Sonus Faber Cremona

Has anyone had experience with the SF Cremona? I'm in the $8K new / $5K used range and have auditioned the B&W 802N. The two speakers are comparably priced and both have pretty good wife acceptance. Really like the 802s, but have only had 2 short auditions under ideal music store setups. Emailed Sumiko and the closest SF Cremonas for audition are about 6 hours away. A man I trust on audio issues felt that although a very good speaker, the 802s tend to be a little bright and possibly fatiguing over time. He strongly recommended the SFs. Have read the recent review on the Cremona in StereoFile (very nice), but would appreciate additional comments.
PreAmp: McIntosh C2200 tube
Amp: McIntosh MC352 SS
Room: 13'wide x 29'long x 9'high
Give the Cremonas an audition even though you may have a long drive ahead of you. I think it it will be worth your while.
Three weeks ago, I was looking for a better speaker match for my Hovland Sapphire tube amps. I actually started looking at the Cremonas big brother, the Amati Hoamge. Then the dealer introduced me to the new Sonus Faber product that was about to get a big plug from Stereophile.
The Cremonas blew me away. Stunning sound. Very musical. Outstanding bass. Big sound from a small speaker. Great value. I bought them after auditioning them at home with my equipment.
Just curious, Telemoli: Did you find that the Amatis had any advantage over the Cremonas regardless of price (other than maybe the ability to go louder)? Of course, I could just go listen to these at a place 15 minutes from my house, but not being in the market for $8K speakers and being the sort who dislikes dealer showrooms, I thought I'd just ask you instead. :-)
Go for the SF! Especially with your Mac gear you will be very happy! The Cremona does not have a "little bright" sound but is just right.
Good luck!
I seriously considered the 802s, but thought the Cremonas had better overall tonal balance. Although the B&W may have a bit more detail, I thought the SF was smoother and more natural sounding.
I have auditioned both speakers few times, with different gear though. Last time I auditioned the SF Cremona was in the Montreal audio show, they were driven by Nagra PLP preamplifier and Nagra mono amplifiers with a Wadia 861 CD player. The result was outstanding! They are in the same direction of the Amatis at a much cheaper price. I think they offer the best quality/price ratio(as the B&W matrix 801 used to be some years ago...)
Regarding the B&W Nautilus, I would only consider the 800 but they go beyond your budget.
Good luck!
Hi Zaikesman, the Amanti Hoamge has little competition from the Cremona. IMO, no comparison should be made. I like the Cremona, i thought it to be very musical, never bright, or do they start to where you down after long listening sessions. I found them to be a little too forgiving, a bit too sweet, and just a touch dark. I can understand someone who admires this speaker. You can listen for hours and will make some lesser quality recordings tolerable. They are also stunning to look at. I would like a bit more detail and transparency. I think this is going to be a speaker you love or look else where. A musical delight. Just doesn't thrill me. Coloration may where on some, others may have found their dream speaker. I wish it were more in line what I want from a speaker just because it looks soooooooooo good. Just an opinion from one who just couldn't help but yawn once or twice instead of sitting on the edge of my seat. My favorite place to park myself. A speaker that should be taken for a listen. It is going to please many.
I always get a little suspicious when Sam raves about something* to the degree he did with the Cremona, and he never claimed to have auditioned the Amatis (though none of this is going to matter in my world utlimately - SF products are generally too rich for my bank account). I thought it very interesting when Fremer was so seduced by the Amatis that he bought 'em, then turned around and replaced them with the new AP Avanti III's a relatively short while later; the unspoken implication was that the SF speakers weren't neutral enough, to him, for reviewing purposes.

*(I say this not only from experience with gear he has raved about - some of which I've agreed with him about and some not - but also because he tends to romanticize gear to an excessive degree due to factors other than sound, because he clearly prefers to not hear anything he considers nasty at all costs - even when that could simply be a part of the signal, because he displays blatant brand loyalties, and because his preferred musical material is largely stuff recorded before the age of high fidelity, not to mention quite different from my own music. Still love reading him, though.)
I used to work for a place that sold SF & B&W so we got to compare these head-to-head on a variety of systems. First of all the Amati is in another league than the Cremona and has a very different sonic signature, lusher, more open, richer better in every was as they should be for $14K more. I was thinking of trading my N803 for some Cremonas (they are great looking speakers) but after running the SFs in for a few hundred hours and comparing them to the N803 it was no contest. The N803's had deeper tighter bass, a lusher more open midrange and a smoother top end. The Cremonas had a very honky and nasal midrange and an ill-defined bass in comparison. I can't believe that no one brought up the severe mid coloration of the Cremonas. The N802 widened the gap even more, bettering the N803 and Cremonas in every way. Some comparable speakers would be the Audio Physic VirgoIII which are some great speakers (a toss up between the N803 and these each having their own strengths and weaknesses). The one speaker I have heard that makes me want to trade my N803s in are the Dynaudio Special 25, truly a special speaker. It betters the N803 and VirgoIII as far as more natural mids, better imaging, the best top end I have ever heard and an overall VERY involving sound. Understandably it doesn’t quite have the extension of the two floorstanders but the bass it has is awesome deep and tight. Only issue is that they have to be pretty far off the back wall (thanks to a rear port) and I can't do this in my current room but other than that and the odd finish I would buy the Dynaudio Special 25 in a heartbeat.