Author Topic: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts  (Read 1323 times)

Offline stereosane

Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« on: December 06, 2019, 01:42:15 PM »
So after my Demo of the Bentley Fr100 I just had to get a pair, thanks to Audio Gears special I was able to get a pair at a great price. The service from Pierre was excellent, I can highly recommend his services.

So the unpacking, I was very impressed with the packaging small attention to things other companies don't do. The protection around the binding posts is a first, not even Sf do that :)

 







My impressions after 20hrs burn in.

At first listen they sounded a bit rough around the edges, bass was also lacking compared to the Demo I had. I let them play for the day and sat down the following day for a proper listen.

First thing that sticks out is the balance of sound, nothing sticks out immediately, the frequency response graph is pretty smooth and flat and it seems to reflect on the sound character.

The tweeter is nicely detailed without sounding bright at all, it's smooth end extended enough to not sound rolled off. It adds enough detail and sparkle yet holds back enough to not make those poor recordings ear bleeding.

The Bass is very very nice, full sounding without a perceived bass bump, drums and percussion have good punch and sound tight, it seems to excel on bass in acoustic and jazz music, pop music at times excited the port a little, but in all fairness I was pushing it to see what it can do  :angel: I'm battling to replicate the Bass in my main room compared to the pair I demoed in Pe, but that's more than likely a room issue, so I moved them to my smaller room to test and the Bass was there. The amount of Bass for such a small speaker is impressive and you don't get the feeling they trying hard to reproduce it, actually it flows with ease, whereas a lot of speakers in this price bracket suffer from compression when pushed hard and sound strained. My room is 40sq meters so it's not an easy space to fill and the Bentleys never broke a sweat.

Now the midrange... It sounds beautiful. It's not forward or recessed, but a balance between the two, Female vocal sounds good but there is a hint of roughness when the higher notes are hit, but it's a small complaint again at the price point. There an ease to the midrange delivery that's nice, it's musical and never sounds forward or exaggerated, with nice subtle details coming through.

To sum it up as a whole, this speaker plays the balancing act better than most, where most manufacturers will concentrate on Bass or lots of detail the Bentleys make sure you get the right amount of all 3 but maybe they've added just a little more to the midrange where the magic lies, it's musical and not analytical, but it doesn't throw away the Bass and Treble at the expense of the midrange.
Something that really impressed me most was the level of transparency and resolution, at the price I truly think it's on another level. To be fair though I tested it on my Audio Analogue amp, I think most people will be using a more entry level setup with them. Soundstaging is also very good with very very good width, I have almost 3m free space to the sides
of my speakers so that also helps a lot.

To be fair and balanced there are two minor faults, but take them in context of the price you paying.

The Vinyl wrap is not 100%, small areas where they missed or the fold wasn't done right, very very small area and only visible on very close inspection, but at a retail of R5999 that puts it close to the MA Bronze 2 and the finish on the MA is incredible, for the people who buy with there eyes this might affect there decision, this is just my feeling based on the price of R5999.

The Badge on the grill is not fixed and caused a worrying rattle against the wood frame, it was an easy fix with a thin piece of double sided tape.


So for those who are still doubters go listen to a pair they are extremely enjoyable, and they get the balance right, I never feel my attention is drawn to sonic compromises but instead it's drawn to the musical flow and easy of sound.

Well done guys  :dop:






« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 01:52:08 PM by stereosane »

Offline Drifter

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Re: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2019, 02:42:34 PM »
Very nice write up.
When I bought my full set of 7 speakers for my HT a few months ago I was so impressed by the value for money on offer that I twisted Vaughan's arm to become a dealer representing Bentley in the Western Cape. Everyone looking for a set of mid-range speakers MUST hear these. Yes, I have compared them to my Vivid Audio B1 Decades and No, they don't put a R360k speaker to shame, but believe me you clearly hear what diminishing returns in the hifi context are.
I have the entire 1-series on display / demo at my house including the in-ceiling models. In addition to the FR100 my favourites are the FR120 mid sized floorstander and the FC150 centre. Add these together, throw in a decent AVR (Marantz if you can) and you end up with a HT that will make your neighbours green with envy yet does not break the bank.

I had the same issue with the badge on my first set of FR 120's that I bought. I just stuck it back on the fabric with some glue but I recon that is something that could be improved upon.

Hopefully in new year I can take a set of the FR100's to a Cape Town HiFi club get together. It will be really interesting to compare them to some other stand mounters that HiFi club has access to.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 03:01:46 PM by Drifter »

Offline Skylark

Re: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2019, 02:52:14 PM »
Mmm
Music is in the Mind

Offline BiZKiT

Re: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2019, 03:18:16 PM »
Welcome to the family :dop:

Offline BiZKiT

Re: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2019, 04:30:52 PM »
Just on the wrapping, these are hand made so not machine, there will always be small imperfections. Suggested retail is R5990 but most of us sell for R3999 if that is anything to go by.

Offline LC

Re: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2019, 07:50:16 PM »
I am super excited now having read this! Thank you Stereosane. I have a listening session lined up for tomorrow. These sounds like lovely speakers.  :rubhands:

Love and peace
Lamb Chop

Offline Dreamerm6

Re: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2019, 10:46:34 PM »
Thank you for a good an honest review! Glad you are happy with the service received from Pierre and welcome to the Bentley family!

To put you at ease with a few of your concerns.

