I always believe that the best review for a speaker is a recommendation... So here is my recommendation :
I listen to music every day, in my car and at home on my HiFi. I drive a Land Rover Defender so the quality of sound is not always that good but when I get home my music needs be of high quality. I do not earn lots of money and I have to save for high quality products when I want to buy them. I am a researcher by nature so I do my homework properly before I buy something.
I broke my rule when it came to the Bentley FR100. I only bought it because a friend recommended it and because it was South African. The only thing this friend said were :”you will be happily surprised with these little beasts!” I then ordered a set from Wayne at my regular dealer - HFX. By then I sold my trusty and beautiful little Monitor Audios BX2 that I have had for five very happy years. I was looking for something more from my speakers, but could not get floor-standers, as I do not have space for them.
Once the FR100s were unboxed they looked fairly familiar when you talk about looks, and a tad smaller than my Monitor Audios. The grills are very basic and I must say a bit disappointing as they are very heavy and with them on not helping the speakers at all – probably cost efficient (I will get back to the grills later).
(My source equipment is Yamaha As500 amp, Rega P3 turntable and Cambridge Audio 550p phono stage and NAD c542 cd player. I mostly listen to classical and hard rock music so I demand a lot from my speakers.)
From the minute I start to feed these little FR100 beasts I could hear this is what I was looking for! From the get-go the sound-stage was better, the bass better, and even more controlled. The treble and mids were still a bit harsh but that was expected. It was kicking the Monitor Audios butt. I listened to them initially without the grills on and that is the only way I listen to them now because with the grills they lose their quality somewhat... Now after three months of use they are better than ever, mids have settled and I have a speaker that make me love my music all over again..
Back to the grilles: I think the grills are too bulky unless you have very small room or you live in a flat and need to dampen the sound, but obviously purely made for protection. (They are the perfect grills if you have a party at home for 5year olds as they help with the wandering fingers touching the speakers)
So how is the service? I picked up a problem with the one binding post, I contacted Vaughan and he had them fetched from my house and returned them fixed within a day.
Buying a speaker that is SA made and priced perfectly was a pleasure and now I am itching to hear the FS110 small floor-standers and eventually upgrade to them, I already made space for them.
Thank you Vaughan and Rudi, for a brilliant product.
If I would rate them with points as follows :
Built Quality: 4/5
Worthy of my hard-earned cash: 5/5
Smile on my face when I listen to my favorite Maria Calas Aria: priceless!
Pros: sound stage
size (if you have only limited space)
proudly SA made
amazing design of the crossovers
refinement of cabinets (but at this price it is not a con)
Conclusion : will I recommend Bentley acoustics! Without a doubt!
Compare to: Monitor Audio Bronze series, Wharfedale Diamonds, Q acoustic, Boston Acoustic