The other major Sonus faber characteristic inherited from past masters is the uncanny way this is a big loudspeaker that just happens to live in a small box. The sound it produces is extraordinarily large, almost always right-sized, with the kind of holographic image so real sounding, you could sub-let the soundstage to a young family. In this, the Sonus faber occupies the best of both worlds; a stereo image that is almost coming from a tiny point-source, coupled with the sort of scale and bass depth that makes you think of big floorstanders. ‘Congo Man’ from Ernest Ranglin’s Below the Basslinealbum [Island] highlights this well, with the underpinning of reggae bass lines and drums sounding vast and that sweet guitar sound picked out perfectly in the sound field.
There is no getting around the laws of physics; you can bend them, but you can’t break them. In this case, that big and impressive sound comes at the cost of absolute beat-precision. In truth, this probably only really manifests if you are really into techno music, where the big port helping to make the huge sound begins to make its presence felt. However, this is not so much a typical chuffing sound you might hear from an intrusive port, and certainly has no lack of energy. In other words, it’s perhaps more ZZ Top than Skrillex… which is no bad thing.
Most of all, though, Sonus faber has made a thoroughly modern time machine in the Electa Amator III. It retains much of the inviting sound of old, without showing up the limitations of the past in the present. It’s detailed, dynamic, has a beautifully-constructed soundstage, and best of all sounds bloody lovely when playing music, which is kind of the point of a pair of loudspeakers. They say beauty is only skin deep; Sonus faber’s Electa Amator III begs to differ. It’s as lovely on the inside as it is on the outside.
Type: Two-way, ported standmount loudspeaker
Drive unit complement: 1× H28 XTR-04 Damped Apex Dome 28mm silk tweeter, 1× MW18XTR-04 180mm cellulose pulp cone mid-bass driver
Frequency response: 40Hz–35kHz
Sensitivity: 88dB SPL (2.83V/1m)
Nominal Impedance: 4Ω
Amplifier power handling: 35–200W
Dimensions (H×W×D): 37.5 × 23.5 × 36cm (excl stands)
Weight: 14.6kg each (excl stands)
Price: £9,000 per pair
Manufactured by: Sonus faber SpA
Distributed in the UK by: Absolute Sounds
Tel: +44(0)20 8971 3909