Whenever you think of Sonus faber, you tend to think of standmount loudspeakers. The company has made some good (make that ‘outstanding’) floorstanders and most of its range today is made up of extremely good sounding and elegant looking tower designs, but if any company is defined by its standmount designs, it’s the Italian Sonus faber brand. Classics like the Minima, Elector Amator, and the Extrema came to represent what happens when style meets substance, and that the size of a loudspeaker was an unreliable indicator of performance. Then, in 1993 came the Guarneri Homage, the first in a series of loudspeakers named after classic Italian instrument makers, and it would be followed by Amati and Stradivari floorstanders. 24 years on, the Guarneri is reborn (as are the Amati and Stradaveri), in the new ‘Tradition’ line.
The Guarneri has gone through several iterations in the past, but all have similar intent – a two-way ported speaker on its own dedicated stand that combines the richness and depth of finish required of a product bearing the name of a master Cremonese violin maker, but that delivers the sonic goods in that distinctive “Are you sure that’s just a standmount?” manner. If you look at the original Homage, the Evolution, the Memento, and now the Tradition side by side, you can see the commonalities, but you can also see where changes have been made. Fortunately, each successive generation of Guaneri has managed to improve on the sound of its predecessor. That Tradition continues here.
What is incredibly clever about today’s Sonus faber is that word ‘Tradition’ is not a throwaway. There are visual and sonic calls to the company’s past, without being hide-bound by history. There is almost a sense of seamless handover from the late Franco Serblin to the current design team, headed up by Paulo Tezzon on the engineering side, and the industrial design team run by Livio Cucuzza. Between them, they have acted as custodians of the original Sonus faber ethos while striving to bring that ethos up to date. Given the seemingly inherent conservative nature of audio enthusiasts, that’s a big ‘ask’, but one that is met in the Tradition range.
The loudspeaker shape remains very similar to its predecessors and owes much to that violin-making of Cremona. However, the boat-backed shape of the speaker cabinets is also the fruit of careful research and major restyling, and owes as much to classic Riva motor launches as it does to violins and cellos. Given these classic boats are the stuff of legend, the kind of launch you can imagine a young Sean Connery stepping out from, or a young Sophia Loren climbing into. Those lines are echoed here, blending the curves of previous Homage models with those inherited from the company’s current top Lilium model and in the process giving these speakers larger volume than before.