Sonus Faber Olympica loudspeakers interview


Paolo Tezzon & Livio Cucuzza
MONO AND STEREO HIGH-END AUDIO MAGAZINE

Exclusive Mono & Stereo interview with Sonus Faber's Paolo Tezzon & Livio Cucuzza about Sonus Faber Olympica speakers. Paolo and Livio talks with Matej Isak about traditional Sonus Faber values and contemporary solutions that jointly formed a classical Sonus Faber loudspeakers for 21st century without loosing a touch with company heritage.



PHILOSOPHY

Matej:

1) What led to creation of the Olympica? Why the reference to the legendary Palladio? Why the name? It feels like Olympica jointly embrace that past and the future of Sonus Faber? What was the goal from the start with Sonus Faber Olympica? A task of preserving the Sonus Faber spirit in the contemporary times seems like a great challenge?
2) Where does the passion meet the design constraints?
3) Made in Italy right? Is this important for this line?
4) Who would you say the Olympica customers are and will be?
5) Do you feel Olympica point back to the roots of Sonus Faber? Return to the paper as a speaker driver material?




Livio:

1) the projects before Olympica were driven by the intent to innovate and extend the brand to the two extremes of our market. Aida and Venere was the expressions of this goal.

With Olympica we created a line of loudspeakers in the classics Sonus faber. The goal was to create something that looks immediately Sonus and nevertheless; innovate. An instant classic. To do this we had to be inspired by something that has his roots in the territory of Vicenza. Andrea Palladio and his architecture was the perfect inspiration.

2) Design without any limit is art. We are not artists. We imagine the best way to touch the limits without go beyond.

3) Absolutely Made in Italy. This was a must. Any Olympica product is full of details: the wood combinations, the real leather, the stainless steel accessories. Our culture, our food, our architecture is based on a unique ability to balance the details. I'm sure that any customer of Olympica will be fascinated to discover all of these day by day.

4) Anyone who loves our way to do things. Olympica is the best expression of made in Italy and made by Sonus.

5) No, I'm not interested to go back in any way. Olympica was inspired by the same immaginario as the initial Sonus faber products, but is totally brand new as the approach.


Paolo:

1) Olympica comes from the challenge of applying some of the best solutions of Aida in a “real world” high-end loudspeaker system. Palladio is rapture to me: his Olympic theatre located in Vicenza is a charming example of a natural acoustics and of a prospective ”Trompe l’oeil” stage effect. Visiting it is an influential and fruitful knowledge experience. This was the inspiration for The Olympica’s natural and “organic” sound quality and for its stage reconstruction ability as well.


Of course Palladio’s architectural works are everywhere in our city, they surround us everyday and the inspire us, so calling our latest range of speakers with the name of his masterwork is an act of gratitude to our territory, an homage to Vicenza. 

Yes! It is a clear statement in the continuum of the evolution of our designs.

No! Some values in life, music and audio are immutable, as obvious in Olympica is; it is a much better loudspeaker system but still a Sonus faber.
In fact – passion – overrides design constrains, our accountant is not happy, but owners are!

3) Yes, proudly, in fact Olympica is 100% made in our premises. It is the return to an artisan concept in the sense of direct absolute attention to every detail.


4) Olympica doesn’t point “back” to the roots of Sonus faber, so to say it points “front”; it is the “same old song”, but sung by a new ensemble.

5) Sonus faber has historically a strong preference towards natural materials: solid wood, leather and, last but not least, paper. Paper is the oldest materials for speaker cones and according to our perception, the best. In Italia we say: “ La carta canta”, that translated into “Paper sings”. Paper, as a cone material, has the same essence of wine.

TECHNOLOGY: 


Matej: What was the goal from the start with Sonus Faber Olympica? Kindly tell us more about custom drivers? Olympica feels like a technological step up. Please elaborate… What would you say that make Olympica so special?



There seems to be quite some design and technical trickle down technology takes from the second flagship Aida? Made in Italy right? Is this important for this line? Bass ports take a new route with a more possibilities of room adjustment. Please tell us more. What technical innovations would you highlight? Do you feel Olympica point back to the roots of Sonus Faber? How hard is to seamlessly join the aesthetics with the working acoustics? Return to the paper as a speaker driver material? Please tell us more about the wooden structure of Olympica. What is unique and special? Along with new custom and developed made Sonus Faber drivers, what is the story with crossover? Kindly elaborate on Olympica I, II and III speakers. For what kind of rooms and listeners they are designed? To whom you'll recommend a different models.

Paolo: Yes! To some extent Aida is the “mother” of Olympica. The drivers, completely designed by us, are obviously a trickle down of the one used in Aida, the biggest difference is that they are scaled down in size.



Paper cones, as said before, has the same essence of wine: a specific “secret” pulp recipe made by one manufacturer cannot be copied by another one, the copy will maybe look the same but the sound will be something else. Our enduring love with natural, ecological, renewable cone materials has recently inspired the audio world to rediscover ”natural, ecological, renewable” cone materials as well.


We have always be great fans of the Jensen Ultraflex solutions for the low frequencies loading. Unfortunately these are very complex and expensive to produce. However, this time we decided to remove this limitation and have improved this approach to laminar flow vents with our resistive particle motion control absorptive pads (Stealth reflex).

The Olympica’s wooden structure is a synthesis of the experience gained from the flagship Aida Lyra shape and the classic lute shape, adding a “new dimension” to the cabinet resonace control: the “triple curvature” profile of the sides and the non-homogenous progressive thickness of the cabinet walls, obtain an extraordinary reduction of internal resonances.


Moreover, the use of solid walnut as “clamps” on top and on bottom of each cabinet gives a strong bond with the Sonus faber tradition of conceiving loudspeakers as musical instruments and, with its design, it adds a different density material to the whole cabinet structure at the same time, providing a better resonance spectrum distribution.

SOUND 


Matej: How did you tune the speakers? What was the sound preference? All that have seen Olyimpica line in person agree on emotional impact. How does it translate through your work language?

Paolo: The sound has been tuned to be natural, fast and introspective without being clinical. As mentioned speaking about the Olympic theatre inspiration, I’d like to say that one of the strenght of Olympica line is the precision of space and sound stage reconstruction.


I strongly think that hi-fi has to be used to listen to music and not music to listen to hi-fi. Of course music is emotion!

DESIGN:


Matej: The solid wood and leather… Classical Sonus faber?

Livio: Yes. The first step in the Olympica design was the wood choice. I personally love walnut. It is materic and elegant at the same time, and I wanted to underline this characteristics . To do this I pushed our woodmaker to create something very special matching the walnut with a very thin line of white maple. Sonus faber never used this combination before, but it is as if it had always been in the company heritage.


Another "never seen before" element is the leather on top. Since I was a child I always loved stroking my toys, backing home, before going to bed ... there is something reassuring in this gesture. "I wanted it, now it's mine". The top of the speakers is the most touched element by the customers in the real life. So I imagined that our customers can have something warm to touch, they will feel the flavor the real leather on their hands.

Matej: Kindly comment the shape of Olympica through the eyes of design and practical implementation.

Livio: One of the first design intent in this project was to create something more coherent between form and function. So the aesthetic of Olympica was generated around the new reflex port concept. In a certain way we can say that the shape of Olympica was born from the airflows generated by the drivers.

The new lamellar ultraflex port defines vertically the cabinet design, for this reason we decided to mark this element with the metal grid that is one of the key design element of the project, as well as being functional.

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Matej Isak. Mono and Stereo ultra high end audio magazine. All rights reserved. 2006-2013. 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! ::..