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Sonus Faber's new flagship: How didn't this project get canned before it was too late??

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Like every year, I paid a short visit to the High-End Audio Show in Tokyo.

 

Pretty much every year, I end up coming back home with more confidence than I am not missing much and saving a lot of money by investing in headphone audio. Well, there's usually only one brand that keeps me dreaming year after year though: Sonus Faber.

 

For those who've had the opportunity to look at the speakers up close, the finish is simply surreal, and all the other brands of speakers look just fugly or bland in comparison. About the house sound: again here, I feel they're one of the very very few companies out there who seem to be listening to music to tune their speakers rather than shooting for technical excellence and / or impressive albeit unrealistic / fatiguing sound.

 

Well, this year was a shock... The new flagship of the company is out. In Tokyo today, it was named the "The Sonus Faber" (official name seems to be Fenice though).  What an original speaker name, not the least bit pretentious. Bad start. Then the look. Oh my.... ohhhhh ... What happened?? I feel like I am looking at a truck or something. This massive agressive block, this can't be true:

SonusFaber-Fenice-Front-Back-800x600-2010.jpg

 

Actually, they don't look as bad in these picture, you have to see for real. Unfortunately, I didn't take my camera today. For comparison, the previous flagship (Stradivari Homage): 

 

105stradpic1.jpg

 

Last the sound: of course, we can blame the poor acoustics of the room, but somehow they always managed to make the previous models sound reasonably good in this same room in the previous years so it can't explain all. Well, frankly, I was not impressed with the sound. It wasn't agressive, but very lifeless, muffled. It sound clean, but dead, overly damped, well lifeless is the best term I think. With the additional rear radiating speaker, you'd expect maybe some kind of effect on the image, but nothing positive I could discern. Depth was not there and instrument placement not that precise. I guess even if they sounded alright, the look would make me believe otherwise anyhow.

 

The good news: apparently, these speakers are a very small production already called for. Hopefully, the reason is that somebody inside the company realized how much a disservice it would be to make this the statement on the price list for years to come!

 

My concern is for what's to come next from Sonus Faber... From reading this ( http://community.whathifi.com/blogs/shows_and_launches/archive/2010/06/28/sonus-faber-fenice-the-phoenix-rises-in-venice.aspx ), Sonus Faber has felt the heat pretty bad with the recession of the past few years and there's new leadership in place who's trying to rock the boat. From what I saw today, I call it a sabotage, but hopefully I get proven wrong in the future!

 

End of the rumbling, back to your favorite headphone stories...

 

arnaud

post #2 of 20
Thread Starter 

From doing a bit more reading, it looks like the company was bought over and the original designer / founder (Franco Serblin) has fled and created his own company ( http://www.francoserblin.it/inglese.html ). I can't imagine he could be behind the design of the new speaker, this just does not click.

post #3 of 20

Yep, the Fenice do look hideous in the pictures. I guess it was only a matter of time that things would go down hill at Sonus Faber once Franco had left.

 

This from the company that produced IMO the most beautiful speakers in the world - Guarneri. You have to see them and touch them in real life to understand why. Since it was first introduced, there's been load of imitators of the lute shape, but nothing to match them.

 

Years ago, I bought Sonus Faber's first ever (I think) model Electa. A revelation at the time compared the "ordinary" speakers I had own up to that point. Truly what high end was all about and redefined to me what "pride of ownership" meant. Not so convinced on the styling of the more recent models, but they haven't lost the knack of getting a big sound out of a small box.

 

     


Edited by TheAttorney - 11/7/10 at 12:34am
post #4 of 20

 

 

I actually like them,they come across as mean and powerful,sculptured to stand out.As long as you have a minimalist modern setting for them they are perfect.

 

All those who like patterned lounges and frilly curtains need not apply.

post #5 of 20

Their look makes me sick, but all 30 of them been sold already and thats for some silly EUR 140.000 a pair, hoping the new owners will enjoy them, if they get enough time listen to them instead of portable BOSE through their VERTU's.

