A few months ago, we reviewed the JBL Boombox — an 11-pound Bluetooth speaker with four-inch passive radiators that we thought was crazy and fun in its hugeness. At the end of that review, we dared JBL to make something bigger; we were only half kidding. JBL hasn’t yet answered that call, but someone else has: at over 80 pounds, Fluance’s Fi70 makes JBL’s Boombox seem downright reasonable by comparison. In its size, weight, and bass response, the Fi70 is a monster; we respect the extremity, but we would have preferred a more balanced sound.
The Fi70 claims to “bring the concert hall into your home” with six speakers — two eight-inch woofers, two five-inch midrange drivers, and two one-inch tweeters — in a semi-rectangular rear-ported enclosure. Our review unit came in the “Lucky Bamboo” colorway, made of hefty MDF covered with light bamboo veneer and an all-white baffle. In this configuration, the Fi70 looks enough like it came from a 60s Kubrick film that it could clash with your décor; fortunately there’s an all-black version available that will be more versatile.
Our review unit seemed solidly constructed, except that the base and baffle didn’t line up in some areas. The Fi70 comes with a metal base that requires some assembly; the screws are thin and the base not quite stable enough for comfort in a house with toddlers that might knock it over, but it’s probably fine for any other setting. On top of the Fi70’s cabinet are a set of silkscreened touch controls that work nicely, complemented by the remote control that adds bass and treble adjustments. The Fi70 has a simple old-school digital display that conveys just enough information to be useful. The Fi70 accepts Bluetooth (aptX, no AAC), 3.5mm analog AUX, optical digital, and FM radio inputs, a USB-A charging port, and includes a one-piece magnetic speaker grille that’s extremely easy to pull off and slap back into place.
The Fi70’s sound makes one major impression: bass impact. This is a full range speaker, but its dual 8” woofers move a ton of air, dominating the mix of any song played through the device and shaking the room at high volumes. It’s so extreme that we find it hard to believe that this speaker could be used in an office setting without a pink slip following close behind. We found the Fi70’s sound to be far closer to balanced by turning the bass down to -4 or -6 in the settings; when we did, we found the treble and mids to be a bit rolled off, though far closer to natural than its stock bass presentation. Since the Fi70 loves to bump low end, we tried it with some very bassy test tracks and found that there seems to be a sacrifice of some bass detail in favor of pure SPL.
This sound signature isn’t our preference, and we think certainly not ideal for TV or spoken word, but is still fun and powerful enough for casual music listening and parties. Also, though the Fi70 contains more drivers than many high-end systems, they are mounted relatively close together, limiting the Fi70’s stereo image and making it very susceptible to your position to the room.
After spending some time with the mammoth Fluance Fi70, we think it will either be exactly what you’re looking for, or totally unworkable for your life. For those with Hi-Fi aspirations or intolerant neighbors, the Fi70 is less than ideal. In a studio apartment or solo office, however, this could be a great all-in-one option for fun music listening and, in a pinch, upgrading the sound of your wall-mounted TV.
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