Sonus Faber speakers

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

Has anyone owned the Sonetto v and the Olympica iii and can offer their opinion on 
weather the latter is a worthwhile upgrade ? 
I have not owned these two models but I did have a back-to-back demo of the Sonetto Vs and Olympica Nova IIs in the same room, with the same gear.

Based on that demo, I felt the price of the Olympica IIs would be very difficult to justify, considering how similar the Sonetto Vs performed. However, a potential bottleneck was the Arcam integrated that was employed in that shoutout. The Arcam is an excellent integrated for its price but one has to question whether the gap between these speakers would have been greater under different circumstances. However, despite the “mid-fi” amplification, I still expected a larger gap in performance. The Sonetto Vs were at least 90% as good as the Olympicas in my demo, with the latter having greater scale and output capability. Had they been priced the same, it’d probably be a tossup depending on whether they’d have to serve double duty for both music and HT. 
I was afraid of that.... I really like the way my V’s sound. I do notice when I get up around the 85 decibel level the speakers seem to run out and just grab more power from the amps in return for not much of a volume increase. 

Arcam integrated that was employed in that shoutout. The Arcam is an excellent integrated for its price but one has to question whether the gap between these speakers would have been greater under different circumstances.
Agree, all the better SF speakers I’ve come across love good current from a smooth sounding SS amp down to 2ohms that don’t current limit at all.
Tubes that I’ve heard are hit and miss with SF’s, unless they have 2ohm speaker taps, then the reduced wattage could be a problem.

Cheers George
Maybe I should consider a different direction loudspeaker wise ? The Forte 4’s ? Similar footprint size wise higher efficiency more dynamic as my musical tastes are all over the place.

I own the Olympica iii. Never had the Sonetto’s however I LOVE my Olympicas. Very natural sound sounding speaker. I owned the liutos  before that and it was a night and day difference for me. The Olympicas do need some power to really bring out the speakers potential so just keep that in mind. 
I heard the Sonettos a few weeks ago. Matter of fact I listened to them first,  the Olympica Nova 3 and then Cremonese at 55k. I mean you have to listen to the big boys right lol. Anyway,  I looked at the salesman after listening to all 3 and said the Sonettas sound "anemic" in comparison to the O3 and Cremonese.  While they are nice at $5k, they are no where near as attractive performance wise to the Olympica Nova.  It was very obvious the Nova was in another league. 

You brought up a good point. The amplification was midfi and better quality would really bring out the differences between the models. 

I ended up purchasing the Olympica iii at a much cheaper price than the Nova 3 because there isn't THAT much difference.  Yes the Olympica 3 needs some current to sound their best but they sound wonderful with my Audio Research ref110.  George does bring up a good point. They dip down briefly to 2 ohms so good amplification is needed to bring out their best.  
Olympicas will scale with better equipment. I heard the Sonettos a few months ago. Not bad for HT or mix usage. But when the dealer played the Olympica Nova ii with higher end ARC amplification there was no contest. The Olympicas are more refined and much better at reproducing the sound of natural organs and instruments like piano, violin, horns, and guitars. I ended up buying the Olympica II but will most likely go up the line next year. 
By the way, the Olympicas love class A amplification. 

sheridan50 OP
Maybe I should consider a different direction loudspeaker wise ? The Forte 4’s ? Similar footprint size wise higher efficiency more dynamic as my musical tastes are all over the place.
Stick with the SF’s, better speaker all round Klipsch are too much of a "loud" speaker, SF far more musical.

Cheers George
The Sonetto's are a great speaker.  I had a McIntosh MC 302 driving them and they sounded very good.

I expect the Olympica IIIs to be good speakers but I'm not sure if there's going to be a significant improvement over the Sonettos. 

The Sonettos were introduced after the Olympica's were replaced with the 'nova'.  I would consider the Olympica Nova IIIs to be a significant upgrade.

Good luck in your pursuit of audio happiness!
Mrklas there isn't much difference between the Olympica and Olympica Nova sonically.  There is a good video on YouTube that compares both.  
@samzx12 are you sharing your experience of listening to them or sharing what you learned from you tube?

As I am simply sharing my experience in listening and an understanding of Sonus faber's updating the Olympica.

