My love for Fendas begun with its model F&D A510 when I was really awed with its surprise performance. So that was just an experience altogether than a flat review ! But, after an aural honeymoon for nearly a year with them, I was looking for a change and was willing to compliment my shelves with new sets of speakers. And since my belief with Fenda (F&D) got firm with every new models I auditioned, it was obvious for me to go with that brand again (they really made a returning customer out of me !).
And for an upgrade, I zeroed in on much touted and promoted F&D F680 for the two key reasons:
1. If F&D A510/A520 can deliver stellar performance with sub 2K budget, I was excited to learn how F&D F680 would sound like with almost 1.5 times the price.
2. They have been promoting it vehemently and I too got the numerous requests to audition the same.
Luckily, the vendor this time again let me to spend good half hour with speakers prior to buying. And since I went fully prepared, I had few of the test tracks with me to exploit their acoustic ability.
As usual with F&D, the sets came neatly packed with 2 mini satellites with not-so-massive woofer unit. This was also accompanied by an alien-ship like (wired) remote with volume knob over the top. A RCA cable was a welcome piece for those who’d be willing to couple it with their standalone CD Players.
Maiden Impression – it justified the price tag ! The first thing to catch my fancy was the sturdy built of satellites. They came with metallic neck (thus giving it a comfortable weight) and slightly sticky rubberized base for nudge free grip over the surface ruling out any slippage. Their upward tilted posture also assured me of enveloping performance with acute throw.
The design of Subwoofer unit was simple yet elegant with flat metal grill in front. For this size, I didn’t expect to be that heavy and I was not wrong.Then came the remote (wired control pod) which was big enough to give some tangible feel in hand while churning with the volume adjustments. A bigger knob is always appreciated as it opens up the room for minute volume iteration with good precision, so I went happy with what was provided. Overall look was compact with very less visible foorprint but promising.
Features & Specification
The manufacturer boasts of having Class D amplifier as the product’s USP.Since majority of F&D products comes with USB or card reader support, I was rather disappointed to see none existed here. I presume they again focused much in acoustics than frills. Wired remote was a good addition itself for the sake of ergonomics with headphone out and line-in connectivity.
Coming over the specifications, 17.5Wx2 (for satellites) + 35W (Subwoofer) summed up to hefty 70W RMS (18 W richer than A510 & A520). I didn’t go for SNR and other sonic specs as I believe my ears & real world tests first.
AVR is something which is common to all F&D products which may be a life saver if you notice soft voltage fluctuations with your area (I’m skeptical if it will address the problem of surges & spikes, but gives you a wide operating voltage limit).
With drum set on rolls, I was all set to fire up all the tracks while having it connected to the laptop (and my Tab eventually). A red light switch glowing at the rear greeted me for the go ! When it played the first track, few onlookers over the shop also gathered to get the feel of it (Success !).
The sound were pretty clear and detailed. Woofer was oozing out thumps and thuds with no sign of distortion at all (even with volume knob cranked at max). Seeing significant power being delivered with the speaker of this size was clear sign of Class D amplifier in business (They are generally for low power consumption & high power output even with smaller size). Though not as loud as I expected it to be, but clarity came in for the compensation. Satellite in its full glory were keeping up with its aesthetics – they were not only good looking but sounded equally well. But again, I was wee bit disappointed for its size. By no means higher notes were on compromise, but the mid frequency was struggling a bit to mark its presence out of few vocal laden tracks (and the problem of upper mids is inherent with most of the speaker sets with 2.1 channel configuration). This is where a slightly bigger satellite (3-4 inch than existing 2.25 inch) could have made it a musical rockstar. Those with electronicas and pop would not find any octaves to complain about as no matter what music I threw, they lived up to the reputation of their predecessors. Listening string instrumentals over them was a pure bliss.
Contrary to its minuscule visible footprint, these are the babies with ability to scream ….
Not sure if this will come out with flying colors in living room dimension, but they have enough juices to set a bedroom on shake. Neither a thunderer, nor a bass rumbling monster – sharp, balanced and accurate are the words that best defines its tonal characteristic. To sum up, F680 is a sweet treat for both eyes and ears at the same time.
|Model||F&D (Fenda) F680|
|Features||★ ★ ★|
|Build Quality||★ ★ ★ ★|
|Performance||★ ★ ★ ★|
|Value for Money||★ ★ ★ ½|
Having said above, I for my own matter of preference chose to stick with current speakers only. Reason – I found no considerable upgrade gain while replacing A510 with F680 while shelling out extra 1.5K (I was looking out for major boost in acoustic domain than visual delicacy). But since these speakers go with its USP of big-sound-in-small-package, this makes a worthy purchase for fresh buyer who is not looking out for any replacements like me. So, for those who is in a hunt for compact & aesthetic solution with enough punch would not regret owning it.
Meanwhile, I’m better off with my year old bombastic bride till I find yet another piece to lay my love on it !
Note: Be advised that every speaker does have a burn in period. Since I was auditioning a fresh piece, maybe they were not delivering complete open performance which they are ought to do after prolonged usage of 1-2 weeks.
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