The single largest change is that the cabinet is actually no longer a conventional cabinet. It’s more a series of highly tuned panels fitted to a Guarneri-shaped exoskeleton. The top-plate is perhaps the most clear expression of this sophisticated design, in that it’s effectively two wing-shaped inserts, sitting in a metal top plate. This construction also allows for ’dampshelves’ derived from The Sonus Faber and Il Cremonese models.
Also inherited from the Il Cremonese design, the speaker system is mechanically decoupled from the floor by what Sonus faber calls ‘Silent Spikes’. These are coaxial metal/elastomer/metal spikes, which are a direct trickle-down effect of the company’s patented Z.V.T. (Zero Vibration Transmission) system, albeit scaled down for a standmount.
Having devoted a considerable amount of time and R&D budget on developing drive units for the whole Sonus faber range, the Tradition series largely draws from this portfolio rather than require new drivers for their own sake. This means the tweeter is the company’s own H28 XTR-04 silk dome 28mm ‘Arrow Point’ Damped Apex Dome, with neodymium motor system and a natural wood acoustic labyrinth rear chamber. If that name or technology rings a bell, it’s because it’s the self-same tweeter used in the Lilium. The midwoofer, meanwhile, is something new: the W15 XTR-04, a Sonus faber-designed 150 mm dynamic driver with a neodymium magnet system designed to produce an “ultra dynamic linearity midrange”. Given the ‘W’ prefix, we are given to believe that this is one of the company’s lightweight ‘sandwich’ cone designs, with a syntactic foam core and two external surface skins of cellulose pulp.
This system substantially reduces transmission of spurious vibrations to the listening room, also acoustic feedback phenomena are inhibited.
Crossover is a non-resonant design, with an amplitude/phase response optimised for the best balance of spatial/temporal performance. This is known as ‘Paracross topology’ in Sonus faber speak, and the speaker has a crossover point at 2.5kHz. This too is derived from the big guns, although time alignment is less of an issue here.
Common to all three members of the new Tradition, the extruded aluminium back panel, is actually the external part of what Sonus faber calls its Stealth Ultraflex system. This is a laminar tuning system (derived from the Olympica collection) and acts as a vent favouring the flow of air through the duct, while controlling its speed and reducing any turbulence. This means the air itself is contributing lower distortion to the sound of the loudspeaker itself.
The speaker itself arrives in two medium sized boxes, the smaller of which contains a crate within the box for the loudspeakers. The loudspeaker box comes complete with owner’s manual, recommended gold-coloured cleaning cloth, an alcohol-based cleaning fluid that evaporates fast and leaves no stain, and a lovely, perfect-bound ‘Everyday Luxury’ coffee-table ‘bookazine’ dedicated to the Homage Tradition line. This might seem like a strange add-on, almost like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted – who needs a high-end brochure about a product you already own? That misses out on the single biggest sales force Sonus faber has – its existing clients. This isn’t just a ‘proof of purchase’ thing, or a ‘reinforcing your buying decision’ thing. This ‘brochure’ is what you have on show when you are showing off your loudspeakers to your friends. Who will be the next customers of Sonus faber. And you won’t care about being a free spokesperson for the brand, because the product looks so damn great.