When taking a step back at Sonus's product line it seems as if they designed and introduced the Sonetto and revised the Olympica line to further build out the product offering. 
@mrklasYes I am sharing my experience listening to both models and in addition there is a video on YouTube that a dealer explains the difference in the Olympica 3 and Olympica Nova 3.  Very good video. 
@samzx12 I was curious on how much an impact of the construction methods and the 'upgraded' speakers would have on performance.

I ultimately upgraded from the Sonetto V to the Olympica Nova 5 when given a trade in opportunity that was too good to pass up.  And the sound difference is significance.
Good point mrklas about the construction. Looks like the top and the bottom of the cabinet are more rigid now so that could help with the speed or accuracy of the drivers. That is from my research and what I have seen 1st hand the main difference between the older and newer models.  The Nova series overall are quicker and have more "attack". 

Oh WOW I would love to have the Nova 5.  Congratulations with that purchase. What amp are you using?
@samzx12 Thanks...I have a McIntosh (amp/pre) MC 302 & C2600 .  I was lucky to pick them up last year as a demo unit.  

What are you using to drive your speakers?
Nice setup. Does the MC302 drive them well? Appears you have plenty of warmth. 

I did have an ARC Ref 110 but I sold it recently and picked up a Ref 150 however, I had to send it back due to a few issues with the amp. Now I am searching again. Shortlist is a Pass Labs solid state and possibly another ARC but I think the Olympica's need good solid state power to overcome the 80-120Hz range impedance dip. 
mrklas does the 302 drive your speakers adequately at higher db levels say above 90 db’s ? Or does it near the power guard threshold up there ? I’ve had my senettos on an 8900 and now a pair of 830’s and up around 90 db’s both amps are near protection mode.
The MC 302 has been a significant upgrade from my NAD C375BEE. I picked up the pre-amp and then improvement triggered the the amp and then the speaker upgrade.
Regarding listening at higher levels- I’m a former field artillery guy and I tend to listen to music loud. I haven’t gone to clipping but I have heard the Sonetto Vs start to loose clarity.
@samzx12 I heard ARC VT80 SE drive the Nova 2s and I was shocked on how good that combo was...honestly it seemed to have the same dynamics of any SS amp I’ve listened too.
@OP I try not to exceed 70% volume unless the average watts are below -20 on the amp meters.
Eventually I will upgrade to another amp in a couple of years. I am not hitting clipping and the sound is very satisfying to me.
The challenge is each manufacturer advertised watts doesn’t match (McIntosh vs Audio Reseach vs Moon vs Pass Labs vs Rogue vs Boulder vs Naim and so on). It an Audio Research stereo amp or McIntosh 901s may be my dream amps at this point.

mrklas thank you for your service for our freedom ! Yes 901’s would be a dream amp for me as well !

@samz12 and @mrklas  in the same boat now considering used Olympica IIIs vs Nova 2s only due to price. I listened to the Sonetto Vs and liked them but I'm sure the Olympicas will be better. Amp is a MA8900 any advice appreciated and thank you.

I have the MA8900 amp and the Olympica Nova Vs.  I just had them delivered 3 weeks ago, and speakers are still breaking in.  That said, the amp and speakers pair really well.

@andrew_r I've owned Sonetto Vs and Olympica Nova Vs.

Olymipca Novas versus Olympica's I haven't heard back to back.  I have heard the Olympica Nova 2s powered by ARC - I was blown away.  The detail they provide is a step above the Sonetto Vs.  I could live with them as my forever speaker with no regrets 

@overthemoon thanks for the feedback. I ended up with the Sonetto Vs I a/b tested them with Nova 2s back and forth but only due to cost, the Nova IIs were smoother, better base with one less cabinet all-around. It was clear it's the better speaker for sure.

I did not think they were double the cost better, however, I can see in the future an upgrade. It's a slippery slope as there's the Novas, then Serrafinos as well and with each jump you realize the quality. 

SF makes great speakers.

@andrew_r happy listening 

I agree- I’m on my 3rd set of Sonus fabers - Venere 3.0, Sonnetto V and now Olympica Nova V. I am believing/hoping I have my forever speakers and system. And I have enjoyed the journey along the way.

The Sonnettos are a great value in my eyes - I haven’t heard a speaker at that price I like better. When you get higher in pricing there’s more competition and I like the SF speakers and I enjoy DeVore’s, Wilson and others as well. 

enjoy the music 


@overthemoon great points, do not listen to the Serrafino or Amatis it's dangerous! Jokes aside the Novas are fantastic. Agree on Sonetto V value hits a sweet spot to start with the Novas being the upgrade later on.

