both are really good brands, but i think the studio 100 and the D2(the new version of the response 2)are exceptional. my favorite sonus faber speakers are the older discontinued models, though the new models are pretty solid performers.
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I've wanted the D2 ever since I heard it in Proac's room at CES '08. Unfortunately, I can't afford a pair of those. I could, but then it's hard for me to justify the purchase.
As for build quality, there is more to it than just a pretty cabinet. Build quality plays a huge part in the overall sound of a speaker, which is one reason why Proacs sound so good. Also I like the fact that Proacs are hand-built in England, as Sonus fabers are in Italy, and they use excellent products to build them with. I'm willing to spend more for that simple fact.
As for build quality, there is more to it than just a
Agreed, there is the quality of the drivers too. If you aspire to something like
the Response D100 (i.e. a driver good enough to make Proac's flagship design) then check out ATC SCM 19 or 20. The dome midrange is grafted onto a 6 inch woofer in this low cost version to make what is possibly the world's largest 6 inch driver motor of all time - see this desciption - insane as this may sound the drive motor is actually adapted from what is used on the 3" dome version in the Proacs (if this is possibly the world's largest 6 inch woofer motor then it is certainly the world's largest 3 inch motor, as used in D100). Since the SCM20 has been around for ages and ages and is still made - you can find second hand ones reasonably priced. The entire thing is British built (apart from the tweeter) - sorry to go on so much about quality but it seems that is what you cherish and I thought you would be interested. If not then sorry for wasting your time.
About five to six years ago I owned Sonus Faber Concertinos and ProAc Tablette 50 Signatures at the same time and was able to compare them at great length.
Back then, I was using a Blue Circle tube preamp and a Blue Circle solid state amp along with a Bel Canto DAC 1.1. My speaker cables were Analysis Plus Oval 9.
I thought both speakers had an organic sound, more so with the Concertinos though. They sounded fuller and more "woody" in my set up. The Tablette 50 Sigs also conveyed a slightly warm sound but had much better focus and soundstaging.
The Sonus Fabers created a wide soundfield, but I couldn't locate the instruments within it the way I could with the ProAcs. ProAc suggests setting up their speakers as an equilateral triangle with the listener as the third point, and the face of the speakers pointed directly at the listener. I always liked splitting the difference between aiming them straight forward and directly at me. It made the center focue slightly fuzzy, but created a much wider soundstage. I didn't notice any focusing of the soundstage when I aimed the Sonus Fabers at me. Everything just got narrower.
A lot will have to do with the rest of your system and your personal taste. Different equipment may yield different results. Also, the newer models of each respective manufacturer may sound different from the speakers I compared.
I preferred the ProAc sound and eventually also bought ProAc 1SCs and 2.5s.
Agree with just about all of the above posts. It will depend on your sonic tastes. The Sonus Fabers do have a beautiful sound, but it is a much smaller soundstage and a more "laid back" presentation, as the reviewers like to say. I prefer the ProAcs myself, which have much better imaging and soundstaging, resulting in a more realistic reproduction of the original recording space. The ProAcs are also usually easier to drive, very generally speaking. They are a good match for tubes.
I too agree with most that have been said here about the two speakers. They both are rather different in character, the Proacs being more accurate and truthful to the recording and the Sonus Fabers being more warm, colored and lush-sounding. It really depends on musical taste and preferences as there are fans for both these speakers.
I personally prefer speakers that are more neutral like the Proacs. The build quality on the Sonus Fabers are better though, exquisite Italian craftmanship especially on the higher models. The cabinets of the Proacs are typical British. My descriptions are based upon my previous experience with the SF Grand Pianos that I owned for nearly 3 years. A few other Sonus Fabers I've listened elsewhere are the Extrema and Electa Amator. I've listened to the Proac floorstanders at a local dealer but forgotten the model.
First and foremost my experience is that not all SF sound the same. Especially the newer models (which I personally dislike, regardless of price) compared to the older ones.
I own the Grand Piano Home and compared to the Proac Response 2.5.
Rest of the system consists of
Joule-Electra LAP-150 Mk II pre-amp
Bryston 4B Pro Amp
Meridian 596 Player
Various cables by Bis-Audio.
The Proac 2.5 sounded warmer and had sweeter/smoother mids and highs. The Sonus Faber sound clearer, faster, livlier and have tighter more impact-full and tunefull bass in the above set-up.
SF are slightly more efficient.
Both are very good speakers and I could probably live with both but I am leaning towards the Grand Piano for their shear clarity, speed and brilliantly rendered bass which has non of the ported box maladies (boominess).
It is a bit of comparing apples with oranges. All depends on your taste both in music and sound reproduction.
Another very solid performer are ATC 35. Pure mid range magic (the dome mid range driver is maybe the best mid range driver in the world) but slightly rolled-off highs.
Sometimes it is like comparing wines.
What is better? a Good Amarone Della valoplicella or a good Pinot Noir?
These are probably at the extreme opposite of the wine spectrum but can both be lovely.
I suggest you try both (the speakers and the wines...:-)) and see what you like better.
Only my opinion.
