Review: Sonus Faber Sonetto V

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This week we reviewed the Sonus Faber Sonetto V speaker, a superb 3-way, lute-shaped floorstander with proprietary “The Voice Of Sonus Faber” drivers. But does this design really improve musicality?

Test Sonus Faber Sonetto V
The Sonus Faber Sonetto V speakers, 3-way models with four The Voice of Sonus Faber drivers.

Sonus Faber Sonetto V: Italian production

We had the opportunity to visit Sonus Faber’s workshops in Northern Italy. Artisanal traditions were clearly predominant, and leather was crafted with just as much passion as wood. The Sonetto V is no exception to this rule: it oozes high-caliber craftsmanship, in even the smallest details. For example, our test model’s black lacquer is of obvious high-quality: thick and inky black with moderate highlights.

The leather cap fits the top of the speaker perfectly and is elegantly stitched.

Test Sonus Faber Sonetto V
The Sonus Faber Sonetto V speaker’s leather cap sporting the logo of the Italian brand.
Sonus Faber Sonetto V
Master craftsmanship, don’t you think?

Sonus Faber Sonetto V: the same on the inside

This quality can also be found under and inside the speaker. A quick glance at the large circular port reveals an MDF double cross support — to solidify the speaker’s base — as well as different soundproofing materials on the inner walls. The crossover filter is perfectly placed.

Test Sonus Faber Sonetto V
The Sonus Faber Sonetto V speaker’s double cross support and passive electronic filter.

Sonus Faber Sonetto V: design with a purpose

Here, the design is conceived to enhance musicality. If the speaker is shaped like a lute, it’s not just for esthetic reasons. Because the cabinet panels aren’t parallel, the sound circulates in a more harmonious manner, consequently minimizing reflection issues and the sound waves returning to the drivers’ cones. Lastly, the speaker comes with four feet with decoupling spikes (and under spikes) to fix onto the speaker yourself.

Test Sonus Faber Sonetto V
Each Sonus Faber Sonetto V speaker has a plaque with a serial number (identical for a pair).

Sonus Faber Sonetto V: Voice of Sonus Faber

The midrange driver and the tweeter form what the brand calls the Voice of Sonus Faber. It’s this pair of drivers that characterizes the speaker’s sound as it covers such a wide frequency range. Like a subwoofer, the two 7” (18 cm) woofers exclusively deliver the deepest lows.

Test Sonus Faber Sonetto V
The Sonus Faber Sonetto V speaker’s midrange driver.

Sonus Faber Sonetto V: specs

The Sonus Faber Sonetto V is a 3-way speaker, with two 7” (18cm) woofers, a 6” (15cm) midrange driver and a 29mm tweeter with a flexible dome. The two 7” drivers are bass-reflex loaded with a very large circular port situated under the speaker.

Test Sonus Faber Sonetto V
The underside of the Sonus Faber Sonetto V speaker, with its bass-reflex port and pointed feet. The feet are very easy to mount as they come with an Allen key and disks.

The electronic filter cuts off the midrange drivers at frequencies above 200 Hz, where the closed-enclosure 6” midrange driver then takes over. This driver, which is most likely cut off by a high-pass filter to avoid it receiving unnecessary low frequencies which would result in an unnecessary long excursion, can reach up to 3 kHz, where it’s then relayed by the tweeter. The speaker’s sensitivity is rated at 90 dB (2.83 V) for a nominal impedance of 4 Ohms.

Sonus Faber states that depending on the frequency, the impedance curve has been made as linear as possible so that the associated amplifier can run smoothly.

You’ll still need to choose an amplifier capable of working correctly at 4 Ohms, and ideally a model able to (almost) double its power from 8 to 4 Ohms.

The Sonus Faber Sonetto V speakers come with a magnetic acoustic grill.

Sonus Faber Sonetto V: test conditions and listening impressions

We listened to the Sonus Faber Sonetto V speakers with Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 and Denon DRA-100 amplifiers, associated with Viard Audio Silver HD12 HP speaker wires and digital audio files.

The Sonus Faber Sonetto V speaker’s dynamic balance is remarkable. None of the frequency ranges seem to take precedence over the others, and each of the drivers clearly have equal dynamic abilities. The speaker offers a generous and dynamic restitution.

The stated frequency response of 38 Hz in the lows is definitely present and faultlessly coordinated throughout the entire sound spectrum.

The high-lows have verve and deliver plenty of impact and rhythm to percussions and double basses, for example. The low-mids feel just right and male voices are confidently restituted. The mids and high-mids have no harshness whatsoever, even at high volume. The highs are silky and carefully placed. As a result, timbres are always believable and the soundstage is wide.

Test Sonus Faber Sonetto V
It’s possible to bi-amp the Sonus Faber Sonetto V speakers.

Sonus Faber Sonetto V: compared to…

Monitor Audio Gold 300: the refinement of the highs and the sliver of additional presence makes the Gold 300 more attractive, at moderate volume at least. Beyond that, the Sonetto V offers superior results.

Q Acoustics Concept 500: surprising spatialization, but less impressive acoustic solutions with a 2-way system and smaller drivers. The Q performs well, but doesn’t offer the finesse or the dynamic abilities of the Sonetto V.

Atohm GT2-HD: the Atohm’s sound signature is quite similar with softness and subtlety at its disposal. Atohm uses the same drivers for the mids and lows, but you can hear that Sonus has pushed this approach even further.

B&W 702 S2: the 702 S2’s balance is different, placing more emphasis on the mids thanks to its very organic Continuum driver. The Sonetto V has the upper hand when it comes to overall neutrality and articulation of the lows.

Test Sonus Faber Sonetto V
The Sonus Faber logo on the Sonus Faber Sonetto V speaker’s leather cap.

Sonus Faber Sonetto V: conclusion

The Sonus Faber Sonetto V is a serene speaker, which offers delicate treasures to the listener’s ears, but still knows how to be authoritative, especially in the lows. Its superb linearity allows it to be paired with a multitude of different amps, as long as an impedance of 4 Ohms isn’t an obstacle. It deserves excellent cables, that can be chosen from Viard Audio’s range, for example. If you don’t mind having a bit less authority, the little Sonus Faber Sonetto III, which also features The Voice of Sonus Faber driver configuration, is a better option.

What we liked:

  • The musicality and timbres.
  • The dynamic balance.
  • The extension in the lows.
  • The superb design and finish.

What we would have liked:

  • For them to have been our Christmas present…

1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks for the review. I have a pair of Sonetto III speakers, the little brothers. I’m reading your post and am a bit surprised to read that you like the extension in the lows so much, since that’s exactly the thing I’m missing on mine. It’s not the two woofers for the real lows, but the second one from the top, which, as you say, delivers the mid-lows. The deep bass is not what I’m missing, and not what you enjoy so much. I’m curious to hear your opinion on whether the difference lies in my using a For RA-1572 amplifier. If anything, I’d like to see my speakers having more warmth and depth in the lows because they perform so well in other departments (looks not in the least).

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