For many car buffs, the dream of owning specific sports cars has haunted them since they were teenagers who pinned posters of exotic vehicles up on their bedroom walls. Audiophiles are no different. All of us have lottery win fantasies of owning specific gear, speakers, and cabling.
Sonus Faber’s 40-year tradition of building gorgeous cost-no-object loudspeakers has left an indelible impression on audiophiles around the globe. Adorned in their irrationally beautiful black graphite-maple finish, SF’s Stradivaria Homage and Elipsa SE models have long been at the top of my lottery win list of speakers to own.
When NOVO asked if I’d review a pair of Sonus Faber’s Sonetto VIII floorstanders, I was more excited than a ferret on a quintuple espresso binge.
The Sonetto family of loudspeakers is the least expensive line made entirely at Sonus Faber’s factory in Vicenza Italy. The lute shaped Sonetto VIII has dimension of 47” high x 11” wide x 17” deep. Unboxed, each speaker weighs 58 Lbs. Due to its unique shape and hefty weight, you’ll (probably) need two people to set them up.
The Sonetto VIII features one 29mm dome tweeter, one pulp/fibre composite 150mm diameter mid-range driver, and three 180mm alloy-coned woofers. Sonus Faber custom-fabricates all of their own drivers. The crossover network is based on SF’s paracross topology and is a 3-way design. Each speaker has two sets of binding posts for bi-wiring or bi-amping.
Sonus Faber markets the Sonetto VIII as a “budget” loudspeaker. While I can’t exactly call any floorstander with a $6,500 USD price a “bargain”, even the blindest of men amongst us can see the luthier-level of finish carpentry crafted into this speaker. The breathtaking walnut veneer and real leather top panels on my review samples garnered universal praise. Despite its imposing size, the Sonetto VIII has an extremely high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor).
Many speakers in the Sonetto VIII’s price range claim to offer superb bass. Truthfully, far too many of these sonic pretenders emit lower frequency noises that sound like little more than drunken duck flatulence.
To achieve greater articulation and accuracy in the lower registers, this floorstander uses a downward firing reflex port and outriggers with conical spikes. The outriggers are bolted to the bottom of each speaker with eight screws. The uniformity of bass excursion created by this circular port makes speaker placement a cinch to dial-in.
The Sonetto VIII has a 90dB sensitivity rating and a 4Ω nominal impedance. Sonus Faber recommends using a 50 to 300 watt amplifier to drive the beasts. Its high sensitivity lets the Sonetto VIIIs play LOUD with even modestly powered amps. Most solid state and tube amplifiers will have no difficulty driving these speakers to high sound pressure levels.
The Sonetto VIII manages to combine breathtaking looks with advanced driver and crossover technologies. Someone put their heart and soul into these speakers and built them like it mattered. Which is rare these days; exceedingly rare. So… how does the Sonetto VIII sound?