Sonus Faber Cremona Vs. Dynaudio Contour S3.4


Am building a new system based on a ML pre-power combination. Speakers on my shortlist are:

1. Sonus Faber Cremona
2. Dynaudio Contour S3.4

I have read the various reviews on the S3.4 posted but have yet to read ones for the Cremona.

I am afraid that with the ML, the more neutral sounding Dynaudio's may be bright on the top end. I understand that SF's tend to have a rolled off top end in the past and are more musical.

Opinions appreciated.


Those seem like two really different speakers - I would think that even the most significant preferences you have would make the determination.

I'm a long-time Dynaudio owner, tho I haven't owned / heard the 3.4's yet. I owned the Contour 1.1 monitors and the Contour 3.0 floor-standers. I currently own the Confidence 3's. I have read great things about the 3.4's. I wonder about the new Dyn's, however - they have done a lot of work around dispersion patterns with all of their new speakers, and they're very revealing. However, I home-auditioned the Special 25's, and while they're immediately impressive, over a long weekend of listening I was less sure that I'd want them for the long-term. They have the fastest tweeter I have ever heard, but I don't think the sound was nearly as full or deep or big as the Confidence 3's convey. The 3.4's, while using a different tweeter (the 5.4's use the same tweeter), may achieve a better balance. I loved the 3.0's I had, and I'm very tempted by the 3.4's or 5.4's - I just wonder if Dynaudio hasn't started down a path of producing a sound that is "impressive" over accurate.

The Cremona's I heard briefly at a high-end dealer in NYC. Wonderful looking speakers, but very laid-back compared to what I want / like. Driven by an all-BAT system. However, if you listen to classical / chamber / acoustic jazz / vocalists and the like, they may well be the better choice. I listen to rock / blues / jazz, and also do HT in my combo-system. The Cremona's would not do it for me, which is complete personal, not an indictment of the speakers.

All choices in life should be this tough, eh? :-)

This may help you on the Dyn S34 side of things:

My Review
I love the Dyns I have the Confidence 2s and before that the Contour 1.3SE and both of then IMHO give some of the best sound you will ever hear.
I have heard both at two different dealers. The Sonus with an all Krell system 400 wpc the Dyno's with a Meridian front end using the Accuphase 30 wpc class A amp with on board DAC. The Sonus are a wonderful sounding speakers leaning towards the warm side of neutral but I fell in love with them for that, sorry I did not get a chance to rock them since I only had some jazz and blues CDs with me at the time. Piano and vocals were above all the other speakers I have heared recently, they sounded like real music. The dyno's had a very wonderful mid-range but not enough bass slam even compared to the sonus, but again differenct room, different amp, etc. Again I did not get a chance to rock them either. Funny but the B&W N802s on the same system as the Dyno's sounded bad, good bass but not musical at all, maybe the Accuphase amp going against them becuase I have heard them with the Plinius amp and they really sounded very good.

If you like more jazz, vocals than rock the Sonus maybe the speaker if not I do not think either will really rock out as well as some other speakers.

Happy Listening.
I would have to agree with Bigkidz. The Cremona will probably be a better match with your ML gear.

Thanks for your responses.

Kthomas, what amplification are you running with your Confidence 3's? I was told the S3.4's have a balanced sound and are as good as the old Confidence's.

A friend of mine is running a Krell FPB 300 and a pre (I forget which Krell) with his S3.4's and he finds them a bit bright - although he hasn't had the speaks for long. This is strange 'cos when I was auditioning amps, I thought the Krell was darker sounding then the ML's.

Also, the hard part is getting the scratch for the speakers and then deciding :)

Bigkidz, I did hear the Krells with the Cremonas at a show room and did find the sound a bit on the warm side - which was good for my tastes - I listen to mostly acoustic jazz, some big band, soul, blues, hip hop and pop - not really much into rock but was concerned that it would put me to sleep, as per Kthomas' impressions. With trumpet notes, it was fine whereas when my friend played Miles Davis on the Contour S3.4's on his setup with the Krell, the trumpet did seem on the bright side and slightly grating on the ears. A good balance between the 2 would be good. The dealer tells me that SF should be driven by tubes and he had paired it with the Krell for bass demonstration.

My impressions so far based on what I have heard is that on vocals and acoustic jazz, the Cremona is more warm and musical and the S3.4 is more natural and neutral.

MFish, your review on the S3.4 was why I started listenning to them.
Owned many Dynaudio (Confidence 5, 1.3SE, DIY Gemini) and Sonus Faber (Extrema, Amati Homage, Cremona, Cremona Auditor, Electa Amator, Grand Piano Home, etc) in the past, they both are wonderful speakers. I would vote for Dynaudio if you like to listen loud and have tons of power to drive them, but they can be finicky in system matching. However, if you like to enjoy your music rather than analyzing it, you can't go wrong with Sonus Faber. My current choice is Amati Homage over Temptation or C4, but I would love to have both if money and space allow.

