Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor old v new

Interested to hear from anyone who has traded up from the original SF Cremona Auditor to the Auditor M. What are your listening impressions, original versus new?

Bob R

I'm also interested on the subject. Someone wrote in some audio forum that the differences between new and former versions were irrelevant; but these professional reviewers seem to disagree:

“For all its strengths, the original had a slightly veiled sound that traded outright insight for overall sweetness. The new version hasn’t lost any of the musicality but is capable of digging far deeper into a recording. You’ll hear more of the layered instrumentation on Ravel’s Bolero and keep hearing more as the piece gains in complexity. Dynamics are stronger and there are gains in speed, punch and agility.”

- What Hi-Fi review

“The Auditor M is a significantly more lucid, tactile, expressive and less visible performer than its predecessor. Individually, the changes are not large, but in combination their impact on the music and its presentation certainly is. Tellingly, CT preferred the original with the grilles in place. Sure enough, they bring a sense of rounded integrity to the mid-band of the Auditor M too. The difference is that that rounding now sounds sluggish and artificial, as well as robbing the sound of immediacy and air. The new version needs no help to seamlessly integrate its drivers, the easier, more articulate response of the bass-mid combined with the extra air and extension of the revised tweeter revealing all too clearly the detrimental sonic aspects of the grills. The Auditor was always an engaging and articulate, warm and inviting speaker; it still is, but the increase in clarity and its micro-dynamic response have given it a new agility, an ability to step away from the music so that you hear more of the artists’ performance and less of the speakers’.

- Hi-Fi+ review

“The disappearing act the Cremona Auditor did so well in the first iteration isn't only repeated here; it gets to be even more invisible than before.(...) the Cremona Auditor is lees amp and room fussy than before. (...) We thought a lot of the original Cremona Auditor, but this raises the game substantially.”

- Hi-Fi Choice review

Nothing wrong with professional reviews... but it would be nice if someone else, having listened to both models, shares with us his/her impressions.


Exactly. I've read all of those reviews, and they are all positive. Still, I'd like to hear from someone who put down his hard earned money. I am more inclined to trust the unvarnished opinions I read here.
Well, can't help you 100% since I never heard the old Cremona Auditor, but I heard the new one AND I heard both old and new Cremona florestander. So I still might shed some light on the subject. In a word: I agree with the professional reviewers. The M versions have more clarity, a less veiled sound, they are more neutral than the old version that was too much on the warm side of things (well imo of course). The new ones are also faster, more dynamic, more alive than the old one. (Again I can only compare to the old floorstander, but having read a lot about the old auditor, I think the comparison is justified). I found the old Cremona sluggish, a bit lustreless and too laided back. The M still is not very forwarded, but more so than the old. The only thing about the Auditor M was that they distorted a lot at high volume levels, so they're not really for big rooms I'm afraid. But that's quite normal and logical.
Hope this helps.
I have not heard the Auditor M, but I agree you should be cautious. After the initial reviews I was very interested in the new Elipsa - seemed like a scaled down Strad, which I love. But when I heard them (driven by Chord electronics) there was good detail but none of the magic of the Strads or the original Cremona. We are keeping our original Cremona. My impression is that the new lines are more "modern" in design, which means more detail, more neutral, but less musical. Check out thread 1179827566 on the Cremona M. After comparing them, he ended up with the original Cremona. Seems to me that despite the good reviews there is very little discussion of SF these days. As a firm SF fan (I have 5 pairs) I am worried that the new lines may have lost the musicality that a lot of SF owners have loved and the company may be in trouble.
I must have been typing when Hulskof was posting. Obviously different views - that "warm" sound is appreciated by some and not others. But I think what he liked in the M is similar to what I heard with the Elipsa and did not like. So, we agree on the new sound, just not on whether it is desirable. I certainly do not think my Cremona are "sluggish, a bit lustreless and too laided back". But that is part of the fun of this hobby. Old Cremona's are thought by many to be sensitive to electronics so that may be some of the difference.
You def. have a point there, Dtc. One should always try at home with own gear. I think the person in the thread you mentioned liked the old Cremona better in the end because of his electronics too, that just matched better according to him. As regard to musicality, I'm not sure which Cremona would be better. I guess much depends on electronics again (amp, source), but I heard both on quite a few amps and cd-players, and each time the M was way better (imo of course). I suppose the old one does great things with classical music, but I like everything but classical (unless it's modern classical ;-)) and that's a whole different story. Speed, neutralness, detail... it's all much more needed then, and the M does a better job in all these areas. If this also applies to the Auditor I do not know.
The old Cremona's have a flatter frequency response...FWIW. Also please compare the Stereophile measurements for the old Cremona, and the newer Amati Anniversario. It is obvious that the old Cremona and the newer Amati were voiced by the same design team.

