Sonus Faber surprise


After years with my current speakers (gallo nucleus reference 3) I decided to try something different. Didn't really have a chance to audition a bunch of speakers nor the budget to go crazy. I've always thought that Sonus Faber sounded like something I would like so I found an old but maybe never used pair of Concerto homes. They came with the proper stands for these speakers. So I get them all set up and was really surprised to find they are substantially brighter and more energetic than my old gallos. They make a surprising amount of bass for there size but mids and highs are much brighter than I was expecting. They are not irritating in any way but not what I was expecting.  I'm still working on placement but I'm not sure what to think. Does this sound familiar to you other SF users? Any suggestions on something I can try?

emiliop

Congratulations on the find. Older Sonus are frequently characterized as warm. I have had three sets of Sonus beginning with Cremona. If fed a neutral signal they will sound very natural and organic. I don’t know what Gallo sound like.

 

If in fact they have not been used they will take a good hundred hours to break in. Typically they start a bit trebly and the bass is woolly or just a bit lean. As the speakers break in this will change. Of course, as you said you have not gotten them placed perfectly. Of course their sound depends on the signal you feed them.

Over the fifty years I have spent building and upgrading my stereo system I have undergone some major revisions of what i think a great system should sound like and the result has drawn me to Sonus Faber. The natural and musicality of the speakers old and new is really quit amazing.

I am driving them with an Icon Stereo 40 MK4. Funny thing is they're already sounding better. Don't know if my ears are getting use to them or my placement is getting better but I'm getting happier with purchase. It is possible that they have never been played, they certainly look like it. 

if not played in awhile you need to reform the caps. I find SF to always be musical, a bit warm but also revealing to source. i don't have a Gallo refere, so can't help there. Enjoy !

jim

Will the caps reform just from playing them?

SF's are wonderful sounding speakers. As tomic601 said they are a bit warm sounding but all in all, a sweet listen. Get some more hours on them and work with placement. They should come around.

Old tshirt,..cut 1.5 inch squares, gorilla tape, on grill fabric, right in front of tweeter,........   if still molar grinding, add another square of tshirt.

 

   It works so good, I should charge for this info!!

 

  Had a pair of the BIC Venturi dv84,  the highs were almost searing like the old 1991 corner horns.  Took me 2 1.5 inch cotton squares, and I was in heaven, the soundstage, was amazing! Depth, of vocals, was also perfect!

 

 Small things will really help.  
I could have used a single cotton shirt square, but as we all know....it's the tweeter, and the highs, which give the soundstage, open airy, imaging, goosebump stuff!!

 

   I now use a speaker which is crossed at 600hz, or kHz,.....whatever, the highs are subdued by the crossover, and I can listen for hours, days, pass out, sleep to music playing through my stereo. NO Sss Symbalysm, no harsh cymbals, etc etc

 

 

    Tweak and enjoy. 
 

sonus Faber are a top 5 speaker co pant! Regardless of price. 
 

 Years ago, with my lil person, visited a shop, played a pair of sonus, with MAC, amplification, and a music something CD player,......was such a soft relaxing sound, my lil one was sawing logs after 6 min, I was counting sheep after 10 min myself. 
 

 If I was a Richie Ritch, yup, I would have drove it all home, ex pet the CD player. 
 

 BUT, I'm so happy with my....

 

 

 

shi*.    Enjoy. Too much yapping n

 

 

cheers!

Have some fun with it and learn something in the process by conducting my Imbalanced System Test. Only run 1 speaker for 100 hours as though breaking it in again. Then, play them both. Suppposedly because the one is not broken in the sound should be off, skewed, unlistenable due to artifacts that differ between them. The center image should become shifted, the tonal balance not even, etc. It should be immediately obvious that something is wrong, not a "I thnk I hear something that is different," situation. If break in is a significant phenomenon there should be differences in tonality, dynamics, resolution, etc. - you know, the typical "huge" or "big" change that people claim happens.

Supposedly cables need to be broken in, too. So, you will be testing both purported break in of speakers and cables at the same time! Bonus, double test! 

What you will find, imo, is that there will be no skewing, no divergence between the performance of the two speakers. Switch the speakers from R to L. Are major issues, problems moving across the sourndstage with the movement of the speakers? Is it like throwing a blanket over one speaker, or does it sound like before? I suspect you won't hear performance variances between them. Then you will have learned firsthand that the entire break in misnomer is a waste of time and that you should just play your gear. You will also learn how arrogant people are to think their hearing is more consistent than electronics. i.e. thinking that the sound changes over time and they can hear it. 

