Sonus Faber Cremonas or JM lab Diva

I am thinking of buying either the Sonus Faber Cremona Floor Standers, or the JM Labs Divas for my home theater and initially to be used for my two channel. I have actually never heard either, but I like the lower end models by both except the JM Labs 907be which I was not crazy about. I will admit I got the green light to do this from my wife because of the way they look, so I think that choosing between the two is something I can live with, even though I know there are more choices out there. I love the Grand Pianos which I own, nd like the concertos which I have owned in the past. The Novas and the Altos are something special but I have never heard the Divas. I of course plan to audition both, but I would like to hear some opinions of other people. I will use the following equipment

First Sound Pre amp (Deluxe)

Cary v12r (intially not the monos, but I will move to them soon)

Balanced Audio Tech Super Tube CD or Sim Audio eclipse not decided. I would like to go with the Balanced but I am scared it would sound muddy.

I have also considered the Audes Orpheus.

I have even had someone suggest using two JM Labs LR's

Any thoughts?

You may want to consider using 2 v12's... refer to Cary's web sight on verticle bi-amping. You can run one channel in ultralinear set at 4 ohms for the woofers, and the mid/tweeters set for triode at 8 ohms! One amp for each channel, hence "verticle bi-amping". If this sounds as interesting to you as it does to me it would require a speaker with bi-amp/bi-wire capabilities with 2 sets of speaker terminals. In the article Dennis Had claims this outperforms the mono's. Just a thought!
Disclaimer: I have no experience with tubes or Cary amps...just came across the article and thought it sounded like a great idea! Anyone else?
That is actaully the long term plan at the moment. It is what I wanted to do to begin with, but budget constaints kept from doing it. The above comments take into consideration of having only one system. I would eventually like a two channel system in a seperate listening room which I think is acheiveable now that my wife and I have moved into an office outside of the home (we both worked from home for different companies) so there is an open space, plus a garage that we hope to one day close in. Of course this is all wishful thinking and many years away. Right now I have to have one system do home theater and two channel, or I should say one rack hold all the components.

Nice choice in speakers and direction. I have owned several JM Lab speakers in the past as well as three pairs of Sonus Faber speakers. I presently own the Grand Pianos and purchased them as really a stepping stone to the Cremonas.

However, my results have been so fantastic with the Grand Pianos, my upgrade path is just not so urgent. I would say you really need to give a listen to each speaker. If it were me, I would purchase the Cremonas without hesitation.

The JMs do have tha Magic in presentation especially when powered by Tube Gear. However, I listen to a lot of music that is not recording perfectly. The Sonus Fabers seem to make everthing enjoyable which I have found is NOT the case with the JMs I have owned.

Please don't get me wrong. I am not bashing the JMs by any means. They are wonderful speakers. I just think the Cremonas are awful hard to beat. Good Luck to you and congrats on your purchase of either or.

Chris In all honesty I feel the exact same way. I really was a little disappointed with the facts that the JM Labs did not out perform the Grand Pianos in my opinion. I was not disappointed in the JM Labs, I think I was more disappointed in myself for not buying something that I felt was a sonic improvment. I enjoy the JM Labs just not as much as I enjoy the Pianos. My thinking has been all along the Divas, but after coming to this conclusion with the Pianos I can't help but wonder what the Cremonas would sound like against the Divas. I guess if I was honest to myself I would admit that I guess I what I really want is someone to enlighten me on something great about the Divas. At this point comparing apples to apples and taking into consideration I am talking about roughly the same dollar amount if not a little cheaper for the Cremonas. I don't think the Divas stand to much of a chance ending up at the end of the chain.
keep the grand pianos......great performance and money in your pocket. even against the cremonias, unless you need heirloom quality furniture.
thanks for the response Jay, you are the second person to tell me there is not much difference between the Cremonas and Pianos. I want great performance most of all, but it would be a less than honest answer if I said that the way they looked had no bearing on my choice. I do not know if they have $4000 worth of influence though.
Taking what Chris said one step further, the JM Labs are more resolving and transparent than the Grand Pianos - at least in the systems I heard them in - and so will not be tolerant of electronics and recordings that lack quality. This is a double edged sword and I frequently have to be careful what electronics I get for my JM Labs as to not have an overly-detailed sound with so many "hyperhifi" components around. My personal preference is to have transparent speakers and tweak the sound to my liking using the electronics but the other way around may be better for others, like yourself. I think Cary V12s would work great as long as their noisefloor is low enough.