Enjoy the music,
I might sound overly harsh but frm my own experience with Sonus Faber Concertos and Concertinos I have to say that these are not really speakers.
They are exercise in cabinet making. Were they remain just a cabinets they would have been wonderful, but they usually ruined by expensive drivers and crossover designed by imbecile.
If you plug Concertinos into your amplifier and able to hear anything other than boomy midrange and sloppy bass then you might have bigger problems...Concertinos as well as Concertos have pretty names but they really just Home Theater speakers and very bad ones at that.
Too bad this was you experience.
I am assuming you tested the Concertos and not Concerto Domus.
I compared my SF Grand Piano Homes to my friend's Acoustat 3 which with the proper match are probably the best speakers in the world (put to shame any quads, 57 or otherwise but also put to shame Wilson Audio Alexandria at $160K, sorry but this is my harsh opinion) and no, my SF GPH are not Acoustat 3: the physics of a box and a relatively heavy drivers, compared to Mylar in electrostatic speakers will never get the sheer clarity and speed, but they are still enjoyable with the proper electronics matching, in normal acoustics and far away from the back walls (2-3 feet if possible).
To call them Home Theater speakers could be derived from one of two options:
1. The associated gear was a complete mismatch or the room was terrible acoustically or they were placed too close to the back walls.
2. You suffer from some form of audio prejudice.
I saw in other threads you put B&W and SF in the same boomy/bassy spot.
B&W from my experience (and I tried their 805, 302, 603 and 800D) and all, with the exception of he 800D hooked to VTL450 mono-blocks, sounded un-dynamic, flat, dry and un-involving.
To put SF and B&W in the same audio spot is missing the point in my mind, even if both of them are at the bottom of the food chain in your mind.
I seriously think that you ought to check the matching and your room acoustics (or the the room you audition these speakers at). The GPH have other flaws (tweeter could be splashy at times and requires proper matching of electronics to tame it - doable and rewarding), but poor boomy bass was not one of them (especially not with my iron fist Bryston 4B). Check the following review. Living with mine for the last 5 years I think it is the most accurate review I have read about these speakers:
I have not had a chance to listen to the Domus to compare so if you were referring to the Domus, I cannot comment.
I owned the original Tablette and currently own both the SF Minuetto (15ish yrs and counting) and the Cremona. The latter SF is not precisely a matched pair in vintage, size, price or bandwidth, but the Minuetto and Tablette are good matches, albeit older.
First off, the SF sound has changed as per Doron's post. Still warm, but the current models balance the warmth with more energy in the presence region. Bottom Line, older SF comes across as a much warmer sounding speaker than the more forward sounding current models.
The Tablette was awful as far as octave to octave balance. Extended, nearly SOTA tweeter mated to a mid bass unit which offered little output below app 70hz. The speaker offered the best imaging I've ever heard - even 25ish years later. However, it screamed out for a sub, I could never get one to match well, and eventually sold the pair.
A good friend owned much more recent vintage ProAc monitors (SC-1?) which I heard 2-3 times weekly for 3 or 4 years (I spent too much time there) up until he left town in '05. From that experience, I can tell you that these ProAcs are much more reasonably balanced than the original Tablettes. Overall, my sense is they are probably a bit more neutral than current SFs and significantly more detailed in their presentation.
I'd agree with the general theme from many of the posts here - ProAc barks up the "audiophile tree" more than SF. However, the SFs are unfailingly musical, look beautiful, and - in their current iteration - come much closer to the purist esthetic, but not as close as ProAc.
Sonus Faber Conecrtino as well as Grand Piano are Home theater speakers, designation by manufacturer. And that is how they sound. They should not be mentioned on audio forums but hey a lot of other junk being discussed here, so there we go again.
Ye Sonus Faber are pretty, yes they use expensive parts and fexpensive drivers. yes you can search Ebay and will find a bunch of them for sale at any time of the day for a fraction of their retail. But none of these factors important to me. I have hearing, and when I hear live musical sound I know it is not coming from Sonus Faber Concertino or Grand Piano. Those speakers are to audio is what Samuel Adams is to beer. If you like both then you just one lucky guy... "and a living is easy".
Acoustat 3 is better that Wilson Alexandria? 600.00 speaker form last century is better than Wilson? See when you make statements like that I know there must be something wrong with your head. Fortunately I heard Wilson Alexandria last weekend and I am just gong to say again : You are very lucky man and I bet life for you is a bliss.
Thanks for enlightening me re my junk speakers.
Following your comments I immediately put them on the front lawn the night before waste management were about to collect...
Maybe they will be able to recycle something more useful and less musically tormenting out of these useless boxes to minimize fugitive audio emissions to our already striving planet.
I am so sorry to mentioned their name practicing blasphemy of the audio forum and I promise to correct my evil ways and refrain from committing such sins in the future.
Yes, Doron, damn you for ever owning those evil speakers of Satan!
I too was seduced by her gorgeous walnut haunches. After she sang to me every night my mind was adrift in clouds of lust and passion.
I passed this Jezebelle on to a poor soul on the east coast. I think his name was Spitzer and he worked for the state of New York.