Check the thread Amplifier for Sonus Faber Extrema in the archives, that will give you a start.
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The Extremas need lots of power.
I wouldn't use a tube amp on them.
You need a powerful solid state amp or mono blocks.
My friend is using 2 Meridian 557 amps bridged on the Extremas.
The Amps bridged are like 800 watts.
We first heard this combo at the Stereophile show in 1996.
The system sounded unbelievable.
I heard these "amazing" speakers in a set up running 100 wpc tubes.Forgot the mfgr.,though!
My point is that these speakers amazed me with their huge stage presentation,and dynamics.Very fine timbres,which are critical,to me!
One very important point,though.The owner had added the wonderful Townshend Super Tweeters to these speakers.The difference was simply AMAZING.Much better air and detailing.To me,a MUST with these great designs,which take on a new dimension with the add on tweeters.BTW,this makes sense,as the stock tweeters roll off at about 17khz.
The Townnshends simply start just above that point,and the integration was superb,yielding some of the best highs I've experienced.
Just my two cents.
Sorry,I forgot to mention that the Extremas have the "LOOK" and build quality that screams out "If you ever sell me,you are nuts"!!They have a gorgeous look to them that states "Heirloom" quality.The build seems like it is absolutely exemplary,and it is stunningly beautiful to look at.In the "KEEPER FOR LIFE" class with,Quad 57's,Original Rogers LS35a's,Jadis Eurithmy's,Avalon Ascent mk-2s,and some(few)others.
I don't own these Sonus designs,btw,but can appreciate them nevertheless!
i am still puzzled to this day why sonus faber would discontinue the extrema- a virtual ton of positive reviews of their sound continues to proliferate the internet forums. my brother has a pair on sound anchor stands (which are an excellent match for wilson cubs or the extremas) and they are so solidly built and, when properly set up, compete with monitors or floorstanders equally well- they are certainly a unique cross between the two. he powers them with pass aleph 1.2's (200w/ch) which is more than adequate and again, are a product i wish nelson pass never discontinued either! maybe the XA-series are better (they certainly cost alot more), but go back and read the stereophile review of the aleph 1.2's- they are favorably compared to good tube amps. just put on some blue-note jazz on my brother's stereo and "you are there"...
I'm willing to bet one reason for the discontinuation was difficult load.Many Euro hobbyists like low powered tube stuff(great,btw)and that is a NO-NO with the Extremas!Did I say that these speakers are Gorgeous,and Unique looking???
There was a nice,used,pair available about two months ago.In mint condition.I was hoping my friend would pick them up,as he has a wonderful amp,for matching.The Rowland 8T.He passed.His loss!!
I don't want to dominate this thread,but,if anyone "really" wants to hear these wonderful speakers,they MUST have a good "add-on" super tweeter.Like the Townshends,or some of the other offerings on the market(MURATA?).It makes a significant impact on performance.Unless you only care about the looks -:)
The Townshend super tweeters(really SUPER,btw)hook up with it's own cable,to the speaker binding post,or amp posts.Really easy!The thing I like about these is that it sits "low" on top of the speaker,and is very close to the original(somewhat rolled off)tweeter.This allows a great blend.The Townshends are,also,"tiny" and do not take away from the overall gorgeous look of the Extremas.Some of the other super tweets are set higher in their enclosure,and may not blend as well as the fabulous Townshends.
I heard them once at a dealer and it was one of those unforgetable audio experiences. Playing Sonny Rollins Way Out West, they sounded spooky. A bit dark overall and less detailed compared to some more popular high-end speakers but man did they sing. A speaker that I have considered many times, but never purchased, mainly because it would require a change of amps.
If a pair ever pops up for sale in the US I'll have to consider them. The amplification issue makes it a tough choice. Plus, Sumiko's policy with respect to service is not a friendly one IMHO.
I'm certainly not married to low powered tube amps, but still the cooler sounding monster ss aren't really for me either. I've had many amps over the years, but have settled on a great pair of Aleph 2s.
Threads like this is why I appreciate being an Audiogon member.
Sirspeedy, I use my Townshends with Talon Hawks monitors (said to go to 40Khz flat) and they do indeed make a notable difference even here: set at 2 on their dial. I would suggest that you experiment with cables. I use the same cable as I use for my speakers and I think the synergy is increased. When I used the supplied copper cables there seemed to be a tonal imbalance with my silver core cabling. It seems more integrated now but I am still experimenting.