I have listened to the Divas several times and really like them. The Be tweeter is a little more laid back than the tioxid I have and so they are slightly less critical than mine. My dealer says the Divas sound just like the Altos, giving up only a little bass extension - but not weight. Arthur
Arthur I took a look at your system and was impressed. I purchased the Jolida CD player a little while ago. What is your opinion? I really plan on using it for about 6 months then I plan to go with a BAT tube CD. Do you feel yours is a keeper? I spent some time listening to the 926 and 927's and liked the 26's much better. I also like the 946 and 937. Have you heard of anyone using two Utopia Centers or LR's in a two channel? I saw one guy had that set up on e bay and said it worked. He also said he went with 5 of them on a surround set up. I have never heard the Utopia Center. I was just thinking if I am going to spend that much on the Cremonas I might would skip the Divas and find a pair of good used Altos or even Novas, but I think the divas look better. Any thoughts anyone?
Hi again, I have actually sold the Jolida and replaced it with an AA Prima mk2. Disclaimer - All these comments refer to their use in MY system: In a way, I miss the Jolida - the AA is very very detailed almost to the point of being distracting from the music. It makes the noise floor of every CD apparent which I am not too sure I like.

On the other hand, the resolution is off the charts compared to the Jolida which in hindsight kind of glossed over a lot of information. Having said that, I wouldn't say one is really better than the other (when comparing the Jolida with NOS 5751s), just very different styles. The AA is kind of nervous and impatient whereas the Jolida is relaxed and composed. I wasn't expecting such a difference actually.

I am coming around to the AA though and it sounds sublime with my Kora Explorer 90 which can use a little speed and detail. They are a fantastic match - better than the Mc/BAT for the above reasons. Incidentally, BAT doesn't design anything that sounds muddy. I think my preamp contributes a lot to the over-the-top-detail issue which is a problem I never had with the Jolida. It is all about system synergy!

I have not heard of the centers being used for LR. Kind of a novel idea but the centers do look like mini Utopias so don't see why not. But then again, aren't their crossovers biased towards the midrange?

One last note is that some people I know who visit this site prefer the previous Utopias (with Tioxid tweeter) over the new Be Utopias. Since you liked the 926s better than the 927s, you may also be in the boat. In this case, there are fantastic deals available and you may want to choose this route for the highest value.

But then again, are you unhappy with your SFs or do you just want a change? If the latter, in what ways?

Nicely put, I agree 100% with your comments. My time with my JMs was a love & hate relationship. I use a CARY SLI-80 with a NOS tube setup for an amplifier so definately not a slouch. The JMs would absolutely give you goose bumps on about 1/100th of my CD Collection.

However, I mainly listen to Rock & Roll (Social Distortion, Wilco, Radiohead, Paul Westerberg, etc) which is unfortunately never recorded perfectly. The Tioxid tweeter was just not friendly to say the least. I even went as far as to play with the crossover points to lay it back slightly.

This worked but was not enough. A good friend purchased these speakers from me and still has them. They sound great in his room and he is using a Creek 5350SE. They still get schrilly with a bad recording but it is a trade off. However they do deliver the goosebumps on stellar recordings..Such a trade off..

Personally, I am in this hobby for my LOVE of music. The Sonus let me enjoy everything I listen to with no boundries. Are they the ultimate in resolution? NO, but they recreate enjoyable music with reference quality.

Thanks for your input! I enjoyed your perspective..

Nice System BTW..

tedmcq, the grand piano is a world class speaker if you value flat response, tonal accuracy, and weight. in the entire sonus fabor line they are the best all-rounder, and nail all types of music better than lots of other so called hi end speakers costing much, much more. certain speakers are just 'right'. most audiophiles (i've been guilty of this many times)have a desire to experiment themselves right out of a great music system. the most respected audio engineers in the world hardly ever listen to music through a top-of-the-line anything. talk about listeners who can hear the difference. the cary's are excellent, but having a primo ss amp too, is a great way to experiment. i think you're there already though. cool system in my book
I am not unhappy with the SF at all, quite the contrary actually. I am probably not going to get rid of the SF's but I have the means and the go ahead from the wife to upgrade when I sell a few items that I have, so I might keep both. I also owe this discussion a retraction of an earlier comment. The electra 907be's are much more enjoyable than I origianlly thought. I had then being pushed by a Audio Research Dual 75a which was not the best choice for those. My SF's love the AR but the JM Labs sounded better connected directly to my Poineer Elite Reciever which is the flagship model but I have no other amp or pre amp until my Cary and First Sound Arrive, so they they are connected directly and sound good. I thought about just using these in my HT set up with Lexicon gear.

The reason I was thinking about the BAT sounding muddy is not because of their equipment but becasue I have the First Sound Tube Pre Amp, Cary Tube Amp, Looking at a tube tuner, and now the tube CD seems like I stand the chance of a muddy sound from so much tube gear.

I am not unhappy with my current speakers and do not really "NEED" anything new and could stand to save the money. On a personal not however I will say this about myself. I read your previous threads and saw the the joking about how buying equipment and tweaks is reducing your budget for "other things" and in my case that is actually true. My point is the time and money I spend is much better than the ways I once did it, so It is actually
kind of theraputic to me and a better use of my spare time. I guess I am one of those people who enjoys not being perfectly satisfied but always trying to get there.

I feel experimentation is really the only answer and so armed, I just make purchases on a whim to see what they are like and sell what I don't care for. If I wait for a good used deal, it's no different than having money in the savings account since I can resell with little or no cost to me.

