Review: Sonus Faber Cremona Speaker

Category: Speakers

I owned the Cremona for about 6 month. I usually listen to the classical music. I also own the old gurnerri. I spent about 20 hours of listening side by side. I auditioned classica music first. Mozart double concerto by violin and Viola. I major in viola so I love to hear strings. Very refined sound came out from Gurnerris. more air in the sound. Violin sounded very real and warm. Cremona had little bit more clean sound with deeper base. But for Mozart you don't need massive bass response. I enjoyed more gurnerris in Mozart. Next music I audition was Beethoven piano Sonata. Gurnerri sounded bit better in ADD recordings. Cremona sounded bit better in DDD recordings. Gurnerri wakes up when turntable or analog recording plays. I guess air makes it very smoother. I liked the piano sounds better in Cremona. More clean and piano string had more resinance to it. ringing sound. Next I listened to chamber music by Dvorak. Again Gurnerris were sounding but more smoother and warmer. Cremona was bit sharper and more accurate I say. Next day I listen to some movie sound track. Pirats of carabian. Gurnerri was lacking bass big time. And the speaker try to make it more to classical sounding then movie soundtrack. Cremona had very tight bass respond. I heard very deep timpani playing. What do I think is the better speaker ?
If you listen to mostly classical and Jazz then you will have good time with Gurnerris. Also specially chamber music or solo sonatas, piano sonata, even chamber orchestra. Cremona sounds very clean high and mids. tight bass. sounds good at almost every music. Classical in cremona is not bad. Definetly does not sound air like gurnerris. It has punch when music sounds loud. I am thinking to get my 3 speaker for LAT 2s or Resolution 1. I need something very completly different. any sugestions ?
SO far I owned 803D,802D,Grand piano, Resolution 1, 803N,804N, martinlogan Aeon, Aeon I, vantages, and Auditors. Oh Also Mahlers by Vienna accoustics. So far I liked Auditor, 803D,802D, I did not liked any of Martinlogan speakers. Aeon was good for the money. Mahlers were great but to big for my room. Grand piano sounds very different from any other speakers. carbon fiber with silk dorm tweeters sounds VERY WARM. Resolution 3 speakers sounds good when it plays so loud. I just wrote a long reviews for Creomona and gurnerris because I could not find any. If anyone wish to audition them I am in Boston Area so you can email me at
Thank you.

Associated gear
400CX, UX-1, MP-3

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I am happy to find someone who owned both the Guarneris and Cremonas, along some B&W's.
I am buying new spekers this month, and though at first I always thought of g of buying B&W 803d or 803s, I recently discovered Sonus Faber.
The speakers I have in mind from SF are the Cremona and the Guarneri.
I read about the difference between both in your review.

This brought up 2 questions for me
1) Could you please tell me some more on the difference between the B&W 803 and the Cremonas? Very interested in your opinion.
2) Any amplifiers you could advise for the Guarneri's or the Cremonas?
(was thinking something like Marantz PM11-S1, Pathos Logos, Prima Luna 70Watt Monos, Krell Kav-400xi or the KAV amp/preamp, ....)
Just listened to the Sonus Faber Cremona's and compared them with the B&W 803S. The amp used was a Jeff Rowland Concerto 501. Overall the sound quality was amazing. The B&W's seemed to provide more color, while the cremona's sounded a little bit more accurate. IF you like the warmth, the B&W will be a better bet. For classical music I would definitely suggest the Cremona's I also listened to a Classe amp hooked up to the 803S but was not very enthusiastic about it. It sounded a little flat compared to the Rowland.
" I did not liked any of Martinlogan speakers "
Really? What Logan's have you had in your system, you only Mention Aeon?

I am assuming you have had Prodigy,Odyssey and so on in your system.
Sorry, but I am just curious to your Statement, nothing malicious about.
I listened to the Cremona speakers and I was quite impressed while the salesman played audiophile 45 rpm records thru a Linn system with the volumne low.

When I returned with some rock Cds and turned the volumne up the Cremona's distorted badly and sounded like crap!
To my ear, the Cremona's are rich and a little warm. I have heard no problem with them at all with rock, including over processed Pink Floyd. Play them loudly and, if your other equipment it up to them, there is no distortion. Hat to contradict so, but it must have been something else in the system. The also have one of the most engaging sounds I have heard. They keep people transfixed and playing one cd or record after another. The only characteristic that is a negative for anyone I know of is that they are a bit warm and if you don't like that or view that as too colored, then you may not like their sound. (I have been listening to them with BAT tube gear for about 2 months now)
I was all set to buy the Cremona's after hearing the Salesman demo. but even the Salesman knew when I put on regular Rock Music the speakers sounded bad.
I think they only have a 6" woofer, so, I guess what did I expect ?
By the way, the CD was SACD of CCR Green River. Not an Audiophile disc , but still one of my favorites.
When the drums hit the first song the speakers distorted.
Maybe your choice in music is much calmer , but I was disapointed. Because if they cant play my favorite music , what is the point?
Sory Ozzy just returned from a demo. System was cremonas prima luna stereo kt88 (five?) garrad 301, tranfiguration phoenix, music first copper and resolution opus 21. Played everything from Miles, Mozart to Motorhead( I am mostly into death/heavy metal and Jazz ( yeah go figure!))These speakers handle any kind of music. I can only think ozzy's sytem was crap or he was listening to SET amps (respect!) In fact if the cremonas were 90 db and 8ohm - 6 ohm I would buy them. I do like the magic only available with 300b but if you are not as "niche" as me then these cremonas are a five star buy in a 2.5 star world!
Brphilharmoniker, you mentioned that Mahlers were too big for your room. What is your listening room size? I have heard the Mahlers last fall in Denver at the Audiofest driven by the new Rowland 312. . . the sound was to die for. I listen almost exclusively to classical music. On that occasion I played Edgar Meyer playing Bach's 5th cello suite on double bass, Dvorak's 2nd movement of the 9th Symphony with the Israel Phyl conducted by Bernstein, and Lara St. John on Bach's 3rd violin sonata. There was nothing I heard at the show that equal the setup in the Vienna Mahler room.
If your room were too small for the Mahlers, you may want to try the Vienna Strauss.

