By Lam Seng Fatt
I had always felt that Sonus Faber speakers were a bit too much on the warm side, but I realise now that I was wrong.
Maybe it was an earlier series of the Sonus Faber speakers that I heard which left the long-lasting impression of them being overly warm in my mind.
After spending a few weeks with the Venere 2.0 standmount speakers, I must say that they actually sound quite neutral – maybe tilting just a wee bit to warmness – and remarkably cohesive.
To be expected of Sonus Faber, the finishing of the Venere 2.0 is top-class – they are black, glossy and classy.
The speakers are lyre-shaped which – according to its website – is to pay tribute to the flagship Aida speakers and also to cut down on internal resonances.
The matching stands are essential to boost the performance of the speakers. Though I did not place the Venere 2.0 speakers on other stands, the fact that the speakers need to be screwed onto the top-plate just means that the stands have been designed to match the speakers. The stands are unique as the bottom-plates are actually sheets of tempered glass with steel cones and footers. Not only that, but the bottom of the speakers are stuck with a layer of what feels like a velveteen-like fabric.
The stands come flat-packed and the cones and footers are neatly packed along with screws and an Allen key. If you can assemble an Ikea bookcase, you should be able to assemble the speaker stands. It took me about an hour to complete the job, and I am not exactly the best handyman in town.
The Venere 2.0 has a slit at the bottom of the front baffle to act as a port, a Curv 180mm woofer and a 29mm silk dome tweeter made by DKM. Its frequency response is rated at 45Hz to 25kHz and its sensitivity is 88dB. Recommended amps range from 50 watts to 200 watts.
After plugging the speakers to the resident system, it was a matter of finding the right positioning. After some time, I discovered that the Sonus Faber speakers sounded best when placed in an equilateral triangle layout. In my living room, they sounded best 32 inches from the rear wall and 7.5 feet apart with the listener seated at the third point of the equilateral triangle. The convenient way to locate the best listening position is to have the speakers toed in till they face you directly when you turn to look at them.
In this position, the soundstage became bigger and deeper and the image density increased along with better imaging. But all this positioning is heavily dependent on the room you are in and YMMV. You will have to experiment to find out the best position from rear and side walls and toe-in angle.
The listening sessions coincided with my CD player finally conking out and I switched to the turntable instead. Playing a wide range of music, I found that the Sonus Faber sounded greatly cohesive with a lively bass. I spun Billy Cobham’s Warning LP and was surprised that the standmount Sonus Faber speakers could handle the extreme dynamics with aplomb. These speakers could rock!
Given its size, the lowest bass was a bit soft, but surprisingly you will not notice it especially when whatever bass that was available was rhythmic and tight. The mids were realistic and natural and singers were located along the same plane as the speakers. The highs were clear and extended.
Initially, I used the 300-watter Bryston 4B SST to drive them. First I used the Kimber 12TC speaker cables and then decided to bi-wire with the DH Labs Q-10 speaker cables.
I was shocked by the difference bi-wiring made – immediately the dynamics, soudstage size and depth and details improved. If you have a pair of Sonus Faber speakers, you need to biwire them.
Along the way, a Clones 25i integrated amp was plugged in. It turned out that the 25-watter gainclone (or chipamp) could drive the Sonus Faber Venere 2.0 speakers quite well and they matched seamlessly too, losing out to the Bryston only in terms of soundstage width and depth and poise.
After listening to the Venere 2.0 speakers, I have changed my opinion about Sonus Faber speakers and would place them quite high up the sonic ladder of sound quality.
Sonus Faber speakers are available at Perfect Hi-Fi outlets. The Sonus Faber Venere 2.0 speakers retail at RM11,000 (list) a pair while the matching stands are priced at RM2,900 (list).