Sonus faber Venere 1.5 test review




Venere 1.5 


Sonus faber heritage and public recognition is one of the most prominent in high-end audio society. They carried the glories of Italy best across the whole globe and most importantly they brought the stylish high-end products into many homes whose owners would be often too reserved for “conventional” hi-fi and high-end audio products aesthetics.

Sonus faber managed to establish a vast following of both audiophiles and music lovers in their continuing manufacturing of the quality and great designed loudspeakers. Their recognizable shapes and use of names like Guarneri, Amati, Cremona etc. brought this Italy high-end audio speakers manufacturer s great export opportunity and remarkable brand image, that many if not most are hankering for.



There were always continuing and developing changes in the history of Sonus faber. We can call them milestones to the certain degree.

The latest and perhaps most important one is without the doubt the creation and introduction of Sonus faber Venere speaker line. They invested vast funds and efforts in creating something unique and contemporary. As both professional and personal observer of Sonus faber my close passion for this Italian high-end audio manufacturer products never seems to fade away. During the years I owned many of their speakers across the range and there are always at least one pair of Sonus faber speakers in my home or demo rooms.



Many questioned the “bold” move of new era that breeze within the Venere line, but market embraced Venere’s like anything. It must be company best selling products up to date and their long planned multi project is paying back in a grand way.

Sonus faber Venere line represent six, reasonable priced models: floorstanders, monitors, center- channel and wall-mounted numbers) You can order yours in glossy arctic-white, piano- black or just introduced matte- walnut veneer finish,

Creational Artisans


Like the recent Amati Futura, Guarneri Evolution and the Aida the new Venere line is designed by Livio Cucuzza. Livio have a strong imprint on Italian high-end. You can see read more about it here and in my interview with him here. His talent and sense for design helped him carved some of the later Sonus faber most recognized products. With Venere his biggest project came into fruition. The wit and bold lines of Venere represent Sonus faber another step into 21st century and open up more doors to the domestics listening environments. Sonus faber is known for their unmatched aesthetics that managed to soften many better halves into letting speakers becoming part of everyday living spaces. In a sublime way Sonus faber spread the passion for music beyond the often-found obstacles of real life integration. I called this ability to seamlessly blend into the domestic environments an intimate culture of high-end audio and Sonus faber should deserve an award for this alone.

Who wouldn't be proud!?
Venere expertly carries the spirit of past with the touch of contemporary lightness and elegance. I asked Paolo Tezzon and Livio Cucuzza to reveal more behind the scenes workings of creating such a demanding product like this:

Questions: Matej Isak. Answers: Livio Cucuzza:


What led to the creation of new Venere line and how it connect to the past and present Sonus faber speakers line?


Venere is obviously linked to Aida and the new Sonus faber DNA but also use all the Sonus faber heritage in the electro-acoustic and cabinet design. The salient element of Venere line is the price range, making this quality available to a larger audience.


It seems that Venere is one of the Sonus faber largest projects.
Why such and importance of Venere?

Venere now is the "entry" Sonus faber catalogue. Often the first speakers are like the first love, audiophiles will tend to stay linked to the brand and "grow" with more elaborate items. Sonus faber needed this line. Sonus faber is an elite product but not necessarily only for the rich one.



Kindly tell us about the specific design and how much of Sonus faber DNA does it carry?


The people that worked on the Venere project are the same that develop all the Sonus faber projects. So Venere has the heart of the brand, she reflects the passion of the people involved.


Venere must have been quite a challenge for you as a designer. Please elaborate!


A very big challenge. I had the Sonus faber heritage on one hand and a volume production on the other. The design of the Venere collection is an equilibrium between modernity and classic Sonus faber esthetical language, the balance of was achieved thanks to a strong market perception and a long process of prototyping. We had to balance luxury with an essential, almost neutral style that fits with contemporary environments around the world. Not easy, but certainly one of the most exciting projects in my excursus. 


Is the white color new black?


Only in some places of the world. We have a big requests of white cabinets in Europe an some parts of the United States, but the piano black is still the best seller.

Questions: Matej Isak. Answers: Paolo Tezzon:

Sonus Faber R & D mastermind Paolo Tezzon at work
How did you managed to get so much sound from such a smallish speaker?

Well, of course the 1.5 undoubtably produces a great amount of good sound and this is one of the advantages whenever you have the chance to design the drive units from the beginning optimizing them for the final enclosures. It is also  thanks to the great amount of work done on the x-over design which aims the most exhiting listening experience providable by a tiny standmount loudspeaker system.

