Great Review! I have been a huge fan of Sonus Faber as i currently own the Concerto in my Home theater and the Amati Homage in my main system which replaced a pair of Extremas that i owned for five years. All speakers have superb build quality and sonics! All have that "magic" that makes listening so enjoyable!
Thanks, Milimetr. One of the most valuable text written. And, imo, a mandatory for every potential buyer of those beautiful ldspeakers.
One question, if you do not mind... Don't you think that Memento should open up a little in a due time (and then their heights will meet your expectations) ?
And congrats on your purchase. I understand that you're driving Memento with Jadis JA-80 Anniv. ?
Interesting observation. I also own Memento and had owned Homage before (as well as many other top Sonus Faber models). I thought Memento was more airy, more detail, and much more extended on top. The new tweeter is a much much better tweeter in speed and definition, one of the reason I stop buying Dynaudio Esotar based speakers was they lack speed and transparency when compared to the very top tweeters out there.
Yes, I hope that trebles will became more extender and sparkle in the Memento. I think that Ring Radiator is also a great speaker what confirms Semi observations. In fact the best trebles I have ever heard in my live were from Ring Radiator, but not in Memento. It was from Magico V2 that also utilize Ring Radiator but highly modified.
Yes, both Guarneri I have on test were powered from tube amplification.
It is interesting that we both have different impressions about the same speakers. That makes our hobby funny.
As you can see above I also appreciate Ring Radiator, but so far in my room conditions I liked better trebles from old Guarneri. Maybe they juts suit my taste better, or maybe my system is not so resolving to show Scan Speak tweeter advantages.
Could you kindly let us know what speaker cables do you use with Mementos?
As a previous Guarneri Homage owner can you confirm or disconfirm information about factory modification in Guarneri Homage that caused change in their technical specifications?
Fantastic review, I had SF guarniere homage, and til today I never listened one speaker that has the sound capacity of violins and cellos of guarnieres. I did not listened the new SF memento, but I think the esotar tweeter of guarniere is the magic combination.I tryed some amplification with DF guarnieres from SET 30wats audiopax, Audio research VT100, and the best was one gamut d200mk2, this speaker needs a lot of watts.
Calling Davef, calling Davef ....
Never fear Pinkus, I'm here..:0)
I have been reading this thread with great interest. Basically, I completely agree with Milimetr's review. Frankly, the only thing I would add is that IMHO neither speaker is a bass champ. The Mementos do dip a little deeper, but if you want true bass from a speaker I don't think any 150mm drive is going to do it for you.
With that in mind, I feel that matching the GH's with an appropriate sub is a much better solution than paying the extra $$'s for the Mementos.
In my small room a sub is not an option and I am happy with the low end reproduction I am getting, albeit realizing that the speakers probably roll off at about 50hz's.
I think the magic that the GH's bring to the table is simply MIA in the Memento's. The reasons are as Milimetr eloquently expounds.
Not trying to start a war, but below is my experience with Esotar after owning EA1, Extrema, Dynaudio C5, Merlin VSM, and Guarneri Homage for 10+ years combined.
Esotar is great at producing inner harmonic, it employs large amount of ferrorfluid to cool the coil because it was invented for professional application 20+ years ago to play at insane volume for long period of time. This results in slower movement that masks out micro dyanmic/detail and extension. However, you do gain a bit more "body" if you will, it tilts the freq spectrum a bit lower and almost sounds like a 1.5" midrange dome that turns violin into viola. It's very pleasant to listen to, I was so in love with the sound I went out of my way to find the best Esotar speakers money can buy. If you like that kind of sound, I suggest Dynaudio Confidence 5, though no longer in production, it produces "body" like no other speakers and I even bought the very last pair of new C5 from Dynaudio. Same goes for ATC, people love ATC midrange dome for the same reason, body and warmth.
But if you compare live music to Esotar, you will notice something is missing. To be specific, air, transparency, "sparkle", and extension. Even the old Revelator has much more inner detail and micro dynamic than Esotar, I was shocked at how much I was missing when I looked outside of Esotar 8 years ago. Ring Radiator is a big step up from the old Revelator and redefines dome tweeter. It took me years to accept the short coming of Estoar and learn to listen to neutrality, I own several pairs of speakers now with tweeter from Ring Radiator, Raven R2, line arrange ribbon, Berrilym dome, and eletrostatic. Any of the above sounds more neutral than old Estoar, technology has really advanced in the past 20+ years Memento simply sounds more "real" than Homage.
Another technical info you might find interesting is the difference between Esotar and Esotar 2. For Dynaudio to stay competitive with many tweeters going well above 20k Hz, they decided to reduce the rear chamber, reduce the coil weight, and reduce ferrorfluid to extend higher. What you get is a faster sounding tweeter that does extend higher (though still not nearly as high as Ring Radiator) at the expense of higher roll-off freq at the low end. This was a compromise Dynaudio could live with since 95% of Esotar 2 were installed in 3-way speakers and tweeter did not have to go very low. As a result, Merlin VSM decided to stay with old Esotar since it's a 2-way design and the Scanspeak woofer simply could not go up that high.
I am also a believer one should enjoy his/her stereo even if the sound is far from neutral. So if Guarneri Homage floats your boat, just close your eyes (and mind) and enjoy your music. On the other hand, if you want neutrality and live music dynamic, you won't find them in Guarneri Homage.
Semi, while I certainly believe that you are entitled to your opinion, I disagree with what you have said. From what I can tell from your prior threads, you once owned the Amati's and now own the Aerial 20t's. In one of your prior posts you actually stated that you were considering upgrading from the Amati's to the GH's.
