• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

SONUS FABER BOOKSHELF SPEAKER ADVICE: Lumina II; Sonetto I; Sonetto II; Venere 1.5

OP
V

venessian

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
29
Likes
11
Location
So Cal

MarcT

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
Messages
671
Likes
419
Location
East Texas
No, the opposite. I am hoping to avoid stands if possible. Floor-mounts and/or stands block access to my books, etc. I am really hoping for good, front-ported, sitting on the correct height shelf of the unit I made (very solid mdf, 1.5" thick x 16" deep) to have the most flexibility. I do not have enough space to have the speakers overwhelm the room.
Eh, books, shmooks! Who needs them? Just kidding.:cool:

If you are going to place them in a shelving unit, I'd say just get whichever of the SF models you like the looks of.

Edit: If it's down to Lumina vs Sonetto, my impression was that the Lumina may have had a bit more "forward" of a mid range presentation than the Sonetto. If you want music for enjoyment and "chilling" to the music, I might tend to go with the Sonetto. For home theater, I might go with the Lumina.
 
OP
V

venessian

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
29
Likes
11
Location
So Cal
Eh, books, shmooks! Who needs them? Just kidding.:cool:

If you are going to place them in a shelving unit, I'd say just get whichever of the SF models you like the looks of.

Edit: If it's down to Lumina vs Sonetto, my impression was that the Lumina may have had a bit more "forward" of a mid range presentation than the Sonetto. If you want music for enjoyment and "chilling" to the music, I might tend to go with the Sonetto. For home theater, I might go with the Lumina.
:) The books are burdensome. But, I am an architect and photographer, so books are a huge part of my education and work resources and inspiration...plus think of the CDs that the floor-mounts and/or stands would also block! ;)


I very much agree with your Lumina/Sonetto assessment. Very helpful.

I heard the Cremonas the other day in a different store, today the Sonetto I and Lumina I (the tiny ones). The Sonetto I sounded very good to me, albeit not as rich and developed and deep/warm as the Cremonas (heard in a different space though w/diff equipment). Still, the Sonetto sounded much better again than B&W.

By comparison, back/forth, the Lumina I consistently sounded a bit "undernourished", a bit thin front-to-back, in that listening room. I fear the Lumina II would sound more like the Lumina I than the Sonetto I, and that would be unwelcome Plus, I am definitely not into HT at all. I will connect the stereo to the TV for sports, news, Netflix, but HT "quality sound" is really of minimal importance to me.
 

MarcT

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
Messages
671
Likes
419
Location
East Texas
So, having just reviewed the images and specs on Lumina II and Sonetto I/II, these are all really small speakers. And since you mentioned that you see yourself living with them for a long time, I don't think I would go with the Lumina II or Sonetto I(just too small in my mind), but would opt for the Sonetto II. I think the larger size and deeper bass extension would provide for a more satisfying experience when listening to genres such as jazz and classical music. If placing them on a shelf, you'll get the best sound by bringing them as far forward on the shelf as possible.
 
OP
V

venessian

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
29
Likes
11
Location
So Cal
So, having just reviewed the images and specs on Lumina II and Sonetto I/II, these are all really small speakers. And since you mentioned that you see yourself living with them for a long time, I don't think I would go with the Lumina II or Sonetto I(just too small in my mind), but would opt for the Sonetto II. I think the larger size and deeper bass extension would provide for a more satisfying experience when listening to genres such as jazz and classical music. If placing them on a shelf, you'll get the best sound by bringing them as far forward on the shelf as possible.
Interesting, thanks.
Also because while you were doing that I was also researching and putting together a comparative sheet.
Do the minimal (to me) differences between the Sonetto I and Sonetto II make such an impactful difference?
The volume of the Lumina II is ~887 cu in.
The volume of the Sonetto I is ~1035 cu in.
The volume of the Cremona Auditor is ~1138 cu. in.

