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Floorstanding Speakers

Fluance Ai81 Powered Loudspeakers Unveiled: $499 Towers of Power

The $499 Fluance Ai81 Powered Tower Loudspeakers look very impressive on paper. But can they deliver sonically at that price?

Fluance Ai81 Floorstanding Powered Loudspeaker Front Angle

Inflation? Someone forgot to tell the nice people at Fluance in Canada that loudspeakers should not be this affordable right now. We are big fans of the Fluance Ai61 Powered Bookshelf Loudspeakers because they offer very solid performance and connectivity options for under $300 USD.

The new $499 Fluance Ai81 Powered Floorstanders have us rather intrigued after going through all of the specifications; each loudspeaker is also 30 pounds which is highly unusual for the price.

Fluance Ai81 Floorstanding Powered Loudspeakers in Natural Walnut
Fluance Ai81 (Natural Walnut)

Fluance is all about delivering a higher level of performance for the money and their powered lineup has sold out more than once over the past 14 months. We are currently reviewing than RT85 Reference Turntable ($499) and it has proven to be quite impressive so far; even in comparison against some other tables below $1,000 that we have recently reviewed.

The Ai81 does not include an internal phono preamplifier; PSB and Kanto include that feature in their powered loudspeakers and we think Fluance needs to do the same considering how many turntables they sell each month.

Fluance Ai81 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Lifestyle
Fluance Ai81 (White Walnut)

The Fluance Ai81 provides an option for those that desire a wireless speaker but want something more substantial than a bookshelf or compact-size speaker system. 

Core Features

The  Ai81 comes as a stereo pair. The right channel speaker plugs into AC power and houses the amplifiers for both speakers and provides all of the system’s connections. The non-powered left channel speaker connects to the amplified right channel via standard wired speaker connections.

Fluance Ai81 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Rear

The Ai81 provides Bluetooth and physical connection options so just about any audio playback device can be accommodated. 

Tip: To connect a traditional turntable to the Ai81 system, you need to place a phono preamp between the turntable and the Ai81’s analog audio inputs. However, if your turntable has a built-in preamp, you can connect it directly to the Ai81’s analog audio inputs.

  • Fluance makes a turntable with a built-in preamp:  RT80 ($199.99 or less at Fluance or Amazon)
Fluance Ai81 Floorstanding Loudspeakers with Turntable

Another connection option is the built-in Subwoofer preamp outputs. If you desire more bass than the Ai81 produces you can add any brand/model-powered subwoofer. However, Fluance makes two that might fill the bill:

  • DB12: 12-inch ported front-firing powered subwoofer ($349.99) or less at Fluance or Amazon
  • DB10: 10-inch ported front-firing powered subwoofer ($199.99) or less at Fluance or Amazon

The Ai81 also has its own built-in DAC (digital to analog converter) so that digital audio sources can sound their best.

For control, the Ai81 system comes with a wireless remote

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Specifications

  • Speaker Type: 2 Way – 3 driver powered floorstanding speaker system with integrated amplifier (Pair – 1x Active, 1x Passive)
  • Enclosure: Tuned down-firing port Bass Reflex Design 
  • Amplifier PowerClass D 150 watts continuous average output (2x 75 Watts RMS)
  • Tweeter Driver: 1-inch silk soft dome neodymium ferrofluid cooled
  • Woofer Drivers: Dual 6.5-inch woven, glass fiber composite brivers with butyl rubber surrounds.
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz-20kHz (DSP Enhanced)
  • THD (Total Harmonic Distortion):  <0.1%
  • Crossover Frequency: 2200Hz
  • Internal Wiring: 18 gauge Internal Lead Wire to Reduce Signal Degradation

Connectivity

Fluance Ai81 Floorstanding Powered Loudspeaker Rear Connections
  • Physical Inputs: 2 RCA (L/R), Digital Optical 
  • Subwoofer Preamp Output (RCA Connector): 80Hz Low-pass frequency cutoff when connected. 
  • Speaker Output: Active speaker connects to the passive speaker via provided speakers wire.
  • Bluetooth: Version 5.0, Pairs via Bluetooth with Google Home, Amazon Echo, and AppleTV. 

Tip: The Ai81 is not a Wi-Fi speaker so there is no built-in streaming. Streaming must be done via Bluetooth from compatible devices. 

Fluance Ai81 Floorstanding Loudspeaker with Smartphone

Size, Weight, Finish

  • Dimensions (HWD): 37.8 x 8.50 x 10.24 inches / 96 x 21.6 x 26 cm feet installed
  • Weight: Active Speaker: 30.61 lbs (13.88 kg), Passive Speaker: 29.02 lbs (13.16 kg)
  • Available Finishes: Black Ash, White, Walnut, Natural Walnut, and Lucky Bamboo 

What’s in the Box

  • Ai81 Powered Floorstanding Speakers (pair)
  • Remote Control with 1x CR2032 Battery
  • 6ft Power Cable
  • 8ft 18 Gauge Speaker Wire
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Fluance Catalog
  • Lifetime Customer Support
  • 2 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty

Availability and Pricing 

The Ai81 is priced at $499.99 and is available on Fluance.com and Amazon.

Related reading

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Frank

    August 13, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    so, what does it sound like?
    This is a publicity puff piece

    • Ian White

      August 13, 2022 at 7:20 pm

      It’s a news item. Nobody has them yet. We have a review pair coming.

      We’ll let you know what they sound like.

      Best,

      Ian White

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