You will have poroven to yourself how much nonsense there is in the audiophile community. I will not have cost you anything but a bit of time and effort.  :) 

brighter than I was expecting. They are not irritating in any way but not what I was expecting. I'm still working on placement but I'm not sure what to think. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here is something Ive learned , ~~~experienced~~~ which has never ever been posted here on Audiogon past 20 yrs.. One speaker will ALWAYS expose weakness in another speaker. OK SF's exposed the Gallo's. Now when you hear another speaker superior to the SF's, then you will understand what it is about the SF's that grate on your nerves. I've found my ultimate,,but do want o hear Cube Neuphar,, as reference to what I have. Hope that helps.
Older Sonus are frequently characterized as warm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Oh how I hate warm speakers,, MY DavidLouis are just on the edge of being warm,, Thank goodness they did not cross that line to muddyiness. = warm

The Sonus Faber Grand Piano Concerto used to be my "high end" speakers back in the day. It must have been more than 25 years since I listened to these. They Grand Piano Concerto is the floorstander version of the Sonus Faber Concerto. The HOME series are the newer version of the original/standard Concerto and Concertino. 

 

It’s useful to note that the Concerto Home does not sound warm. The Grand Piano Concerto did sound warm to my ears. They need a Krell KAV-300i to bring the treble from rolled off to sounding acceptable.

An inexpensive SPL meter and a Test CD or Test LP with Individual Freqency Bands will reveal the answer.

It is possible you are hearing the ’lack of compression’ rather than too bright. Or, they are too bright.

The meter is a great tool to try adjusting speaker location and toe-in.

 

 

...............................................

I just had a related experience:

I had just used a new sound meter and GRP/Carver Test CD with 29 specific frequency bands to adjust my mid horn and tweeter horn’s individual L-Pads (simply more or less attenuation of mid to woofer and then tweet to mid, some minor interaction).

3 days ago, a friend/neighbor/music producer came over for some good beer and music.

I had kept my tweeter’s l-pads too low, he heard that readily, I adjusted them, speck by speck, he listened, then the slight compression he heard was gone, he pronounced the sound, imaging, depth excellent, and suspected when I checked the next day with the sound meter that I would find we raised the tweeters 2db.

sure enough, I simply perfected the Left tweeter’s L pad a speck to match the right one with specific frequency bands from the GRP/Carver Test CD.

Listening a great deal the next day, I realized my mistake, and it’s more than subtle effect.

While the meter was showing the level of the 16k band which I surprisingly heard, I thought, if I, 73 year old ears, can hear 16k, then it must be too high for Donna and younger ears. So, I lowered the L-Pad to reduce the tweeters (by about 2db is turned out).

What I didn’t think about, didn’t realize: the SPL I was hearing did not correlate to the SPL of the Meter. I heard 16k surprisingly well, but I think it is fair to say not as well as the meter.

Thinking/Listening the next day, duh, I wasn’t just erroneously avoiding ’too much tweeter’, I was causing some compression, because it reduced both the volume and time decay of the overtones of the upper mids.

The Eurythmics, Andreas Vollenwider, Blue Nile are full of splendid highs and the overtones of lower notes I had cut off.

What a gift to have my friends ears.

An inexpensive SPL meter and test CD with specific frequency bands turns out to be a great tool in the right hands/ears. They have tripod mounts, set at ear level listening position, go band by band, make notes, see what you are getting, even if you don’t have the ability to adjust levels, you will know ’too bright’, oh, not too bright, the others were too dull and I didn’t know it. Also a good tool to help refine speaker location and toe-in

Meter does not have to be perfectly calibrated, just good enough to indicate any band’s SPL relative to the adjacent bands

.................................

$19. delivered

 

This CD has content, phase, pink noise, sweeps, and most helpful for info: 29 specific frequency bands 25 hz to 20k, each 1 minute long, longer than needed, but not annoyingly short.

 

I am not as knowledgeable as most of you about audio and acoustics. I honestly believe that what I was hearing was the difference between what I had become use to and a new more airy and transparent sound. These SF speakers just keep sounding better and better to me and really think I am just getting acquainted with their sound. I am so happy I picked these up now. 

Your ears are the truth.

emiliop, yes, of course you are getting adjsted to their sound. Speakers do not appreciably change their sound with use. We adapt to their performance. As you get used ot their sound the acoustic memory of the other will fade and you will increasingly appreciate the newfound resolution. The situation is typical, and everyday thing. 

I hope you're even more happy the longer you own them and with the right amplification they should be a lot of fun. I've also found SF overall to be less fatiguing and more musical, (sometimes at the minor expense in other areas).

I could easily see myself owning one of their models if wasn't happy with my older used Raidhos. I do enjoy the clarity and finesse of the D2s a lot.  Have fun!

I would add, on a separate topic, that I purchased brand new Scansonic MB2.5 floorstanding speakers (which forced the used Raidho purchase later).

I disagree 100% with the fact that break-in of a loudspeaker is a myth. The small MB2.5 woofers needed the mechanical break-in, and over hundreds of hours they lost their orginal leanness, sounding much better. But if it's not hearable to others; that's fine too.

Totally NOT a myth. Material science. 