The Cremona I liked did sound a bit "bigger" to me than the Sonetto I heard (and also liked), but the store owner explained that as more the Cremona really being a better speaker in all regards, definitely not so much a size issue alone. Also, the Cremona are rear-ported and were well away from any walls, which I cannot do.

The Sonetto II volume is the largest at ~1334 cu in.
Is that going to make a major impact, worth the $700 upcharge (new) over the Sonetto I?

Regardless, I cannot afford $2500 new for the Sonetto II, so would definitely have to search for used, and in black. That could take a long while I imagine.
 

Attachments

  • SONUS FABER SPEAKERS.pdf
    66.3 KB · Views: 39

Ilkless

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 26, 2019
Messages
1,258
Likes
2,417
Location
Singapore
The modern Sonus Fabers are surprisingly well-engineered and less eccentric than their reputation would have most people think. The Sonetto 2 have good, wide, smooth dispersion, but the tonal balance has scooped mids and elevated treble. Tonal balance can easily be fixed via EQ to taste so long as the speaker disperses smoothly because then the effect of the EQ change is relatively consistent. Not so with speakers with bad, discontinuous dispersion because what is a dip and some angles may be a peak at others. It's much harder to engineer for smooth dispersion (particularly smooth and wide dispersion), much more so than a speaker that is flat on-axis.

Pretty lute shaped cabinets and solid performance in crucial aspects makes it a good choice. FWIW I have liked most entry-level Sonus designs since the Chameleon and Toy.
 
OP
V

venessian

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
29
Likes
11
Location
So Cal
The modern Sonus Fabers are surprisingly well-engineered and less eccentric than their reputation would have most people think. The Sonetto 2 have good, wide, smooth dispersion, but the tonal balance has scooped mids and elevated treble. Tonal balance can easily be fixed via EQ to taste so long as the speaker disperses smoothly because then the effect of the EQ change is relatively consistent. Not so with speakers with bad, discontinuous dispersion because what is a dip and some angles may be a peak at others. It's much harder to engineer for smooth dispersion (particularly smooth and wide dispersion), much more so than a speaker that is flat on-axis.

Pretty lute shaped cabinets and solid performance in crucial aspects makes it a good choice. FWIW I have liked most entry-level Sonus designs since the Chameleon and Toy.
Thanks much. The off-axis aspect is very important to me (another reason I think I preferred Sf and KEF over B&W etc): I am never really sitting in a listening chair at ideal height/distance etc. for long periods.

I really liked that I could listen to the Sf today and last week from various positions, even “radical” ones from the pov of the ideal triangle, and the Sf never really “gave up” even when I stood way wide. That was nice. With the B&W I felt much more on a leash.

Do you have experience/opinion on Lumina II vs Sonetto I/II, or the older Cremona or even Venere 1.5?
 

Ilkless

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 26, 2019
Messages
1,258
Likes
2,417
Location
Singapore
Thanks much. The off-axis aspect is very important to me (another reason I think I preferred Sf and KEF over B&W etc): I am never really sitting in a listening chair at ideal height/distance etc. for long periods.

I really liked that I could listen to the Sf today and last week from various positions, even “radical” ones from the pov of the ideal triangle, and the Sf never really “gave up” even when I stood way wide. That was nice. With the B&W I felt much more on a leash.

Do you have experience/opinion on Lumina II vs Sonetto I/II, or the older Cremona or even Venere 1.5?

I never liked the Veneres, sounded like there was some distortion around the crossover region. No experience with the Luminas, but quite rightly you point out the lute shaped cabinet is gone. In the review I linked, the reviewer conjectures that the lute shape and roundovers help to control diffraction off the cabinet. Losing that means losing a lot of the Sonus Faber aesthetic, craft and potentially impact sound. (KEF gets away with sharp edges like on the Reference 1 because the tweeter is coaxial inside the midrange so relatively little energy is hitting the edges)
 

polmuaddib

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2020
Messages
312
Likes
421
I think that the strength of all Sonus Faber speakers, since their beginning, is beautiful industrial design, luxury materials, perfect build and pride of ownership. It was always about looks.
None of SF speakers were designed to have flat FR. Small, ugly and cheaper active studio monitors will sound much better then SF most of the time.
But, since we enjoy music, not only through our hearing but from other senses as well, visual being very important, I say, buy the ones you like the most.
 