What ancillary equipment are/were you using to listen to the GH's then and now the Aerial's? What is the size of your room, is it the same now as then?
IMHO, having heard the Ravens, electrostatics, planar drivers, ring radiators and beryllium drivers, I still feel the Esotars are more than competitive. Again IMHO, the various metal based tweets can be heard to ring and the stats are usually found to have a plastic coloration. ( Not all but most).
I doubt that Bobby at Merlin would stick with the Esotar if he felt that it was an inferior driver as you now believe.
I suspect that you haven't really heard the GH's with the right equip and set up correctly, if you have heard them at all.
All speakers were heard in the same room with the same equipments except Extrema and Dyn C5 which were driven with solid state.
I had Amati Homage and during the same period also own Guarneri Homage. Guarneri were so "closed in" in comparison I sold them quickly. I owned Amati for 6 years (and Extrema for 3 years prior to Amati) before changing to Aerial 20T, I think I know Sonus Faber well.
I never like metal tweeter for the same reason, but Usher BE changed my impression of metal tweeter forever.
Bobby of Merlin could not use the Esotar 2 because of his design even though he knows very well Esotar 2 is a significant upgrade in sonic 99% of the freq range. This came from his mouth, I spoke to him in length before buying Merlin VSM.
Semi, what equipment were you using with the GH's and the Amati's?
You say GH's were' closed in', this is odd as the GH's are essentially small monitors and their imaging abilities are well known and are one of their substantial strengths ( Frankly IMHO they image far better than the Amatis or the 20T's if correctly set up). I wander if your room may have been too large for them? What size room were you using them in?
BTW, I find it odd that Bobby feels this way about the Esotar 2, since in another post he was highly complimentary of the Esotar and I would think he could use any driver he wished in his designs.
Thanks for the great analysis Milimetr. I am currently looking at 2007 vintage GM's [$6800] and 1996 vintage GH's [$5,500] for my system in the Boston area. Either will be supported by REL subwoofers. Should I be concerned about the age of the latter?
At0310t, not sure what Milimetr feels about this, but IMHO the main concern that one has when buying older speakers is to make sure that the driver surrounds are not dried out. Also, to check that the speakers haven't been overdriven, thereby damaging the x-overs or the driver excursion capabilities.
One way to check this is to play some low level and then some medium high level sounds through the speakers. See if any obvious stresses can be heard.
I have heard speakers that were new and had been overdriven sound terrible; conversely, I have heard old speakers that have been babied all their lives sound just fine. Age and treatment does affect speakers just like anything else, so keep that in mind with your purchase. The cabinetry condition aspect is going to be obvious upon viewing.
Was looking for info on what to drive Guarneri Memento to set up a 2nd system and came across this old thread.
To answer Daveyf, I was using Sonic Frontiers Line 3SE & BAT 75SE to drive Amati Homage or Guarneri Homage. I have moved up since, but as always the first thing I look for is tonality where I think GM is superior. BTW, BAT 75SE/150SE are amazing amps, they brought out the best of Amati Homage after trying 10+ amps, tube and solid state.
I agree that the BAT amps are very nice..BUT I am still curious as to the size
of the room that you heard the GH's in?
Your prior comment that the GH's sounded 'closed in' would indicate
to me that there was something very amiss in your set-up or room ( or both).
What other equipment did you use with the GH's? cables, front end,
after reading all of this (the review is quite good btw), i would suggest that if the newer speakers (G.mementos) are not CLEARLY better sounding than the original Guarneri's in just about every area, then something is seriously wrong at sonus faber. of course the originals are going to sound good in any event, but with the added bass in the memento's, there should be a deeper wider stage, and the newer speakers should be more dynamic. the only thing about their cosmetics is that they "seem to me" to have slightly less build quality or are a bit less substantial overall, but that is only from the pictures i have seen posted.
as someone who has large speakers in my main system with -20Hz bass (i too love deep bass performance at times), the guarneris in my smaller room sound complete at all but ridiculous volumes- something which i have never tried since the music would suffer anyway. but some folks are never satisfied with "testing" speakers' limits until, well; there's a story i've heard of a Wilson dealer's employee who somehow managed to blow out the tweeters and crossovers of a pair of new X-1 Grand Slamms (VERY big speakers indeed).
but anyway, i would really be surprised if the newer speakers were not quite a bit better than the older models, altho' i am still pretty content to keep what i have (unless a local pair of mementos in graphite should come up for sale or trade).
French fries, I doubt anything is 'seriously wrong at Sonus Faber'. Instead, I suspect that like many Co's in this economy, they decided to do some cost cutting.
I would suggest that you try and hear for yourself the differences between the GH and the GM as did Milimetr; you may like the GM's better, BUT if you are like me and so many others, i doubt you will.
room size is 14x18 with speakers on short wall, 5' to 6' from back wall and 8' to 9' apart. almost all speakers are placed in that locations, some minor tweaking are done to optimize each.
The room does not have a lot of treatment, sitting close to equal triangle so room boundary effect are secondary. Behind the chain, there are two large doors that open to the next room so effectively opening up the room to something much larger than 18'.
You have to hear the Einstein + modded BAT 150SE combo on Guarneri Memento to appreciate what Guarneri Memento can really do. In a word, mesmorizing!
Great review!.. Enlighting and educational...
I have not heard the GM in my dedicated room, I own GH after having a pair of Avantgarde UNOs... i just needed two listening sessions to become captivated by the musicality, easyness and tone rendering of the GH to take a decision.
I am using my GH with a Viva Solista amp, after confirming that these speakers need some fair good amont of Watts to come alive... The Solista drives them to perfectiob witb "just" 23 Watts... Better than my previous RM200 with 100 Watts... Go figure!