Found out something interesting tonight. My tube integrated amp has a switch on the back. According to the manual it is a gain switch but works by varying the feedback. The high gain is high feedback, the low gain position is moderate feedback. It also has a central position that the manual says is intended for engineers but can be used to listen to music. This position is 0 feedback but strangely enough is the highest gain. I was listening to SF Concertos in high gain and triode mode. When I tried low gain the speakers suddenly sound like I expected SF to sound. In the central position sounds like I poured syrup all over my speakers. I am still experimenting with high and low to decide what works best for me. 

So, it wasn’t the speakers? Imagine that! ;)

Emiliop, congratulations on your discovery. Yes, you are learning that within reason, i.e. operation limits, every variable is to be tried. Gain switches can be very effective in contouring the sound. I presume that if you have triode mode, you also have an alterntive mode. Also try Ultralinear vs. Triode modes. Be sure you check the Owner’s Manual for any possible combo that is not recommended, i.e. certain speakers that are less efficient in combination with settings of the amp.

I’m sure you are having fun now! It’s terrific fun to explore the different setups and to hear the outcome! Remember what I said, the performance spectrum is enormous! You still are playing in a very small slice of it. Actually, any of the types of condifgurations done with one set of gear is de facto playing in a very small portion of the performance spectrum. There are dozens upon dozens of steps in sound quality improvement available to the audiophile.

Oh, BTW, get in the habit of reading Owner’s Manuals before you use products.

Oh I did read the manual. I had determined that high gain in triode mode sounded the best to me with my old speakers so that is we're I started with the Concertos. Actually turns out that I must have been having a mini stroke or something when heard that stuff. After more experimenting and carefully listening I still think high gain in triode mode sounds the best to me. The Concertos sound better with ever hour I listen to them. 

@emilop

 

Wow, that is interesting. Sounds like something I would do. cool looking amp.
 

Congradulation, enjoy the speakers!

Warm, cold, neutral?  Compared to what?  And in what circumstances? Your ears? Your room? Your reality?  Music is music  Sonus Faber speakers are special.  And they serve the music.

You're used to the sound of the previous speakers.   You'll enjoy your new ones better after a few weeks.

I must say, I do like the house sound of Sonus Faber.
Congrats on your find. Happy Thanksgiving Americans.

Its amazing a lot of my friends that have been with this Hobby for quite some time have ended up with Sonus Fabers.

I was all set to buy one of their competitors 3 way speaker system. High Dollars!

I am reluctant to mention the brand because they are an excellent company and build quality products. This is only my opinion. The Olympica Nova III just blew me away. Warm not bright and very musical.

You will love the speakers. Krell , Pass Labs and Gryphon work very well with them.

I had a pair of Extremas many years ago and I should have never gotten rid of them. I still miss them...

On speaker break-in:

I didn’t think much of it as I’ve never really heard my new speakers change much at all. My Salk Songtowers sounded pretty much the same. I thought the sound may have changed (eased/opened up) but it did not really take up too much of my time thinking about it.

 

Recently, I bought Tannoy Turnberrys. I set them up but noticed I had not received the grills. Maybe there was 3rd box I didn’t receive? Anyway Upscale Audio offered to replace them. I listened to them and they sounded a little shouty but pretty damn good. Over the 50 hours, they seemed to sound more open and less congested. Maybe these speakers actually need break-in?

The old speakers were replaced and it turned out I had received an open box set as the new speakers came with grills and the accessories were in sealed plastic bags.

Well the new Tannoys sounded like crap. Really congested. Not even shouty. Just terrible. It was not anything subtle. 10 hours later, I got shoutiness too. Got that for another 15 hours. 30 hour mark and things started to sound exactly like the open box speakers. 12 more hours and things had smoothes out and bass was effortless.

Now I think speakers with butyl rubber surrounds will probably sound pretty close to the way they started but anything with hard surrounds or the double-rolled and doped cloth surrounds like these Tannoys will need some mechanical break-in.

I do believe people who need to ’measure’ everything in life before they believe anything should measure a hard surround speaker before they they seem so sure it is a myth.

 

 

 

Please think about adding a sub

My Sonus Farbers Lutios  where my first speakers that I spent over $1,300 to buy and they were used. Beautiful looking and sounding...I use them up in my balcony. 

The discovery of the gain/ feedback switch on the amp would peak my curiousity. I would be compelled to tried hooking the Gallo’s back up and playing with the gain switch… but that’s just me. If your so inclined please share.

congrats on you purchase

FWIW,

I found with Maggies that initially they were bright (they even come with resistors to damp the HF.  I did not like the effect of the resistors.  What I found was that I was hearing noise and distortion from AC, cables, and gear.  My Maggies are still very revealing but the Maggie glare is gone.  One easy trick is to remove all SMPS's from the AC line your gear is on and seperate the analog and digital lines; dedicated lines if possible.  It cost me less than $500 to add 3 dedicated lines from my panel.  A good power conditioner like the Denali or Nigara is also a good start.

I don’t know if the speakers are breaking in or if my ears are but I enjoy the speakers more every day. Musical but lively and they go deeper than they have a right to. After buying and then selling an SVS sub (which is a long story) I just brought home a Rel Britannia b3 sub. Love it and the combo is great.