Important Specs Overview
Speaker type: passive, 3-way, back ported
Continuous power handling: 60 W*
Peak power handling: 200 W
Impedance: 8 ohms
Sensitivity: 89 dB/W/m
Frequency response range: 45 – 20k Hz
Driver size: 6.5 in
Unit weight: 45 lbs
Cabinet dimensions: 8.5 x 13.5 x 46 in (width x depth x height)
*When nominal/RMS power isn’t specified by manufacturer, we use an approximation of ~30% of the specified peak/dynamic power for comparison purposes.
Review And Discussion
Fluance’s Reference series is their second tier full 7.1 home theater system lineup, and it includes the pair of tower speakers reviewed herein, the XLF7.
Power wise the XLF7 is fairly middle of the road for a mid-tier tower speaker. They’ll be fine for any room that isn’t exorbitantly large, though you could get more power and volume for the price with other competitors, albeit maybe at the expense of other attributes. Keep in mind the entire system has four auxiliary speakers and the XLF7s are likely designed to be optimal in conjunction with such, but a 60 W continuously powered 3-way speaker will do just fine as a standalone pair in most cases.
The advantage of a 3-way speaker is that, with a subwoofer built in, you won’t necessarily need an external one like you generally would with mere 2-way speakers. The XL7 has an interesting design: the subwoofer isn’t immediately visible and actually fires downward, which explains the elevated platform with a bit of airspace below the cabinet. While many home theater subwoofers fire downward this is the only 3-way tower speaker we’ve seen with a perpendicular downward firing subwoofer.
The midrange woofers are dual spherical caps made out of a plastic polymer blend, which is a fairly common material because it’s rigid, durable, and easy to consistently reproduce inexpensively (meaning very little risk of one-off defects). The tweeter is a standard neodymium dome cap. The white woofers and chrome tweeter bezel is a little jarring in contrast to the baffle, especially so in the mahogany color, but these speakers look really good we think with the partial front covers on. The drivers are rather exposed so it’s probably a good idea to cover them anyhow.
The XL7F is comparatively large and heavy, but not exorbitantly so. Mainly because 3-way speakers just have more hardware but also because the cabinet needs to be big enough to fit a perpendicular 8 inch subwoofer.
The major selling point of Fluance passive speakers is that, as of 2009, they offer a lifetime warranty, which none of the other major audio companies currently do to our knowledge.
Our Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition
Fluance makes good speakers, and it’s hard to go wrong with any one of them, especially with that amazing lifetime warranty. These also look great – definitely distinguished from other plain-jane box tower speakers. Also nice is that you can always augment them with other auxiliary speakers in the Reference series (or any other speakers honestly).
Having said that they’re comparatively expensive for the specs – Polk and others make comparable 3-way speakers for significantly cheaper, but those only have a 5 year warranty. There’s no right answer here, additionally because the best “choice” often comes down to the best deal and the time and what you think sounds the best, or perhaps what merely sounds good enough for the price. Check out the links below for alternative recommendations.