Amplifier for Sonus Faber Cremona M

Hi Everyone,
Heard the Sonus Faber Cremona M's today and really liked them. Compared them to the lower cost Sonus Faber Luito, same priced Martin Logan Montis, and the more expensive B&W 802's. I preferred the Cremona M's to all of them. Great speaker to look at and listen to. Wondering what your thoughts are?
Also, looking for an amp to drive them. Was thinking of the McIntosh 6900 integrated amp w/tuner card. Is this amp good enough for the Cremona's? Any other recommendations in the 7-10K price range tube or solid state?
Thanks guys
You heard the speakers, liked how they sounded and also when compared to ML and B&W, liked their looks...

so what was driving them?
Quicksilver silver88 are magical. Jallen
They won't run you anywhere near the amount you are budgeting, but the Pathos integrated monoblocked works very well with the Cremora M's. I've been using that combo for a couple of years. Maybe because both lines are produced in Italy they blend together really well. By using two Pathi you get plenty of power and I could not ask for a more musical sound.
I'm using a Pass INT-150 with Cremona M's and it works great. I would think a 6900 would work well also.
Thanks guys for your responses so far. I made the mistake of saying McIntosh 6900, I meant to say 6600. Anyways, the 6900 would be great too if I could find a nice used one.
@Stevecham, The B&W's were hooked up to by far the nicest McIntosh gear in the room. Monoblocks and I believe solid state pre. The ML's were also hooked up to McIntosh, but it was a one piece 3 channel home theatre amp and home theatre pre, albeit still expensive. Sounds like an unfair advantage for the ML's. But the SF Cremona M's were only hooked up to a Marantz PM 15S2 integrated amp and matching CD player. Even though the Marantz's price tag was much cheaper and I would think not equivalent to either of the McIntosh set ups, the Cremona M's still sounded the best to my ears. I think the Marantz was good enough to showcase the Cremona M's strengths.
@Jallen, Quicksilver always intrigued me but there are no dealers around here.
@Vgrubb, same goes for Pass, no dealers around. I really need to make it to some shows!
@Rudge, heard the Pathos Classic One Mk2 before. I assume that's the integrated you are talking about? I liked it. I have read good things about people using two of them. Something to consider. Although, I might just look into the Pathos Logos then.
Thanks again
A guy I know runs Cremona M with a CJ350 amp and Arc Ref3. In a purpose built listening room the sound is quiet stunning. The system punches well above its weight.

His previous combo Modwright pre and Karan amp was pretty awful, really didn't work well at all.

Make sure you try Pathos, I was sold on the looks and reviews, then I heard them. Not great, both the Classic and Logos were poor into a variety of speakers inc speakers that should have loved them like Zingali.

Good luck finding and amp, lovely speakers when you nail it and they look great.
My Luxman L507 integrated (used straight and with a tubed preamp into the power-amp-direct inputs) was marvelous with my Cremona Auditors. Very lifelike, but not tiring or raw, with lots of solid bass.
FWIW, a few months ago I was considering a speaker upgrade, and a fellow Audiogon member I've come to trust recommended the Cremona Ms as a great match with my McIntosh MC275 amp. He has several systems and can afford a lot more expensive stuff and still had the Cremona Ms with 2 MC275 as monoblocks. Eventually he moved up the Sonus Faber line.

So try and audition the Ms with McIntosh tubes. MC2275 integrated, MC275 as stereo amp, with the upgrade option of adding a second one and using them as monoblocks.

BTW, keep us posted on what you try and what you like. I'm also interested in the Cremona M.
I heard the Cremona Ms a few months ago powered by a Marantz PM8004. It's the lowest-price Marantz integrated that uses their HDAM gain circuit. Even with this 70 wpc $999 amp the Cremona Ms sounded fabulous. The Marantzes with the HDAM circuit are from their Reference Series made in Japan. The HDAM circuits are proprietary gain modules that provide as much as 75 dB gain each, with very wide bandwidth and very low noise. Even the PM8004's amp section has an S/N ratio of 125 dB. The 15S2 is a few notches above the PM8004, and should be a very good match. If you Google around, you'll find that these Marantz Reference Series amps are extraordinarily neutral and linear, yet smooth and musical without of hint of edginess or sterility.

I played the opening Diana Krall's "All or Nothing At All," which starts with a rapid upright bass intro by Christian McBride. The humble PM8004 had total control, speed, extension, and fullness of that passage (and the rest of the song), something I would not have expected from a $999 integrated amp. The 15S2 would be that much better. There are several reasons this combo impressed you and I think the Marantz is one of them. The Cremona M is easily my favorite speaker anywhere near that price too.
I have heard the same combo, Cremona M & Marantz 15S2 LE at a Magnolia Design Center. Here in my area, we have several and they like to pair the SF's with the Marantz reference gear.

