The Sonus are some of the sweetest speakers I have ever heard. Vocals, piano, small Jazz will sound excellent on them. B&Ws are overall very nice but not up to the SF for the above type of music. That being said, the Sonus need some wattage to come alive so you may be under powering them.
Here is an honest review of the Sonus.
The B&W Nautilus 803 is an excellent sounding, well integrated, modestly sized/easy-to-place, full-range Speaker. It appeared on Stereophile's Recommended Components list from 2000 through 2002 with a "Class A-Restricted Extreme LF" rating. The Sonus Faber Cremona currently has a "Class B-Full Range" rating. There are many reviews/awards listed on B&W's website. Also, at $3,000-less than the SF Cremona it's a great deal plus you get the historically high Nautilus resale value.
BTW: It's said that the new (improved?) model N803 is scheduled to debut in January with a (U.S.)Retail price of $8,000- which will (unfortunately) bring its price in-line with its closest competitors; the Krell Resolution 2, Revel F50 and SF Cremona.
Jms_123, there will be two N803 speakers available in January, the N803D ($8000) and N803S ($5500).
Sonus Faber way...better , another league !
Two very different speakers. I agree with Bigkidz on the generalities. If you feel that your current setup needs warmth, the SF and McIntosh will do it. If you feel it is fine, then stick with B&W. Chances are, if you like one speaker, you won't like the other. Good luck! Arthur
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. we originally auditioned the SF, my wife loves them; but due to our budget, we settled with the n805. It just recently that we wanted to upgrade, we auditioned the SF again over the weekend, they sounded excellent w/the above musics, we will most likely go with the SF. Besides the Mac, just wondering what type of integrated that is a good pair with the mac??? again, thx everyone in advance. Ken
The SF love power. Most of the time I have seen them paired with larger Krell mono blocks.
Good choice with the Cremonas. I was very close to buying them a while back. Vocal jazz sounds wonderful through these speakers and it might be cliche, but Italian speakers playing opera kind of adds to the effect. The Cremonas are just enjoyable to listen to if you're not looking for a studio sound. And with your wife loving the Cremonas it's a no brainer.
I think the Cremona's bass drivers do need to be controlled but you really don't need that much power. I never got the impression that the Cremonas are that fussy with amps. I've heard them mainly with Classe Omega monoblocks as I had Bryston amps at that time and they sounded great with lots of detail. I probably would go with a warmer tube sound though. Have you considered the Guarneris as well?
Hi, just a few hints from a music lover (played piano for about 10 years as well as violin). I´ve been at the same stage a few month ago. Forget the B&W (awfull speakers - this has nothing to do with natural sound reproduction).
During my search for the "perfect" speaker (up to 7.500 - must be around US $ 9.000,00) I auditionned a lot of speakers, e.g. Magnepan MG 3.6, Audio Physic Virgo III / Avanti III, Thiel CS 2.4 / CS 6, Revel Performa F 32 / F 50, Dynaudio S 3.4 / S 5.4, Sonus Faber Cremona (beautifull finish, very sweet and nice sounding, but a bit slow), ACapella Monitors, Avalon Symbol, Audioplan Konzert, ... but the best by far have been Ayon Audio Seagull Ceramique (about 7.000,00) and the much more expensive Audioplan ( 9.800,00).
These two speakers are awsome. Finally I bought the Ayon - they have a great and very reliable service too.
My system now consists of: Jeff Rowland Concentra II (modified by Knopf) run with Electraglide Mini Khan Plus; Shunyta Phoenix single wire speaker cable; Shunyata Aries interconnect / Tara Labs Air 1 interconnetc and Jena Labs Symphony Ultra RCA, Wadia 861b with GNS mods and a Transrotor Fat Bob S with Lyra Argo.
A GREAT sounding system - thanks to the Ayon speakers.
I am always skeptical when someone says a speaker "loves" power. Sonus Faber actually builds and sells an amplifier. They claim to use this with all of their speakers in testing and tuning. And, from speaking to a number of SF dealers, I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who thinks you will get the best sound out of a Krell. The SF amplifier is called Musica, and delivers 50 watts per channel. This is what they build for their own products. So much for loving power.
Two very different speakers. If you like cremona, it is likely that you wont like N803 and other way round. 803, to me, is a better speaker, with more treble and bass extension, but it is so extended the treble, that with many recordings you would find it way to bright. My take is, that with DSD recorded or analog converted SACD,the 803 is the right speaker, but with cd-s you might get all the digital brightness. But 803 mates well with rotels, and possibly with the mcintosh. On the other hand, cremona could be slow a bit. My experience with Cremona, that you need a krell style powerhouse with bass slam to sound well. Again, like in most cases, it is really depending on, what kind of music you prefer and what are your preferences. You really must audition both.
I am not sure of your Cremona's speed abilities, in my opinion leaving with speaker with the fine tuning the speaker sounds marvelous. Matched with my plinius, on the Harry Bellafonte's "Hava Nageela" the speed is breath-taking.
IMHO matching and tuning well the Cremonas gives excellent sound from them and on most times very musical, revealing the music lover's drama (especially with some tubes in the preamp).