Bluetooth speaker systems have been gaining tremendous traction in the past two years as the desire for convenience and portability outweighs the demands for larger, high fidelity systems. Because Bluetooth is ubiquitous on most computer and mobile devices, it’s been an easy addition for wireless speaker manufacturers to implement.
There are a variety of finishes available from white to bamboo to black. My review model came in gloss black.
It was also wonderfully refreshing to have a product that just works. Turning to my iPhone’s Bluetooth control panel, I found the Fluance Fi30 and paired it. In mere moments I was playing anything and everything from my iPhone.
|The rear panel of the Fi30 has USB and Auxiliary inputs giving you the best of both wireless and wired connectivity.|
I moved the Fi30 to my office, bedroom, and basement for a variety of listening contexts. Unlike the much more expensive $900 MartinLogan Crescendo Wireless Speaker system, whose bottom-ported design lent itself to surprisingly even bass regardless of placement, I found that the Fi30’s bass would accentuate just like a traditional speaker. The closer to a wall or boundary I’d place it, the more bass reinforcement I’d get. The further away from a boundary and the bass reinforcement would lessen.
The Fi30 did a wonderful job of playing within it’s limits and having a solid “bottom end” for such a small enclosure and drivers. I did find that there was a bit of coloration on the lower midrange area, but I think that for the target audience, this will prove to be very euphonic and welcome. The Fi30 doesn’t feel like it has a thin sound.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by now having had such positive review experiences with Fluance’s other products, but I was really taken by how clean the sound was out of this tiny box. Podcasts were clear and I was able to fill both small rooms (10×12) and larger rooms (24×30) with ample sound.
More and more people are foregoing the expense and hassle of installing wired outdoor speakers and turning to wireless solutions. While Sonos is the king of wireless sound, it also comes at a high price point. If the Fi30 could serve as a portable outdoor speaker, it would be a killer product.
One summer day, I took the Fi30 outside and decided to see if I could use this thing as a pseudo outdoor speaker. We had some friends over and I set the Fi30 on my patio and pointed it out onto my 90 foot x 50 foot yard. With rated 6 watts, no way did I think that this little Bluetooth speaker could give us some serious outdoor sound. Boy was I wrong about that.
While I wouldn’t put the Fi30 against 15″ DJ speakers with hundreds of watts behind them, this little Fi30 pumped out tunes capable of covering that open yard area. Remarkably, at no time did the Fi30 give me a hint that it was chuffing for air or gasping to crank out the volume. The bottom line is that if you’ve shied away from making an expensive investment in some outdoor speakers or an outdoor speaker system, give the Fi30 a whirl. It may save you hundreds or thousands and give you very satisfying results for what simply amounts to background music.
My kids especially loved the Fi30. In the house, we’ve had an old Alec Lansing iPod dock player. For it’s size and the money the Alec Lansing has been an incredible performer over the years, but it’s outdated dock connector and weight have made it a dead weight in our home most of the time.
Giving my kids access to the Fi30 proved how engaging this could be for a family setup. The unit was light enough for my kids to move from room to room around the house without me worrying that it would slip out of their hands or that they would drop it because of its weight. Playdates, parties, and ad hoc karaoke performances became a focal point with the Fi30. Given it’s modest price point, it’s also something that the average household won’t become overly obsessed about. For example, I couldn’t see my kids carrying around the MartinLogan Crescendo from room to room without me sweating some serious bullets.
In case what I’m saying becomes lost, let me say it another way. The Fi30 wireless speaker system is a flexible powerhouse. Whenever I needed it and wherever I wanted to put it into service it just worked and worked exceptionally well. Not once did I experience any Bluetooth or wireless issues. The Fi30 is just another solid, kick-butt speaker from Fluance.
For it’s modest price point, the Fluance Fi30 really presents a tremendous wireless speaker system value. The Fi30’s target audience isn’t the hyper-critical audiophile. Rather, the Fi30 is for the real-world household that demands a well-built wireless music system that’s flexible enough to use just about anywhere you have an electrical outlet and powerful enough to kick it when you turn it on. Fluance’s Fi30 is a no-brainer, high quality Bluetooth wireless speaker.
If you’re looking for an all-in one, wireless package for more critical listening then I strongly suggest you check out Fluance’s just released larger sibling, the Fi50. For just under $200 you’re getting a much beefier and more powerful unit that has many of great features found in the Fi30. However, if you want great sound in a small, powerful package that won’t deplete your wallet then give the Fi30 a spin. I don’t think you’ll regret it one bit. The Fi30 is our Poor Audiophile wireless speaker pick for under $150. Highly recommended.
Fi30 High Performance Bluetooth Speaker System
Price: $149 Direct
Available finishes: Piano black, Glacier white, Bamboo