I auditioned the Cremona with Meridian G07 CDP G02 Preamp and G57 amp (Cardas Neutral Reference Interconnect and MIT Speaker Cables) in 8 X 5 meters room with some acoustic treatment but relatively low ceiling .
Speakers were placed on the long axis, were about 1m away from the back wall, 1.5 m away from the side walls and were slightly toed-in so the focal point will be slightly behind my listening position.
Material I auditioned them with:
1. Diana Krall's "Love Scenes"
2. Vivaldi's four seasons (Salvatore Accardo's performance played on original Stradivari violin recorded on XRCD II)
3. Trio Esperança - Nosso Mundo
4. Stan Getz - Bossa Nova
5. Supertramp - Breakfast in America
6. Jesse Cook - Vertigo
and some more acoustical and classical material.

Might bass, too dominant IMHO, overshadowing what could have been extremely sweet, smooth and musical mid (the Sonus Faber Forte IMHO). I almost wanted to cut the lower bass driver (which would have made them a flour stand version of Cremona Auditor...).
Honestly, as much as I wanted to like the Cremona I liked my setup (below) better:
I found mine to be a more balanced and natural sounding setup overall, although mids were not as sweet, lush and smooth as the Cremona ones.
This overwhelming bass was not as dominant when playing large orchestral classical music where the extra slam gave it a sense of volume and authority.

I assume that there are a couple of reasons for my impressions:
a. Could be that the listening room was not ideal for these speakers. I find acoustics to be one of the biggest factors, in sound reproduction, regardless of the gear.
b. Could be that the synergy with the Meridian gear was not great. I have seen it in the past when hooking Meridian 105 Monoblocks and Dynaudio Contour 1.4S (terrible synergy with over pronounced bass to the extent of wanting to run away in the middle of the audition - like one of these embarrassing American Idol moments...).
c. Maybe the Cremona does have a heavy bass and is not as tonally balanced as some other SF speakers.

All in all it was a disappointment for me.

I did not hear the Guarneri Memento to compare.

My current gear is:
Sonus Faber Grand Piano Home
Meridian 596 DVD/CDP
Meridian G02
Meridian G57
Madrigal Labs Cz Gel balanced interconnects (between the G02 and the G57) and Madrigal MDC-1 between the 596 (RCA only) and the G02.
Cardas Crosslink Speaker cables.

My listening room is almost similar to the one in which I auditioned the Cremona but mine has a higher ceiling and two 1.5-2m openings in the back walls of its corners so it is not a shoe box but a bit irregular. There is no special acoustic treatment. Just the standard wall to wall rug.

Would love to hear your thoughts this.



If you read my posting you would see that the Cremonas I listened to were played on a Dealers System.
He was using Linn equipment. The models were quite pricey because he bragged about each piece (CD Player, Preamp, Amp ) being around $10,000.

Anyway, the speakers sounded very good while playing Audiophile recordings at low levels. When I tried to play louder rock then they distorted.

The Dealer had the speakers out into the room and way away from the sidewalls (almost in the middle ). It could be that this contributed to the lack of dyanmics that I heard while listening to the familiar Rock recordings.
With that lacking , I turned up the volume, then they distorted ,it was probably at a level they were not meant to be played at.
Maybe I could add a bit to this discussion. The Cremonas have a slight bump in the low end frequency response. The bump can be seen in some of the measurements. This isn't much of an issue by itself, but if the electronics, cables, or room acoustics accentuate this frequency as well, then there could be problems. Also, the cremonas are reasonably efficient, but have a nasty phase angle in the lower registers as well, so they can be tricky for amps. Lastly, they have a very wide dispersion pattern. I found that I could not turn up the volume when the speakers were set-up along the short wall of my room without them sounding terrible, but the Cremonas sound great along the long wall
Briang, Interesting...
Now that I think about it, I did comment to the Dealer that the listening room appeared to be square in shape.
That is probably why the Dealer had them out in the room to smooth out the frequency bump.