FANE ACOUSTICS: What happened?

We are told ...

Company founded on the 11th of February 1993 in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK as Raftmill Ltd. but changed its name to Fane Acoustics after buying the trademarks and other assets of the bankrupt Fane Loudspeakers company. Restarted production of loudspeaker drivers in the Leeds, Yorkshire factory that Fane Loudspeakers had been using but with a slightly simplified product line that emphasised pro-audio and instrument amplification products and ignored the hi-fi market that the older Fane company had occasionally ventured into.

Under the guidance of managing director and shareholder Ian Gair that took over the helm in 1997 the company moved parts of their production to China, with somewhat disastrous results quality wise, but more interestingly made a series of flat panel loudspeakers under licence from NXT and Layered Sound Technologies. These flat panel speakers reused motors from more traditional drivers to make hybrid flat panel drivers that were much more powerful than the competition with power handling capacity of up to 200w and had bass response under 100Hz unlike most NXT based units, the MiniPro driver for instance had a response of 60Hz to 21KHz , an 80w power handling and 114dB output.

Fane factory and warehouse ca. 1999.The company had some financial difficulties in the early part of the 00’s but nothing serious, their managing director left in the spring of 2005 and just a day after that a freak build-up of a local cloudburst created a flood in a nearby river that flooded their factory with the water reaching as high as 60cm. While that is not particularly high it was enough to render all production inoperative until June that same year and since the site was not considered to be a flood risk no care had been taken to keep long storage documents and servers off the floor, so while the company had been fully insured they suffered a much more severe hit to their operations than initially thought. So in addition to slightly precarious financial situation beforehand and increasing competition from Chinese suppliers the flood was a something the company had difficulty recovering from.

By the end of 2006 the company was basically bankrupt and taken into insolvency administration in January 2007. Fane's assets and IP was sold to Precision Devices while some of the staff went to RMJ Loudspeakers and the large “superwoofers” Fane had been showing shortly before its demise ended up as a Royal product.

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