 

The only SF I ever tried were Auditor M and yes, their look and finish are what you call an masterpiece, let alone the sound, which simply is wounderfull

 

I would love to have a listen session with these http://www.francoserblin.it/ktema/history.php

post #6 of 20

Sonus Faber speakers are (or were?) almost always gorgeous, but there other several other lesser known Italian companies also making very beautiful and luxurious designs like Chario. The ones I've heard have also sounded great...but not enough to make me really lust after them. If I had to choose one speaker to listen to for the rest of my life, it would be a Rockport.

post #7 of 20


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ford2 View Post
I actually like them,they come across as mean and powerful,sculptured to stand out.As long as you have a minimalist modern setting for them they are perfect.

You try selling that to a house-proud wife . I'll be right behind you - about a mile away.

But yes, they probably will make an appropriately powerful statement for a certain kind of modern bachelor pad.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

Sonus Faber speakers are (or were?) almost always gorgeous, but there other several other lesser known Italian companies also making very beautiful and luxurious designs like Chario.

The trouble with Chario for me is that they look so much like Sonus Fabers that I'm surprised they aren't being sued. Having said that, I haven't checked who came first...
 

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ford2 View Post

I actually like them,they come across as mean and powerful,sculptured to stand out.As long as you have a minimalist modern setting for them they are perfect.

 

All those who like patterned lounges and frilly curtains need not apply.


Yeah, I think it's because you haven't seen them from up close. You have to visualize how truly big these things are. I actually don't mind the look of JM Lab's biggest Utopia and similar bulky speakers. But somehow, seen up close, these SF are just vulgar looking. It's hard to point out what's really wrong, but for example the top surface with the ondulations reminds me more of a home appliance than a speaker.  

 

Another crazy thing is that the feet are ridiculously soft, to the point that a push on the speaker makes it slowly shake for several seconds, kind of like the suspension of a train. With the weight, the inertia is so high that it's probably no problem for the transients, but my understanding is that one usually strives for mechanical isolation from the floor while maintaining a very rigid support to the drivers motion.

 

But, well, to each his own, too bad for you they sold out already wink.gif.

post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

 


 

 

But, well, to each his own, too bad for you they sold out already wink.gif.

 

 

What a shame,was thinking of seven for a home theatre setup.

post #10 of 20

Wow, I have been away from speakers for a while now, when and who took over Sonus Faber? I wonder what Ken Kessler's reviews will be like now the owner has left!

post #11 of 20

those new ones look terrible. i have had the guarneri mementos  for some time. if you stare at them while they are playing it is a sublime experience. looks aren't everything but luckily they have the sq covered too. which is intresting because they don't use the best tweeter and woofer. i have a little rel and it integrates seamlessly. i recently saw the inside of a pair. does not look like good work but i don't ever see the inside of mine so i don't care. someone once asked a long time ago what to polish them with. butchers bowling alley wax for all your fine wood. butchers is a brand not what a butcher uses lol.

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_man View Post

those new ones look terrible. i have had the guarneri mementos  for some time. if you stare at them while they are playing it is a sublime experience. looks aren't everything but luckily they have the sq covered too. which is intresting because they don't use the best tweeter and woofer. i have a little rel and it integrates seamlessly. i recently saw the inside of a pair. does not look like good work but i don't ever see the inside of mine so i don't care. someone once asked a long time ago what to polish them with. butchers bowling alley wax for all your fine wood. butchers is a brand not what a butcher uses lol.

 

Guarneri Memento... What a beautiful speaker!! 

 

sonusfaber.jpg
 

 

Did you post pictures of your setup somewhere here? I wanna see! I am so surprised by your comment on the inside not looking so good. Not something I expected after seeing this ( http://www.hifi-notes.com/sonusfaberamatifabrikage-nl.htm ) or this ( http://www.hifi-notes.com/sonusfaberstradivari1-en.htm )!

post #13 of 20

those insides look perfect. i saw some pic's of them somewhere i do not remember. someone took them apart(!) i don't know what the heck those pictures were because i did not expect what i saw at all. well, i can assure you i am not taking mine apart to have a peek lol.

 

i never take pics of stuff i own. i don't know when that started but i just stuck with that policy and i don't even remember why not.

post #14 of 20

Why does it have to be so damn heavy...geee...something like 675 lbs. Better make sure the floor can support them.

post #15 of 20

They are astonishing. And the sound of Sonus Faber is amazing. This is the next pair i will have.

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