The newer Cremona's are a different story.

Also, please check the review of the M's in hifinews...the newer M's have a -6db extension of only 45 Hz or so, whereas the Guarneri Memento's have a -6db extension of 34 Hz. How can this be correct ?

Just some more information...I have not heard the new M's, BTW.

Can you give some url's to back you up on this? It's hard to believe the freq. response of the old cremona's is flatter than the new ones. As a matter of fact, I'm looking at some graphics right now and see that the old cremona's have a bump of +3 db between 60 and 80 Hz, a dip of about -4 db between the 80 and 110 Hz, are pretty flat to about 1100 Hz and dive again from thereon (-4 db) to about 10.000 Hz. There they are flat again, until the tweeter starts to roll off at about 12.000 Hz. All in all not very flat. The new Cremona has that same bump at 60 Hz to about 90 Hz and is more or less completely flat after that. Quite a big difference if you ask me.
I don't have the url's at the moment (both are PDF files), so you have to take my word for it ;-)

The new Cremona has a -3db at 51 Hz, whereas the old one has a -3db at 45 Hz, which does seem a bit strange for every reviewer stated that the new one goes deeper and stays cleaner with tight taught bass. So I guess figures don't say everything.
Bob - I think the Analog Room still carries SF. That is where I first heard the Cremona, Amati and Strads They might have the M's to listen to, if you have not already heard them.
hulskof, would you mind emailing me the pdf files you have? I am seriously considering the Auditor M and the frequency response is of great interest to me. Thanks in advance.
Holy moly. Great responses; thanks everyone.

I had forgotten about the Analog Room. He used to allow home trials, which would be the ideal situation. I listened to the original Auditors at Magnolia and was told by the salesman that the only difference with respect to the M model was a new tweeter, which I knew was not true.

Magnolia did not have the Ms on the floor - trying to move the remaining stock of the original Auditors I suspect. "We don't have what you're looking for but we can order it," is something I hear more and more today. The prospect of spending something like $7K based on faith is scary!

Bob R.
What was your impression of the original Auditors you auditioned? Of course electronics do make a difference. Maybe you should get Magnolia to loan you the originals just as a test in your setup. Of course, used Auditors come up used here pretty frequently, if you want to go that direction. You could also get used Cremona floorstanders for less than the new Auditor M. You can also call Sumiko (distributor of SF) and they will tell you where the M's are on display, if the Analog Room does not have them. I have found Sumiko very helpful. They are in Berkeley.
I thought the Auditors sounded quite a bit richer tonally – quite a bit warmer as well – than my Martin Logan Vantages, with better lateral imaging. Not as deep front to back though. They did not have the same scale as the Vantages nor did they go as deep in the lower frequencies. They sounded moderately detailed but remarkably refined. I realize this is an apples and oranges comparison, but since I have owned panel speakers predominantly for the last 20 years more or less, so it’s my only frame of reference. I did have a pair of B&W Nautilus 804s for a short while – way too hot in the treble for my taste.

I am going to call The Analog Room later today (as soon as the A’s finish losing to the Yankees) to see what he has on display.
Your description sounds right on to me. The floorstander would give you more low end. Might be an option used. Agree with 804 observation. If he has either Cremona M or Elipsa you might want to listen to them anyway, just for comparison. I heard the Strads with Nagra electronics and SME turntable. Not sure he still has that set up, but it was amazing.
@Tboooe: the graphics are of the old and new Cremona floorstander, not the Auditor. But I'm sure there are lots of reviews on the net that have that information on the Auditor too.
And if you really want a flat freq. response, have you chequed out the Usher BE-718? That also has a very remarkable freq. response. See for instance:

And the dozens and dozens of positive reviews on those.

sure. Here is the URL for the Cremona M review:

Half-way down the page you will see a review of the Cremona M by hifi-news. Surely a funny looking frequency response.