MGG

Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2020
Messages
54
Likes
54
I never liked the Veneres, sounded like there was some distortion around the crossover region. No experience with the Luminas, but quite rightly you point out the lute shaped cabinet is gone. In the review I linked, the reviewer conjectures that the lute shape and roundovers help to control diffraction off the cabinet. Losing that means losing a lot of the Sonus Faber aesthetic, craft and potentially impact sound. (KEF gets away with sharp edges like on the Reference 1 because the tweeter is coaxial inside the midrange so relatively little energy is hitting the edges)
Directivity looks very good in Atkinson's measurements, distortion is rarely an issue in my experience.

@venessian rear port shouldn't be a problem
 

facefirst

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2021
Messages
49
Likes
42
Location
London, United Kingdom
I think that the strength of all Sonus Faber speakers, since their beginning, is beautiful industrial design, luxury materials, perfect build and pride of ownership. It was always about looks.
None of SF speakers were designed to have flat FR. Small, ugly and cheaper active studio monitors will sound much better then SF most of the time.
But, since we enjoy music, not only through our hearing but from other senses as well, visual being very important, I say, buy the ones you like the most.
I was with you right up until you said the monitor would sound better. They might, but SF speakers would never have gained the following they have if they sounded anything other than beautiful. Not sure you can call the design 'industrial' either, more like fine furniture than a piece of audio equipment...
 

polmuaddib

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2020
Messages
312
Likes
421
Not sure you can call the design 'industrial' either, more like fine furniture than a piece of audio equipment...
"Industrial design is a process of design applied to physical products that are to be manufactured by mass production."
That's from wikipedia.
I did not mean that their ID was industrial look. Far from it. I agree with you that SF was meant to be like fine furniture.
As for their sound... You might be right, but none of the SF measurement I have seen are flat. And there is a lot of proof that we prefer flat FR speakers.
It would be interesting to blind test Sonus Faber mentioned in this thread with some of the good measuring speakers on ASR, like Kali LP-6, JBL 308, Adam audio T8V...
I have bought Adam T8V just to test and they sound great. Much better then a lot of audiophile, high end, furniture grade passive speakers I tried.
But I believe that pure sonic qualities of a speaker don't have to be the only factor in our enjoyment. And I do love Sonus Faber speakers. I might buy some in the future (if I managed to get another room for listening).
 
OP
V

venessian

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
29
Likes
11
Location
So Cal
Directivity looks very good in Atkinson's measurements, distortion is rarely an issue in my experience.

@venessian rear port shouldn't be a problem
You are referring to the Venere 1.5 in both sentences, correct?
I have read that rear-ported is not as desirable as front-ported, in my situation.

I worry a bit because opinions on the Venere seem to range so far and wide, much more positive/negative than many other Sonus faber speakers.

I am very inexperienced, but have heard Cremona Auditor. They sounded beautiful, rich, fine. The Venere seller claims the Venere 1.5 "will wipe the floor" with Cremona Auditor.... Even I don't believe that kind of hype, the only transparency to my ear there being the seller's desire to sell the Venere regardless, I guess.
 
Last edited:
OP
V

venessian

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
29
Likes
11
Location
So Cal
I think that the strength of all Sonus Faber speakers, since their beginning, is beautiful industrial design, luxury materials, perfect build and pride of ownership. It was always about looks.
None of SF speakers were designed to have flat FR. Small, ugly and cheaper active studio monitors will sound much better then SF most of the time.
But, since we enjoy music, not only through our hearing but from other senses as well, visual being very important, I say, buy the ones you like the most.
I do not know much, but this seems a bit reductionist regarding Sf versus many other brands, no?

