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  1. #1

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    Default Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor Review

    Equipment:
    Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor
    Naim CDX2 w/o XPS CD Player
    Naim NAC 202 Preamplifier
    Naim NAP250 Amplifier

    Introduction:
    As most of you guys know, Sonus Faber is popular for their handmade Italian loudspeakers which are somehow always covered in genuine leather. Well, this is obviously no exception to the rule. The Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor is a svelte mid-sized bookshelf with a 6” sliced-strengthened paper woofer and a 1” ring radiator tweeter with a copper cap motor. The cabinet consists of 32 individual layers of solid and laminated/veneered maple panels and is lute shaped for reduction of standing waves internally. Despite all the statistics and specifications that I listed down, the Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor only needs one look from you, especially in person, for you to realize that this isn’t merely a speaker, but moreso an instrument of the upstream electronics.

    Setup:

    The speakers were separated 7 feet apart and the sweet spot was measured out to be about 9 feet away. The chair was perfect for this application as my ears were right along the horizontal plane of the Cremona Auditor’s tweeter. The room was ample in terms of treatments, and a small plant stood in between the flanking bookshelves. Several cds were played, ranging from contemporary pop music to jazz to 60’s big band music.

    Sound Impressions:
    The sound that came out of this particular setup was particularly impressive to say the least. I sat there in astonishment as I watched helplessly as the musical soundstage appeared before my very eyes - which were open by the way – a true testament of the ability of this speaker to suspend reality for those 3 or 4 minutes. The Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors created a panel of aural colors, from the piano to the violin to the acoustic guitar to even the shimmery snare of a drum set. It was particularly amazing to witness such small speaker setup sans a subwoofer play almost any album with the utmost ease and with the utmost realism.

    It was not just a matter of clarity, nor was it a matter of detail. When I sat in that chair, I did not have time to be thinking of the usual audiophile garbage, so to speak. Who among us would go to an intimate live performance where the performer is so close to you that they need not PA speakers or amps, who among us would have the audacity to critique the music that a live band or performer create with such mundane words as detail, clarity, timbre, transient dynamics, and infrasonic extension? Who among us would critique the amount of blackness between notes, the sluggishness of the bass, the size of the instruments? None of us would.

    Conclusion:
    However, this is a speaker review and we need the prerequisite descriptions to better convey our thoughts, so here it is. The coherence was great as I did not notice overtly audible discontinuance within the frequency spectrum. The realism was superb, surprisingly as images had presence, depth, and weight (which is my biggest requirement in a speaker). The dynamics were apparent in spades, quick to stop and quick to start. The resolution was on another level from most any bookshelf I’ve heard notwithstanding the JM Labs Micro Utopias with its beryllium tweeter. Stage depth and width were good, though not great but more than enough to satisfy the senses. Volumetrics were there as instruments and vocals took tangible form, shape, and size. And lastly, musicality was definitely better than most anything I’ve heard.

    The Auditors, to me in that moment in time, played music. Glorious music. It was simply unreal.

    If I were to nitpick on them, I wouldn’t call them the last word in detail, nor are they the last word in dynamics. Nor are they the last word in transparency, nor are they the last word in overt realism. But, if someone told me that these were the only speakers I could have in possession, I would gladly take it. The Auditors passed every little test I run speakers through, they did so much right and almost nothing wrong. A true reference speaker, in most any regard. I will not even hesitate to state that they reminded me somewhat of electrostats; clean, quick, and transparent but add to that "soul". "Soul", something I find less and less inherent in several 'stats.

    If that isn’t a recommendation for this particular marvel of a bookshelf, I don’t know what is.

    Rating:
    9/10 at their used price.

    Thanks for reading,
    Joey V

    Pictures:

    Last edited by Joey_V; 02-18-2007 at 10:14 AM.
    Joey's College Gear:
    Current Gear:
    SB3 -> PS Audio DAC III -> Cary Audio SLP-98Phono Tube PreAmp w/ Sylvania NOS 6sn7 tubes -> Plinius SA102 Class A amp -> Martin Logan SUMMIT/Strata Mini -> :D
    Old Gear:
    Martin Logan Vantage (4.75/5)-ML Mosaic (4.25/5)-Onix Ref1 (3.7/5)-Sonus Faber Concerto (3.5/5)-SF Concertino (3/5)-Axiom M22ti (2.75/5)-Polk LSi9 (3.75/5)-LSi7 (3.25/5)-HK AVR330-Rotel RC1070/RB1070/RB1090-SVS 25-31PC+ sub
    RUSH Med School 2008!!:D

  2. #2

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    Default

    Nice write up! A couple of questions for you...

    1. How small was the sweet spot? Was it planar small or did you have some leeway in movement of the head?

    2. I noticed you used all NAIM gear. Do you think part of the short comings might have come from equipment sinergy issues? or are you fairly sure that the limitations were speaker based?

    3. How do these compare to the Martin Logan Summits? You mentioned they were not amazingly deep (no surprise since they are monitors), but would you say they were fairly smooth down to the physical limitations? Any spikes or valleys you noticed?
    Lovin that music year after year.