The old Cremona's frequency response :
I've been eyeing a pair of Cremonas for some time now, just waiting for my budget to match up with my tastes and have spent a good deal of time with both the original Cremonas (both tower and auditor) as well as the new M's. At least to my ears, the new M's are definitely the superior speaker. For some reason, my ears are very sensitive to any exaggeration in the presence reason, particularly from about 1K to 3K. The original Cremonas both seemed to have a bit of excess "bite" in that region that could actually cause me a bit of fatigue. You could only hear it on certain instruments (piano, and occasionally on violin if I recall), but it was definitely there. I think one of the Stereophile reviews mentioned this, even though the frequency response curve didn't show any excess energy in the associated region. I know that SF's are supposed to be very musical speakers, but remember, my ears are really sensitive in this region, so don't go out and call me crazy - everyone's ears are different. You should see me fidgeting when attempting to listen to speakers such as the new Focal 1027/1037Be's (which measure pretty flat across the board), the midrange is like nails on a chalkboard to me (though the new tweeter is fantastic on these).

I had heard the original Cremonas at least 5 times in three different setups, and this excess bite was almost always noticeable. Driving the Cremonas with Krell amps cut down on this a bit, but I could still hear it.

After spending two listening sessions with the new M's, driven by BAT amp/pre-amp combo (I had also heard the original Cremonas at the same shop, on the same amp/pre-amp), I can say that the excess bite is now gone. The M's (both Auditor and tower) just seem to be a bit smoother to me, more like the Amati Anniversarios (which I loved, except for the price). In fact, I actually think I like the Cremona M's better than the anniversarios, as they just seem to have a bit more "life" to them as well. Forgive me for not being able to describe this, but the sound just seemed to be more "real." Bass seemed to be more crisp and faster than the Original Cremona as well. I also think that the speakers revealed more detail, without bashing your ear drums in with exaggerated upper-midrange and treble.

Frankly, I don't really care what a frequency response curve looks like (especially when it was done in someone else's room), my ears know what they like. Yes, the frequency plot should show any gross abnormalities in the speaker's output that would be indicative of poor design, but trust your own ears first and foremost. After all, it is your money. Just go listen to the new M's in as many places you can (and hear how they sound with different amps/pre-amps/cabling) and see if you like them. Get a home demo if possible. Don't forget to listen to the new Elipsa Auditors as well, which could actually work better in your room if forced to be a bit closer to room boundaries.
Pinkus, do you think I'm making this up? The freq. response of the old Cremona in the review you came up with is exactly as I stated. Here you can find one for the M and it's way different than the one you found (different room, different measure method?): (see reviews)

But all graphs aside, I would rather have the old Cremona be superior since they're a lot cheaper! But they're just not. They are far less coherent, less balanced to my ears, so we're just have to dig deeper in our wallets to enjoy the best Cremona has to offer ;-)
Huskolf, why would I think you are making this up ? I presented you with a frequency response curve for the M's, and you presented another review with a different frequency response. I like the curve you looks very similar to the Amati Anniversario's response curve (at least superficially).

Really odd...I hope Stereophile does a review. I think I am going to give the new M's a listen.

Also, at this level of refinement, personal choice is quite a big fact, I remember a person on this site who did extensive demos of the M's with the original Cremonas and ended up buying the non-M version.
Huskolf, in the review you posted, it says -3db at 51Hz...this speaker seems to be severely bass limited. This is also consistent with the hifnews review.

The older Cremona's went down much lower. $13K for a speaker that barely goes below 40Hz is a tough sell for me.
I know on paper it seems the M is lacking bass power and extension. But all the reviews I've read (there are some more German and Swizz reviews) say the bass goes deeper and is much better than that of the old Cremona. I guess numbers don't say everything, but I suppose the Cremona, as with almost all speakers in this price range, would benefit from a good subwoofer. I will soon try them out with a Velodyne DD15 sub.

That is just about the strangest thing i have ever read, my experince is the exact opposit.

I have demoed the elipsa cremona M and auditor cremona M, against the orginal cremona all well runned in at least 7 times with various different amps and sources and the very thing I dislikede most with the new sonus fabers are the aggresiv trebel region .
I have sensitiv ears also and the org cremona on the other hand is a very seductiv speaker in this region, yet still lest the detajls through and that very very rare.

At the time i was offerd to buy new org cremona and new cremona M at the same price , and bourgt the org cremona because it was the better speaker espicialy for my gear and the seductiv balanced sound.

The org cremona is a special speaker, very responsiv to what to drive it with, it will sound slow dark and muddy with the wrong gear but try with somthing like linn klimax and you will be in musical heaven.
The new sounded more or less the same no matter what amp we tried it with and that was great hifi, amazing bass hot trebel and not very musical.

