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Fluid Audio Image 2 Review (Monitor Speaker)

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of an early sample of just announced Fluid Audio Image 2 reference monitor. Company asked me to measure it in private last year but today gave me green light to publish.
Fluid Audio Image 2 Measurements reference studio monitor.jpg

This is a crowded field so I was very pleased when I saw the built-in sub with dual opposing 8 inch drivers. The main weakness I find in most active monitors is lack of power/response when in deep bass and this remedies that. Back panel shows the functionality you expect in this class including a foot switch to silence the sub:

Fluid Audio Image 2 Measurements back panel reference studio monitor.jpg


I am told the production version has reduced noise/hiss by 17 dB and has some fine tuning (although substantially the same as what I measured). It costs US $1,899 / 1799€.

Note: I was paid a fee to perform this measurement as a service to the company. No expectation of publishing the review existed at the time (or I would not have charged).

Speaker looked quite finished to me even though I am marking it as "prototype" below. From memory, it was super dense and heavy box.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

Reference axis is approximately the center of the tweeter.

Fluid Audio Image 2 Prototype Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Fluid Audio Image 2 Measurements Frequency Response reference studio monitor.png


Love the extended response which is flat to almost 40 Hz! F10 response is 28 Hz or so. On-axis is flat enough and directivity is good other than a bit of glitch around 1000 Hz.

I was surprised by the step down in early window response:
Fluid Audio Image 2 Measurements Early Window Frequency Response reference studio monitor.png


So I plotted horizontal and vertical response separately and it is clear where the source is:
Fluid Audio Image 2 Measurements Horizontal Frequency Response reference studio monitor.png


Fluid Audio Image 2 Measurements Vertical Frequency Response reference studio monitor.png


This should remove the effect of vertical reflections above 2 kHz or so. Intuitively I want to say it is a good thing but don't have any research data on what this means. In general we are much less sensitive to lack of uniformity in vertical axis so I can't image it causing any harm. Indeed, predicted in-room response is very good:
Fluid Audio Image 2 Measurements Predicted-in room Frequency Response reference studio monitor.png


Near-field response is not indicative of any issues:
Fluid Audio Image 2 Measurements Driver Frequency Response reference studio monitor.png


Beamwidth measurement shows nice and controlled directivity:
Fluid Audio Image 2 Measurements horizontal Beam Width Frequency Response reference studio mon...png



Fluid Audio Image 2 Measurements horizontal directivity  Frequency Response reference studio m...png


Vertical response is typical of what we expect from non-coaxial speakers:
Fluid Audio Image 2 Measurements Vertical directivity  Frequency Response reference studio mon...png


Distortion is kept well under control until you go way down in frequency:
Fluid Audio Image 2 Measurements THD Percentage Response reference studio monitor.png



Fluid Audio Image 2 Measurements THD Distortion Response reference studio monitor.png


I am sorry I did not capture the waterfall but here is the step response:



Step Response.png


Conclusions
A lot of times folks say, "just add a sub." Well that is easier said than done. Getting that integrated with the rest of the speaker is not easy and at any rate, is yet another box to manage and integrate. The Image 2 includes the sub and hence provides the deep bass response which I consider critical to good sound reproduction.

Company has promised me a production unit in the next couple of months. Once I have it, I will re-measure and perform listening tests. For now, keep this monitor in your eyesight....

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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Doodski

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Cool looking speaker and it appears the nameplate can be flipped over when the speaker is flipped upside down.
image2_front_top.jpg

image2_front_main.jpg
 

Keened

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I wonder if they were shooting for a particular target size, it looks as though they could have made the overall height and width just a little wider and pushed the size of the speakers up a bit.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Do I put too much emphasis on step response?
(I’m coming from Vandersteen 2C, but Thiel and Dunlavy people would likely also wonder.)
If you are asking me, yes. :) There is no such signal as a step in music. And your room will create plenty of that ringing.
 

ROOSKIE

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Really nice looking overall.
I'd prolly still go with the 708p with it's built in PEQ and power handling ability and lower price from a dealer... of course maybe some Fluid dealors negotiate.

Be curious if these can handle high SPL like JBL. Data does suggest so.
 

restorer-john

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I am told the production version has reduced noise/hiss by 17 dB

17dB is an awful lot. Hiss must have been really bad in the first place.
 

spacevector

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Thanks for the review Amir.

You mentioned you were compensated for the measurements. Did you also offer Fluid your listening impressions? Did you only measure the speaker or were you tempted to hear them after seeing the data?

Not asking you to post your impressions since you'll provide those when you get production sample. Just asking if you music-tested the prototype outside of the Klippel torture tones.
 
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amirm

amirm

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17dB is an awful lot. Hiss must have been really bad in the first place.
I don't physically remember but they did ask me how the hiss was and my answer was that it wasn't bad.
 
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amirm

amirm

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You mentioned you were compensated for the measurements. Did you also offer Fluid your listening impressions?
My correspondence with them says yes. But my current memory says, "what are you talking about?" :) There is no detail in my note to them other than it sounded good so let's wait until I get the production sample for proper impressions.
 

oversky

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That's for larger speakers. This thing is small.

Fluid Audio Image 2 specs​

  • SPL: 116dB (pair)
  • Frequency Response: 28 Hz – 30 kHz (+/-6 dB) 80/20kHz (+/-2db)
  • Driver Dimensions: 2 x H 203 mm Bass + ⌀ 130 mm Midrange + ⌀ 28 x 43 mm AMT Tweeter
  • Weight: 14.3 kg / 31.5 lb
  • Mounting: Side mount yokes allow for Sound Anchor floor stands and Ceiling-mount
  • suspension in multi-channel or immersive systems
  • Amplifier Power: 2 * 225 W Bass (Class D),150 W Midrange (Class D), 75 W Treble (Class D)
  • Dimensions: H 452 x W 287 x D 278 mm
  • Connections: 1 x XLR Analog Input, 1 x TRS Balanced Input, 1 x XLR AES/EBU Input, 1 x SPDIF Output/Input, 1 x USB Connection (Feature updates)

The depth is strange.
The picture suggests that the depth is roughly the same as height.
 
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