Best amp for Sonus Faber Cremona M - need help

Almost convinced that the new Cremona M will become my next speakers. But, I'm not sure about the amplifier. I have the possibility to buy an 8 year old Classé pre/power combo (CP-45 + CA200), but could also get a new Krell KAV400xi cheap. Or would the Audia Flight One integrated amp match well with the Sonus Fabers? First two amps are 200 Watts/ 8 Ohm, the Audia 100 / 8 Ohm.
Any suggestions?

I have both the Mcintosh MC402 and the MC275. The 402 is solid state and the 275 is tubed. They both exhibit a strong grasp on the Cremona M's. I also have the new Cremona M's in Graphite. Both of these amps seem to mate will with these speakers. The speakers are VERY musical and the Mac's seem to bring out this musicality. Although the two I listed above are very different, they both have the ability to bring out the best in those speakers. Don't hesitate to try the 275, it has a sound that is so right. It has no problem driving the Cremona's at all. I believe the 275 is half the price of the 402 also.

I would stay away from the 8 year old Classe stuff. Although it has a good build quality, it is still 8 years old. And as much as I admire Krell gear, (it looks cool to me), I would not put it with those speakers. Krell is just not musical gear (if anyone else posts, save the flames please, it's just my experience). I had the 400xi also, and it has balls, but just not in the same league as the Cremona's. They are truly like an instrument, don't short change them.
McIntosh is very expensive here in Europe. There are other tube amps that might do the trick, but I'm scared of what they will do with the bottom end (not as good as solid state??). Most of them are 50 Watts max, which might not be enough for the Cremona M. I believe they are not very impedance friendly?

As for solid state... Personally I would like something of at least 200 watts per channel. Maybe Musical Fidelity would be something or Plinius? These are still affordable here.
I heard these speakers (not the M version) at a local dealer in New Jersey (USA) with all Krell gear (CDP, Pre & amps) and the sound was fantastic. If I remembre correctly, the speakers like power and are to the musical/sweet side of neutral. I was impressed by the sound with the Krell gear. Go figure. The dealer was Harvey's Electronics in Paramus New Jersey and I think they also have a store in New York City. You may want to check their website and email them with questions. I think the Paramus store was going out of business recently.
The Cremona M is quite different from the old version. I will try the Krell KAV400xi, but I've been told the detail of that amp leaves a bit to be desired, esp. compared to the Audia Flight amp. But that one lacks some power in my view.
How about Conrad Johnson?
Yup for the M I would look at tube amplification
SF Cremona's work very well with McIntosh Amps...MA6900. I would also recommend Plinius 9200 integrated Amp.


I like the idea of Musical Fidelity. Nice stuff and has a warmer sound. Why not have a Mac piece shipped to you? The way the dollar has tanked now, geesh, might be a good way to go. My dealer is L&M Custom Home Electronics and I know he has internantional shipping experience. He is very reputable and one of the top Mac dealers in this country. Something also to consider is that GOOD tube power is ablel to drive many speakers with fine results, so I would not discount a well made tube amp based on its power ratings. Good luck.
You don't think that with this speakers a powerfull solid state amp would do a better job (esp. in the lower regions - I'm a bass guy)? Cremona used to like a lot of juice, but maybe the M is different in that regard also?

As for tube amps... Could you give me any suggestions for a good powerfull tube amp with remote control? Price range about 5000$.


Go with the Musical Fidelity. Best of both worlds and it is available in your country. Maybe the KW 500. Or a lightly used Tri or Nu Vista.
How about EAR? I own the EAR 890 and it is incredibly musical, neutral, and with its 75W per channel it should drive your cremonas pretty well.
I have an all Audia set up (CD1, flight pre & power) paired with peak consult empress and the sound is fantastic. I heard SF Amati Anneversario once and found them to be very nice and musical. Perhaps one of the speakers in this price range I would ever want to change my Peaks for.

BTW where are you located in EUR. Based on your location I might be able to give you something which money can't buy ;-)
I would never put a Musical Fidelity amp on the Cremona M. That would be very hard on the ears long term. The M is much different then the older cremona. On the older cremona I wouldn't mind the MF gear. I had Mcintosh MC501 on mine and it sounded very good. But the MC501 sounds great on anything.
@ Rayden: I live in Belgium, very close to the Dutch border. Antwerp, Tilburg, Eindhoven, Breda are the city's closest to me.
The flight pre&power seem very nice, but they become very warm, don't they? Are you using 50 or 100 watts?
As for solid state... Personally I would like something of at least 200 watts per channel. Maybe Musical Fidelity would be something or Plinius? These are still affordable here.

I would be extremely careful with Plinius. Although not exactly the same speakers, I have had Plinius amplication driving the Sonus Faber Grand Pianos and they sounded like dead speakers. The sound was anaemic and was lacking serious dynamics. I have heard McIntosh with the Grand Pianos and they sounded much better.