The review you refere to are the elipsa (same tweeter as the M`S) and both stereophil and hificlube both bashed the elipsa for being to aggresiv and producing surthen unwanted frq in the trebel region just like i heard it and other to.

Try reading the reviews for the orginal cremona ,stereophil quate, Do you have a bad case of high-tech, metal-dome tweeteritis? Sonus Faber offers a cure. In the midrange and treble, the Cremona reminded me of a Sonus Faber minimonitor.

My dealer wich is very alternativ (so is his prices) tells me that alot of german SF dealers are complaning about the new sonus faber sound because of the lean sound espicialy in the trebel region ,and are looking for somthing to replace them , this was what the old sonus fabers where so special at , complet earpleasing sound you can listen to forever.

With all do respect it almost seems that you are mistaken the org for the new.


I've heard the old Cremona on four different amps, demo'ed by a dealer that has been selling these forever (that knows how to make them sound their best), and I've never heard them other than slow and muddy and overly soft. Granted, I've never heard them with Linn gear, but as I said before: if it's so fussy on which gear it will sound decent with, I'd rather have a speaker that sounds decent with almost any gear.
As regard to treble: many speakers I listened to (varied from Audio Physic Scorpio, via Focal Electra to Wilson Benesch, Living Voice and Thiel) sounded bright (some even harsh) compared to the new Cremona, whereas the old Cremona sounded soft, like a rounded off valve amp. The only drawback for me is the lack of really deep bass (but that's common with almost any speaker of this size) and perhaps the imaging could have been a tad sharper. Other than that: it's pricetag. ;-)

Your findings is the same as mine.

Heard the cremona many times and it the diddent sound very good, always muddy overly soft and and with some gear BIG uncontroled bottom end.

The export/import dealer that actually sold my cremonas have for many years not liked them at all, then suddenly one day on a hifi forum said the sound like a dream, and he now has a set in his collection.
He heard them with the right gear.

Linn gear sound rather dry, completly naked and uneuphonic , and lean yet very musical and rytmicly saisfing and obaove all very tunefull.
The top of the range klimax 500 solos i have play the music without eny sonic compression at all and have a amazing dynamic headroom that makes them go deeper then enything else i have experinced .
The are also lean, naked sounding

somhave the cremonas balances all the leanness out of the linn and vise versa creating a strange musical synagi that must be heard to be understood.
Old cremona is also very picky to room placment, sure you can get out sound out of them in less then ideal placment but give them a BIG room with tall selling and the really open up.
As stated before the are very sensitiv to what amp and source you use with them.
Are this a good thing or bad?
Franco clearly diddent wanat to make compromises with the org cremona , but have to make them as good so possibel in great room with great amplifires.

The new one is much easyer to place, easyer to find synagetic amps for , to some thats a good thing to each his owen i ges.

In my book the more a speaker changes sonics with different rooms amps the better it is.
Just like old amati it sounded horribel with entrylevel gear but feet it some SET tube power and the are heaven.
That's where our opinions differ then. The common Cremona listener won't get the best out of their speakers according to you. To me that's fine as long as the result still is very pleasing. But the old Cremona dissapoints drastically if specific demands (room placement, gear, roomsize) are not met. Which in most cases makes it a lousy speaker to me. How many people have the patience and determination to work on all the specific speaker demands? Most of them will have turned their backs long ago, writing the speaker off. I can't say I disagree with them.
But it's great that someone like yourself did dig deep and found all the answers.
I have the old Cremonas for 4 years now. I have paired them with all sorts of gear, and they have completely satisfied me. So I find it odd that both you gentlemen make it sound as if the planets have to align before the Cremonas sound musical.

I think its actually very simpel, the cremonas are much more transperent then there balanced soft sound are given crdit for, thats why the CAN sound muddy and bloated with the WRONG gear.
The can sound great with alot of gear and with the right gear like heaven.
I think overall the cremona is one very musical speaker regardless of what you drive them with, problem here is many people dont even know what musicality is or even like it.

