I had the same choice to make last year, you need to factor in ultra high current amplification for the Extrema as they are super power hungry! If you are going solid state they truly need 400 wpc high current design to sing! I tried Classe CA-301 and they sounded dry and lifeless, it was only when i purchased my CAT JL-1 monoblocks that they truly sing! As long as their power needs are met you will not thirst for a sub!
I owned the Extremas and heard the Guarneri on several occassions. Both speakers are excellent, with the Extrema speaking with a richer, fuller tone and the Guarneri a little brighter amd more transparent. The Extrema sounds "big", can play much louder, has explosive dynamics and great extension on the bottom. With the right amp it can produce quite some "punch", something that the Guarneri cannot do (Guarneri's bass is quite articulate but doesn't reach near as low). Both speakers have very refined and luxurious treble and they both image very well.
I can see Guarneri excel with small scale jazz and classical and the Extrema with rock and large scale orchestral music (although it can sound pretty refined with small scale music too).
The Guarner is easier to drive, whereas with the Extrema you'll need at least 200 watts of solid state or 100 watts of good tube amplification. Your Ayre amp is great, but it may not be enough.
Guarneri much better look than Extrema. Also easier to place. Own short coming is to have a music subwoofer to fill the inadequate bass.
The Extremas are much better. There fuller and richer sounding. The Extremas make anything else I ever listened to pale into the far distance. They have an impact that will stop your pacemaker. A realism that is scary, soundstaging that is so holographic. The bass is nut-tight. I also agree, I dont think your V5 is enough power on the Extremas. The Extremas need power and lots of it.
My friend is using Meridian 557 amps bridged on the Extremas, where are 800 watts. That is an awesome combo.
The Sonus Faber Extrema speakers are the most incredible and accurate speaker. I've owned dozens of Hi-end speakers in the past 30-yrs. But the Extrema's remain in my reference listening system.
Beautiful sound and workmanship at it's best.
*The Extrema's are a great Italian work of art.
I would go for the Guarneri. There are a bunch of great speakers that have super dynamics and play loud, including the excellent Extremas. However I believe the Guarneri are in a league by themselves. The Guarneri are magic in the midrange, arguably the most important part of any sound replication or performance. The Extremas and Guarneri are both works of art, so I would say it's a tie in that department. Bass is relative thing, the Extremas do have better extension. But if it bothered me that much I would get a Rel subwoofer and have all the bottom end I would ever need plus retain the Guarneri midrange and sophistication. Good luck.
Well I have only SF guarniere , I do no know any other speaker with a better resolution in reproduction of string instruments, and it have enough bass, depend on amplifier e cables. I thinks this is a speaker to buy and do not sell, is pure art.
I was sooo close to buying a pair of Guarneries but I missed out on buying a used pair and a new pair locally plus REL sub just didn't seem like too much of a value to me.
Anyhow, I have never heard the Extremas but I have read comparisons and I have heard and love the Guarneries. As far as I know, the Extremas have a warmer tonal balance and weightier feel as many have described, but most would consider that a coloration (not that it isn't pleasing) and therefore the Guarneries are more neutral and necessarily more "accurate". The Extremas do play louder.
The Guarneries do image and soundstage better and floats an image as well as any speaker out there. They are also less fussy in terms of placement (unless you have extremely low ceilings), it should disappear with greater ease than the Extremas. The Guarneries by themselves will reproduce music that has an airy nibleness to it. It's quite unique. You can easily add warmth to the speakers by pairing the speakers with a warm tube amp or a subwoofer with a warm tonal balance such as the Rel subs. It will have a decided edge at low volumes and should be better at small-scale music such as lighter jazz music and female vocals.
For me, the fact that you can buy new and have the warranty (you can also try arranging with your dealer to have the Sumiko boys go over to your place to tweak with setup when they come around) is an added bonus that I do not undervalue.
I think it comes down to musical tastes more than anything.
i've heard both speakers, and i don't have a preference- they're much too close in design and both sound excellent.
but as an aside, i took a chance and bought a sonus faber amp
(the musica) 50w/ch into 8 ohms -- three knobs on the front, no remote, simple. i use it to drive the guarneri's. i turn the volume up to about 10 o'clock, which is loud enough for me. the speakers sound wonderful to my ears. and i see musica's going for $1600 on audiogon... i thought the same thing- it's not powerful enough, or it sounds dry, etc. just the opposite- plenty of power (100w into 4 ohms), sweet, detailed... i like sonus faber alot. they deliver, end of story.
I own a pair of Extremas and I have also listened to the Guarneris. To my ears, the Extremas are more complete, if I may use the term. However, to make them sing, you need a high quality and a high powered amplifier. Your amp will not do the Extremas justice.
I just got Extremas and I have them hooked up to a Burmester 956 MK II amp. They sound amazing..HOWEVER, I think my amp on the Burmester documentation says 200 wpc into 4 ohms, so I believe it may be really a 100WPC 8 ohm stereo amp. Am I leaving a TON of what the Extrema are capable of on the table, and is my amp underpowered for the EXTREMA?
Interesting renewal of this thread. Right now I am discussing with another member on another forum the merits of the GH's vs. the Extrema's.
As some have said before, the Extrema's can drop down lower into the bottom end than the GH's BUT need a lot of power upstream to sing. IMHO, the GH's are a more complete design and a more refined speaker. The GH's are more capable in the all important midrange and at least in my small room; more precise and able in the imaging dept.
Add to that the overall coherence superiority of the GH's to the Extrema's and the decision becomes easy, at least to my ears.