1. Bass will come, they are still stiff and brand new, give them a week or 2 and you will have different beasts to tame!
2. Remember that every single speaker is made by hand, even the vinyl is applied by hand, so there will always be VERY small imperfections.
    see link : https://www.avforums.co.za/index.php/topic,83763.0.html
3. Apologies for the logo! We did address the logo issue when it came to light, we now also insert a thin film of double sided tape to secure the logo and material to the
    grille.
4. Yes I agree, a machine made Monitor Audio speaker does look better when it comes to finishing, but does it sound the same.. Not even close!
5. Suggested retail is R5995, what we generally sell for is R3995, I think you bought yours for even less? For us its all about value for money and at R3995 nothing can compete.

Enjoy those little monsters and post some more pics!!   :dop:

Kind regards
Vaughan Bentley

Offline Schalk

Re: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2019, 11:55:34 PM »
I am glad to say my first encounter with these Tiny Tots was equally satisfying and this whilst connected to some or other AVR if memory serves. Everything everybody says about the performance gels into a big plus and certainly just about every slight hesitation about this or that will and shall be negated as they loosen up. NO speaker can perform to its full potential without loosening up sufficiently over time. Patience = Rewards  :2thumbs:

Fit and finish issues? Look in the mirror, nothing is perfect. These are damn near perfect when you sit down and listen to them and that is what it is about. A true piece of handmade history being served at a giveaway price.

Offline stereosane

Re: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2019, 06:03:35 AM »
Thank you for a good an honest review! Glad you are happy with the service received from Pierre and welcome to the Bentley family!

To put you at ease with a few of your concerns.

1. Bass will come, they are still stiff and brand new, give them a week or 2 and you will have different beasts to tame!
2. Remember that every single speaker is made by hand, even the vinyl is applied by hand, so there will always be VERY small imperfections.
    see link : https://www.avforums.co.za/index.php/topic,83763.0.html
3. Apologies for the logo! We did address the logo issue when it came to light, we now also insert a thin film of double sided tape to secure the logo and material to the
    grille.
4. Yes I agree, a machine made Monitor Audio speaker does look better when it comes to finishing, but does it sound the same.. Not even close!
5. Suggested retail is R5995, what we generally sell for is R3995, I think you bought yours for even less? For us its all about value for money and at R3995 nothing can compete.

Enjoy those little monsters and post some more pics!!   :dop:

Kind regards
Vaughan Bentley

Thanks Vaughn

I hope my comments on the finish haven't upset you guys, it was minor as I said plus to be honest I thought the vinyl was machine done, it makes more sense now that I see they are done by hand. Anyway as you say they beat the MA everyday, don't listen with your eyes but your ears  :thumbs:

No need to apologize about the grills, it was more feedback than a complaint, and it was an easy fix.

Cheers


Offline BiZKiT

Re: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2019, 08:53:30 AM »
Thanks Vaughn

I hope my comments on the finish haven't upset you guys, it was minor as I said plus to be honest I thought the vinyl was machine done, it makes more sense now that I see they are done by hand. Anyway as you say they beat the MA everyday, don't listen with your eyes but your ears  :thumbs:

No need to apologize about the grills, it was more feedback than a complaint, and it was an easy fix.

Cheers

Not at all we want honest reviews :groovy: we know nothing can beat our speakers at the price point and anyone is welcome for a demo at any of our places. Me and Vaughan have a wide range of amps to test on, from receivers, power and integrated.

You must try them on a Bluesound :shh:

Offline Francois

Re: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2019, 09:22:02 AM »
One cannot be upset about an honest and thoughtful review  :thumbs:   Sonus Faber is also hand made. On the forum people are so  :cr@p:  scared of the couch bullies  :ROFLMAO:  donít be.!!


That said. There is nothing at op to double the price range that touches this little beast. Iím very proud of what the guys have achieved. R3985. Vaughan leave it there. You not competing with Samsung and LG here. Your product is 5x better.  :2thumbs:
I was born analog, not digit by digit....

Offline Dreamerm6

Re: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2019, 09:41:01 AM »
Thanks Vaughn

I hope my comments on the finish haven't upset you guys, it was minor as I said plus to be honest I thought the vinyl was machine done, it makes more sense now that I see they are done by hand. Anyway as you say they beat the MA everyday, don't listen with your eyes but your ears  :thumbs:

No need to apologize about the grills, it was more feedback than a complaint, and it was an easy fix.

Cheers
No bud off course not upset! Just want people to know everything is made by hand.  :thumbs:

Offline LC

Re: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2019, 12:01:09 PM »
I am super excited now having read this! Thank you Stereosane. I have a listening session lined up for tomorrow. These sounds like lovely speakers.  :rubhands:

Love and peace
Lamb Chop

OMG! These speakers rock! They beat the pants off the best sounding bookshelf speakers I have ever heard, being the Wharfedale Diamond 220's. I am sooo buying a pair.

Offline GECO

Re: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2019, 12:08:58 PM »
I remember the day i tried to convince Vaughan that we change the original design of the FR100. He was a bit hesitant at first

btw. This rear ported speaker does work well close to the wall

Offline Nico V

Re: Unpacking Bentley Fr100 and My Thoughts
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2019, 12:26:37 PM »
I also listened to a demo on the 100's and they are truely on a next level. They were standing next to a pair of MA's and sounded completely different, in a better way. Separation was better and the bass foundation had enough substance to make everything above it sound more articulate. No fatique. A suggestion: listen to them without their grills. You'd be pleasantly surprised at how much wider and more detailed the soundstage is. These are well worth it - even at double the price.
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