I usually don’t do a lot of “after hours” coverage at high-end audio shows–cuz it’s Miller Time!–but my buddy Shayne Tenace of Tenacious Sound convinced me to stop by his room Saturday night and listen to a new pair of speakers from Fyne Audio. Who is Fyne Audio? Well, that’s the interesting part of the story–this is a new Scottish company made up of old Tannoy employees who decided to keep the original vision of these legendary speakers alive after the latest ownership change. So this speaker, the Fyne Audio F703 ($12,000/pair), looks like a classic Tannoy with its concentric driver and overall cabinet shape.
Fyne Audio isn’t just producing old Tannoy designs. There are plenty of new innovations and design advances in these new models. As Shayne described it, Fyne Audio is making the sort of next generation speakers that Tannoy might be making if the team had stayed on. The F703 features the new “300mm IsoFlare point source driver and 300mm multi-fibre bass driver into a twin cavity tuned cabinet with a BassTrax LF diffuser integrated into the down firing port.” While Tannoy Prestige speakers always featured beautiful and classic veneers, these Fyne Audio models have gorgeous finishes with deep grain patterns and a mesmerizing gloss. In our CAF 2019 wrap-up on The Occasional Podcast, Scot Hull remarked that this was one of the three most beautiful cabinets he saw at the show.
Shayne brought some very familiar equipment to use with Fyne Audio F703s, most notably the 40wpc Unison Research Performance Anniversary integrated amplifier ($16,500). It’s not enough to say I’m familiar with the Performance Anniversary–I’m familiar with this Performance Anniversary. I imported this one from Italy a couple of years ago, delivered it to Tenacious Sound and set it up. I’ve lifted this 120 lb. amplifier more times than I can count. That said, it was always one of my favorite amps from Unison–a remarkable match for the 94 dB efficient F704. The rest of the system featured a MoFi turntable, Rogue Audio preamp and Audience cabling.
Despite the new innovations, I felt that the Fyne Audio F703s sounded very much like a Tannoy Prestige loudspeaker with a warm and civilized sound that could still go might loud. (Shayne was one of only two exhibitors able to play Tool’s “Chocolate Chip Trip” for me thanks to the overburdened wi-fi network at the show.) At the same time, I felt a new sense of clarity with the F703s, with a remarkable amount of inner detail, that I’ve never heard with something like a Tannoy Churchill or a Royal Westminster. If you’re a Tannoy Prestige aficionado who laments the new direction Tannoy is taking, Fyne Audio will put a gigantic smile on your face.