Today I’ve got to have a good old slice of humble pie as I write my little blog. Evidently the air had gotten quite thin, up on my high horse, and I hadn’t been thinking clearly and had ruled out stocking an entire series of speakers (well, two) from a brand that we love without so much as hearing them. My reluctance was based upon past experience of the brand’s forays into more affordable loudspeakers but I was wrong, so very wrong to disregard them.
That brand of course is Sonus Faber and the ranges in question are the new Lumina and Sonetto series of loudspeakers. On Friday, a rather large Range Rover arrived at the shop and from within it emerged a rather familiar face. That face belonged to none other than Matt Peddle, formally of Chord Co, now of Fine Sounds – Sonus Faber’s UK distributor. Matt’s charm (and persistence) had allowed him the opportunity to change my mind, an unenviable task given quite how much of a pig-headed-smart-alek I can be, and with a beaming grin he unloaded box after box into the shop.
There was a time where an entry level Sonus Faber loudspeaker was made in Italy and clad in leather – and then there was a time when they were not. Now, I have discovered, is a time where entry level Sonus Faber loudspeakers ARE made in Italy AND clad in leather once again and I’m pretty excited about that.
Ripping open the Lumina boxes, I must say that I was stunned by the little Lumina 1. Weighing in at £799 for a pair, this compact, two-way design immediately put a smile on my face with it’s lush yet expressive presentation. They’re surprisingly weighty too and did I mentioned they were made in Italy and clad in leather? They seem like a modernised version of the Sonus Faber classic “Toy” design and I love’em. I always find that small standmounts offer a vigour and energy that makes music flit and dance and these are no exception with their liveliness and zeal. They certainly make the competition look a bit plain and sound more than a little dull in comparison.
For a larger room, there is the £1,999 Lumina 3
This is a true 3 way design sporting a pair of 5″ woofers in addition to a dedicated midrange and tweeter. It’s a reflex design, hiding a clever downward firing port in it’s plinth to massively reduce the speaker’s fussiness when it comes to proximity to rear walls. The new plywood baffle seems very rigid and gives the speaker real speed and control when it comes to timing. It’s a classic Sonus Faber sound and feels very reminiscent of the Grand Piano models of yesteryear – only with an added sprinkle of sparkle and energy, making for a fun and exciting listen. Did I mention they’re wrapped in leather and made in Italy?
Next up on my whistle stop tour is the Sonetto 1 standmount.
These are not a new model, having been released a couple of years ago, and I have more than a little egg on my face as I discover that they’re an immediately captivating design that even managed to entice Jon upstairs to have a listen. Jon, a Sonus Faber dealer since 1988, was immediately smitten by the familiar lush characteristic of the brand that adds that little bit of glimmer and glean to whatever you’re listen to. The response isn’t ruler flat, but it’s not meant to be – they’re intended to embellish and enrich instruments and voices alike and can turn a dreary, soporific melody into a rich and gratifying experience. At £1449 for a pair these become a must-listen against my revered ATC SCM11, offering a totally different portrayal of the music that is more maestro than monitor!
Finally, I opened the final pair of boxes revealing the £3,298 Sonetto 3 floorstanders. The Sonetto 3 is a compactly proportioned floorstander with an elegantly tapered cabinet exuding classic Sonus Faber. The presentation through the midband is melliflous, the bottom end integrated and cohesive and that new, damped tweeter offers up layer after layer of information without sounding either artificial or fatiguing. It is therefore with some ambivalence that I sit in front of these incredible, leather-clad, Italian-made loudspeakers. On one hand, I am staggered at the prowess and capability of the speakers before me; on the other I am amazed and frustrated at my my stubbornness and refusal to listen to them sooner.
There was a time when entry level Sonus Fabers were made in Italy, clad in leather and shared an intoxicating, musical sound with the other designs in Sonus Faber’s portfolio. Amazingly that time is now. Well done Matt, your persistence has well and truly paid off and we’ll definitely be adding these to our range! In the meantime, I’m not sure I want to give you back the Sonetto 1!
Finally, with Easter upon us, we’ll be closed on the Bank Holidays so until the 12th, stay sane and we look forwards to seeing you soon!