- 3.5-way driver configuration
- 4Ohm impedance
- 2x 220mm woofers
- 150mm mid-range driver
- 28mm tweeter
- Manufacturer: Sonus Faber
- Review Price: £23,500.00/$35,250.00
A CLOSER LOOK AT SONUS FABER’S NEW £23,500/$35,250 SPEAKERS
Even today you can buy speakers that look like the boxes you might see in a hi-fi advert from the ’70s. The forthcoming Tannoy Legacy series even celebrates that era with sonically updated recreations of some of those boxy designs. Sonus Faber too has taken inspiration from an iconic retro design for its Homage Amati Tradition speakers, but it’s an icon of the more curvaceous ’60s kind – and it’s not a speaker.
I had a listen to these £23,500/$35,250 floorstanders at their UK debut in high-end hi-fi retailer KJ West One. If you have the budget for such a pair and want to give your ears a treat, it’s one of the best places to try them out.
Sonus Faber says the design of the Homage Amati is inspired by a boat. Not a luxury yacht, but something nearly as obscenely expensive: the Riva Aquarama. It’s an undeniably cool Italian speedboat with wood panelling that’s been in production since 1962. Look at the Sonus Faber Homage Amati Tradition from the top down and the comparison starts to make sense.
Also, while these are mammoth speakers by traditional standards, at 117cm tall and 61kg each, they’re actually relatively conservative in the mad world of ultra-expensive hi-fi speakers. KJ West One has a pair of Focal Gran Ultima EMs, for example, which are 2m-tall speakers that weigh 260kg.
The Homage Amati also continue Sonus Faber’s obsession with metal, wood and leather. Much of the cabinet is wood, but the ‘Silent Spikes’ isolation plinth at the bottom is metal, as are the frame around the top and the vent spurs at the back. The leather is the subtlest show-off of the lot, used on the front of the speakers, behind the unusual grille. Rather than having a fabric grille, these speakers have almost rubbery ‘strings’ that extend like a curtain from top to bottom.
What you can see here in the photos is the ‘Wenge’ finish – it’s a dark-coloured wood – but there’s also a red version if you’d prefer something even bolder.
Getting to the substance of the Sonus Faber Homage Amati Tradition, these speakers have a 28mm silk-dome tweeter, a 150mm mid-range driver and a pair of 220mm woofers. Each woofer has its own port and chamber.
If these seem just bit too large (and expensive), there are other speakers in the Homage range too. The Serafino is another floorstander, one with smaller woofers and an all-round cut-down stature, and there’s a stand-mount pair called the Guarneri. With carbon-fibre stands these cost £13,600. The Serafino floorstanders are £17,998 per pair. There’s also a centre speaker, the Vox, letting you put together a surround sound system pushing £50,000.
These ‘cheaper’ pairs won’t get you quite the sound scale of the Sonus Faber Homage Amati Tradition, though. Their most striking sonic features are palpable bass depth considering the largest drivers are just 8.6 inches in diameter, and an intensely textured but also syrup-rich mid-range.
They don’t come across as neutral, analytical speakers, but their ability to deliver vocals with real scale and power might well steam up your glasses if you’ve not experienced truly high-end speakers like these before.
Listening to them was a reminder of quite how sensitive large speakers are to the rooms in which they’re placed. With a few of the tunes played – the usual hi-fi demo selection of strange covers of classics and more obscure tracks I couldn’t identify without pulling out Shazam – there was a bit of low-mid-range resonance. Was it the speakers or the room? Have an audition yourself and make your own mind up.
I also got to hear the stand-mount version of these speakers in another room, and there was no hint of this resonance, but they also won’t deliver the epic scale of the full-size Sonus Faber Homage Amati Tradition. If you have the room and the cash for them, that scale is quite something to experience.
Here are some more photos of the Sonus Faber Homage Amati Tradition to pore over:
Here’s a closer look at Sonus Faber’s Silent Spikes
The rubbery grille can be removed, but doesn’t hide the drivers fully anyway
These aren’t the first Amati speakers Sonus Faber has made. A version of this family has been around since the ’90s. However, they’re probably the most elegant yet. If you have up to £30k ready to spend on a pair of speakers, you’d be mad not to audition this range, but their luxurious texture and scale has a distinct appeal.
The Sonus Faber Homage Amati Tradition are distributed by Absolute Sounds in the UK, and if you live near London, you might want to get in contact with KJ West One to organise a listening session. You’ll be part of a select group, as Sonus Faber expects to sell around 40 pairs in the coming year – a reminder of quite how removed these are from mass-produced models.