Sf certainly seem to have a definite reputation for their sound as well as the aesthetic design (I am a neophyte for sure, but when one can research a brand and quickly find it described as comprising "classic Serblin-era", followed by "post-Serblin transitional/HT/(and China-production) era", followed by "current modern (while maintaining Serblin principles) era"...that seems like very acoustically specific stuff. Whether some people like the sound is of course an entirely different issue, but to say "it was always about looks" doesn't seem very fair.

I would say, as an architect and designer, that Sf do not convey "industrial design" to me at all. When I hear that term, I think of very different speakers than Sf. But, subjective terms again.
[EDIT: I just read your second comment above explaining your use of the term "industrial design". I do agree with that: I thought at first you were referring to the aesthetic design of the speakers, rather than the production aspects. But by that production definition almost all speakers are "industrial design". One could even argue that hand-assembled speakers (as all post-China Sonus faber speakers are, if I understand correctly, now made by hand in the factory in Italy...along with many other brands in other countries) are, to a vast degree "industrial design", as they utilize mostly essential components of machine-driven production.]

I am an average, non-expert, listener, moving around and working in a relatively casual environment, and definitely not someone sitting very still at the apex of a precise listening triangle, so perhaps monitors, as well as they might chart on paper, are not really the "best" speakers for my life?
 
Last edited:

Pearljam5000

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
2,176
Likes
2,307
Can anyone explain how is it possible that the "grille" that they're using is acoustically transparent?
onmpj9dz4a4n0gnvvxm2.jpg
 

thewas

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
4,142
Likes
9,064
No grille is fully 100.000% acoustically transparent, also on the other hand why should it be significantly worse than for example a metal mesh grille? The order of dimension of width of its elements is similar and smaller than most wavelengths radiated by the loudspeaker. Usually the biggest problem of grilles are not the fabric or metal mesh but the grill frames which are too large on not good engineering.
 

Laserjock

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 25, 2019
Messages
807
Likes
567
Location
Texas Coastal
I have a pair of Venere 1.5 in piano black and used them on a dresser in a bedroom early in the pandemic.

They sounded very good to me using a Schiit Freya S and a Red Dragon Audio S500 amplifier.

Sourced music Tidal/Qobuz/Amazon HD streaming from a Bluesound Node 2 with SMSL M500 DAC
 
OP
V

venessian

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
29
Likes
11
Location
So Cal
I have a pair of Venere 1.5 in piano black and used them on a dresser in a bedroom early in the pandemic.

They sounded very good to me using a Schiit Freya S and a Red Dragon Audio S500 amplifier.

Sourced music Tidal/Qobuz/Amazon HD streaming from a Bluesound Node 2 with SMSL M500 DAC
Do you think the Venere 1.5 are more suited to that kind of application, rather than CD/tuner through a stereo receiver in a living room?
 
OP
V

venessian

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
29
Likes
11
Location
So Cal
Can anyone explain how is it possible that the "grille" that they're using is acoustically transparent?
View attachment 177429
No grille is fully 100.000% acoustically transparent, also on the other hand why should it be significantly worse than for example a metal mesh grille? The order of dimension of width of its elements is similar and smaller than most wavelengths radiated by the loudspeaker. Usually the biggest problem of grilles are not the fabric or metal mesh but the grill frames which are too large on not good engineering.
I agree with "thewas". I would guess that the NFA (Net Free Area percentage, as in HVAC systems, etc.) is higher (more porous) than on a typical metal mesh or foam/fabric grille, and that in addition the round shape of the "strings" is more conducive to transparency than the flat, more reflective surfaces of a stamped metal or woven fabric grille. The frames on these are extremely minimal, even on the new tall floor-standers. Impressive stuff. More acoustically transparent than most grilles seems very possible to me.

Sumiko is possibly going to respond to me with a cost of replacement Cremona grilles, if they are still available from Sf. It seems $500 will likely be the price!
 
Top Bottom