Fluid Audio FA-C5 are among the lesser known models out there, but also one of the most capable studio monitors you can get under $200. They are somewhat minimalist in terms of features, but more than satisfactory when it comes to pure performance. Let's check them out a bit closer.
The design is by far one of the most impressive aspects of Fluid Audio FA-C5. We have a solid MDF cabinet build that inspires confidence and looks good. Fluid Audio offers these in all black, although recently they have been shipping out mostly their white version. These are arguably more attractive with their all white cabs, white driver cones, and black baffles. Speaking of which, Fluid Audio went with pretty large waveguides and robust driver surrounds.
The front panel of both cabinets is clean and devoid of any controls. Both the power button and the volume knob are located on the back. Even though we appreciate the clean design, having these controls at the front would have been a much more practical solution. FA-C5 are built very solid with no rattling or vibrations. That can partially be attributed to anti-vibration feet, allowing you to use these on cluttered desktops without issues.
As we have mentioned before, features aren't really the strong suit of FA-C5. There are no acoustic controls or anything similar. These features are pretty standard in this segment of the market. What FA-C5 does offer is solid hardware. We get a 1″ tweeter paired with a large, 5″ low-frequency driver that can dig pretty deep in the frequency range. Since these are active speakers, the built in amplifier delivers some 20 Watts of power per channel.
In other words, you get 40 Watts RMS total. I/O cluster is about as standard as it gets. There are both 1/4″ TRS and your usual RCA inputs in the back of the active unit. One thing that is lacking is the presence AUX ports, which some may find necessary. Overall, Fluid Audio did cut a few corners in terms of features, but that is nothing we would consider a definitive deal-breaker.
The absolute best selling point of Fluid Audio's FA-C5 is their performance. We are looking at a rather high level of transparency with enough volume to boot. These feature a 54 Hz – 22 kHz response range, which is fairly accurate. Those large, 5″ low-frequency drivers can really dig into the bass section should they need to, offering an accurate and tight response. Another feature that helps the performance quite a bit is the built in crossover that kicks in around 4.5 kHz.
This way you are getting is a fairly smooth blend of highs, mids, and lows. Compared to most of their competitors, Fluid Audio's FA-C5 are arguably tighter in terms of response and how deep they can go. What we would love to see is a bit more versatility and control over the sound.
At the end of the day, Fluid Audio FA-C5 are behind the curve when it comes to features. Even though we are still well within the affordable segment, some versatility is expected. Performance wise, these are definitely up there with the rest of the studio monitors in this price range.