I would suggest that you listen to the Plinius with the Cremona M before committing a purchase. There is a possibility they wouldn't match too well although the Cremona M may be a completely different speaker.
The more I read about Krell, the more I feel the KAV400xi would be a terrific match. Maybe not as refined as some tube amps out there, but with prob. a lot better bottom end. I will def. try this one with the Cremona's.
Hi Hulskof, I don't want to overly complicate things but have you thought of Sonus Faber "La Musica" that was recently seriously price reduced (in Germany at least). Also, thinking back a few years when we were auditioning the SF Amati Hommage, I had first heard it paired with the Pathos Accoustics Logos hybrid: brilliant (because of this the Amati was the first contender for our "definitive" speaker for some time; in our home system, with other amp and front-end the Amati eventually came second only to the Tidal Contriva). There is something special in this pure Vicenza set-up.
Yes, Pathos definitely is on the list. Sonus Faber's Musica won't be as good as some 50 Watts tube amps out there I'm afraid. It's people actually claimed the Mystère superior to most of the stuff they heard on their speakers.


And it's indeed very good. But it has no remote and the volume steps are not to my liking (to big). Which is a shame, coz it's a beauty of an amp.
Thanks a lot for the link. I didn't know Mystère until now. I must get a taste of it next time when I'm in Antwerp, I've seen the Technology Factory has it in its product range, couldn't be better! I can't wait to compare the IA21 with the similarly priced Unison S2K that I use myself!
You're welcome. It really is something else. And I know for a fact (since I e-mailed with Herman, the man behind it) that they will bring out models with remote control, prob. next year. So, maybe I should wait until then...
Hi Hulskof,
Another good amplifier you could consider is Karan KA I 180. From what I’ve read it matches well with Sonus Faber.

I have never touched the pre but the amp definitely gets very hot. Not a biggie in Europe though as its still bloody cold in Switzerland :-)

The thing I was talking about was my audio consultant. He is a genius in 2CH and MCH and perhaps the only thing related to this hobby that I will never change. He told me that there were couple of other dealers like him in Europe as well who does not just sell stuff but actually set it for their customers. If you are interested than let me know and I will see with him if something can be arranged.

IME I could not have brought my system to the level he has brought it to.
I was recently at my dealers a few weeks ago and he had the Pathos Logos Integrated amp (220 watts into 4 ohms) on the Cremona M's. The sound was incredible, very transparent, resolving, dynamic, open and with a lot of punch. But the key to this was swapping out the tubes in the preamp stage of the integrated to the Ei Elite 6DJ8EG gold pins. WOW what a night and day difference from the stock tubes you would think that it was a completly differnt integrated. PATHOS LOGOS VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ON THESE SPEAKERS.
Thanks, I was already looking into this amp. Your comment pushess me more in that direction. Do you by any chance know what those tubes in the preamp stage cost?
Hi Hulskof, unfortunately, I don't know anyone in the Benelux who sells Ei, in Germany WVS-Technology sell Ei Elite 6DJ8EG at EUR 11 p/piece and you pay a small surplus for matching. However, they're not squeamish on "small quantity surplus" I'm afraid (EUR 25,-, yes sir). So, count approx. EUR 55 shipped for a matched pair.

Just an innocent reflexion: double that amount and you are square in the ECC88/E88CC NOS realm, so, should the tube roller bug have bitten, it may be worthwhile to talk with Mattijs de Vries at MachMat (e.g. pair gold-pin E88CC NOS Siemens for EUR 89, see or Jac van de Walle at Jacmusic (e.g. pair gold-pin/gold-grid 1965 vintage E88CC Tesla for EUR 112, see

Sorry, my enthousiasm is gaining the upper hand it would seem.

Anyway, this will give you an idea of prices in our small corner of the world; perhaps your audio dealer might get some Ei without the hefty surplus.

Good luck!
I guess you will have no problems providing the Cremona's with enough juice. ;-)
That s for sure. My point is really; the sonus faber sound very nice with tube amplification, nice and warm, but I think I need better tube amplification for the Cremonas. I would like the sound to be a little brighter. A few years ago I had Naim solid state amplification and Triangle speakers, and it all sounded too forward and rather fast, and in your face. With the tubes, i most definately perfer that warm, more laid back sound. When I purchased my Sonus Fabers, I heard them ta the London Hi Fi Show being demonstrated with the Papworth Tubes. I was certainly very impressed with the combination then!
Hi Hulskof; just found some old litrature on the Papworths.
They use Mc Intosh circitury. Saying that,Willmi s recommendation on the Mc Intosh might be a good one for the sonas fabers.
Whatever, you decide on,please "post it". Although I have been happy with the Papworths for quite some time now, I too feel it is time for change. I espicially like their "esoteric" look. I like my system to look nice as well as sound nice. Lets face it, we all do! The proplem is; trying to find esoteric good looking valve amps that have enough power to drive the power hungry sonas fabers. Anybody out there got any more suggestions?
Well, I don't think you'll find tubeamps out there with more power than you already have! Better looking maybe, but not more powerful. I doubt it's neccessary even, since tube power seems to differ from solid state power quite a bit.
Still no decision made. I've heard the Cremona M again last month, with Perreaux pre- en power amps, but wasn't very impressed. I've heard them do much better in a different room and set up. Still, looking at Karels set up with Tidel speakers... That too could be an option. I think I'll check them out too. As for tube amps on the Cremona M: Unison Research P70 (75 Watt) and T+A V10 (80 Watt) could very well send you to heaven.