I agree with Johnnyb53, the Cremona M's sounded fabulous with the Marantz amp. I spent quite a bit of time listening to this combo and the B&W 802/Mac mono blocks with recordings I brought with me. I also preferred the Cremona M's even though they were being driven by an amp a fraction of the price of the Macs. Incredible sound.

Now I am not currently in the market for 10K speakers but if I were, the Cremona's would probably be the ones. And I would have no problem getting the Marantz 15S2 LE too as the amp to drive them. You heard it yourself through this same combo and admitted to preferring the Cremonas.

So, you are asking for a recommendation for these speakers. The Marantz 15S2 LE! Why look any farther? At least to your ears (and mine), they already bested far more expensive speaker/amp combinations. But with you stated budget, if you feel this amp is too low for a 10K speakers, then look at the Marantz 11S3 that provides more power at 5K. Good luck with your search.
Thanks again guys for your helpful responses!

@Defride, I like the idea of Pathos. In fact I have many different speaker amplifier choices in my mind, from Opera, Unison, Nola KO, Quicksilver ect. The problem is I need to listen to them all and no dealers around. So I have to stick with what I have heard and seen personally. Thinking about attending the Audio show AXPONA in Chicago this March. Maybe hold off my purchase until then?

@Rgs92, I used to own some Luxman gear a long time ago. Very nice! I haven't heard their new gear but from what I remember I might want a little bit of a warmer sound than the Luxman's provide. I might be wrong. No dealers here.
@ Lewinskih01,

That is a very good idea to look into. I could buy one McIntosh MC275 and a McIntosh tube pre amp. Live a while with only 75 watts. It should be fine, but then buy a second MC275 later and use them as mono blocks. It would be more expensive, especially over the MA6600 integrated, but worthy of consideration. I will have to make the people at Magnolia move some things around as those amps are now in the front of their store. Magnolia is not the best when it comes to rearranging gear to listen to different combinations. Prefer the independent stores for that, but not many of them left.
@ Johnnyb53

Marantz makes some pretty good gear that always seems to punch above it's price. I owned the PM-8004 for a very short time to play around with in my second system. I was very impressed with it. It could sell for twice the price and I wouldn't think it was overpriced. Perhaps it wasn't broken in fully or perhaps it was my Proac's I had it hooked up to but I found the PM8004 a little too bright sounding and preferred my little Creek 4330 so I sold it. Other than the brightness it did everything better than the Creek. I doubt the Marantz was even broken in all the way. Maybe I should have waited longer.

@ Paraneer,

You make some very good points. It seems like we had the exact same setups at the Magnolia's we went to. You are right! I did prefer the Cremona M's hooked up to the Marantz 15S2 LE over the much more expensive B&W 802 and McIntosh mono block amp, preamp, combination.

I thought it was because I just didn't like the B&W's that much. They were a bit to analytical and mechanical in their musical approach and a bit too bright. The Cremona M's played with more emotion, warmth and beauty without sacrificing detail. In fact I thought I could hear more details and layering in the recordings over the 802's. All this while being hooked up to inexpensive Marantz 15S2 LE! So that must say something. Don't get me wrong the 802's are still excellent speakers. But for me they just sounded more "Hi-Fi" and less like music.

I will try to get Magnolia to set up some different amps with Cremona M's. After I hear the Marantz, then hook them up to the MC275 tube amp and tube pre. Magnolia does not carry the MA6600 but does have the MA6300. Not as good but maybe that will give me a better idea.
Yes, good analogy Mezzanine. The 802's sounded good but just not as musical as the Cremonas. I would be curious to know how you like the Cremonas with the McIntosh MA6300 vs what we already know - the Cremonas and the Marantz. Please let us know after you have this audition. Have fun.
Mezzanine: the thing is, regardless of your matchup of the PM8004 and Proacs, the HDAM-featured Marantz integrated amps are an excellent match with the Cremona Ms. Three separate people on this thread have heard the Cremona Ms powered by either a Marantz PM8004 or a PM-15S2 and *all* of us preferred the synergy of that amp/speaker combination to anything else we'd heard near that price range.

I can take the PM8004 further: I have an Internet audiobuddy who's been using a restored vintage Dynaco stack of separates to drive his stereo. He was finally getting to where he wanted something better. I had recommended he save up for a Rogue Cronus Magnum. In the meantime, at the musicians' forum where we met, I posted a glowing review of my experience hearing the PM8004 driving the Cremona Ms. He was so taken by my recommendation that--even though he's sort of a dyed-in-the-wool tube guy--he interrupted his Cronus savings program and bought a B-stock PM8004. He's running his turntable directly into the PM8004's phono stage, and he's ecstatic with the results. He let me know that he'd been spinning vinyl almost nonstop since it arrived.

