Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor
Naim CDX2 w/o XPS CD Player
Naim NAC 202 Preamplifier
Naim NAP250 Amplifier
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.
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.
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.
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.
9/10 at their used price.
Thanks for reading,