It feels that bass performance defy the sheer size of enclosure. Is this due to the front bass baffle?

Of course the front reflex port placed on the baffle allow the listener to perceive a little bit more of bass. But again I repeat that the real difference is maiden by the synergistic development of the drivers within their enclosures and to a painstaking work on the x-over design.

Rarely manufacturers get the timbre and color right. Venere nailed it. How did you achieve this?

Well thank you very much, approaching right timbre and color is something that matters a lot to me, something I’m always aiming to as a final result whenever I approach to a speaker design, something that makes me particularly proud whenever I got feedbacks like the one in your question. We are used to say, as a joke, that the right instrument to achieve “the right timbre” is our special “wind gallery “: our musical culture. It means that it’s a matter of loving music, experiencing it whenever is possible, in the most different ways, simply because you cannot live without it. It is something that shapes your sensitivity.

What exact drivers are you using in Venere line? Are they custom made to your specification?


The Venere drivers are more than custom made, they are unique Sonus faber design speaker developed aiming to achieve the best possible performance under the value for money ratio and to provide the natural, easy, involving but detailed and controlled sound we were searching for... For example the tweeter has been developed choosing a silk material for its diaphragm simply because it sounds vivid and natural in the best traditional Sonus faber way. It is interesting to underline that for achieving this result, even if we are talking about an “entry level” line of speakers, this silk diaphragm is a top quality one  and it is produced by the best European moving parts manufacturer... Also the care placed to chose the right cone’s materials reflects all the attention paid to details that matters for the sound performance:  curv material (which precisely is a thermo-mouldered polypropilene textile) has been chosen among the many other solution, because proved itself for being extremely reliable and for performing in such a good way under the resolution point of view, (for example much better than a standard injected PP cone), that became obvious to work around it in order to optimize it to our needs. And once this was done we further enhanced its voice to an even higher standard by blending it with a paper coted dust cap, adding this way the final touch of warmth, a touch of human feeling...

Hi-fi and high-end crossover and drivers. Where is the borderline?

It’s a complicated one. Let’s try to make it more simple by fixing the main point: the path that moves from hi-fi and reaches hi end is a matter of details related to a quality standard applicable to drivers and x-over (And of course to many other things as well). Real hi fi is a reached level of quality which is matter of paying a lot of “well tempered” attentions to a lot of things involved in designs and materials. Hi-end starts when you simply go further in this quality path involving painstaking attention to details, materials, and solutions. The Venere line simply represents the point in this path where no compromise is done.

How did you managed to keep that recognized Sonus faber voicing?

The first Hi-fi speaker I purchased for myself when I was 18 years old was a Sonus faber speaker; I guess that it’s in my DNA by so far.  

                                                                                                                                                     


Did experience with Sonus Faber statement speaker and Aida helped in designing and creating Venere line?

Absolutely! While developing such kind of projects you learn an amazing amount of things, you simply grow as a better designer. All the things you work to after can only benefit of your growth experience.

How much of Aida one gets with Venere?

A lot! It’s a typical and clear trickle down phenomenon

It feels that Venere blend traditional Sonus faber emotions with the modern curves and looks. Is this an opening of new era for company?

The new era for the company started with The Sonus faber project and from that moment on this new era is simply going on in many amazing directions without losing nothing of the original DNA: Venere is only the latest result of this process and many surprising other will come in the future!

Here are few additional thoughts of Sonus faber Paolo Tezzon on Venere:

... This is how we interpreted, since its earliest development stages, the Venere series: something which aim to address the music’s and cinema lovers’ desires and needs doing this with an “audiophile attitude”, with a strong design concept, with a natural and “easy” and “happy” sound performance and with a very good overall value for money ratio....It should represent the entering door into the Sonus faber word and it really aims to be suitable for everyone who cares about listening music and experiencing movies in a very good way and through a beautiful high quality o”piece of forniture”.  Venere aims to reach a lot of people hopefully, a lot of young people particularly....

...Actually most of those targets aren’t new at all to Sonus faber  and strongly belongs to the brand tradition. From a technical point of view let’s consider the curved design concept (Which reminds our top of the line speaker shape: the Aida’s one) and how it blends with the performance need  of producing  a stiff and resonance free cabinet, an issue which has been solved in the most traditional Sonus faber way: using a curved side panel  which is itself well known for being a better choice for the cabinet’s inner reflections patterns and also for being stronger and stiffer than a straight one (Like most of Venere’s direct competitors still use) while also adding inside a proper amount of sub structural ribs in order to even more stiffen and reinforce the whole structure...