Question, for those with McIntosh amplification and autoformers, are you using the 8ohm or 4ohm taps for the speakers? 

@whitefishpoint1175 those look really nice. What do you pair them with?

Thank you

@andrew_r I used the 4 ohm taps on my MC 302 for the the Sonetto Vs.

And I did ask McIntosh Labs for their suggestion and they also said use the 4 ohms for the speakers.

I'd love some input as Im looking to upgrade my speakers (don't ask - anything would be an upgrade) but Im hoping this thread is appropriate. I'm not a sophisticated audiophile but I find I like the SF sound (and look). I know I like the Sonetto ii speakers; Im also thinking about the Minima Amator ii. I dont have the opportunity to hear them side by side. Any thought as to significant differences - in short, is the MAii worth a bit more of a splurge? Thanks


Hmmm, night and day? - Here's where I show my ignorance - I dont see anything in specs that scream night and day. Any chance you could share why or in what way the MAs are superior? Thanks

Slightly off topic.  I am a happy owner of Nova IIs and drive them with a Pass Labs x150.5.  I have thinking of upgrading to a Pass xa30.8 or xa25, but wonder if the xa25 would struggle with its rated 50w at 4ohm? 

samzx12 It's an open living dining room, perhaps 50x50’ with tall ceilings, and connected with an adjacent space. It is hard not to be tempted by all the positive xa25 write-ups, but the it may run out of juice for this space.

@johngaltwho go and listen to both, it's hard to articulate the differences in words your ears need to tell you.. For example, I have Sonetto Vs and listened to Nova IIs back and forth, the Nova IIs were better, cleaner, better base so overall better without question. I did not find them double the price better so went with Sonetto Vs for now.

Listen to both back and forth I suspect the Amators will be better, cleaner and you will notice then it's up to budget because you can continue to hear better series of SF speakers and it will keep getting better but so does the cost. Also what amplifier are you using?


You're room is quite large so not sure the XA25 can handle that much space. Also depends on your listening levels.  

@bigtex22 that’s a great setup. What are you using for streaming/digital music? I have a bluesound node and looking into better options now. Cheers.

Older post, but maybe this helps someone. We listened to the Sonetto Vs and the Nova IIIs on about 3 occasions. The Vs powered by McIntosh 252s, and the IIIs with McIntosh MA 352. We did listen to the Nova IIs powered by monoblocks by another brand, can't recall. Made the IIs sound awful, like in a tub of water. We had them hook them up to the 352, and wow what a difference! Felt that that seller did not really know how to show off the Fabers. Too bad. 

We went with another shop that had more options in amps, and were generous with their time in helping us choose. We busted the budget big time and went for the SF Oly IIIs with the McIntosh MA 352. What is interesting is that we listened to those speakers with a few amps. The MA 352 is definitely a different beast than the previous and other Mc models. We are no audiophiles, just the usu run-of-the-mill music lover. We found many speakers to be just too fatiguing. But, the SF really need the right amp to show off their incredible sound. And if you do not get to hear that, to compare other choices, or even other amps with, you miss out. The dealers need to set up these guys right. 

The McIntosh 352 does these speakers serious justice. Clean, clear, detailed, but not subdued or drowned. Or however you call it. The SF chill feel comes through but wow, the deep resonance and detail, the full suite of sound is so beautiful. And zero listener fatigue, at least for us. 

Sadly, our speakers are somewhere, on their excruciatingly slow way here. 

The Sonettos, with the right amp (the 252 really did them well, which are an integrated, combo tube/ss), are wonderful for that class. We tried so many speakers. But this combo was the final choice. 

Our advice is get to a high-end shop that will let you hear the speakers with a range of amps. Don't go heavy on tubes with these, they get bogged down. If going to the Novas and up, they need power to sound right. If they refuse to let you listen to anything but one amp, leave. Be sure to bring your own music that has a wide range, not just their play lists. 

Anyhoo.....someday we will be owners of these fine speakers....when they actually get here. LOL

@mogelsvs I run Olympica 2 with Pass INT-25. It have plenty of power and never run out of steam. Pass Labs - Sonus Faber is the best combination I've ever heard. I've previously owned McIntosh and ARC

@celestial__sound  Thanks for the note and insight.  I had more or less written off the xa25, but may have to give it a try.  

Cheers, Soren