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Discussion Starter #1
In my quest to broaden my exposure to new sonic delights, I have stumbled upon the brand Sonus Faber. Someone I knew from High School is now the manager of Magnolia in Best Buy(Merrillville, IN) and I rather enjoy the sound of the Vienna Acoustic Mozart Grands as we played around with his lines at Magnolia. He mentioned that I go listen to Sonus Faber, which are not carried by this particular Magnolia. So I did, and WOW, what a treat! Does anyone have any experience with Sonus Faber, and what are your thoughts?

I realize that speakers are an individual experience, so I'm not necessarily asking for specific comparrisions, but more of a general opinion as to the quality of craftmanship and level of sonic quality.

I listened, first, to the Sonus Faber Cremona M ($12,800/pr) powered by McIntosh Monoblocks($3000/each) in a 2ch setup. This blew me away. I have very little experience listening to higher end speakers. Most of my past has been with Big Box/Mass Retailer cheaper stuff. I still have Cerwin Vegas, so needless to say, it was an Awakening. Absolutely phenomenal soundstage, extremely detailed, and depth like I've never heard. This was the finest speaker setup I've ever heard.

From there I moved on to the SF Grand Piano Domus($4800/pr) powered by an A/V Receiver that I didn't quite see, maybe a Yamaha or Denon or Pioneer Elite. This was both a 2ch and a 5.1ch setup with the rest of the surround speakers from the Domus line. What a dramatic step down in sonics! I would have probably been blown away by the Grand Pianos if I would have heard them first, but I think I was spoiled by the Cremona M's

I appreciate any thoughts or comments.
 

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My friend has a pair of Amatis, and they are wonderful speakers. I think they're like $30k new, so way out of my price range. I've also heard some of the smaller models at a local shop, and they were very nice, but lacked the low end.

Definitely nice stuff if you can afford it!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Currently, I am in the process of selling my house in Cleveland, OH and working in Chicago(will live in NW Indiana). My family(wife and 3 yr daughter Kayla and 4 month son Magnus) are staying with my parents during the transition so I don't have my equipment here. The plan is to buy or build a new house pending the sale of my current house. I will have plenty of time to plan my next purchase and I plan on building a dedicated theater space to boot. I haven't nailed down a budget yet because it will depend on how crazy we go with the amount of house we buy. Most likely, a theater will be built over the course of the next few YEARS, not months, so I've got time to do some listening. The Sonus Fabers impressed me and they appear to be of very solid construction.
 

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The Sonus Fabers are extremely high quality, definitely a sound (forgive the pun) investment. I don'thave them myself (well above my current budget) but have several friends who have Sonus's, one of them has 3 sets, the oldest of which is about 15 years old and he wouldn't part with any of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
WOW! I can't even imagine what those would be like. It was just a pleasure to listen to the Cremona M's. I'm sure that rig would be about as good as it gets. I couldn't possibly justify that level of expense at this point in my life. Actually, I couldn't afford it even if I could justify it, but maybe someday things will be different...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Pretty, but way too expensive for a speaker that needs a ground-up crossover redesign.
I'm curious. Would that be for the entire brand, or just a certain line, or just a specific speaker. Also, what character is it that is off? The Cremona M's that I heard were quite pleasant, but I didn't get to really listen to a variety of music or spend much time with them. What I did hear sounded really good.
 

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Pretty, but way too expensive for a speaker that needs a ground-up crossover redesign.
Hi Jay,

They're expensive, no doubt, but the ones I've heard have sounded pretty good.

Could you describe fully the shortcomings of the crossovers that Sonus Faber is using, as well as any suggestions for improvement?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Actually, I take it back a bit. Looking at some measurements for this particular speaker it seems to be better engineered than their previous "statement" offerings, which had ultra-minimalist crossovers and were basically unlistenable. Treble dispersion is very poor, though. Here's a somewhat crude measurement of the power response of the Cremona Ellipse.



To be sure, that's not the fault of the crossover but of that generally annoying (IMO) Vifa/ScanSpeak nipple tweeter they use.