A Marantz HDAM amp is not going to have the tonal balance of most tube amps, but it is so honest, so quiet, so tight, so dynamic, and so resolving that it conveys the same sorts of essence of the music--transparency, inner and low level detail, imaging, soundstage--that tube electronics do so effortlessly. Tube lovers may find that the HDAM Marantz amps give them what they value most in tubes without the cost, the looser bass, and the rolled off highs (not that every tube component does that).

After my PM8004/Cremona M experience, if I *ever* have the good fortune to acquire a pair of Cremona Ms, they will be powered by an HDAM Marantz amp. And if I had the budget you have, then I'd go upscale to the 11S3 with 100/200 wpc at 8/4 ohms for $4995 or SC-7S2 preamp for $3995 and 11S1 power amp at $2995 down from $4500.

Really, though at your budget I'd do the PM-11S3 and be done with it. WIth the way that PM8004 energized a fairly large listening room with the Cremona Ms, the 11S3 with 100/200 watts (i.e., very high current capability) should be *plenty.*

BTW, in addition to possible unfinished break-in period, your PM8004 may have needed something as simple as Vibrapod footers to get a better match with your Proacs. I have a sackful of Vibrapods and when I sense midrange glare I try those first and they usually fix it.

Listening is certainly the best way to know. FWIW, both the friend who had Cremona Ms + 2xMC275 and me prefer a Lamm LL2 preamp to a McIntosh tube preamp. Ergonomics are certainly better on the Mc, but the sound of the Lamm is far better with the MC275. I realize this will be a second step for you, but wanted to encourage you to go step by step (speakers + amp first, then pre).

Enjoy the trip to Magnolia!
Hi guys.Not trying to hijack this thread but I just last week picked up a pair of brand new(factory sealed boxes)S.F.Toy Towers for a REAL steal & have been researching integrated amps to drive them.
In your positive listening experiences with the Marantz PM 8004 & the Cremona's were there any areas where the Marantz let the Cremona's down(sound staging,imaging,etc...)& how was the tonal characteristics of the Cremona's(typically Sonus Faber VERY slightly recessed treble)affected by the Marantz?Do you guys really feel the Marantz would be as good as say a Unison Unico Primo(at almost 3 times more expensive)?Thanks very much,take care...
Hi Freedriver, welcome to this thread. No you not hijacking anything. You have some good questions. I owned the Marantz PM8004 for about a month in my second system. The Cremona M's at Magnolia that I listened to were not hooked up to the PM8004 they were hooked up to the Marantz PM15S2 Limited, $2500. Differences? I think the 15S2 is a bit more powerful and a little smoother sounding than the PM8004. Anyways, I sold my PM8004 even though it did almost everything well. Why did I sell it? There was a brightness in the upper midrange and lower treble that I couldn't live with. A) It may not have been broken in all the way in just 30 days. B) It might not have been a good match with my Proac's. The PM15S2 hooked up to the Cremona M's sounded great and I didn't notice any of that brightness. I never heard the Unison Unico but I am sure it would be very nice. I did hear the Pathos One Mk3 and it sounded pretty good. Looks awesome too. If you only want to spend $1000 then the PM 8004 should be a good match for your new Toy towers. I can't think of another solid state integrated at the price range that would be a better match or sound as good with Sonus Faber's. If you like tubes then for $1200 you could get a Jolida 502BRC EL-84 tube integrated. Heard that and it's really good for the price. You could also get a Rogue Cronus. For around $1500 you could check out the hybrid solid/tube integrated from Sytnthesis Audio called the Magnum. I own one of their beautiful wood in cased tube tuners and love it. They are not well known in the States but you can contact DeJa Vu Audio. They are the importer of the line. Then you can have an all Italian system. Good luck. Let us know what you decided on.
@ Lewinskih01

Thanks for the info. Never had the chance to hear Laam. I am sure Laam sounds great! I may hold off a purchase and attend the AXPONA in Chicago this spring time.
Freediver, one more idea. If you want to keep it all Italian you could buy the Italian made sold state integrated Audio Analogue Crescendo. Only $1000. Never heard it but something to look into. The reviews are pretty good. Audio Waves sells them. You can check online. They have some deal, only $850 and free shipping right now. Audio Analogue also makes some more expensive nice hybrid integrated amps.
Mezzanie, what did you end up doing, and how did it sound?
I have a pair of Cremona Ms powered with Pass 30.5 XA no preamp just a Placette passive line stage and let me tell ya....Wow! Played Cheskys Ultimate Demonstration Disk today these speakers passed every test with ease, highly recommended if your budget is big enough.