To my great horror i have come to learn that there are alot of audiophils out there that only use music as a measurment tool for have hifi there system sounds, and typicaly buys music because the recording is good.
And in my experince with HIFI speakers my cremonas are the opposit of the equation , so why some dont like it and find the m`s better because of the more hifi right sound dont mean a thing to me.
I don't care much for HIFI-sound. I don't even know what is meant by it. All I know is that personally I have never heard the old Cremona sound other than soft, dark and slow, which to me is not very musical at all. But I must have tried the wrong gear with it (Krell, Audio Flight, Mystère, Electrocompaniet), because according to some they sound terrific. All I can say is: if that is terrific, then 90% of all speakers sound horrible, since they sound much and much brighter en lighter than the Cremona's. ;-)
I guess it's all a matter of taste.
Actually, I find some change in sound with electronics but not huge changes. I hear differences in the treble detail and in the ability to control base, but the overall sound does not change that much. I have tried Edge, Levinson, Classe, AR, Simaudio and even B&K and Dussun with my Cremona. Simaudio is the only one that really seemed to suck out the magic - really made the sound too tame. And B&K made the treble harsh, but it is known to do that - had it around for HT so gave it a try. Otherwise, the differences were more subtle than dramatic. Current setup is Classe CD and pre and Levinson amp. Thats what I liked the best. Seems to me that the differences being discussed here are mostly due to people's ears and preferences, both in music and in sound. I am continued amazed when I go into a shop and hear someone going on and on praising a system that sounds terrible to me. It seems trite, but people really need to listen for themself and make decisions based on what they like. Bob- any luck on finding some M's to listen to?
Well my experince is there sound change rather dramaticly by going from primare/ and rotel amps to jadis ja30 class amps and then finaly to the linn amps.


I can asure you that the crmonas with 500 watts of Linn klimax power up there behind creates a sound that is eything else then what you hve descried.

Its completly open , with awsome transperant midbass and awsome awsome dynamics, voices and instrument sounds real yet everythng is just netural not bright not warm not muddy not lean not to smooth just right, and wih my new linn DS its i hear sound and music ´that i havent heard better live or playbacked
It really needs to be heard to be understood.

I really wish you could listen to my system.

I emailed Sumiko yesterday to find out who has a pair of Auditor Ms on display. Have not heard back yet.

This has been a very intresting discussion - clearly divided into two camps - those who prefer the warmth and lushness of the original model and those who like the clearer, crisper presenation of the M.

Just a quick quote from John Atkinson's original Cremona review back in 2004:
"However, the pianos on Soular Energy and Reptet occasionally had a little more bite than I was expecting; some notes sounding more forward in the soundstage than others."
This is the same kind of thing I recall hearing when listening to the original Cremonas, and since I am so sensitive in the midrange and upper midrange regions, it bothered me. The M's have tamed this, which is probably the main reason I like them better.

You are refer to the hotter treble in the M's. I do not disagree with you here. The M's definitely do have more energy in the treble region, as shown by the response curves referenced by other forum members here. My ears aren't quite so sensitive in the treble region, so I guess that it just doesn't bother me. Perhaps the up-swing in treble response is what is making me think that the M's are a bit more detailed and "lively" than the original Cremonas.

I actually just heard the M's again last night, at Stuart's A/V in Westfield NJ. They really weren't all that well set up (the room a bit small and highly reflective/echo-ey) and were being fed CD via a Sony BD2000ES Blu-ray player though a Macintosh integrated amp), so they were not performing at their best. At least in this room, I definitely noticed a lack of bass weight, as some others have reported. From my own experience, I've found that good bass response tends to "smooth" the overall sound of a speaker, actually helping to mask flaws in the mid-range and even appearing to tone down the treble as well. I would certainly not characterize the sound I heard as boomy or slow though. Drum attacks were very quick, and had the appropriate "thwack" that they should. Despite the limitations of the room/equipment, I still enjoyed the overall sound of the Cremona M. I'm a bit of bass junky, so I would still feel the need to pair this speaker with a tight subwoofer to fill in the bottom end a bit.

They actually had the Elipsas in the same room, being fed by Mac SACD/CD player, MAC pre-amp and amp, and I definitely preferred those. Granted, they were a bit (just a bit) bloated in the bass due to poor positioning, but the potential was definitely there. A sub is probably not necessary with this speaker. Shame I can't afford them. The Elipsas are also much smaller than I thought they would be. Really impressed with this speaker, but cut my demo short as there is no sense in torturing myself with things I can't afford.

They had the Auditor M's there as well, but due to time limitations, I didn't give them a listen, as I've heard them before. Plus, they will be relegated to surround duty in my room, so I'm not as worried about them. I haven't heard the Elipsa Auditors yet, and they may make for a better surround speaker due to wall placement options.

I also gave a listen to the B+W 802D's while I was there. These were in their dedicated theater room, which was treated to sound pretty darn good. Again, all Mac gear driving them. Very nice speaker. Shame that they cost even more than the Cremonas now. For my ears, they had a tiny bit of excess energy in the presence region, but I think I could tame that with cable/amp matching or perhaps a touch of EQ.