    Main 2 Channel System

    Polk SDA-1B,
    Promitheus Audio TVC SE,
    Rotel RB-980BX,
    OPPO DV-970HD,
    Lite Audio DAC AH,
    IXOS XHA305 Interconnects


    Computer Rig

    Polk SDA CRS+,
    Creek Audio 5350 SE,
    Morrow Audio MA1 Interconnect,
    HRT Music Streamer II

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Refefer
    Nice write up! A couple of questions for you...

    1. How small was the sweet spot? Was it planar small or did you have some leeway in movement of the head?

    2. I noticed you used all NAIM gear. Do you think part of the short comings might have come from equipment sinergy issues? or are you fairly sure that the limitations were speaker based?

    3. How do these compare to the Martin Logan Summits? You mentioned they were not amazingly deep (no surprise since they are monitors), but would you say they were fairly smooth down to the physical limitations? Any spikes or valleys you noticed?
    1. Sweet spot was average size, not planar small, most definitely not.
    2. Not sure if Naim was a negative in this instance, there are probably better matching gear for the SF afficionados out there, but the Naim that we had connected to the SF Cremona Auditors were worth a car. I thought the Naim sounded exceptionally well. I heard the Auditors with the Rega Apollo, for instance, and the music was simply not there relative to the Naim gear.
    3. How they compare to the Summits? You get quite a bit of what I like in the Summits in that Auditor. I would be happy to only own the Auditor.
    Joey's College Gear:
    Current Gear:
    SB3 -> PS Audio DAC III -> Cary Audio SLP-98Phono Tube PreAmp w/ Sylvania NOS 6sn7 tubes -> Plinius SA102 Class A amp -> Martin Logan SUMMIT/Strata Mini -> :D
    Old Gear:
    Martin Logan Vantage (4.75/5)-ML Mosaic (4.25/5)-Onix Ref1 (3.7/5)-Sonus Faber Concerto (3.5/5)-SF Concertino (3/5)-Axiom M22ti (2.75/5)-Polk LSi9 (3.75/5)-LSi7 (3.25/5)-HK AVR330-Rotel RC1070/RB1070/RB1090-SVS 25-31PC+ sub
    RUSH Med School 2008!!:D

  4. #4

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    Very nice review, Joey! Naim gears are expensive, I never heard them, but I do think at their price brackets I would have consider Krell and Pass Labs first.
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

  5. #5

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    I LOVE Sonus Faber speakers. They tend to lean a bit warm but they have a terrific sound. If I were to get a separate 2 channel rig I would seriously look at them again.
    Sharp Elite 70
    Anthem D2V 3D
    Parasound 5250
    Parasound HCA 1000 A
    Parasound HCA 1000
    Oppo BDP 95
    Von Schweikert VR4 Jr R/L Fronts
    Von Schweikert LCR 4 Center
    Totem Mask Surrounds X4
    Hsu ULS-15 Quad Drive Subwoofers
    Sony PS3
    Squeezebox Touch

    Polk Atrium 7s on the patio just to keep my foot in the door.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by polkatese
    Very nice review, Joey! Naim gears are expensive, I never heard them, but I do think at their price brackets I would have consider Krell and Pass Labs first.
    I agree man.... Naim gear is very pricey. They look plain but apparently it's what's inside that counts. Good sounding gear, but I'm not sure if they're in the league of the big boy Krells, Levinsons, and Boulders. Of course, I should refrain from prematurely judging a component that I do not have A/B with others.
    Joey's College Gear:
    Current Gear:
    SB3 -> PS Audio DAC III -> Cary Audio SLP-98Phono Tube PreAmp w/ Sylvania NOS 6sn7 tubes -> Plinius SA102 Class A amp -> Martin Logan SUMMIT/Strata Mini -> :D
    Old Gear:
    Martin Logan Vantage (4.75/5)-ML Mosaic (4.25/5)-Onix Ref1 (3.7/5)-Sonus Faber Concerto (3.5/5)-SF Concertino (3/5)-Axiom M22ti (2.75/5)-Polk LSi9 (3.75/5)-LSi7 (3.25/5)-HK AVR330-Rotel RC1070/RB1070/RB1090-SVS 25-31PC+ sub
    RUSH Med School 2008!!:D

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by wingnut4772
    I LOVE Sonus Faber speakers. They tend to lean a bit warm but they have a terrific sound. If I were to get a separate 2 channel rig I would seriously look at them again.
    I would agree! They are great. I've had the Concertino and Concerto Home bookshelves and those do not suspend belief as well as the Auditors do.
    Joey's College Gear:
    Current Gear:
    SB3 -> PS Audio DAC III -> Cary Audio SLP-98Phono Tube PreAmp w/ Sylvania NOS 6sn7 tubes -> Plinius SA102 Class A amp -> Martin Logan SUMMIT/Strata Mini -> :D
    Old Gear:
    Martin Logan Vantage (4.75/5)-ML Mosaic (4.25/5)-Onix Ref1 (3.7/5)-Sonus Faber Concerto (3.5/5)-SF Concertino (3/5)-Axiom M22ti (2.75/5)-Polk LSi9 (3.75/5)-LSi7 (3.25/5)-HK AVR330-Rotel RC1070/RB1070/RB1090-SVS 25-31PC+ sub
    RUSH Med School 2008!!:D

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