Knowing the boundries of the possible "soundscape envelope" is the only clear way of determining what your musical tastes are. Of course, there comes a time when it becomes a moving target and I used to fret over that but now I just go with the flow and am much happier doing it. Speakers are physically tricky to just impulse-buy so I agree with you that seeking some outside advice can limit chances of winding up with a speaker that isn't your style but in the end, exploration will be the ultimate source of information and, as a distinct bonus, will yield a direction for your future upgrades. Good luck! Arthur
From your writing, you love the Cremonas and like the JM Lab. Buy the Cremonas. They look great, good resale and it is not as hard to set up, creamonas are slightly warm & slow but more coherent. They are not as resolving or neutral as the faster JM lab but JM lab can sound disjointed with the wrong amps.

I think both would be fantastic with Cary V12. Neither speakers can be biwired or biamped. Sonus grill produce severe artifacts and needs to be removed for critical listening. Not easy to install.

To me,this is a hobby. Buy what floats your boat.
Glai you hit the nail on the head although I am finding that I am getting close to the love stage with the JM Labs and it is kind of scary to think about the Divas.

Let me ask the question this way of everyone. I know there are different tastes and styles and I do not think that JM Labs and SF are sonic opposites, but they are not that similar either. If you had to pick one what would it be? Lets say this that they are on magical pre and amps that make both speakers perform to their maximum potential. In other words everything is equal. 2 answers one for tubes one for solid state.
ever sit next to a piano being played in a living room or a mall or in a club? listen carefully to both brands with a bill evans or other piano disc in tow. don't let the audition turn into a female vocal fest. most modern hi end loudspeaker designs nail this. you can't fake the tone and weight of a live piano with a mediocre design.
Jay excellent advise I had not thought of that and I will give it a try today.
I own the Alto Be's and have auditioned most of the Sonus Faber line as well as the Micro and Diva Be's and 907, 927, and 937 Be's. I'd take JM Labs any day of the week over the Sonus Faber speakers. I do think the Sonus Faber speakers are excellent with certain kinds of acoustic music. But the JMs are more excellent all around. I listen to a lot of electronic and electroacoustic music, which sounds really bad on Sonus Faber speakers. These do much better with classical, vocal, and jazz. But JM Lab Utopia Be speakers handle all of these genres equally well in my opinion. I also suspect that the JM Labs do better with tube amplification as well. Again though, it really depends on your musical preferences above everything else. I need the Be tweeters in order to process the extreme frequencies I listen to. A year ago, I heard the Divas with MBL amplification and was really blown away. I chose the Altos because I preferred the direct rather than reflecting bass. the Cremonas are beautifully designed speakers, but I think the Divas are better. YMMV
Washline, thanks in advance if you could say if the Alto's bass is controlled & if vocals are smooth (even ones that are not-so-perfectly recorded).
Quite the opposite point of view with Washline. I've heard all the JmLabs and Sonus Fabers and the SF brought music above all all the times. Actually I moved from jmlabs to Sonus Faber.
A classic de gustibus...... matter.
Just listen for yourself and discover what you want.
Hi Ted-

Are you restricted to only the JM Lab or the SF? Of course these are both respected speakers, but there are others out there that I feel are better "all around" dynamic speakers such as Von Schweikert, Dynaudio, and Wilson. (your opinion may differ, of course). System Synergy is extremely important with the Dyns and the Wilsons, less so with the VS. Have you ever heard a pair of well setup Wilson Sophias? Wilson has a reputation of being detailed but not "musical", but this is not the case at all with Wilson's current generation of speakers.
Goatwuss thanks for the input. I am not limited to those, but I guess you could say that I got the green light to put them in our living room which is also our listening room. My wife agrees to let me buy floor standing speakers as long as I meet her half way and go with something that looks good. I have kind of replaced the JM Labs with the Audes Orpheus another speaker that I have never heard, but comes highly reccommended by the person I choose to purchase from. I am not familiar with the Schweikert but my wife who also acutally likes audio and is involved in the decision loves a dynamic speaker and those might be some I need to look into. Does anyone have any input on the orpheus or the Dali line. The Dali Euphonia is stunning to look at but I heard lacks in base. The Helicon is also a good looking speaker, any thoughts on those lines?
I feel as though Dyns and VS are very lady friendly with fine wood veneers - Maybe the wilson if you have a more "modern" atmosphere
I have heard the Dali Euphonia and Helicon many times. And as far as I am concerned the Euphonia is overpriced for what you get sonically, the larger Helicon is a nice speaker and has decent bass response,plus the price isn't too bad. It is not in the same league with the Wilson Sophia as far as imaging and detail and depth, but then it is half the price of the Sophia. I think with the Audes Orpheus you get it all, a reasonable price and sound that is in the same league as the Wilson Sopia, stunning craftmanship, plus more finish choices than the Cremonas or the Dali's. I don't think you can go wrong with the Orphues, sonically or financially.