As for improvement, no idea. I consider any speaker that does not control the treble directivity at the bottom of the tweeter's passband (i.e. through waveguide-loading or coincident/concentric tweeter placement) to be a flawed design, anyway...
I haven't heard the Cremona Ellipse, but that response On-axis and through about 40 degrees Off-axis doesn't look too bad. The Cremona M's I listened to were pure pleasure. I'll admit that I didn't listen Off-axis extensively. I walked around the room a bit and they were pretty tolerable, that's for sure.

Also, the Grand Piano Domus, while still a detailed speaker, did not have near the fullness and presence. I'd still love a pair, but I think I might be able to make a pair for thousands less that I can tweak to near perfection.
 
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Now that you've heard one high end setup, it's time to hear some more. Seek out real high-end dealers in your area (not magnolia) and listen to some other setups.

Sonus Fabers have a pleasing, warm, musical sound, but it is far from neutral, and there are much more dynamic systems out there.

Try and listen to some Wilsons MAXX or big Dynaudios (confidence or evidence line), and you'll be able to appreciate what a more neutral and dynamic speaker sounds like.

Big electrostats (Soundlab or Quad) will show you what true transparency is, High-efficiency speakers (horns, avantegard, edgarhorn, a cappella) and single-digit wattage SET tube amps will show you how much cleaner simple amp circuits sound.

There are so many different approaches, and they all have drastically different presentations, but it's hard to say conclusively which is best. A lot of people try, and good advice is to stay away from audio "bigotry" of which there is much. A smart audiophile will understand and appreciate the pros and cons of different designs, and self-explore to find out what approach is the most ultimately satisfying to himself.

Good luck, it sounds like you might get the hi-fi bug. The Cremonas are nice, btw, but I personally find other designs more suited to rock music, as well as big-scale classical. If you mostly listen to female vocals, chamber, small jazz ensembles and that type of music, the Sonus Fabers would be a very good choice.
 

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If we are talking truly neutral in the monopolar realm than the B&W 802D is the ticket - a virtually inert [audibly so] cabinet coupled with a great CSD as far as commercial speakers go and better off axis than most. See measurements here.

It should be noted that a real neutral speaker will generally not sound neutral to the ear due to current recording techniques. It has been shown through various credible research that true tonal balance is perceived with a gradual decline in the treble range such as these:

 

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Discussion Starter #14
Now that you've heard one high end setup, it's time to hear some more. Seek out real high-end dealers in your area (not magnolia) and listen to some other setups.

Sonus Fabers have a pleasing, warm, musical sound, but it is far from neutral, and there are much more dynamic systems out there.

Try and listen to some Wilsons MAXX or big Dynaudios (confidence or evidence line), and you'll be able to appreciate what a more neutral and dynamic speaker sounds like.

Big electrostats (Soundlab or Quad) will show you what true transparency is, High-efficiency speakers (horns, avantegard, edgarhorn, a cappella) and single-digit wattage SET tube amps will show you how much cleaner simple amp circuits sound.

There are so many different approaches, and they all have drastically different presentations, but it's hard to say conclusively which is best. A lot of people try, and good advice is to stay away from audio "bigotry" of which there is much. A smart audiophile will understand and appreciate the pros and cons of different designs, and self-explore to find out what approach is the most ultimately satisfying to himself.

Good luck, it sounds like you might get the hi-fi bug. The Cremonas are nice, btw, but I personally find other designs more suited to rock music, as well as big-scale classical. If you mostly listen to female vocals, chamber, small jazz ensembles and that type of music, the Sonus Fabers would be a very good choice.
goatwuss,
Thanks for the great advice. I'm far away from being a true audiophile, but I am in the process of refining myself to the appreciation of finer audio. I don't have a lot of time to get out and do true critical listening, but little by little, I guess. As for my tastes in music, I'm all over the map. I always weigh female vocals very heavily in a speaker, so maybe thats why I like those SF so much. But my tastes are truly diverse, from classical, country, rock, hip hop, jazz, blues, latin, and even current pop garbage. I'm not out to find a "neutral" speaker, but rather one that actually sounds good to me, what that means I don't fully know yet..
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If we are talking truly neutral in the monopolar realm than the B&W 802D is the ticket - a virtually inert [audibly so] cabinet coupled with a great CSD as far as commercial speakers go and better off axis than most.
I recently went out to a local shop to hear B&W and Paradigms. They had the 683 from the 600 series, and the 804 from the 800 series. I also listened to the Paradigm Monitor 7 and Studio 40. The 683 are not very good, IMHO. They sounded like my Cerwin Vega LS12's, but without the low end presence and twice the bloat. The Monitor 7's had more resolution, with better clairty and imaging. I liked 'em compared to the 683.

