Italy’s Sonus faber is hardly a name associated with affordability, especially when considering brand names such as Audio Research and McIntosh (both of which are held by Sonus farber’s owner, Fine Sounds Group) and its upper level of model offerings. For example, take the company’s flagship speaker, Aida, which weighs a whopping 730-pounds and runs a cool $120,000 per pair…
I’ll let those numbers sink-in for a second…
Yup, there’s a lot you could do with $120,000. Buy a car, book a trip into outer space, build the home theater of your dreams…the list goes on and on.
Not to belabor the point, but I’m simply setting-up the very intriguing price points that Sonus farber’s new entry–level Principia Speaker Collection bring to the table. It’s high-end audio without the high-end price tag, largely due to manufacturing (or, as the Sonus farber press kit reads: finishing) in Chinese factories. The collection is being released on the successful heels of the company’s Chameleon line, which certainly turned a few heads with edgy styling and excellent reviews.
The Principia line is designed for two-channel and multi-channel applications in nearly any size room. Buyers have the option of two different bookshelf models (Principia 1 and Principia 2), two floorstanding models (Principia 5 and Principia 7), and a simple center channel (Principia C). Lost among these models are the deceptively edgy lines and design commonalities seen throughout the company’s upper echelon of speakers. Instead, Principia is defined by a much boxier trapezoidal look with simplicity abound (similar to that of the Chameleon line).
Four of the five speakers feature a vented cabinet design with a standard black vinyl veneer finish and a 29-mm precoated fabric dome tweeter with a DKM membrane (the center channel nixes the vent in favor of a passive radiator). While this tweeter has been previously used, the speakers’ large drivers are completely new creations. The Principia 1, 5, 7 and C all share 150-mm drivers created by Sonus faber with a free compression basket design and a thermo-molded polypropylene cone. The Principia 3 and 7 feature slightly larger drivers (180-mm) made with the same design. Both bookshelf models are two-way speakers, as is the Principia 5 floorstander and Principia C center channel. The Principia 7 is a three-way design with one 150-mm driver and two larger 180-mm woofers.
Both towers are slightly more sensitive speakers than the bookshelf models (90 dB vs 87 dB), and all have the ability to deliver fairly impressive bass (the Principia 1 bookshelf can deliver down to 50 Hz while the larger Principia 7 tower can hit below 40 Hz). Aside from that, we have very little real world data about how the speakers will ultimately perform. Check Sonusfaber.com for dimensions and weights across the series.
As for the pricing, Sonus faber isn’t being shy about embracing a “starting point and entry in the high-end world” with their new creations. As you’ll see, you don’t need to break the bank to have a piece of the Italian hi-fi dream:
• Principia 1, two-way bookshelf vented box - $ 549/pair
• Principia 3, two-way bookshelf vented box - $ 699/pair
• Principia 5, three-way floorstanding vented box - $ 1,199/pair
• Principia 7, three-way floorstanding vented box - $ 1,499/pair
• Principia C, two-way closed box with passive radiator - $ 349/each
Look for the Principia line to hit streets in Europe, Asia, and the United States this coming June. Buyers will have the option of shopping for the speakers through both official distributors and mass-market sales sources.
Image Credits: Sonus faber