I have to go back and get them to move the Cremona M's into the dedicated theater room to give them a fair workout.
Hi Influence

Nice write up.

The cremona is by no means a speaker that cuts of the higest frq like some of the old sonus fabers.
But the key here is to use a source that have a smooth and analog sound, somthing like linn source wich i found to be the key.
When i first got them i had a slimdevices transporter and there where some brightness to the sound i diddent like.

When i demoed the cremona and cremona m , it was in the same room using the same gear.
The room was around 25 sq meters and in that room the org cremona sound to strong and basss heavy maybe even boomy, sound was also thick and muddy, the sound was so different from other speakers.

The m`s havever where very controled and gave the impresssion that the would work just about enywhere, overall the sounded like other well designed speakers i have heard from gamut, dali,Dynaudio, but are much prettyer.

Its a fact that sonus faber tightend up the drivers when the new design team took over and franco serblin left just after the stradivaruius sonus faber.

Here in denmark where we have lost of speaker manufactors and speaker driver manufactors the answer is clear old cremona used better drivers and crossover parts then new one.
Old cremona uses all scanspeak revelator drivers wich are arguably the best and most musical drivers you can buy today + all mundorf supreme crossover components + franco serblin used 3 years to perfect it.

New one uses SEAS bass drivers wich is carbon design, the are good for bigger drivers as the ones in the strad, but the scabnspeaks are ALOT better for smaller aplication + the ms where diffently not given the atension that the old one was given from franco.
After the elipsa the design team launced 3 new models in half a year.

All this is just tech talk we all here it differently and we all love different kinds of sound.
In fact the very thing i love about the old is what others dont like.
I also love linn gear wich is has unqestionble synagetic with the OLD sonus faber sound and im not sure i would have boutgt linn or sonus faber if the diddent sound so good (to my ears>) together .
But living with both i know i would .

check out my system just uploaded it

On more thing.

Source first , the speaker can only reproduce the signals its being feat, if you hear the old cremona as being hard on the ears, its not he speaker thats the problem its 99.9 % surthen that its the source/uptream gear the problem lies.
I recorment if you have the chance to demo it again the ask to here them with different sources.
Very nice system indeed. And you went for the graphite Cremonas. My preference as well. I truly think the Cremona just looks so much more expensive in the graphite. As my wife keeps reminding me, "If you are going to spend $10,000 on a pair of speakers, they better look like they cost $10,000."

I'm just at the start of my speaker hunt, so I've still got a few more models to listen to before making my decision (Monitor Platinums, Dali Helicons, Legacy Focus, Revel F52s/Studio2s, maybe a few others).
I'll try to find a pair of original Cremonas to listen to again, and maybe even try to find some Linn gear to pair it with as per your suggestions.
Tda2200 - I would agree that Primare and Rotel are not up to the task of bringing out the best of the Cremona. My comparisons were with higher end amps. The difference between the lower end B&K and the higher end amps was definitely dramatic, as expected. I did try the AR switching amp, which I believe uses a similar technology to your Linn amps. It sounded very nice, with good base control and reasonable good treble. But I liked the Levinson 432 better. It had the smoothest treble and most controlled bass, with very good dynamics. Might be interesting to compare it to the Linn amps. The Edge amps were also very nice, but are not easily available here (Boston). The general feeling is that if going SS, then lots of power and power reserve is the best for the Cremona, especially for the base. The 432 is 400 watts per channel at 8 ohms. I also agree that you need a good source. We actually prefer vinyl which matches the Cremona very well. We use a Linn Linto as a phono pre-amp. It is one of the most dynamic and quietest ones available. Incidently, I have Transparent Audio cables, which really matched well with the Levinson and Cremona.
Influence - you are lucky to be able to listen to all these options. SF is basically not available in Boston. I would have to come to NY/NJ to hear all these options. But you probably do need to try something other than Mcintosh if possible. Good luck.
Over 30+ responses and no has answered the orginal question. Well I will. I owned the original auditors and traded up to the M. I say without a doubt that the Auditor M is far and away better than the orginal. Forget about frequency response curve graphs and other numbers. The only way you can tell is with your own ears and in the room that you will be listening in

