You may be thinking that this is a speaker for the classical listener and you’d be right and wrong. They specialise in atmosphere and are extraordinarily adept at describing the subtlest of pitch or tempo shifts whether it be from Einaudi’s Seven Days Walking [Decca], a collection of discs that chart the passing of time and landscapes in a series of musical piano poems. The MQA version of this from Tidal Masters is as dreamy a way of passing a wet afternoon as I have heard. Or Billy Cobham’s seminal 1973 album Spectrum [Atlantic], a work that perhaps marked the beginning of the fusion between jazz and rock. It’s powerful and visceral and the Nova 1’s lapped it up and spat it out. Not many small speakers make such a good job of ‘Quadrant 4’. More edgy and tonally uncomfortable perhaps, but not as colourful and unflustered. Check out ‘Stratus’ and the moment that Cobham, after a series of pressed rolls on the snare, works his way around the tom-toms before opening those broad shoulders of his and inviting bassist Ron Carter to lend foundation to a ridiculously infectious groove that just drives. You wouldn’t believe that the Sonus fabers could maintain order with Cobham working the kit over Carters evil bass line but I’m listening to it at silly levels while I’m writing this and I can tell you that this is one hell of a foot-tapping loudspeaker.
The more I listened to the Nova 1, the more I liked them. Beautifully made and very smooth looking, they are a class all-rounder. There is something almost non-hi fi about them and the way they tell their musical stories. Give them a great amplifier and source, kick back and let them go. They’re much more than just a pretty face.
Type: Two-way, vented, stand-mount loudspeaker
Drivers: 28mm tweeter with Neodymium motor with DAD150 mm bass/mid driver with eddy current-free voice coil
Impedance: Nominal 4 ohm
Crossover Freq: 2500Hz
Freq. response: 45 Hz–35,000 Hz
Suggested amplifier power: 35w–250w
Dimensions: 355 × 200 × 380 (including grill) mm
Stand: Single pillar aluminium
Weight: 10.5 Kg (17.1 Kg with stand)
Finishes: Walnut or Wenge
Price: £5,950 per pair. Stands £995
Manufacturer: Sonus faber
UK Distributor: Absolute Sounds