Fluance AV-HTB Review
|Company Info: Fluance
Category: Home Electronics
Reviewer: Wayne Eggert
Date: March 07, 2005
You've probably never heard of Fluance.. you certainly won't find their speakers in Circuit City, Best Buy, or many other retail stores. That's because they're based in Canada and are one of the lesser known speaker manufacturers. In this case, just because they're not a name-brand company we're all familiar with isn't necessarily a bad thing. While the general rule of thumb with anything you purchase is "You get what you pay for", there are usually a few exceptions -- Fluance is one of them. They're primarily based online, but are also adding brick and mortar dealers. The speakers we're reviewing are the Fluance AV-HTB's, which are a measily $199 online.
(2) Front Floorstanding Main Speakers - 3 Way, 3 Driver
(2) Rear Surround Satellite Speakers - 2 Way, 3 Driver
(1) Center Channel Speaker - 2 Way, 2 Driver
For $200, you might expect shoddy light-weight speakers -- they have to cut costs somewhere, right? Wrong. The 33-inch tall tower speakers are a hefty 27lbs each. The entire system weighs in at 80lbs.. which is less than your average boxer, but certainly up in the same weight class as other higher quality speaker systems. The entire system ships in a single box for around $50 (could differ depending upon location).
You might have noticed by now that there is no mention of a subwoofer being included with this home theater system. Fluance does carry subwoofers on their site now (DB-10 10-inch sub & DB-12 12-inc sub), but does not include it with this set of speakers. I suppose they wanted to leave it as an option to shoppers, since many people don't want a subwoofer, already own one, or plan to add that component to their system later down the road. I purchased a 10-inch subwoofer, but in retrospect I would have been perfectly fine with just the 5-speaker system, as the two tower speakers produce enough bass to annoy my neighbors as it is.
You'll need to purchase a few things before being able to hook your speakers up. If you don't already have one, you'll need a receiver.. otherwise you'll have nothing to hook your speakers up to and that could be kinda boring =) Additionally, you'll have to buy some 12-Gauge heavy-duty speaker wire and possibly a wire stripper. The hardest part to home theater system setup is figuring out where to run the speaker wire and how to hide it. Luckily I have a basement and was able to drill holes in the floor and run speaker cable under my living room. The only other recommendation is to go into your receiver's speaker setup and select "Large" for the tower speakers and Small for the center and rear surround speakers. Also remember to select Off or None if you do not have a subwoofer.
The speakers are matched perfectly for home cinema. Each speaker is constructed from wood to reduce cabinet resonance and contains a ferro-fluid cooled tweeter for longer life. All speakers have now been upgraded with banana plug compatible connectors. The speakers are also magnetically shielded to reduce disruption of video monitors.
I've owned these speakers for several years now and have put them through their paces. All three Lord of the Rings movies, The Matrix, Jurassic Park.. you name it -- I'm still shocked that I didn't pay twice as much for the quality. While I'm not an audiophile, I also don't have an audiophile's budget. I've read testimonies from a large number which compare these speakers to some $500 or $600 home theater sets and say the Fluance speakers are every bit as good. While a $1200 or $2000 budget could get you nicer sounding speakers, you aren't going to find a better on-the-cheap set for the money. If you're looking to be blown away by bass, you'll want to pick up a nice 10-inch or 12-inch subwoofer.. add that to these speakers and you will have a very nice home theater that you will have a hard time outgrowing.
For the price, many name-brand manufacturers will surely find it hard to beat the performance of these speakers. The build quality is amazing for a $200 set of speakers and they are aesthetically appealing. I have owned them for 2 years now and they've outlasted several DVD players, but have never failed to impress me while watching movies or listening to music. Definitely make sure you consider them if you're looking for a home theater set and on a budget -- I know I'm glad I did.
Final Rating: 5.0/5.0
No comments have yet been made.