I am somewhat discouraged by my inability to get any info from Sumiko; 3 emails, 2 voicemails, no response.
I listened to the Cremona Auditor M this weekend. The sound was consistent with what I heard with the Elipsa. They have much more detail than the original Cremoma, but the sound did not show the richness of the original, especially in the mid-range. Many say the original Cremona were "colored" but to me there are just more musical than the M. Several others at the store agreed with this assessment. As always, this is personal preference, but for me the original Cremona are just more musical than the new M line. Electronics were ML 32 pre, ML 433 amp and Estoric P-05. I like the ML amps, but would suggest a different pre-amp. I thought the Cremona were a little too laid back with the ML 32 compared to my Classe CP-65 and ML 432 setup.
Everything I am reading is most interesting. I guess everybody hears something different altogether due to inherent component variables. i.e. electronics, speaker cables, interconnects, power cables, line conditioners, AC power feeds, dedicated circuits or not, circuits feed by high quality 6 nines copper or Romex, HI-FI fuses, room acoustics or lack of, shapes and sizes of rooms, different types of isolation to the front end or the amp, equipment stands, current, power quality off the pole, or if using batteries, i.e. Jeff Rowland, SET-UP is most important, street noise, house noise, kid noise, whether trying to integrate a woofer or not, reflections, component synergy, whether the equipment is broken in, listening in your home vs. the store, what house or structure is built out of, is the floor sound/solid, carpet, throw rugs, hardwood, windows. As you can see it goes on and on and on. No one except for people doing this for a living can really get close to optimizing the sound of their equipment thru trial and error. Although, because of the massive amounts of variables and even though some people have immense experience in understanding these variables and have great ears and maybe they are musicians they still view the sound of the music through equipment in a personal way. Hardly ever have I heard everyone agree that the sound of any given piece of equipment being placed in a given set of variables to sound fantastic. It seems that someone has a different opinion.
Being a musician and hanging around musicians all the time and knowing the sound of live music and knowing that most musicians don't have high end electronic and don't need them, especially acoustic musicians I have found that most musicians don't particularly care for bright forward sound that lacks bass, nor do they much care for super articulate digital sound that lacks life and body. Moreover most guys that know like sound that is somewhat rolled off if you will, with a full range sound, definitely a sound that low end, it doesn't have to go down to 20 cycles it can be down to 35 or so but at least that. Full rounded harmonic tubey musical encompassing sound is more what live sound is, what is not is super clear and perfect, that is hardly music.
What I have found over the years is that the builders of high end electronics and speakers and waxed and wained between building these goodies to sound somewhat bright and forward/edgy unforgiving to full, wonderful bassy reall music. i.e. sound you hate to sound you actually enjoy. Most high end electronics today produce a highly refined hard to listen to sound unless of course you buffer the equipment with all different kinds of cables that either add or subtract from the highs or lows and everyone does everything in their power to alter the inherent sound of the equipment with something else. What is that about. My idea of a system is one that actually works within itself in a more or less simple set up. Not to say the electronics have to be cheap or ultra expensive because a combination of both can work just fine. The idea is to listen to what sounds good to you, to your ears and leave it at that. A person should know pretty quickly if they like what they hear. I may add if it sound to spectacular at first it problem won't sound that good for long. All the hooplah around Wilson speakers is for the most part marketing, do Wilson sound good, if set up with the right electronics and cables, then yes do they sound the most musical, that is debatable. No electronic or tube music system will ever sound like a 1940 Martin guitar or a stand up bass that was built in the 1800's or a drums played by an experienced jazz drummer, the high hat or the snare, it is defacto impossible regardless of what your friendly neighborhood high end electronics sales person has to say, he likely doesn't really know. Maybe someone who actively plays in a a band and also sells analog equipment or may designs it and sells it knows, I am sure they use at least some tubes and really good records, even still when you or someone that hasn't heard this sound before hears it they say oh that sound flat or I can't hear the treble or something like that, but actually in fact that is the sound that is likely the most musical.
As far as the process, it is challenging to attain a musical sound, it is or can be expensive and wasteful. I believe to much money is spent on getting music into the house, especially musical music, sound worth listening to. Put it this way if your 3 year old or your 5 year old does not like it, it probably sounds like crap and you've been kidding yourself and spending thousands on sound that a 3 year old could care less about. To that end, I listen to the original SF Auditors and think they are more musical than the M and for the most part create a sound field that is listenable, are they perfect like my Martin guitar, no way, did I have to put some decent juice to them and high end cables and power conditioning, room conditioning, isolation to get them to sound the best I could get them to yep. Do my musician friend like the sound yep. So I am happy with my set up and it certainly was not easy to put together or cheap. Was it worth it money wise, I will let you know if I get thru this latest depression our country and the world is going thru. The last thing I want to blab about is that I built another system, yes yet another system in a second home, I installed built in wall and ceiling speakers from Sonance, nothing special, I used a older Marantz Receiver and a Sony blue ray players with some decent cables that I had laying around, in the end to we enjoy this modest system as much as the high end ones I own, YES we do and we saved a ton of money, in the end we found that we didn't need to buy Wilson or Vandersteen or Verity or Kharma etc. to get musical sound, in fact in most of the systems I heard this simple deal I put together with leftovers and Sonance inwall speakers and saved and saved I am overall happier that I heading in a direction that makes more sense than not. and who knows maybe my kids will actually get a helping hand when they go off to college instead of me thinking I need to buy a 40K front end or a pair of 28K amps and 70K cables from Transparent or Tara what the F, are we all out of our minds, be happy with some simpler things, thats what I am going to do after all the crap I have been thru with my favorite hobby. If you can't beat them one sure as hec better join them. I don't mean to offend anyone with this thread, I guess I will have another cup of tea and consider what I don't need today and be happy with what I have.
What a wonderful wacky world we have all stumbled into.Like trying to describe fire to a blind man and trying to relate what we just heard to another listener.Never easy,usually futile,ultimately enriching.Yes,my friend,time for another cuppa,and Happy Holiday to those hanging around the musical campfire.Adieu,Bob
There is a review of the Cremona M's in the latest TAS, and Neil Gader comments favorably on the new M's. He also comments that in his small room, the speakers extend to the mid 20's in their frequency response (bass). This supports what Huskolf has observed.

