I own a pair of Cremonas. Among the speakers I compared them against were B&W (too bright) and Vienna Acoustics (too dark). The SF was just right.
25 responses Add your response
Yesterday, I spent the afternoon helping a friend set up the Grand Pianos. They were well broken in but needed proper placement. I was surprized at how well they disappeared in forming the image, the coherence between the drivers, and the very pleasant and musical presentation. I found them very easy to listen with great tonal accuracy. In my opinion, they are similar to the Vandersteen 3 Sigs (which would still be my first choice). That is unusual given they have very different technologies. The Grand Pianos might be preferred in a smaller room or in a home theater where the smaller size would fit in better. All in all, they are far better to my liking than many others.
I owned the original Electa Amators and also the Guarneri Homage. I found both speakers to have wonderful tone. I would never describe them as dark, but warm is somewhat descriptive. The Guarneri were very refined. The EA's were extremely well extended for a speaker of that size. If you like music and real instruments, you will most likely enjoy SF's.
I own the original Sonus Faber Grand Piano Speakers. I was using the BOW Wazoo 50wpc integrated amplifier but decided these speakers required much more power so I switched to the McIntosh Integrated MA6900 200 wpc. My Grand Piano Speakers sound terrific and all my friends agree. They are very warm sounding speakers that include the right musical details and dynamics. They have great liquidity and smoothness over the full range of music. All of the above comments are on target so I suggest you listen to a pair in your room (if possible) with your amplifier and make your own decision. If you listen at a Retailer, please use the amp you expect to use to ensure all is okay sound wise. cheers....
Yes. the aded amp power makes that much difference in my system. I bought the McIntosh MCD205 CD player and the McIntosh MA6900 Integrated amplifier. The overall sound quality is excellent with my Sonus Faber Grand Piano speakers. The extra power plus the tube like quality of the MA6900 make these speakers really stand out. I was very suprised at how good it sounds and so were my friends. I suggest you borrow another amp with more power and test it out. cheers..
I have a pair of Cremonas and find them to be very well balanced. I will join the chorus and say a touch warm but not dark. Very detailed but not "ruthlessly revealing". The highs are excellent as well, and though I would not call them particularly sweet, they are not at all etched or mechanical. The midrange is just glorious. IMHO, they are fantastic speakers for fans of tube gear. I am driving them with a c-j Premier 140 and this seems to be more than enough power.
I hane my GPs hooked up to an antique Nak CA7A for preamp and a Nak PA5ii for power amp (150wpc). They are the best speakers I have owned bar none (including my Klpschhorns, Mordaunt-Shorts, Martin Logans and Magneplanars). Thay are so cheap for what you get, its like buying a Ferrari for Toyota pricing. You simply cannot go wrong with SF GPs or Cremonas.
To throw a different opinion in the mix -
I am not a fan of the Sonus Faber sound. I have had extensive auditions with: GPH, original GP, Concertos, Concertinos, Cremonas, Cremona auditors. All different electronics, tubes and ss. Though there are certainly qualitative difference between these models, they all share a similar house sound.
That house sound is VERY warm, and exhibits this characteristic that I will call the "Sonus Faber Glow". This glow makes acoustic instruments and some well recorded voices sound holographic, textured, and eerily "in the room". I will admit in some contexts it is an entertaining characteristic. However, I have found that on less well recorded music, electronic music, rock music with drive, large orchestral music - the soundstage collapses, and the glow kills the tonal balance of the music.
So - I would say that before purchasing a sonus faber product, an audition is necessarily to determine what your opinin of the "glow" is. It certainly makes Diana Krall and other "audiophile test discs" sound great, but Radiohead on SF speakers will sound completely unengaging, and essentially broken.
I personally prefer a much more dynamic and "clean" sound, without the addition of the thick Sonus Faber colorations. Wilson speakers do this for me (the Sophia at ~11k is amazing) as well as the Dynaudio Contour series of speakers.
A difference of opinion is always a good thing as it adds a different direction of thought and insight. However, I HAVE to disagree with your assessment as the colorations you describe actually make less worthy recordings much more enjoyable in most cases. (My opinion based on my system and audio buddies who will agree)I have now owned three different pairs of Sonus Faber Speakers.
I listen to mainly rock (Radiohead, Social Distortion, Paul Westerberg, Ryan Adams, Wilco, ETC) and my system absolutely recreates their music correctly. My buddy who owns JM labs and a Solid State Amp (God Please Forgive Him) has the exact problem you describe. Great recordings sound amazing but his system is really unforgiving on anything recorded less than perfect. (My old speakers BTW)
I think maybe your experience might just be based on what was being played through the Sonus. I am not debating they do have a "House" Sound which is on the warm side of things. However, they do less than perfect recordings better than anything I have ever owned. I have owned a ton of speakers in this crazed hobby. (I ran a high end store as well for years out of college)
Anyway, not trying to start a war here but I have to disagree with your assessment 100%. The Sonus Faber speakers do have faults as all speakers do, but what you described is certainly not one of them.
I would say that they might be tad too warm for listener that wants mechanical levels of detail, air, and the ultimate in ruthless accuracy. I have owned speakers like this and in my opinion, they have no soul and do not recreate music.
Listening to Radiohead now and totally engaged... It could not be more right.
SONY SCD XA777Es
Sonus Faber Piano Homes
Audience Au24 Interconnects & Speaker Wire
Audience PowerChord on CD Player and AMP
I owned the Electa Amator II's for over three years and just sold them. I miss them already.
If you are looking for the last bit of detail, take a pass on Sonus Faber (with the exception of the Homage line). Value for money though, this is an extremely musical speaker. The driver integration creates robust soundstages. You need to spread SF speakers at least 7 feet apart to really appreciate this. Play with the toe-in enough to where you barely see the inside of the cabinets.
I've heard just about every SF except the earliest (Snail) and the latest (Stradivarius), and the best sounding ones were always set up in the way that I described above.
From that point you should hear the slight warmness in the midrange (even with the tweeters firing right at you), but it is really enticing and, most importantly, with that silk dome tweeter, listener fatigue will be a thing of the past.
A little late for this posting but I read with interest of this topic.
To each his own. I own the Grand Pianos and would agree with Goatwuss on the Sonus Faber glow sound. They sounded generally on the warm side and was a real pleasure to listen to with well-recorded vocals or music from Fourplay or Acoustic Alchemy. However, I just couldn't find them engaging in pop and rock material, and in this area they falter miserably despite my various attempts to get them working. Where they failed, the B&W thrived. I still have my old trusty B&W CDM1SE's throughout these years and never got to sell them as they really sing with whatever type of music you throw at them. I now have the N805 and have to contend with 3 pairs of speakers with different strengths and weaknesses.
The Kid, my apologies that my findings contradict yours. I'm envious that you are enjoying Radiohead with your system. Enjoy your music.