From left: Ernest Ho, quality control manager Sonus faber Hong Kong, Livio Cucuzza and Simone Farrinello Production manager Sonus faber
...Of course we decided to produce reflex loading designed speaker for many reason but mainly because if compered with other designs generally speaking they mean a better extension to the low frequencies when compared to a closed box design having the same dimensions. Another important reason is related to the driver units: there is a larger amount of moving parts available in the market suitable for driver qts being around 0.30 and 0.40 (And so suitable for reflex design) than moving parts suitable for qts of 0.60 and above (Suitable for closed box designs). Since we designed our own speaker units we wanted to have the chance to test the widest amount of parts...

...So the choices done under the speaker units design point of view aim the natural and easy, involving but detailed and controlled sound we were searching for... For example the tweeter has been developed choosing a silk material for its diaphragm simply because it sounds the way we like, vivid and natural in the best traditional Sonus faber way. It is interesting to underline that for achieving this result, even if we are talking about an “entry level” line of speakers, the silk diaphragm is a top quality one and it is produced by the best European moving parts manufacturer... Also the care placed to achieve the right choice for the cone’s materials reflects Sonus faber’s traditional attention to details that matters for the sound performance:  curve material (which precisely is a thermo-moldered polypropylene textile) among the many other evaluated, proved itself for being extremely reliable and for performing in such a good way under the resolution point of view, (for example much better than a standard injected PP cone), that became the most obvious choice, representing also an excellent choice under the value for money ratio. To enhance its performance to a higher standard it has been blended with a paper coted dust cap adding to the drivers a touch of warm sound, a touch of human feeling...

... The “asymmetrical micro wave guide” loadings around the drivers help a little bit in properly shaping the drivers’ response, particularly the tweeter one, and give a little bit of “live” feeling to the sound which helps to give to the Venere’s performance the immediacy and the involvement we were searching for...

...Thanks to the work done on the driver development the Venere line x-over can use a reasonable amount of components displaying first order designs almost everywhere (Only the 3.0 woofers and, of course the center channel are using a third order design) but there are lots refinements such as a parallel network to damp and flat the tweeter’s resonance frequency or some parallel network to compensate the woofer’s inductive behavior....”

Main principle 


Venere 1.5 is a 2 way stand mount bookshelf vented box design. When first seen I was surprised how small they were and light weighted. Comparing to some other monitors they almost felt feather when unpacked from the shipping boxes.



Sonus faber provided Venere 1.5 with additional original stands, which match Venere 1.5 perfectly. You’re still having the chance to use custom stands, but I assure you that original stands are a must to have when purchasing the Venere’s. They simply disappear with speakers and combined they radiate elegancy.

Grande piccolo


When first few notes from Venere 1.5 hit me I was struck by the amount of sound coming from them. Especially the bass was totally out of expectations. Front bass port baffle pushes the lower energy directly towards the listener with the great impact and transients. What was happening with music was pure energy of motion. I could loose myself into the music with the full resolving. No listening fatigue, no distractions. Acoustic music could see it through the system final part in a complete and musical way.                               

Correctness


One thing I always enjoyed highly with Sonus faber speakers across the whole range is correctness of timbre. This is a foundation to any great speaker and a basic building block to any hi-fi and high-end loudspeaker. In my past 20 some years listening and reviewing vast variety of speakers I had a chance to witness a specific phenomena. From the specs and measurements most if not all speaker manufacturers marketed the outstanding and natural sound of their speakers. What most of them wrote as perfectly in the specifications failed in real life when it came to the natural color, timbre and sense of aliveness. For me, those attributes always make most important aspects of any speaker. 

Classic and a future classic


We might have a certain clue about how specific studio record album should sound. This can be hit & miss, but when it comes to the reproduction of real vocals and acoustical instruments recorded in natural surroundings there is no second guesses. It’s a clear as a bright sunny day. Either speaker carries the ability to convey them or not. And sadly even some of the most acclaimed and highly praised speaker’s fails with this primary foundation of speaker role in high quality sound and music reproduction. Why they’re so highly regarded and awarded you can figure out on your own…

The daring test


There is one record out there that everyone declaring himself as audiophile (or music lover) should have in his or her collection. It’s Sam Cook Lost and Looking. If you can, get this one on vinyl. Here Sam voice is recorded so remarkably that will instantly show any speaker shortcomings and advantages. I heard, that Even Chad Kassem recommends this one strongly.