Wonder why SF is so conservative in their specs when they claim a frequency response of 40HZ only.
Hi Pinkus,

Could you somehow mail me this review of the Cremona M? I'm very interested in the whole article. BTW I understand there's also a review of the Mystère tube amp. What's the verdict on that?
Funny how tastes and impressions differ. I own the original Auditor for some time now, I've tried different tube and ss amps, CDPs, interconnects and speaker cables. I never found them overly warm and laid back, quite the contrary, they provide an amazing presence and liveliness. In fact they even exaggerate a little in the higher mids that, depending on the recording, can add a slight harshness when played loud. You need to choose your amp, source and cabling *very* carefully in order to minimize this. If paired blindly with whatever electronics you will most probably end up with a fatigue problem or, in some cases, a dead and dull sound.

From what I read the new M version does not have that problem but sounds more hifi like instead. More air, more detail, more of that crystal clear sound many peolple like. That's reason enough for me to believe I prefer the original Auditors. Happy me, because I couldn't afford an upgrade anyway.

I've ended up with a Luxman L-505f, Meridian G08, Yter XLR ic and Van den Hul CS-122 speaker cable and the result is 98% perfect. The logical speaker upgrade would be a pair of Guarneri Mementos, not the Auditor M. Electronics that were the worst match of what I've tried: Electrocompaniet ECI-3 integrated, AudioNet ART G2 CDP, Kimber 4TC speaker cable.

Anybody who wonders which one to buy, the original Auditor or the Auditor M and does not have a chance to audition them both, keep in mind the following: It's easier to build a great system around the new Ms but the original Auditors might reward you with more emotion. If you succeed to find the matching electronics for your listening room. And that will take time and money.

I read the review at the local B&B. I have not received my copy of TAS yet. Where are you located ? You can also download the latest TAS for $7 from the TAS web site.

If you own the Cremona M's, $7 is a small price to pay for reading a glowing review of speakers that you own :)

without hearing the two speakers side by side, anything you say is going to be speculative, to say the least.

Also, I think since you own SF's products, you should give SF the benefit of the doubt -- I would like to think that SF has done their homework, and produced a speaker that betters the older model.
All are speculative at best. Every ear is different. I am a classical musician and performing artist. He who eats less cheese hears best. I own the auditor m and they reveal the honest sound of my instruments as well as any top level monitor you can acquire. As audiophiles we should not think that different is better, it's just different. We get duped by the high end market into thinking just that. How do you think they make $$. In the end the only thing that really matters is very much like vintage wine. DO YOU LIKE IT!? YOU EITHER DO, OR YOU DON'T. These overboard descriptive adjectives to compare speakers, wines etc becomes redundant.
Very late to this game. I very much like how my Auditor M's powered by world-class tube gear sound.