It's hard to choose between dark and white chocolate, it all depends on your mood and craving.

Jonathan has a good point on your associated equipments. My recommendation is to loan the smaller version of both from local dealer to hear system matching. i.e, borrow the Audior and S1.4 home and see which one mates better with your front end.


Please do not take offense; [Krell owners], but I would initially attribute any perceived 'brightness' encountered with the S34s as a phenomenon [as mentioned above] when Dyn's are paired with Krell amplification. As I have yet to encounter ANY brightness whatsoever with the Plinius/Transparent combo with my S34s. Note: for anyone interested, I will be submitting [a comparison review] of the the Dali MS4s that have arrived.
I listened to all new contour speakers (1.4, 3.4 and 5.4).
I liked the 3.4 best, because it's less revealing than the 5.4 and has a better balanced sound.
I've heard them in different setups, best results where achieved with the good old ML no.29 and Bryston pre-amp. I wonder which ML amps do you own?
Although I like Sonus Faber, I prefer Dynaudio because of their more neutral character and the abbility to play every type of music at very high volumes. Sonus Faber's are far from optimal for huge orchestral works and rock music.
Lavardin - I drive the Confidence 3's with the Krell FPB-200c. I find it to be an almost ideal match, at least for my room and tastes. The only brightness I encounter is on bright (usually pop / rock) recordings.

I haven't heard the 3.4's or any of the new Contour line. I've heard the Special 25's. I have no reason to believe the 3.4's are better, worse or the same as any of the old Confidences. I know that my local dealer always says the latest "just clobbers" the previous model - typical hyperbole.

I look forward to hearing the new Contour line. -Kirk
My "ideal" setup when I almost bought C2s was a Hovland pre/Krell 400cx. I had 1.3SEs at the time.

Krell/Plinius are typical amp matches for Dyns. The latest iterations of the Krell FPBs are not bright to me in the least btw.
I will have to respectfully disagree with pendulus. I auditioned the Amati/Temptation/C4 in a local store. Even though Temptation was the overall winner, but Amati clearly outshined Temptation in classical music, large or small orchestral work. SF speakers are known for their silky and delicate high, a tribute of top Scanspeak tweeter which uses no ferrofluid which will improve speed and micro dynamic. I have owned Dynaudio C5 for many years, one of the very best Dynaudio ever made (better than C4 IMHO), and C5 still can't compete with Amati especially in string music.

If accuracy is what you are after, you should consider Wilson Watt/Puppy. But apparently you also like to enjoy your music, so YOU have to decide which one you like more.

Pendulus: My amps are 331 power and 380 pre. I thought the 3.4 was the safest to go with as fearing brightness I thought the Esotar 2 may be too revealing after reading Mfish's review comparing that and the S25.

Kthomas: My friend is using a FPB 200 C as well with a KRC preamp - what preamp are you using? I had suggested to him that it perhaps needed a tube preamp but he said that that would void the power amp warranty. What cables are you on? He has a real mixed bag - Naim Audio NACA 4 spk cables, Cardas Quadlink 5 C interconnects mostly and a Straightwire Virtuoso run between a ML DAC and the pre, all balanced. I told him to check the cables as the Straightwire may be bright. I thought the Naim's may be OK as the Naim sound is fast and bright anyway with the cables meant to tame this.

KeithR: was the pre you were referring to with the 400Cx a tube pre? If so, you would perhaps agree with my guess that a tube pre would smooth out the highs?

It could be break in you know. There are posts on Audio Asylum specifically mentioning break in for the Contour S3.4, with the poster saying that it needs at least 100 hours otherwise the treble is bright.

I am not a whiz with posting links otherwise I would have posted the link for you.

I'd say a tube pre would help with Krell stuff but you may need to be careful with impedance matching.

You may find this interesting:

DynS34 DaliMS4 Plinius9200
Hi I’m using ML gear 390s/380s/23.5 with Valhalla speaker cabling and CZ Gel interconnects and the sound is great on my Dynaudio C2s. not bright at all. I just purchase a 1-meter pair of Valhalla interconnect which were place between the CD Player and the Pre-Amp. And the only thing different in the sound is that the voices sound more natural and the highs are very detail, not bright, more fuller and extended. I’ve only had the interconnect for a few days and I do need one more to go from the Pre-amp to the amp. But to my ears the sound is great.
Yes, the Hovland is a tube preamp. I have heard this combo numerous times at Singer in NYC. Krell has high impedance, so works well with tube pres (amp does have to be altered for tube pres as i recall). I wouldn't say it smooths out the highs, but that the midrange is fleshed out wonderfully. With the Krells rock-solid bass, a nice combo.