Then, tried the 804's. Now, they were not bad, but still didn't really do anything for me. Yes, they had very good resolution, clarity, and a full soundstage, but still not enough presence compared to what the Sonus Faber Cremonas have. I wouldn't pay anything close to what the asking price is for the 804.

My favorite speaker of the day at that shop was the Paradigm Studio 40. I wish they had in the floorstanders from the studio series, but the 40's were a pretty nice speaker. Again, nowhere near as enjoyable as the SF's to me, but the studio 40's would be a fantastic home theater speaker that could also serve duty as a music maker, too. The 40s had good dynamics, which I need, and they had a clean sharp sound, but maybe didn't image quite as well as some others. I had a great time watching the Blu-ray "GhostRider" through a nice 1080P Runco with the Paradigm Studio 40's being driven by an Anthem setup. It was fun, that's for sure.
 

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Well how do you like that... you are out in the market for Big $$ speakers and your ears narrow them down to the Paradigms... cool... they do make a pretty nice, clean, forward sounding speaker, they can be on the bright side, I have to tame mine back... but they are punchy for sure, some refer to that as mid-bass bloat.. I kinda like the punch.. :)

Nice to hear your getting out and doing the auditions..
Do you have any oppertunity to check out Aerial Speakers...?
http://www.aerialacoustics.com/html/prods.html

I'm In milwaukee, so I have to get down there to check them out..
Aerial dealers...

J Pauls Design
Premier Dealer
491 Newcastle
Cary, IL 60013
tel: 847.348.1001
web: www.jpaulsdesign.com

Blessing Audio & Visual
3123 Mist Flower Lane
Napierville, IL 60564
tel: 630.546.8321

Sound Decisions
1519 E.Main Street, Suite 900
St. Charles, IL 60174
tel: 630.513.1042
web: www.soundecisions.com

Intelligent House
1206 N. Kennedy Drive
Streamwood, IL 60107
tel: 630.830.4199



Do you have any oppertunity to check out Aerial Speakers...?
http://www.aerialacoustics.com/html/prods.html
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Aerial? I've never heard 'em, but I'm game. I don't know if I'll be able to get time to travel and take that much time, but based on their reputation, it might be worth my time if I do get a chance. At this point, its not about money because auditioning doesn't cost a thing, other than time. When it comes down to making a purchase, I'd really like to build a DIY pair based on the designs and research of the types I like. So right now, its all about listening and searching. Thanks for the tip on the Aerials.
 

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I know this is "Sonus Faber" thread, but it seems like it's turning to more of a high-end speaker thread. Given that, have you heard the Vandersteen 3A Signature? I liked them enough to buy them...
 

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Dude..... never heard of Aerial.... WHOA...

You owe it to yourself to have a listen... I'm always chompin at the bit to just blow off work, to head out and sample down in Chi-Town...

Maybe I'll grab my buddy (neighbor of mine) Nuance and head down that way...

He is on a quest for My Journey to find the "perfect" speaker...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Dude..... never heard of Aerial.... WHOA...

You owe it to yourself to have a listen... I'm always chompin at the bit to just blow off work, to head out and sample down in Chi-Town...

Maybe I'll grab my buddy (neighbor of mine) Nuance and head down that way...

He is on a quest for My Journey to find the "perfect" speaker...
No, no, no. I've heard of them. I just haven't heard them in person. I would like to experience their sound. Being in transition of moving and having a 3yr old daughter and 5 month old son, all while staying with my parents while we look for a place of our own is Absolute Craziness. I've got zero time to get away and do some "Me Time".


Vandersteen 3A Sigs? Nope, I haven't heard 'em yet, but will see if I can.
 
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