Sonus faber Venere 1.5 might be “smallish” in appearance but the vocals coming from them were more then just on the right track. Sam’s energy was vivid and all the important aspects of how vocal should sound were correct. The timbre, subtle energy, color freshness and natural dark imprint. It’s the same with guitars. Jazz guitar can quickly go wrong. An Ella and Pass recording always takes me into a certain warm place. Their interaction and energy is beyond captivating. Just as with Ella and great “Satchmo”. Again Joe Pass jazz guitar sounded, as it should with enough air and that distinct tone. I could easily fall into music listening with 1.5 and forget about all the technical attributes.

Venere basic internal structure
Venere 1.5 defy of what is possible with enclosures of such size and performance it comes from them. I saw few of my friends awe struck when the bass notes kicked in. I’m sure Paolo Tezzon is smiling on this regards few times a week in his lab J. Little magic’s never fail when done right…

How Venere basic design come to shape of life


In the ultimate sense some of you might want a bit more with everything projected. Venere 1.5 speakers are not larger then life in their presentation. Their role can be upgraded within the upper models in the line. But I urge you try them first and go from this experience upwards. You might be surprised by what their performance.

Disappearing act


Among floor-standers, big full sized speakers and other derivations of speaker designs I always loved and still do small monitors. There is something magical when it comes to disappearing act and the energy flow of the music. When positioned correctly monitor speakers can work with interactive intimate transfer of the given even musical event like no other speaker design. In most cases you’re obliged to the traditional triangle setup for the best impact, but the reward is in most cases a full emotional bondage. You will not get the pondering bass and the biggest soundstage of big boxes. The magic with small monitor speakers happens within realms of “monitoring” and emotional flow. Small speakers tend to connect with performance on the level that often big speaker fails. Some due to poor enclosure damping some through the array of complicated crossovers and handling with many speaker drivers. It’s wrong to assume that all complex crossover fails in delivering balanced sound, but it happens in more cases then not.

One of the best preamplifiers (Robert Koda Takumi K-10) in the world, Burmester 089 and Venere 1.5
Venere 1.5 speakers grabs and pack so much passion that will make your heart pump with blood. Its a passionate driver for emotional listening. 

Conclusion


Livio Cuccuza, Paolo Tezzon and Sonus faber team managed to produce the new unabridged speaker that carries the traditional Sonus faber imprint with the contemporary advancements and solutions. And the looks! Sonus faber Venere 1.5 is in first case a musical speaker with great aesthetics. In the past we might connected Sonus faber speakers strictly with more traditional design. With Venere line Sonus faber main designer Livio Cucuzza managed to expertly bland classical Sonus faber recognized design with the fresh and modern outtake. Venere stand on it’s own with elegance and with enough true Sonus faber dna to be instantly recognizable. They’re a beautifully carved objects that open up much more doors of domestic listening environments.

Sales figures are already proved that directions was spot on. They’re sold like “cuff cakes” all over the world.



Sonus Faber Venere 1.5 gets Mono & Stereo first sound & value award in the speakers section.



Specification:

2 way standmount bookshelf vented box
Tweeter: 29 mm high definition precoated fabric dome driver with no ferrofluid. Sonus faber design.
Mid range: 1x150 mm cone driver. Free compression basket design and thermo-mouldered polypropylene textile cone (Curv). Ultra dynamic performance and linearity. Special coaxial anti-compressor is used to remove resonances and distortions. Sonus faber design
1x150 mm driver.
Free compression basket design and Curv cone. Ultra dynamic performance and linearity.
Sonus faber design
Cross-over points: 2.000Hz
Frequency Resp: 50Hz-25.000 Hz
Nominal impendence: 6 ohm
Suggested Amplifier Power Output: 30W – 150W without clipping
Weight (kg): 6,00 each





Matej Isak Mono and Stereo ultra high end audio magazine All rights reserved, 2012 www.monoandstereo.com Matej Isak Mono and Stereo ultra high end audio magazine All rights reserved, 2012 www.monoandstereo.com None of the original text, pictures, that were taken by me, links or my original files can be re-printed or used in any way without prior permission!