance claims a complete frequency vary of 32Hz to 20kHz. Output is rated at 92dB dynamic vary, with a 104dB sign to noise ratio and Zero.four% distortion on the rated output. These are superb specs, if not fairly in high-end audiophile territory. In observe, you’ll hear no noise or distortion until you’re tremendous human—or a canine. 

speaker back fluance ai61 Fluance

Fluance’s Ai61 have loads of connectivity choices and so they may even act as a USB audio gadget when linked to your pc. Whereas the analog enter is just not balanced, it received’t matter so long as you don’t run the speaker cables throughout any giant energy cords. 

The best-hand (energetic) speaker homes the electronics and controls, together with a 50-watt-per-channel Class D stereo amplifier, a DAC for digital-to-audio conversion, a DSP for EQ chores, and a Bluetooth 5.Zero chip (one among a number of upgrades from the Fluance Ai60 we reviewed about this time final 12 months). A rotary multi-function knob/button on this speaker means that you can change inputs in addition to management the quantity. An infrared receiver lens accepts instructions from the Ai61’s distant management.

The again of the energetic speaker is even busier: There’s a USB-C port (one other improve), a Toslink optical digital audio enter, RCA analog inputs, and a three.5mm subwoofer output that’s crossed over at 80Hz. Binding posts that settle for banana plugs are supplied for connecting the right-hand speaker to the left one, and the ability change and AC port are additionally positioned right here. 

The left-hand (passive) speaker has the identical kind of binding posts to obtain indicators from the energetic speaker, and that’s it. The one factor lacking from the combination are the balanced analog audio connections you’ll discover on some higher-end gear, however that’s not unreasonable at this value.

The smallish, charcoal-colored distant means that you can energy the Ai61 on and off; modify the quantity, treble, and bass (+/- 5); change the supply; mute playback; pair a Bluetooth supply; play/pause; skip ahead/skip backward; and modify or flip off the LED indicator on the entrance of the energetic speaker.

remote fluance ai61 Fluance

Fluance’s distant marries nicely with the audio system, although the one suggestions is the change within the audio and the standing LED on the right-hand, energetic speaker. Word that there’s an empty area on the backside of the distant that’s not proven within the illustration. It’s a bit longer than what you see above.

The Ai61 can be found in a darkish end with both a white or black face, or a lightweight end with a white face. An influence twine and six-foot tinned, bare-wire leads for connecting the 2 audio system are included. The Ai61 include a two-year guarantee.

Efficiency and sound high quality

I put the $300 Ai61 up towards each my $800 Yamaha HS8 (Eight-inch woofers/75 watts per channel) and $400 HS5 (5-inch woofers/45 watts per channel). The Fluance held their very own, although there was a stark distinction within the mid-range. I’d name it busier than that of the Yamaha’s and extra according to JBL’s sound, if a bit much less strident and tiring to the ear.

The general verdict was break up evenly between two listeners. I favored the Yamaha (duh, that’s why I personal them); my roommate favored the Fluance, although it was an in depth name. Her opinion was closely influenced by my EQ’ing the Ai61 to most treble, most bass. With the default bass and treble settings, the sub-bass on Younger Jeezy didn’t fairly lower it, and the general sound appeared only a tad much less vigorous than the competitors.

Stereo separation was fairly good, though Fluance didn’t present any cross-talk measurements. I had no points with the breadth of the sound area; i.e., the location of varied devices and components within the stereo combine.

These are, after all, subjective opinions; the Ai61 sound superb by nearly any customary.

fluance ai61 dark wood black Fluance

This picture exhibits the Fluance Ai61 with their darkish wooden and black end. The pair I reviewed sported a lightweight end and a white face, as proven on the high of this story.

For the readers who’ve been asking, I take advantage of a Google Pixel four for Bluetooth transmission. The music I take advantage of for residence audio evaluations runs the gamut, from AC/DC to the London Symphony Orchestra. To check utilizing different inputs, I take advantage of a Focusrite Clarett 4Pre Thunderbolt audio interface operating at 44.1kHz. One set of outputs is used for the check audio system, and one other for the comparability audio system. iTunes on a MacBook Air is used for playback. 


My backside line is at all times how a lot I take pleasure in simply sitting again and listening, then how nicely I can select devices after I combine a recording utilizing them. I’d give the Ai61 an A within the first class and a B within the latter. That’s in comparison with my Yamaha screens, which I’d price as an A+/A. In brief, the Ai61 are very good audio system that may do your bookshelf proud. 

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